Family Writing Project (FWP) is a Writer's Workshop for students and their families that is after school. Families meet their kiddos at school at 3:00 and for an hour and a half we build a community of writers that listens to stories and then publishes their own. We spend five sessions together as writers, and then one as published authors at an Author's Chair.
Our PTA was amazing and provided snacks for each of the first five sessions and then at the Author's Chair, families all brought something to share. As you can see, we had quite the spread for our celebration!
But before we get to the Author's Chair, let me just share about the writing we did preparing for the celebration...
Session 1: In My Family
During our first session, I shared this book, which is written in Spanish and English. I asked one of the parents to read the Spanish text with me as I read the English. This book shared all kinds of traditions that families had and then our participants were prompted to write about their family traditions.
Session 2: My Map Book
During session 2, we began with a "Mix and Mingle" for families to get to know one another better by talking about get-to-know-you questions. Then, I shared My Map Book (Sarah Fanelli), which details all kinds of maps: map of my bedroom, my pet, my neighborhood, my heart. Then, families could make their own map and write from that. A few participants shared their heart maps in our final collection of work!
Session 3: Culture Bags
At the end of session 2, everyone was given a brown paper bag to fill with their prized possessions. These were brought back to session 3 as their Culture Bags. These bags were full of special mementos - art projects, coins, ribbons, pictures, stuffed animals, etc. We met in small groups to share our favorite items and then wrote the stories of these objects!
Session 4: Poetry
In session four, I shared a bunch of poetry, including a "Do Now" of writing a family acrostic poem. I read from Gary Soto's Neighborhood Odes and Ralph Fletcher's A Writing Kind of Day. This poetry was pretty popular...one of our second grade students wrote an ode and a few other kiddos also wrote poetry!
Session 5: The Relatives Came
In our fifth session, we began by making family trees and then I read from Cynthia Rylant's The Relatives Came. Families were encouraged to think of stories about the people on their family tree and then write those.
Session 6: Author's Chair Celebration
Prior to the sixth session, families had to submit their final piece (either typed, written, or drawn) and I put together a book with everyone's work:
Then, each family came up to the Author's Chairs and read their work to the group. Each family was given a copy of the book as a keepsake and so while participants were reading, the audience followed along.
We shared great food, great stories, and voices in two languages. It really was so so special!
Looking back through my (limited) pictures, I realize that I have more videos than I thought. I can't wait to share these with you, so as soon as the surveys come back from the families, I'll be sure and share their thoughts and the videos of our event!
Have you ever run a Family Writing Project? Please tell me about yours! I'm so thankful for my friend Tracey for coaching me through this amazing experience!