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In writing class, we generate a lot of text. However, not all this work is shared with classmates and other teachers. Some shorter assignments remain forever tucked away in their writing journals. Perhaps students will revisit old journal entries sporadically throughout the year for their own enjoyment and reflection. For those assignments, they are their own audience.
For other assignments, there is a broader audience. When larger projects are presented, students put a lot of work into planning, organizing, editing, and revising their writing. By the end, students have made sure their work is written conventionally so everyone can read it, and they often put just as much work into their detailed pictures. These projects are worked on for a substantial amount of time, sometimes taking up to several weeks or a month to complete. Finally, the day comes when they finish editing and revising and a polished, best effort, final copy is created. After all this hard work, we celebrate with an Author’s Chair Day.
Author’s Chair is an exciting opportunity for students to share their work aloud with their classmates and teacher. Often, I use this as an opportunity to get outside, and we’ll read our writing in the amphitheater. It feels good to be heard, and all students deserve a respectful audience. So before any work is read aloud, we review what it means to be an audience member. Since the writing process has been completed, this isn’t a time for critical feedback. This is a time to commend a finished product and a student’s hard work. Sometimes, reading work aloud can cause nervousness, but in the end, all students receive compliments about their work from their peers and myself. It always makes a student smile to hear what they did well, and it helps foster a positive classroom environment where students feel safe to share their ideas.
Recently, all of my classes have finished extensive projects. Please come take a look at 3rd grade interviews hanging in the hallway outside the big writing room. Also, 2nd grade myths and legends are on display in the gym for parents, friends, teachers and siblings to comment upon. Finally, 1st grade All About Me books will also soon be on display in the gym.
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