Year 5 students recently spent a week delving deep into writing fiction books with a common primary goal: ‘Based on personal interest, students will collaborate and create an engaging book or series while developing their writing skills.’ Students selected one genre of writing to learn about or upskill during the writing week. Options included Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy Fiction, Action/Adventure, and Science Fiction. Homeroom subject blocks were eliminated and students across Year 5 simultaneously engaged in projects that invited them to group themselves based on interest rather than by homeroom teachers. Once students had sampled all of the options on offer, they selected one from the menu and committed to pursuing an in-depth inquiry into it for the week.
Throughout the week, students observed, practised and refined their writing skills. With each writing process they experienced, a culture of talking through ideas with peers and seeking out feedback from others began to grow. The purpose of this week was to leverage a growing authorship culture and offer an experience that more authentically reflects the collaborative process of publishing a book. Working in teams of two to four, students were able to take on a variety of roles, such as ideators, writers, editors, proofreaders, illustrators, layout designers and more. These roles allowed students to work from positions of strength and passion to co-create books based on a shared vision, while at the same time transferring many of the writing skills they had been developing throughout the year. The extended period provided students with the opportunity to get into the writing flow, go more in-depth with the writing process, and encouraged higher quality publication. At the culmination of the week, students exhibited and celebrated their projects to a broader audience and reflected on the skills and mindsets applied during the week-long learning process. Students cultivated a sense of joy, motivation and inspiration as authors, and the week sparked an interest in pursuing student-driven collaborative writing initiatives in the future.