Today is the day we submit our editorials to The New York Times Editorial Contest. Before we submit them, we will have a publishing party! I always take time to celebrate a completed writing project. Students need to know their work is appreciated and celebrated!
To prepare for the celebration, I ask students to briefly write a Letter To My Reader. Students need exposure to a wide variety of writing, including a reflective letter (W.9-10.10) I tell the students:
To prepare for our celebration, please write a letter to your reader. This letter needs to follow correct letter format with a salutation, date, indented body paragraph and signature. In this letter, tell your reader a little bit about the topic of your editorial. Explain why the topic is something you are passionate about.
I tell the students
Congratulations on finishing your editorial. Today we are going to celebrate our success! Think of the Publishing Party as a typical classroom discussion. You have come to this discussion prepared and you are going to exchange ideas with the writer (SL.9-10.1a) Please pull up your editorial an leave it on your computer screen. Put your letter on the desk in front of your monitor. As you move around the room, sit down at a computer and read your classmates' letters. After you have read it, give them a positive note on their Letter To My Reader. Remember that allowing other people to read your writing is tough. Be positive in your remarks.
For the next 30 minutes, the students and I will walk around and read each other's editorials. I participate in this party, sharing my editorial with my students.
One of the biggest challenges in my classroom, is students understanding that writing is universal and often times meant to be shared. In typical classrooms, the student writes, the teacher grades it, returns it to the student and they shove it into the deep recesses of their backpack. I try hard in class to have lots of people read my students' work. Often times I will send a students writing home with instructions for a parent to complete a quick feedback form. I always invite our administration to publishing parties. I finish the party with enough time for the students to return to their computer and read the comments left by their peers. Finally, students go to the New York Times Editorial Contest submission page and submit their editorial.