Before reworking your entire class to accommodate a new project, you will need to know why it’s worth your time and effort. I get that. So, before I tell you why this matters we need to hear from the truly important voices.
What the students have to say
|I actually really enjoyed the publishing project because this project gave me the opportunity to explore a “sensitive” and “controversial” topic through abstract means in which I was really intrigued on doing.||I think the publishing project was a really cool idea to push students outside of their comfort zone. Giving young people the resources to put yourself out there is amazing.||[I learned] how easy it is to publish something.|
|Learning about publishing will be helpful in the future no matter how stressful I find it.||[The project made this] The only class at Western where I’ve felt creative freedom.||I[t] was really nice to explore and hear what people had to say in their publication project.|
Every two weeks I give students the option to “spill their tea” as they say on our What’s Your TEA (TELL EVERYONE ANYTHING) board. This gives them the chance to talk about what has been going well, and what hasn’t worked well for them in my classroom. It’s a great way to get descriptive feedback to shape your practice.
I was shocked, and delighted to see that the publication project had been working well for so many of my students. The feedback demonstrated that they were feeling the sense of empowerment that I had hoped to instill in them!
I don’t need to change anything in my course
We’ve all been there: You’re teaching the same class, for the forth or fifth time and by now you have it down to an exact science. You have your entire semester planned from the time students first walk into your classroom. And you have a good course. A fun course. An educational course. You like what you’re doing; you’re students like what you’re doing. There’s no reason to change a thing!
There’s always a reason to change
One of the main reasons I don’t teach from a binder, is so I don’t have to pull pre-photocopied sheets out, and feel that I’m just running along a treadmill. When we work digitally, there’s nothing that says, “hey – this is what comes next!” All you have is a folder of countless potential projects and assignments to pull from, to suit the needs of your class. And the needs of your class are always changing.
Especially now. Students need to be educated as 21st century learners. They need to be made aware of the potential and possible outlets for their creation, otherwise they’ll simply become consumers. Students need to get their work out of your classroom, and you need to help them do that.
No class should ever be taught the same way twice. Working digitally we are not tied to hard copies. We can modify everything we create, even if only slightly. Never has it been easier to take something that works, and make it work just a little bit better.
The changes I’ve made
Last year I created the Creation and Publication project, focusing it around the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals. With that framework in mind, I set forward to empower students to create. However, the information I received from them through my What’s Your TEA board made me realize there was more to do.
As such, I didn’t stick with the same project, just because I had invested so much time in it. I modified it to create different versions:
The Publication Project: A Focus on Gender Normative Roles
The Publication Project: A Focus on Poetry
This pushed me to improve my craft, while connecting the ideas with things the students already felt engaged with. Rather than being its own separate piece in my classroom, the publication project just became the project-based learning piece for a pre-existing unit.
Using the Publication Project in your Classroom
I encourage you to use this project, or modify it for the needs of your students. In the following pages (using the table of contents at the bottom of this page) you will find more information, weblinks that can support students, an explanation of how to run the project, and various downloadable printables. All blackline masters are free to use for non-commercial educational purposes!
If you have any questions, or success stories be sure to post them in the comments below! I’d love to hear about the impact your students are making on their community and the world around them!
Type of Publication Projects
- The Poetry Publication Project
- The Gender Publication Project
- The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Publication Project
Creation and Publication Project
- Making Projects Meaningful
- Placing Work into the World [Written Work]
- Placing Work into the World [Self-Distribution]
- Placing Work into the World [Media Arts]
- The Creation and Publication Assignment
- Connecting the Global Competencies
- Creator Spotlights