This has been such an energizing morning!
I’ve been reaching out to colleagues and parent partners about teaming up on projects related to our One School, One Book Celebration in March. Even our public library is in on the surprises! They have all been so generous in sharing their time and talents to help us forge a community of readers (and writers). And all of them are smiling a little bigger after I ask them to be involved by designing giant jigsaw puzzles, dressing up as a book character, or hosting a scavenger hunt.
I’m realizing that not only is this filling my cup, but that maybe all of us benefit and recharge when our special contributions are needed and valued to create exciting outcomes for the children we share. I’ve been dedicating multiple hours every week to these projects, but they are some of my most joyful hours. And our efforts go beyond a one time experience.
Today our Library Media Specialist and I launched the Real Writers Publishing Co. We have set aside a set of shelves in the Media Center to hold the books of student authors. The intention is for our in-house “publishing company” to publish 54 books a year by our own REAL WRITERS, books that classmates can scan and check out. Books that young authors can check out to read at home with family and friends.
We believe that even our youngest students are real writers, just like they’re real readers. So when we asked ourselves how to provide authentic audiences we thought about the excitement generated when Real Writers visit us here at PES. Students sit taller, conspire with friends to be writing partners, and devise ambitious plans to write graphic novels. Why not show our students that THEY are real writers?
We’ve made plans for submissions, for a Publishers Workshop where authors can make final edits, create cover art, dedicate their books, and experience more of the work that real writers do. We have plans to host author luncheons where these student authors are the honored guests. But most importantly we’ve made an ongoing commitment to each other as a community of Real Writers.
I’m gushing, not to brag, but in awe of this big, exciting, risky venture. I’m feeling reverent because in the face of standards and requirements, high stakes testing, and learning targets and, and, and…we’re carving out space for what we believe and hold dear. Because at the center of all that we do in schools, our true goals are to nurture readers and writers. Real ones.