Creating Community through Writing - National Council of Teachers of English
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Creating Community through Writing


As students return to the classroom, they need to feel that they own the space and the learning that takes place in it. Foreground such ownership for students by collaboratively writing an owner’s manual that describes the classroom’s areas and procedures. The lesson Our Classroom: Writing an Owner’s Manual has everything you need to get started.

Younger elementary students who are just learning to write can build community as they collaborate to establish classroom guidelines. The lesson Creating Class Rules: A Beginning to Creating Community focuses on a simple shared-writing activity to bring students together as they decide upon the structures for the classroom.

Getting to know one another is a fundamental step for community building. Check out the lesson plan Introducing Each Other: Interviews, Memoirs, Photos, and Internet Research for a get-acquainted activity that invites pairs of students to learn about each other and share their findings with the rest of the class.

For a similar activity for older students, try the lesson The Feature Story — Fifteen Minutes (and 500 Words) of Fame!, which asks students to write a newspaper profile of a classmate, with a particular focus on a talent, interest, or passion of that classmate.

To learn more about students as writers, try the lesson Writing about Writing: An Extended Metaphor Assignment , which uses Richard Wilbur’s poem “The Writer” as an inspiration for students’ own descriptions of their writing practices. The activity can be adapted for the college classroom as well.

For even more activities and resources, check out the Back to School Resources, which includes lesson plans and additional resources to help get your year off to a great start.