Saturday, February 6, 2016

5 Ways to Ultimately Destroy Your Author Celebration

Hello friends!  This is Cara Taylor from Creative Playground and I'm so happy to be learning and sharing with you today!  Since we're at that half-way mark in the school year, many of us are at that point when our kiddos are nearing the end of publishing a writing piece.  If you have or are planning to hold an Author Celebration or Publishing Party, make sure to keep reading to discover...

We could go on for days talking about how to create a positive celebration experience, but I've narrowed it down to a few ways I've learned over the past 18 years to have it be somewhat of a success. (insert wink here!)  I need to clarify, that when I'm speaking of a celebration or party today, I'm talking about the kind that you invite people from the "outside" world of the school building; you know, those people that have no idea what we do every day!
Friends, if you really don't have the time to have a celebration, don't do it.  If you don't have the time to PLAN it, don't do it.  If you don't know how, find out first before having a celebration.  If you're having parents, families, community members come to your classroom, don't you want them to see your room at its best?  Especially because it's YOUR room, with YOUR name on the door!  So really take the time to carefully plan out every aspect of the party as much as you can and know how to do.  

Everyone's arrived at the party and seated at 10 am for the first author to read.  Please don't forget that some of our students like to write a little and some like to write A LOT.  Don't let students that write novels present all their material; the audience will be asleep by the time the first reader is done reading!
A few ideas for curbing the sleeping audience monsters are:
~Having students choose their favorite parts of their piece.
~Reading one line from a paragraph or just showing the illustrations and discussing them instead of reading their piece.
~Have the audience do a gallery walk of your room to visit each author to talk about their writing instead of having them read it.

Not all our students are excellent readers either.  Please don't put Lizzy in the spotlight with a 5-page story and less that average reading skills, WITHOUT some kind of support system.  It's not fair to Lizzy for one.  Trust me, Lizzy knows she doesn't read well, so let's give the girl a hand here to make this a successful experience because the purpose of the celebration! 
Here are some things you can do for struggling readers:
~Provide a microphone, especially for those students with low voice volumes.  
~Allow students to present with a partner, to ease some of their anxiety.  
~Show their piece on the document camera for the audience to follow along with, while the student is reading.

This one can be a hard call!  You definitely want to have ENOUGH time for all the students to share with someone.  Their little hearts would be devastated if they couldn't be the star for at least a moment during the party!  And don't plan for TOO MUCH time without something for everyone to do.  
~Arrange your party so that the audience members can leave once they've heard a few readers, commented on a few pieces, had a snack, etc.  You don't want people just sitting around doing nothing.  
~Always have something for the audience to do.  You know what it can get like when you have down time in the classroom and nothing for the kids to do!  Agghhh!

By this I mean try to think out of the box and make your even different and fun for everyone!  No one wants to come and just sit and hear kids read and that's it.  Search the web, look on Pinterest, ask your peers about what they do to jazz up their celebrations; just don't make it plain Jane style.
~Think about where your celebration will be held.  Maybe you could have it outside in the school garden!  Or what about in the decorated Library?  Think somewhere other than the classroom!
~Have a theme for the party.  Maybe the students could dress up as one of their characters.  Or perhaps all the students' stories relate to a certain genre and the theme can revolve around that!  Make it fun!
~Publish some of the pieces online ahead of time.  Have them on your classroom blog or school website for parents and relatives that can't come to the celebration to be able to read as well!

I'm sure we all have an idea or two that we could talk about having an awesome party or celebration for days!  I hope you learned something or I made you think a little about how you could make your next Author Celebration even better!

If you're interested, I have a new product in my store that will assist you in many things I didn't talk about today, like invitations, posters, name tags, and more!  

Check it out if you have a chance and it's currently half-off in my store!  Just click on the image above!

What are your special ways to celebrate your authors in your classroom?  Let's start a conversation!  Comment below and share your ideas!

Until Next Time,

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