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Candra McKenzie

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Creative Ways To Publish Student Writing

Every teacher wants to see their students excited about writing. Not only is writing a great way for students to improve their English skills, but it can also help them express themselves. A great way to incentivize students to put time, effort, and creativity into their writing is by publishing student writing into books and other mediums.

Publishing your students’ work can inspire them to put their best foot forward and create something that they want to be memorialized. Additionally, it gets kids of all ages excited about the writing process and allows them to look forward to the end product of their hard work. Simply put, finding places to publish student writing such as short stories, poems, and even essays acts as both an incentive and a reward.

If you need help coming up with creative ways to publish student writing, look no further. This article will talk about the importance of publishing student writing and share some fun and clever ways to do so.

How To Publish Student Writing

Nowadays, we do almost everything on the internet, including publishing books. If you’re making a book with your students, you’ll likely need an online application to help. There are various websites and platforms that you can use for this purpose. There are guided frameworks that walk you through the process from beginning to end like Six In Schools, as well as options that require slightly more organization, editing, and effort like BookBaby.

Something to keep in mind when encouraging student self-publishing is that their work doesn’t have to be in the form of student publication books or other physical copies. You could create a web page on your school’s site or an entirely unique website on which you can publish students’ writing in the form of blog posts, short stories, etc.

Here are some ideas of where to show off your students’ work, both on and offline:

  • Use Google Classroom: If you have a designated location for students’ finished work to be posted, this can act as a sort of showroom for anyone that has access to the digital classroom. This also allows kids to read each other’s writing and give encouraging and constructive comments. For example, it could be a weekly assignment for each student to leave comments, encouragement, and feedback on a randomly assigned student’s work.
  • Have fun creating your own books: If you have the means, hosting a workshop where students learn how to bind books can be a great activity that also allows them to create/publish their own books. You can have them include the best poems, short stories, essays, etc., that they may have written over the course of the semester or the year.
  • Six In Schools: Six In Schools provides ready-made lesson plans for publishing either your students writing (in our literary format) or writing + illustrations (in our illustrated book format)!

Publish Student Poems

“I want to publish my poem” is a statement that any dedicated teacher would be ecstatic to hear from a student. If this scenario pops up, how do you help? Here are a few ways to publish student poems and get their brilliant work out into the world一or at least into the public eye.

  • Encourage students to start a blog or a social media profile dedicated to their work: Having a website or social media account that they can use to share their poems is a great way for a student to expand their audience. If they create a page on Facebook or Instagram, they can promote their work to friends and family, which is a great start. The internet can be a harsh place, so this might be a better idea for older students that have knowledge of internet safety practices.
  • Participate in literary competitions: If your student is too shy to share their work with their peers on the internet, an exciting way to get them to share their poetry might be entering a literary competition. This way, they can start feeling more comfortable with others reading their work while having the opportunity to win prizes. 
  • Self-publish in zines or pamphlets: If a student already has a few poems that are already written and ready for publishing, you could encourage them to self-publish them in a zine or similar medium. Zines are often defined as short, hand-made books that feature original work.
  • Send their work to publishers: There’s no reason not to try! You can always send your students’  best works to poem publishing sites like Thrush Poetry or Rust+Moth.  If a poem (or a collection of poems) is truly remarkable, you can attempt to send it to an official publishing house with your student’s permission and participation. Despite the relatively low chance of receiving a response, this would be a great learning experience for the student.

Ways To Share Writing

Although many writers write for themselves, everyone loves a little recognition once in a while. It’s crucial to come up with ways for students to share their writing in and out of the classroom so they can continue to grow as writers. There are many ways to do this, including sharing writing in the classroom, posting it in the hallway for other peers and teachers to read, posting it online, publishing it in a book so they can take it home and show family, and much more.

If you want your students to begin sharing writing in the classroom, you have to encourage them to do so. For example, start a tradition where each class day is ended with students sharing a quick poem or micro-story before leaving for the day. Over time, students will begin to feel more comfortable, gain confidence, and get in the habit of writing every single day.

Another thing you can encourage your students to do is share writing online. This can be done by starting an anonymous blog or a social media account, using a publishing platform, posting in Google Classroom, etc. This can be effective for kids that tend to be shyer and dislike public speaking, or for those that have an extra interest in sharing their work with a larger audience.

Writing Celebration Ideas

Childhood is often remembered fondly by many of us because everything seems so new and exciting. Part of having a joyful and productive childhood development is celebrating achievements and accomplishments.

So, if you have a student who has gotten their poem or book published or who has gone the extra mile with their writing, it’s cause for celebration! The same can be said if you decide to create a book with your class and want to celebrate everyone’s hard work. If you don’t have any ideas on how to acknowledge these remarkable achievements, here are a few writing celebrations that you can participate in in the classroom:

  • Organize a publishing party: If students have gotten their work published or started their own blog (etc.), throw a celebration in class with parents included. One of the best publishing party ideas for a group celebration is to have every student write a small poem or essay and read it to their peers and parents. This is a wonderful way to celebrate the achievement and show off everyone’s hard work.
  • Decorate the classroom: Celebrations don’t have to be a big event; sometimes, even something as small as changing the decor in the school can show your students that you’re proud of their achievements. If you want to go all out, you could even get decor that’s inspired by the students’ work.
  • Implement a writing celebration compliment sheet: If you have a publishing party or have an organized reading with your class’s published book, consider implementing a compliment sheet where students can leave kind feedback for their peers. People of all ages appreciate getting complimented on their work, so this idea would work for children in elementary school all the way up to young adults in high school.

Ways To Publish Student Writing Online

We already discussed some of the easiest ways to publish student writing online: posting on a social media account, starting a blog, sharing it on Google Classroom, etc. However, there are other (more “official”) ways to do it as well, such as through student publishing sites.

Here are two temporarily free online student book publishing platforms that you can encourage your class to use: 

  • Storybird: This app allows you to convert text into illustrated stories by using images from artists worldwide. This could be especially enticing for younger students who might enjoy visual content and the ability to make comic-book-style stories. There are also options for flash fiction pieces, poetry, long-form content, and more.
  • Flipsnack: This online application helps you create a digital book from your preferred images. Upload your files, choose your look, and create your flipbook! You can share or embed the link to the digital book wherever you want. This is a great platform for all ages as it can be used to create interactive children’s books as well as professional zines and portfolios for older students.

Getting your students’ work published is a wonderful way to boost their confidence, keep them motivated to write, and conserve some great classroom memories.

Real Classroom Success

“I’ve used Six-Word Memoirs in my class for many years and the limitation of six words forces students to break big ideas down to smaller bites, think deeper about their stories, and unlock personal expression. In my classroom, I’ve seen kids work through writer's block; in just thirty minutes they feel like they have accomplished something.”

TERRY ASHKINOS, 7TH & 8TH GRADE TEAM LEAD
CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

“The six-word approach was a way for my students to express themselves without writing a long narrative, one that may not speak to the reader as strongly as their Six-Word Memoir. Above all, they thought hard about their word choice, punctuation, and how they could illustrate the emotion/tone they wanted to express.”

Ginger Giessler, M.Ed & teacher
New Tech Academy
Fort Wayne, IN 

"I’ve long been enamored with the Six-Word Memoir project. I’ve read all the books, written a pile of my own Six-Word Memoirs, and sometimes do my best reflecting in six-word increments. Six-Word Memoirs are a masterful way to tell a story and was the perfect way to have our students be part of an all-school writing project. As a staff, we believed a single writing project was a wonderful way to capture the voices, stories, and reflections of all our students. When we compiled all the student writing, we had 700 student stories told — in just 4,200 words — and every child could quickly and easily read the stories of their friends and peers. I'm not sure how we could have accomplished such an admirable feat without the gift of Six-Word Memoirs."

Jennifer Schwanke
AUTHOR OF "YOU'RE THE PRINCIPAL! NOW WHAT?"
Deputy Superintendent, Dublin City Schools

The day I used Six-Word Memoirs was the day my students came alive. Finally, being free to not only write long narratives helped them to discover the essence of themselves and the heart of their writing.”

CANDRA McKenzie, HallPassBreak PODCAST Host & HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER
NEW YORK CITY, NY

Six-Word Memoirs bring out the best in my students. They are able to showcase their creativity and personal experience in a humorous, fun-loving way, but may also choose to display deeper, more complex emotions if they so choose.”

Sarah Nguyen, 6th grade English teacher
High Point Academy
Pasadena, Ca

“We often think of creativity as being open, free of rules with room to explore. But one thing that struck me when writing Six-Word Memoirs is that having strict parameters can sometimes lead to even more creative thinking!”

Paul Ackers, English teacher
Year 3 Brookes Moscow International School
Moscow, Russia

“Six-Word Memoirs is the perfect site to be ‘published’ while being creative.”

Hannia Dergongan Marohombsar, Year 8 and Year 10 First Language English teacher
National High Jakarta School of Piaget Academy
Jakarta, Indonesia

"The Six-Word Memoir is the perfect instrument for students to exercise their self-awareness in meaningful ways. Having this type of personal success on the first assignment of the school year sets the tone of the year on a positive and productive path."

Elizabeth Kennedy, 7th grade Academic Enrichment instructor
Riverwatch Middle School
Suwanee, GA

They feel liberated by having to only produce six words in a concise, poetic format. This is especially important to dyslexic students as they have experienced angst and ridicule surrounding written expression and quantity has been an encumbrance.”

Kat DeWees, teacher
Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexic Students
Austin, TX

“Six-Word Memoirs has just taught me that if you sit long enough with a kid and you ask the right questions and you challenge them in the right ways, you will hear a story that you probably never would have imagined."

Tabitha Cooper, Senior English teacher
Metamora High School
Metamora, IL

“Many students in our class shared deeply personal experiences in their Six-Word Memoirs, and sharing them helped to bring our class closer together and build a team spirit.”

Leah Ruediger, teacher
NYC’s P.S. 86
The Bronx, NY

“Six-Word Memoirs taught us a lot about our students and also taught the kids that efficiency of language can be a powerful way to make a point or share something poignant about themselves.”

JENNY PLATOW, TEACHER
ESSEX STREET ACADEMY
NEW YORK CITY, NY