Sunday, January 8, 2017

Who Are Your Students Writing For?

Have you ever stopped to think who your students are writing for?  If no one comes to mind then it is probably you!  Should students write for teachers?  Of course!  We are there to offer guidance and support but we want our students to become independent of us.  We want them to become authors, writing for a wider audience.

Students need to know why they are writing and who they are writing for. Authors write to share their ideas and creativity to the world and young writers need the same motivation. How many times during a day do you hear your name called and students say “look at this?” Students love sharing their work with teachers, parents and their peers. Even better young writers love sharing their pieces with anyone. 
How do you get your students to feel like authors? First they need to discuss their writing with their peers. Practice having students work in partners. Model how to ask questions about their pieces. Students gain more ideas about their writing when a partner asks questions about their pieces. Feedback drives students to write more adding details that answer their audience’s questions.

Digital publishing is another way for students to share their writing with a bigger stage. Digital publishing puts emphasis on a completed piece of writing and a quality piece of work. Digital writing is almost always meant for an audience. When students know they are writing for someone else besides the teachers it motivates them to do their best. 

Having students write in  Google Docs is an easy way to publish and share a digital piece. It is accessible from anywhere and is easily shared through a google account or shareable link. What is also great about using google documents is that teachers, parents and peers can give feedback right onto the document itself.
Chatterpix is another great way for young writers to publish their pieces. This free app allows students to record and animate their writing, which allows students practice reading their pieces for fluency. To use Chatterpix, students snap a picture of their writing and save it to the camera roll. Next, they open the Chatterpix app and upload picture. They then swipe across the picture to animate it. Lastly, they hit the record button and read their writing.

 Students can also add an illustration that goes with their writing and read as the picture talks.
After reading Spookley the Square Pumpkin, my students wrote about how to be a nice friend. Then they drew a picture to upload to Chatterpix and recorded themselves reading their piece. To publish their pieces, I made QR codes and placed the pumpkins in the hallway for everyone to scan. Sticky notes were placed beside each picture so anyone that listened could leave a comment. This is a simple way to publish to a wider audience. Students get really excited when they see that someone listened to their writing and left a comment. Follow the link below and see our adorable Spookleys.

Once young writers have the experience of talking about their writing, receiving feedback from their audience and having a platform to publish they will not only begin to see themselves as authors, they will become authors.

About the Author 

Lisa Fain is a NBCT who has been teaching for 23 years. She is a First Grade teacher who enjoys integrating technology into her classroom. She blogs at The Primary Sisters with her sister who also teachers First Grade with her at the same school. 

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