Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Writing and Publishing Collaborative Class Books

Following (below), is an article from Scholastic that describes a simple, but important instructional practice: the publishing of original, collaborative class books.  For a few fortunate kids out there this is a perennial ‘teacher’s favorite’, one that is greatly facilitated and effectively realized through the application of easy to access and use technology. Shouldn't every student have the experience of writing and publishing a book (or being part of a group writing and publishing effort as part of his education? Unfortunately this practice isn’t anywhere near universally implemented... yet.  Hopefully, someday every teacher will engage her class in this important, project-based, authentic literacy practice.

This article offers some good, general guidance for “Everyteacher” about how to structure a class writing/publishing effort, as well a few good suggestions about publishing applications to use. However,  moving beyond simply communicating a good idea, what's needed is a fleshed-out body of information and examples strong enough to instill the inspiration and confidence needed by teachers and get them to decide that the time to do this with their students is NOW.
Any suggestions you have on specific ways to organize and manage a class Writing/Publishing effort, suggestions about digital resources to use in implementing  one, and especially, any links to online examples of the students’ Writing/Publishing products that have resulted from such a project will be greatly appreciated and added to this resource with appropriate credit given. The specific twists and refinements colleagues have done in this vein, as well the published work of their students should provide instructive and highly useful (use the "comments" feature here or email literacyspecialinterest@gmail.com).

NOTE: While this article is intended for early elementary, this approach is appropriate for all grade levels.

“Publishing ‘Real’ Class Books in Four Steps”

“One of my favorite teaching traditions is to make at least one book each year with my students using either a photo printing website or an online self-publishing service. To my students, these books feel impressively “real” in a way that handmade bookmaking does not, and these hardbound books have a long shelf life. The student-authored book basket is a favorite in my class library. My students love reading the books created years earlier — especially, when the books connect with a current classroom experience or unit of study. Here are some tips for publishing class books of your own…”

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