There are so many creative ways to publish student writing. Some of these ideas for publishing take a bit of work and planning. However, there are several student publishing options that take a minimum of effort on your part.
Minimum effort and maximum impact is my motto. It’s the way to save your teacher sanity. So these nine creative ideas that I’m giving you in this blog post are all things I’ve done without staying late every night. Every teacher deserves the weekend to relax, and that includes you!
Digital Options for Publishing Student Writing
Make a Digital Wall of Writing
Start a class Wall of Writing in your Google Classroom (™) space or other online space where you post student assignments. With the Wall of Writing, you post an image or text that links to the student’s story. Anyone who has access to the online space can read the stories.
I did this in Google Classroom (™) and my students loved it. They felt proud to see their work on the “Wall”. In fact, one student said it made her feel important. So this way to publish student writing gets a thumbs up for ease of use and student happiness. ?
In teaching literacy, reading is just as important as writing. We can’t exhale without inhaling. The author Pam Allyn put it succinctly when she wrote, “Reading is breathing in and writing is breathing out.”
As the month or year goes by, you can swap out the writing on this digital wall. You can copy the document or slide into a digital portfolio. Even better, have the students do that.
Host a Classroom Story Hour
Have you ever heard of the Moth Story Hour? It’s a program in which oral storytellers share their stories. Most are personal and biographical. Some are sad and introspective, some are funny and lighthearted. You can access it with your favorite podcast app.
However, all of them are mesmerizing, because people love to hear others’ stories.
The same is true of your students. They love hearing what their friends and peers have written.
You can organize this by setting a time and day so students can practice reading their writing and be ready to share. You don’t have to require students to share at first. Most of us have one or two students who are eager to share their stories. Once they break the ice, the others will be ready to join in too.
One key thing here is to have a spirit of trust and kindness. Remind your students ahead of time that all of our stories are worthy, all have value, and we can all learn from each other.
My students loved sharing during Story Hour. I mean they LOVED it. It was fun and created some great memories.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Looking for a new way to publish student writing? Have you heard of the Moth Story Hour? You can create a story hour in your classroom based on this model of oral storytelling. ” quote=”You can create a story hour in your classroom to publish student writing based on the model of the Moth Story Hour.” theme=”style3″]
Publish Student Writing With a Story Video
This was also a big favorite. My students enjoyed using Flipgrid because they could leave emoji comments for each other. They also liked being able to see how many views their story video received.
Flipgrid is only one way to record story videos. There are many options for video in the classroom and you may already have one that you’re happy with. You can have the students record from their Chromebooks or laptops and then turn it in. After you review them, you could post them to a Video Story Wall in your online classroom space.
One nice thing about this is students can access the stories at any time.
Create a Storyboard Slideshow
This is another super popular way for students to share their writing. Not only do they get to write something they’re proud of, they get to create a slideshow with pictures for it. You can do it in PowerPoint, Google Slides (TM) or any other slideshow platform you use with your class.
This hits so many learning standards:
- Responding to others
We used to share the story slideshows together as a class. It gives students experience in presentation and public speaking. After the slideshow, you could choose to keep the slideshows on your Wall of Writing or not.
It’s wonderful for Open House night and Parent Conferences to have a digital example of a student’s writing. You can let the students choose which piece they want to showcase for their parents and families.
Paper Options for Publishing Student Writing
Create a Student Newspaper
One year, a student of mine told me during the first week of school that he wanted to have a school newspaper. Being the type of teacher who loves to do something new every year, I immediately agreed.
This was with a fifth grade class. Students were assigned “investigative journalism” stories. We had stories about the school gardens, interviews with para-professionals and other staff members, an in-depth report about a day in the life of our librarian. It was community oriented.
Although the students did the bulk of the typing, formatting, and all the other prep work that goes into a newspaper, it was still a little bit of extra work on my part. But it was worth every minute.
The newspaper was printed and distributed to each class in the school. (It was a small school.) They could also access the newspaper by using a QR code that linked to our school news website. Our IT person set the site up for us.
Advantages of doing this were huge self esteem boosts for all the students, a sense of worthy accomplishment, and a lasting memory of creating something wonderful with a team.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Have you ever created a classroom newspaper? It’s a great way to motivate your students and publish student writing.” quote=”You can publish student writing in a classroom newspaper.” theme=”style3″]
Publish Student Writing in a Class Literary Magazine or Book
There are plenty of options to publish student writing in book or magazine format. I’ve done this several times.
One was through a company that produced student work in a hardbound book. Each family bought as many copies of the book as they desired.
Another was creating a book through an online publishing platform. KDP is the first that comes to mind.
The easiest one to do if your school will allow it, is to copy and collate the student stories. You can have each student create their own cover for the book, or choose a student to create the cover. Laminate the covers, hole punch the pages, and bind them using brads.
This is also a super popular option because you can leave a copy in the staff room, have them available for reading while parents wait for conferences, or hand them out at the end of the school year. Each student can autograph their own stories and keep this lasting memento.
Create a Picture Book for Younger Friends or Siblings
It’s amazing how much work is involved in a picture book. Your students may think they’re just for little kids, but once they begin the writing and illustrating process, they’ll find it’s a very difficult task.
First, have your students come up with a story idea and write it. The entire story should be less than 500 words. This is no easy feat!
There should be 24 or 32 pages in the book. Therefore, students should mark on their papers which words will go on which pages. You can have them put the words on the even pages and pictures on the odd pages, or vice versa.
After they’ve illustrated the pages, and are happy with their images, they can add the words.
This is a perfect way to reinforce what they know about the parts of books: Title page, copyright page, verso, recto, and so on.
When my fifth grade students did this for their kindergarten reading buddies, they insisted on making a second copy they could keep for themselves!
Have a Story Scoot
This one is super fun and engaging. It also gives students the opportunity to go back and connect with the authors of the stories they want to finish reading.
In a game of Scoot, in case you haven’t used it, you lay a story on each student’s desk. Plan a rotation sequence around the room. Depending on how your seats are arranged, you might have students move one chair to the left each time they hear the signal.
Set a timer for 60-90 seconds. Give just enough time for them to begin reading a story and get into the meat of it, but not finish it.
When students hear the timer, they move to the next seat and begin reading the story. When the timer goes off again, they have to move, no dillydallying!
You’ll hear plenty of laughter and groans as students find out they have to move just when the story is getting good!
If enough students want to hear the ends of the stories, you could set up a Story Hour.
Hang Them Up in a Plastic Sleeve
The fastest and easiest way to hang student work up and change it out frequently is to use the clear plastic dry-erase protective sleeves. You can hang them on the wall with the students’ names on the front.
Students can choose which of their stories to display this way on the wall. Another advantage to this is if you place all of their writing in these sleeves, you know at a glance who has finished their writing and who is still working on it.
Do You Have More Ideas for Publishing Student Writing?
If you do, please share your ideas in the comments. The more creative ideas we come up with, the better we all are. Together we’re stronger!
Thanks so much for reading this far. I hope the ideas have helped and inspired you.
If you want to learn more about simple systems for teaching writing in your elementary classroom, you can download a free ebook right here.