Turn your students into authors – Be An Author month

Dan KempBlog, English / Language Arts, Literacy

March is Be An Author Month - a celebration of writing!
Turn your students into authors and see them develop literacy skills that will serve them in any subject.
What is Be An Author Month?

The prospect of authoring a book is an exciting one for kids. It is a familiar concept, and a fantastic way to demonstrate understanding. Writing your story onto a fresh, blank page can be thrilling for many, but a challenge to some people. There are alternatives to having to do everything from scratch, as we'll show you.

And becoming an author doesn't necessarily mean you need to be good at writing, per se. There are many ways of expressing yourself - photos, audio, video, illustrations. We'll take a look at examples that can get you and your students inspired to start authoring your own books - in any subject area.

Let's start with some easy prompts to engage your students in the writing process.

Key dates in March

World Book Day - 2nd March

World Book Day is already a huge event in the UK & Ireland (note - UNESCO has also appointed 23rd April as World Book Day, on account of the famous authors who were born or died on that day - so you could wait until then to celebrate too).

Use this day to kickstart a month of reading and writing activities. World Book Day is best known for kids dressing up as characters from their favourite books - this is a fun and engaging activity that everyone can get involved in.

You might expand on this with other activities such as arranging a video call with an author, creating a soundtrack to a reading with fun sound effects and music, or making a video book trailer for your favorite books.

The World Book Day website has loads of resourceful ideas you can draw upon.

Write Your Story Day - 14th March

To support teachers we worked with the Book Creator Ambassador community to make four classroom ready activities built for a wide range of learner profiles and readiness.

These resources are remixable which means you can make a copy and adapt them to the needs of your students. They are also built to be handed right to students with embedded videos, instructions, and learning tasks on each page. Each lesson builds in complexity so you can find the right resource to meet your students where they are.

Once you have adapted the lesson you find most appropriate, simply delete the “Teacher Guide” pages and share a remixable version with your students.

Click on a book cover below to open the book in a new window.

Write Your Story Day - First Start
Write Your Story Day - Beginner
Write Your Story Day - Intermediate
Write Your Story Day - Advanced

World Storytelling Day - 20th March

Digital storytelling is an art which can translate into any subject area in the curriculum. Learning the ability to craft a meaningful story can elevate the way that students demonstrate their understanding of a topic.

This is a skill that is particularly useful for high school students to develop.

MMN Innovators Compass

Delve more into the art of digital storytelling with these posts from Michael Hernandez.

Daily writing prompts

To help get the ball rolling, we've created some writing prompts that you can share with your class. We have two books - one for younger students, and one for older students. These books can be remixed to your own libraries and shared with your students. You could either copy the whole book or copy individual pages into a student's writing journal.

Don't forget to remind your learners that writing can take many forms - text, images, drawings, recording audio or video, and speech to text too.

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    Above - some examples of the writing prompts in the two books

    We wanted to craft clear and concise writing prompts that would move the needle in terms of effective writing strategies while still maintaining a fun and engaging activity. One great piece of research on this came from 'Writing Prompts to Facilitate Creativity and Interesting Texts' (2015, Marielle R. Risse).

    Age appropriateness is a key factor both in terms of engagement but also in what we expect students to be able to write. Our prompts ask students to produce a variety of different writing examples (poems, stories, narratives, arguments, etc) in different lengths of text.

    We also carefully crafted each prompt to be as free from bias as possible. For example, not every student goes on vacations and so we felt that prompts about your favorite holiday would limit inclusivity. We avoided prompts that drew on prior content knowledge (apart from how to write a poem or story) and instead focused on drawing out fresh, original thinking from writers.

    Constraints allow for creativity and innovative thinking. With some well placed boundaries for each writing prompt, we knew we would get kids writing more and better responses. We can't wait to see what your kids come up with! If you have any good examples you'd like to share please tag us on social media with the hashtag #BeAnAuthor.

    To get these daily writing prompts grab the free writing pack below 👇

    Get your free writing pack

    Here's a carefully curated writing pack to help you make the most of Be An Author Month
    Writing pack book covers

    This pack includes:

    Daily writing prompts for younger and older students

    Each book contains 23 writing prompts, one for each school day in March 2023.

    Creating Journals with Book Creator

    In this book, Dr. Monica Burns outlines 11 diverse ways that you can use journals to take writing into every subject area. Journals offer students the ability to gather ideas, share their progress, demonstrate understanding and also reflect on what they've learnt. What's more, you can take advantage of all the multimedia in Book Creator so writing goes beyond just text.

    Ways to Enhance Literacy

    For those teachers who are focused on improving literacy, this book from Kurt Klynen is an invaluable resource. It contains 15 original activities focusing on the 5 core facets of literacy. The book contains remixable templates for each of the activities.

    What's else is happening this month?

    We'll be publishing two more blog posts this month focusing on writing across the curriculum and celebrating student writing. On National Poetry Day (21 March) we'll be announcing a competition for you to get involved in!

    Beyond that, we have some great webinars lined up:

    Related posts

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