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Celebrate the National Day on Writing

Join teachers and students around the country on October 20 to celebrate writing in all its forms.

Erin Wilkey Oh | October 6, 2016

Kids are writing all the time. The process of composing -- from initial idea to final draft and publication -- is happening across subject areas and well beyond the school day.

Whether they're composing song lyrics, film scripts, blog comments, infographics, essays, tweets, video-game storyboards, lab reports, or lines of code, what it means to write no longer conforms to the traditional notion of putting pen to paper. And as technology broadens our thinking about what it means to write, it's also extending the audience for our creations further than we ever thought possible.

On Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, NCTE, the National Writing Project, the New York Times Learning Network, and Teaching Channel invite you to celebrate the 8th annual National Day on Writing. Officially recognized by the U.S. Senate, the National Day on Writing aims to celebrate writing in all its forms. Participate via Twitter using the #WhyIWrite hashtag and include visual representations in photos, film, and graphics.

Here are a few ideas for how you and your students might celebrate the National Day on Writing.

Participate in a "tweet-up."

Have students share their writing in the national Tweet-Up on Oct. 20 by using the Twitter hashtag #WhyIWrite. For younger students, or for a less public option, share within your class or school Edmodo community, or set up a Padlet wall and have kids mock-tweet links to their writing there. Keep the sharing to just one class or open it up to a larger community of students.

Start a novel.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). What better day to start planning a novel than the National Day on Writing! NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program offers an online space for kids to support one another through the process. Kids can exchange ideas and questions in the forums, and fill out a profile to share excerpts of their novels-in-progress with Writing Buddies. For teachers, NaNoWriMo has Common Core-aligned lesson plans, fun writing exercises, an assessment rubric, a "Virtual Classroom" for tracking kids' progress, and an educator community.

Join an online community.

Giving kids a chance to exchange written ideas through online communities helps broaden their world view and develop critical digital-citizenship and literacy skills. Youth Voices is a vibrant, moderated student community where kids can share and discuss writing and multimedia compositions on topics that interest them.

For more current-events-focused discussions, have students check out The Learning Network from The New York Times. Daily posts challenge kids to think critically about current news stories and to make meaningful connections to their own lives and communities.

Expand your definition of writing.

You likely already give students a range of options for demonstrating learning in your class. But are you thinking about these artifacts as writing compositions? Embrace multimedia and multi-genre projects as a form of writing by applying the writing process to videos, slideshows, podcasts, and more. Support kids as they brainstorm, draft, get peer feedback, revise, and publish.

The National Day on Writing is a fun day to try out a new creation tool. Create engaging, resource-rich slideshows with Shadow Puppet EDU or Biteslide, design an original video game with Pixel Press Floors, or create multimedia storybooks with Book Creator or Scribble Press.

Mark your calendars, and find more great ideas for the National Day on Writing here:

How will you celebrate the National Day on Writing? Share your plans in the comments below!

Photo "student_ipad_school - 250" by Brad Flickinger. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license.