Authors’ Comments Offer Fame to Students

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In our family, when you get your picture in the local paper or you are mentioned in an article, we say you are famous.  There is a satisfaction that comes from being famous, a pride in one’s self that feeds your confidence and self-worth.  In some small way, your head rides a little higher.  

When I started writing on a blog, I wanted to share my writing with a wider audience.  I wanted to feel like an expert.  I was probably looking for fame.  I admit it.  But as I began connecting with other bloggers, mostly teachers, I actually received much more than fame.  I received a connection.  These connections fed my confidence more than superficial fame could.

Taking this experience into the classroom, I encouraged my student bloggers to make their blog posts public, to have the courage to put their writing into the blogosphere. Kidblog allows you as the teacher to make a blog post private or public, as well as the choice to allow comments from the public.  There’s a bravery that comes from choosing a Public audience—bravery mixed with hope that you may be famous.  Someone may read and like your writing.

What better way to encourage writers than to make them “famous” and build the self-confidence that comes from connections!  In this day of social media, real live authors are more available than ever.  This year I added a Twitter account to our classroom.  Through @MrsSimonsSea, my students can tweet out their blog posts to authors they want to connect with.

At the NCTE conference in November, 2016, I saw the dynamic Poetry Friday duo Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.  They handed me their latest Poetry Friday anthology for students, You Just Wait.  In this new anthology of poems, each “Power Pack” has an activity, an outside poem, a response poem in a character’s voice (so a story builds like a verse novel), and a mentor text.  The mentor text leads to a writing activity.  When I tried the first Power Pack with my students, the results were heart-felt poems.  I wanted the authors themselves to see how well their prompt had worked with my kids.

I tweeted out the posts to the authors Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.  Graciously and with enthusiasm, each of them read the poems and wrote meaningful comments.  

Noah wrote this poem that at first glance is confusing; however, the authors found the golden line and even a complicated literary element.  This connection pushed Noah to learn more about juxtaposition as well as made him give me that “Yeah, that was me!”  look of pride and confidence.

 

Noah’s poem:

 

Today

I am

someone who trips trying to find an elf who seems to play tricks on me.

someone who laughs about the thing someone is sad about.

someone who is sorry for two that have lost something special.

someone who falls so that someone else can get up.

someone who looks back but keeps moving forward.

comments-from-wong-and-vardell

These authors felt famous because their work had inspired student writing.  In turn, my students felt famous when real authors wrote real comments.  The brave act of writing is shared.  When we can connect with others and share our deepest selves, we surely must be making this world a better place.  

About the Author
Margaret Simon lives on the Bayou Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana. Margaret has a Masters degree in Gifted Education and certification by the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards. She received the Donald Graves Award for teaching writing from NCTE in 2014. Her young readers novel, Blessen, was published by Border Press in April, 2012. She blogs regularly at http://reflectionsontheteche.wordpress.com.

4 comments

  1. Fran

    Margaret, what a great post for Kidblog. Your entire last paragraph is critical.

    “These authors felt famous because their work had inspired student writing. In turn, my students felt famous when real authors wrote real comments. The brave act of writing is shared. When we can connect with others and share our deepest selves, we surely must be making this world a better place.”

    Janet and Sylvia were able to name exactly what line and WHY it appealed to them in order for Noah to receive feedback that he can use in the future. You were able to put it all together to share with us (your readers) as well as your earlier honest sharing about writing “for fame”. That reader/writer connection does share the brave act of writing and “risk-taking” inherent in sharing with a “wide-open public venue”. Kudos to you all!

    • Janet Wong

      Well-said, Fran! Thanks for this great comment!

  2. Janet Wong

    Your students are SO LUCKY to have you as a teacher, Margaret!!!

  3. Deb Frazier

    Margaret, you have captured the essence of blogging personally and with kids so well. At first, the selfish desire to be “famous” and then the unexpected gift that surpasses the feeling of Fame with an overwhelming gift of growing, learning and connecting with others! At least for me, the best gift of blogging was unexpected! And you are one of those gifts!

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