Last Wednesday, I was collecting the students’ memoirs, just two days before the scheduled Friday Publishing Party. Suddenly I realized I needed to publish these as a class collection. They had worked so hard to combine all they knew about narrative writing and all they knew about essay writing and had now written amazing memoirs. So, I stayed Wednesday late and got the copiers going! After making a cover, I ran 30 copies of each for my four classes. The collections were between 30-40 pages each, making it hard to staple together so I stopped at Staples to buy a new stapler that staples up to 60 pages. By Thursday night, I had a memoir book to distribute to each 5th grader at the publishing party.
On Thursday, we practiced for Friday by reading our memoir aloud with a partner. Our partner’s job was to listen and ensure that we used expression and used a loud enough voice. Then the listener practiced asking questions using the questioning cards. I modeled this first by reading my memoir with LOTS of expression and answering the questions from the comment cards politely.
I also asked who thought they would have a parent or grandparent come. I spent Thursday night (after stapling was done) making groups. I wanted to group the kids into 6 groups – 4 in the classroom spread out across the classroom and then 2 groups in the hallway. By being spread out, my hope was all could hear the reader. And I wanted to ensure that at least one parent was with each group.
I prepared this handout for the parents because I also wanted them to share a memory during the Publishing Party. All who enter my room get to be writers!
* I loved that there was time for each kid to read their entire meaningful memoir aloud.
* I love that so many parents/grandparents came (even my sister and mom came!)
* I love that the adults shared meaningful memories with their table group with many even writing very moving 6-word memoirs!
* I loved hearing students and parents say so many specific comments about how a writer crafted their memoir.
* I loved all the smiles each student-reader had as they listened to their table group’s comments about their writing.
* I loved that the table groups started to sound a bit like a book club discussion…and the “book” being discussed was authored by one of my students…so powerful!!