The Benefits of a Class Paper

Have you considered the benefits of having a class paper?

Since reading Little Women, my students were really excited about the opportunity to create a class paper. Collectively, the students decided that the first submission would be optional as many students are not fond of creative writing and coming up with their own ideas. I agreed with their decision as I believe it promotes student choice, and why shouldn’t they have an opt-in?

My thinking?

My hope for this first issue of the paper was to inspire all of my students to get involved and submit either a story, poem, drawing, or reflection…eventually!

I thought it would be great to appoint an editor who could then ask for assistance if needed. The student I asked to be our first editor has a love of literature, shares opinions in class discussions respectfully and has strong editing skills.

I have a number of blossoming writers in my class, I hoped that the paper would give them an outlet to share absolutely anything as there were no parameters set for submissions. On the other hand, I hoped that some of my more reluctant writers might step outside their comfort zone and made a contribution.

What actually happened?

I will say that I had absolutely no contribrion or opinion on any part of the paper. There was no suggestion for a name, layout with the exception of a quick proofread of the contributor names. As predicted, some students were keen to write multiple pieces to contribute to the newspaper. Others simply weren’t interested and just wanted to follow along with the process. I’m ok with this, I don’t think there is any point forcing a student to write. It’s certainly not going to develop a love of writing.

This all changed when we printed Issue 1 of the paper. We celebrated the contributions made by all students, we shared it amongst the class and the families.

When a number of students realised the broad variety of contributions, guess what is in progress for Issue 2! All students are writing for this next issue and one student has written 12 pieces. Jokingly, she requested a full page dedicated to her. The editor, who is a good friend of this particular student, suggested that not everyone might enjoy that. I admire their ability to joke and have a giggle when working on a shared project.

While we are coming to the end of the school year, I hope to inspire the students to carry this idea through to Year 6. They will have more autonomy over their ideas and will be encouraged to share them with other year levels as the new leaders of the school.


Maybe one of these students will become a writer or an editor and I wonder if they will think back to the time they wrote a piece, or ten, for the Year 5 Pickwick Paper.


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