HOT TOPIC: Online Publishing
Volume 1, Issue 14 - December 12, 2004

"The interactive nature of web technologies allows for all kinds of possibilities when working online. One of the most logical jumps from traditional pedagogy to the connected classroom is that of the publication of student work. Being able to publish student writing online to a potential audience of millions is a quantum leap in Graves’ writer’s workshop model.

I know I’m dating myself here, but when Writing: Teachers and Children at Work came out twenty years ago, I was an instant disciple of Donald Graves and all his subsequent work coming out of the University of New Hampshire. I dutifully stocked my classroom full of cardboard from cereal boxes, books of wallpaper samples and clip art, glue, rubber cement, thread, needles, paints, markers, colored pencils and anything else I thought my students might need to successfully bind and publish their own books at the end of the writing process. It took up an entire corner of my room! The celebration of a published book was always a wonderful event, but the hours and effort I put into collecting materials and helping students make their books was inestimable.

Fast forward to the classroom in the 21st century. Graves’ model still works well in developing student writers. But there now is no need for an entire publishing center in your classroom. In fact, with one Internet-connected computer you can support the publication of original student work as a single, self-contained, digital publishing center! Different sites publish student work in different ways, depending on policies, formatting and vision, so there are plenty of options out there from which you can choose!

This week’s issue offers a sampling of the best sites available online for publishing your student work. Be sure to study the sites that interest you carefully so that you are thoroughly familiar and comfortable with each before introducing them to your classroom. Also, be sure you have a classroom management plan in place that lets students know the steps they must take in order to publish their work online. Supervision and guidance is a must! Finally, be sure to link from your class web site and newsletter to the sites that publish your student work. It’s a great way to let parents and the larger school community sit up and take notice of the great things going on in your classroom! And now, the Digital Dozen top online publishing sites ….."


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