One of the surest ways to motivate students to not only write, but to write with passion, purpose and power, is to make sure they have an authentic audience. Jill E. Thomas
The following ideas are from teachers who have created within their classrooms the kinds of literacy contexts that require students to engage in authentic reading, writing and producing. Each of these projects is built around a real purpose that is relevant to the students.
Prepare for Games Day
In Catherine Goodwin’s Cycle 1 class, students work together to create original games for their classroom ’Games Day’. Students learn how to use graphic organizers, write instructions, and create posters to advertise the event.
Create a School-Wide Project
At a small elementary school in downtown Montreal, teachers were able to spark school-wide interest by connecting learning to a project that was relevant to the students.
The Park Project was developed in conjunction with the renovation of a small, neglected park adjacent to the school building.
Students in each cycle worked with their teachers to decide on the kind of input they wanted to have, and the best way to communicate this to the city.
Tell the Story of Your Community with Words and Photography
Students around Quebec, from elementary to the end of secondary, capture the community in which they live and work in photographs and words, for a real audience that they are unlikely to meet in any other way.
During the course of this project they decide:
See ABCity for the simple classroom project that led to Quebec Roots.
Make a Book Trailer
See How To Make A Book Trailer on Prezi.
Book trailers are similar to movie trailers, in that they are designed to promote a book or a movie to a target audience. The primary difference between the two is that a movie trailer uses existing footage from the actual movie, whereas a book trailer must convert the theme or message of the book into images. The key is to convey a sense of what the book is about without giving anything away, since a successful book trailer should motivate its audience to read the book in question. Book trailers can include a range of techniques, from authors reading a passage to a monologue by a main character to the depiction of key scenes from the narrative. The length of an average book trailer runs anywhere from 30 seconds to about one minute. Video, animation or photos are used in book trailers. If students want to include music in their book trailer it must be copyright free.
Click here to view some book trailers of great reads for kids and teens
Click here to view some student made book trailers.
Check out the projects in Into the Classroom for more ideas on creating authentic purposes and audiences for student reading and writing.
Real-life Literacy Instruction, K-3: Handbook for Teachers is an excellent online resource for creating authentic literacy contexts in the classroom.