Saturday, April 16, 2016

Every Student an Author {Celebrate This Week 4.16.16}

This past week we celebrated every student as an author with our Cartonera Celebration.  It is one of my favorite weeks at school.

What is a cartonera?

It is, quite literally, a cardboard book.

To make their cartonera, each student went into their writing "treasure chest" (folder) and decided upon one of their favorite pieces of writing from this year.

We rewrote them on lined paper and illustrated them.

Our amazing art teacher worked with the students to create their covers.  Last year, we used actual cardboard.  This year, we used cardboard card stock because we were short on manpower to cut 800 pieces of cardboard. (Next year, our plan is to go back to cardboard, but to start cutting it much earlier in the year.)

We put the writing together with the covers, hole punched them, and tied them with yarn.

Each day, a different grade level had their books on display in the hallway during the PTO Book Fair and Special Person Lunch for families and the community to read.  

At the very back of each book was a "Raves from Readers" page.  Classes would visit the cartoneras each day, read them, and leave kind comments.

The students were all so proud of their cartonera books and were excited to read the raves that other students had left.  (One student came up and hugged me during recess to thank me for reading her cartonera and leaving a comment.)

As a school, I celebrate seeing us all unite to celebrate writing. We have been working hard to build our level of writing and celebrating is an important part of that. Sharing our writing with others gives us an authentic audience and builds a sense of pride in our writing. 

As a teacher, I celebrate being to read the work of students in other grade levels. It gave me a good feeling for what students were able to do at each grade level. 

For my students, it was good for them to read what other students wrote.  Many of them commented to me that they had learned something from another student's cartonera (many students' writing was non-fiction) or they saw how important good spelling (or neat handwriting) was in delivering your written message. Many students were impressed with the level of writing from students who were much younger than them. As they read, I would often hear giggles as they encountered something funny or see them recommend a just-read cartonera for another student to read.

Writing was alive and breathing at my school this week!

Celebrating every student as an author -- what could be better than that?


  1. The carton eras are so awesome. This is a great idea! Every student an author. I love how you connected it with the book fair! Great idea! Quite the celebration!

  2. These are great in pictures, I can only imagine what they look like in real life. What a happy celebration of so many things...writing, learning, community, confidence, art. I could go on and on. All of you should be very proud!

  3. What a wonderful tradition for the community at your school. The carton eras look great, Jennifer.

  4. There are so many things I love about this project, Jennifer. I can tell each story was shared with pride. It's wonderful to see that the students were able to design their own cover. I also love the sharing component, Raves from Readers. So many times our students never have the opportunity to be in the spotlight and share. What a wonderful way to showcase the time they spent creating a beautiful written piece. ~Amy

  5. I love this line from your post: "Writing was alive and breathing at my school this week!" Wonderful celebration. It's such fun to share products across grade levels. Love the Raves from Readers page.

  6. It sounds like writing was a fabulous part of the students' life this week. It's great that you all gave them a chance to have an audience for their work.

  7. Wow! What an exciting way to write!

  8. I love that you use the phrase "treasure chest" when talking about a student's writing folder! The language we use really makes a difference in how students perceive things. Such a fun publishing week!! And a fabulous celebration!!

  9. Writing was alive and breathing at your school this week!- INDEED! I loved the Raves from Readers page so much that I think I will use that for my summer PD with teachers. Thanks, Jennifer. That is a positive move that validates the work of writers.


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