There’s little I find more gratifying than when our families see for themselves how much their children have learned. Prior to winter break, we are inviting all of our first through fourth grade families to the Lower School to share in an important part of the learning process: a publishing party. Each student will proudly share a piece of their own writing, whether it’s a first-grade story about an “oops moment,” a second-grade identity poem as inspiration for how one might tell their own story, a third-grade paragraph about a newly learned natural habitat, or a fourth-grade expository essay on the Statue of Liberty. Seeing a parent or caregiver lean over their child’s shoulder while they read together, and listening to our students proudly point out the phrases they wrote themselves, are some of my favorite moments as an educator.
The publishing party is a key component of our curriculum. In the Lower School, a significant part of writing instruction is teaching our students the writing process: planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Each year, students take multiple pieces of writing through this process, developing more understanding, skills, and ownership at each step. Within each step, there are days and weeks of lessons, and within each grade, there are dozens of learning objectives.
When a piece of writing goes from being something that only the teacher will see to something the greater community will see, our students feel a sense of purpose and pride that motivates them to channel their energy into further improving their writing skills. The next time they plan through research, interviews, and brainstorms; draft by thinking about topic sentences, supporting details, and beginnings, middles, and ends; revise with better word choice, stronger introductions, and more figurative language; edit by referencing spelling and punctuation checklists, peer editing, and conferencing with their teachers; and publish using their neatest handwriting and very best illustrations, they will do so with even more enthusiasm because they know firsthand what it means to share their work with those they care about.
Publishing is vital to our students' confidence, their sense of authorship, and their overall growth. I look forward to welcoming our families to this experience to make it as powerful as it can be.