Right now I’m in conversation with teachers about turning their fourth-grade students into members of an elementary school newspaper staff. The 9- and 10-year-olds would be responsible for interviewing each other, writing stories, editing each other’s work and establishing the design concepts for a quarterly publication. There’s a method to this madness, I promise.
Classroom publishing was the theme for this fall’s Wordstock for Teachers conference in Portland, and I was fortunate to assist with a workshop conducted by the Classroom Publishing team from Ooligan Press at Portland State University. The key concept from this workshop was that there are lessons all through the publishing process that translate to multiple content areas and skill sets. Here is a breakdown of the Ooligan workshop:
- Before you do anything, identify your publishing intent and audience. This will help get students invested in the project and help your team shape its style, voice and format.
- “The content and the form of expressing it need to match.”
- Students can evaluate potential content for their publications by using criteria that they have established themselves. In turn, they learn to look at their own work more objectively.
- The process of acquisitions helps students understand how literary anthologies and textbooks are put together, and makes assignments involving bibliographies, quotes and citations much more relevant to students.
- It’s easy to get stuck at this stage if you don’t have a clear plan.
- Emphasize to students early on that revising is a necessity in the writing process, not a punishment. Remind them that their work is worth revising.
- Developmental editing is the first round, and involves looking at the foundations of each piece and the way it is constructed.
- Copy-editing is what we usually think of when we hear the word “editing.” It involves checking for grammar and spelling.
- Make time for fact-checking.
- Proofreading comes after a piece is laid out on a page or website, prior to final publication.
- The style and execution of your design will depend on who is creating your publication and who it is for. A publication that is made for students and by students will likely have a different design than one made by students for parents or by students for the community.
- Design can go way beyond the printed page! Consider a website, a blog, a podcast, a web video, etc.
- Web-based classroom publishing projects are a way for students to build a positive presence on the internet. A college scholarship committee will likely take note of a student with a web-based publishing project more than a student with a public Myspace page, etc.
- Let design serve as a visual metaphor for your entire publishing project.
- This can come in many forms (paper, internet, digital presentation on a CD, etc.). When choosing a production method, consider your audience, intent and, most of all, your project budget.
- Here is a great list of publishing and production resources from Wordstock for Teachers.
- Contact local businesses and community groups to see if in-kind donations or financial assistance is possible for your production efforts.
- Marketing is often a dirty word to artists and educators, but a book that doesn’t get marketed doesn’t get read!
- Marketing is more about connecting your audience with your project than it is about making money. But if you want to use a publishing project to raise money for another educational effort, it can’t hurt.
- Ideas for marketing efforts include having students to read from their publication over the school intercom, having students design posters and bookmarks for the project, hosting readings and open mic events, hosting book fairs, and connecting with groups online that are conducting similar projects. Relationships can begin with something as simple as students students from different schools commenting on each other’s blogs.
- Marketing is a great way to practice important writing skills such as persuasion, summarizing and identifying a target audience, and it requires clarity and conciseness.
- Your project should have a hook and pitch. A hook is a short, attention-grabbing phrase (such as “Take student work beyond the classroom”) and a pitch is similar to an elevator speech — about 40 words that clearly describe your project.
Is classroom publishing really worth all the effort? As a writer who is about to make classroom publishing into a career as a Journalism and Language Arts teacher, I am inclined to answer with a resounding YES. Sure, I’m biased. But I’m biased because of the pride I felt in third grade when my teacher laminated the drawings I made to summarize The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’m biased because of the pride I felt when my sixth-grade teacher stopped the entire class to read my poem aloud (reading aloud is a form of publishing, too, because it brings work to an audience). I am biased because working on my high school newspaper staff taught me a variety of skills that have had direct applications to my paying work in public relations, nonprofit administration, journalism, and even parking permit services (that one’s a long story).
To learn everything you ever wanted to know about turning your students into publishers, visit Ooligan’s Classroom Publishing site and get a copy of their practical guide for teachers.
Posted in education, publishing
Tagged children, classroom publishing, design, high school, imagination, kids, ooligan, ooligan press, pdx, portland, teens, wordstock, writing
I still have a few crayoned, laminated, hand-bound books that I wrote in elementary school. In many ways, the drawing and writing I did in those books was no better than the work that made it onto my mom’s fridge, or the work that cluttered my bedroom and was thrown away. But the fact that they were published means that pieces of my childhood were preserved, and that I felt a sense of legitimacy in my work, even as I was still practicing D’Nealian handwriting. Even if no one read the books, the sense of accomplishment they brought was similar to what I feel today when publishing a well-read news article or blog post, or even when I see that I’ve been “retweeted” by a stranger on Twitter.
As I mentioned in an earlier post about the future of the publishing industry, self-publishing is no longer considered a last resort for serious writers, but is becoming an increasingly legit way to share your work. This shift in thinking opens the doors for teachers and students to use new classroom publishing platforms and tools, and to share their work with increasingly wide audiences. All publishing industry issues aside, when I think of the way technology impacts publishing from a teacher’s perspective, fireworks go off. The possibilities for quality work are endless.
Classroom publishing was the theme for this fall’s Wordstock for Teachers conference in Portland, and I was fortunate to assist with a workshop conducted by the Classroom Publishing team from Ooligan Press at Portland State University. The event’s keynote speaker was Erick Gordon, formerly of the Student Press Initiative at Columbia University. Below are notes from his motivating presentation:
- Publication is no longer for elite students only, but also for students who are at risk.
- Publication raises the bar for all students involved in a project.
- Explore the idea of publishing as pedagogy. Allow it to expand your ideas of what kids can accomplish.
- Get linked up with teachers who are involved in publishing with the Student Press Initiative’s Ning.
- “This work can set you up to really know who kids are.”
If you’re interested in the Student Press Initiative, check out the organization’s website for classroom resources and inspiring project videos.
Stay tuned, because highlights from the Ooligan Press workshop on Classroom Publishing are in the fryer.
Posted in education, publishing
Tagged children, classroom publishing, erick gordon, high school, imagination, kids, ooligan, ooligan press, pdx, portland, spi, storytelling, student press initiative, teens, wordstock, writing
Forgive the attempt at gangster language, but Southeast Portland is blowin’ up, yo! That quadrant of our fair city is home to four of the 17 new businesses we got word of in the last month—with even more indie biz goodness in the works. It boasts a board game shop, a gallery and artists’ hub, and a drool-worthy Italian deli, while the rest of town now offers more art and craft fun, a donation-based yoga studio and a vintage store housed in a camper. Did I mention last month that I love living here? Because I love it even more now.
It’s that time again. Time to take stock of some Portland entrepreneurs who are striking out and hoping to make a living and make a contribution to this city. My new business piece was published by the good folks at NeighborhoodNotes.com today and you can read it right here. Oh yeah.
PS: This photo is from the interior of Beulahland on SE 28th around 1 a.m. after a good round of true Japanese-style karaoke at VoiceBox.
Posted in journalism
Tagged beauty, blowout, branch and birdie, children, cloudcap, cordani, design, halo shoes, hophaven, housefarm, indow windows, irvington, kids, Knack: Modern Art and Craft, mag-big, misto cafe, neighborhood notes, new business, non-fiction, on the street, organic, pdx, pearl district, portland, portland artists, portland food, publishing, saratoga, st johns storage, tartberry, wanderlust, writing, yoga on yamhill
“Want to float in a tank of salt water in a locally made, retro bathing suit? Want to be part of Portland’s Hamburger Mary’s revival? Want to drink dozens of ciders, watch sports in fun pubs and park your bike on top of a specialty grocery store? As of this fall, you can do all that and more in Portland. Within the last month we got word of nearly 20 places that opened up shop in Portland, and we know these are just part of the picture in this bustling city that never tires of finding ways to entertain, renovate, intoxicate, and stuff the belly.”
Writing about Portland’s new businesses for NeighborhoodNotes.com is a huge treat for me. You know why? I get to find out about all the new ways to fill my weekends. And then I get to tell everyone about them. And then (hopefully) awesome small business owners get new customers, and everyone has an awesome time. Awesome!
I promise my vocabulary is better than this post indicates. Read the rest of the article at NeighborhoodNotes.com.
Posted in journalism
Tagged 442 sports bar, autumn, barber q, beauty, bicycle, bike, bushwhacker, cafe au play, children, cider, circa 33, cruzroom, designer, dining, float on, friendly bike guest house, hamburger mary, hawthorne hophouse, hostel, irvington, nectar frozen yogurt lounge, neighborhood notes, new business, new seasons market hawthorne, new vintage beauty lounge, non-fiction, now open, on the street, pdx, popina, portland, restaurant, Shigezo Izakaya, soi 9, spirit of 77, spirits, sports bar, swimwear, thai, writing
This fall’s Wordstock event is happening Oct. 7 through 10 at the Oregon Convention Center. I wanted to put the word out about the whole festival, but particularly about Wordstock for Teachers (happening Oct. 8th) because it is going to be extraordinarily fun AND useful.
For WFT my friends at Ooligan Press are giving a presentation on classroom publishing (everyone who attends gets a free copy of Classroom Publishing: A Practical Guide for Teachers, which is my new favorite book), and there are several other events outlined on the Wordstock website and on the Classroom Publishing blog.
Did I mention that it’s really, really fun? And that there’s a discount for students? And that it’s really funny that the Wordstock For Teachers acronym is WFT?
Posted in education, publishing
Tagged children, classroom publishing, high school, kids, ooligan, ooligan press, pdx, portland, teachers, teens, wft, wordstock, writing
Today my post with the Classroom Publishing blog of Ooligan Press is a quick reflection on a super-simple publishing project I helped first-graders with this week.
I have believed for a long time that classroom publishing is one of the most effective ways to get students engaged with the written word and take ownership over their learning. But I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that the process was inevitably complicated. This week, first-graders showed me just how effective the process can be, no matter how simple the project.
Read the rest of the story here.
Posted in education, publishing
Tagged book, children, classroom, classroom publishing, first grade, kids, ooligan, ooligan press, pdx, portland, publish
This morning I was walking my dog and saw a little girl in a red ballerina outfit with a puffy pink coat and hood. She was holding a lady’s hand and they were singing “You Are My Sunshine.” The little girl had a sweet raspy voice and never hit a note right, but used extra emphasis every time she sang the word “lu-uhv.” It was Valentimes Day at its purest.