5 More Ways to Celebrate the National Day on Writing

September 24, 2018

1. Graffiti Walls 

Create a shared writing experience by posting a large banner or poster with a prompt in a public space. Invite participants to respond to the prompt and to each other’s writing. This can be done on the banner itself or via sticky notes.

Suggested Timeframe: These can be posted and added to over a longer period of time or posted for a short session.

Location: A wall with good traffic that is big enough to have several people read and write on at the same time.

Materials:

  • A banner, chart or poster paper
  • Markers (not permanent)
  • A bin or tub to hold the markers
  • Sticky notes (optional)  

Things to Consider:

  • Take a time-lapse video of the banner as it gets filled over a series of hours, and then share it out with the community.
  • Consider a series of banners throughout a space with different prompts on each to deepen the conversation.
  • Make sure the markers aren’t bleeding through onto the wall!

 

 

2. A Writing Gallery Walk

Much like a visual art gallery, a gallery walk of writing can be a way to stop and savor various compositions. Hang pieces in a public space and invite viewers for an “opening” and/or keep it up all month long. A virtual gallery can also be created by posting pieces of writing (with full permission) on a website, blog, or social media site.

Suggested Timeframe: This can be done over a short period or posted like an art gallery for a longer stretch of time.

Location: A room with enough space for people to walk and read items that are posted on a wall or on desks or tables.

Materials:

  • Several different pieces of writing in a variety of genres
  • Tacks, tape, or putty to post these pieces on the wall or to display on desks and tables
  • Sticky notes if inviting feedback on the pieces of writing

Things to Consider:

  • If showcasing student work and sharing it online, make sure to get both the students’ and families’ permission and do not include names.
  • Invite people to interact with the pieces in the gallery through sticky note comments.

 

3. Collaborative Poetry

Invite participants to create poetry together using a variety of methods. Showcase the poems in a public space or online. In recognition of the National Day on Writing, consider focusing the poetry around the theme of writing or in response to the prompt #WhyIWrite.

Suggested Timeframe: This can take place in a short session or be left up over an extended period of time.

Location: Depending on the approach, a centralized bulletin board can be used, or the event can be held in a spot big enough for all the invitees.

Materials:

  • Sticky notes or construction paper
  • Writing instruments like pens, pencils, markers
  • Magazines, pages, or photocopies of pages from books
  • Scissors / Glue / Tape

Examples of Activities:

  • Create a large interactive “magnetic poetry” wall that several people can work on at once.
  • Write haiku poems on sticky notes and put them in random places.
  • Try blackout poetry in which several words on a page of text are blacked out to leave words that reveal a poem.

4. Writer Talks

Invite well-known local, regional, or national writers to share their writing tips and samples of their work at schools, libraries, or local group events. If possible, include a book signing at the end.

Suggested Timeframe: 1-2 hours

Location: A space big enough to accommodate a podium or stage for the speaker and audience. Consider a location with ample parking as well!

Materials:

  • Microphone / Speakers / Amplification System
  • Table / space for book or article signing
  • Pens / sticky notes for the book signing

Things to Consider:

  • Some authors will talk with groups online and virtually, and this eliminates the cost of travel and lodging. Kate Messner has compiled this list of authors who do virtual visits.
  • Libraries and bookstores often have special relationships with authors and can help in planning or hosting such an event.
  • When communicating about the event via social media, include the author’s social media handles to help amplify the reach. 

 

5. Testimonial Videos

A great way to share responses to #WhyIWrite is through short “selfie” videos that can be shared on websites and on social media. These videos can be shared leading up to the National Day on Writing as a way of drumming up participation, and they can be shared on the day as a contribution to the conversation. On a website, blog, or social media site, a collection of these videos can be collected on a page to share.

Suggested Timeframe: These can be created and shared at any time.

Location: People can record these anywhere, but if holding a meeting or conference, consider creating a “recording booth” where people can make them on the spot.  

Materials: Video-recording device

Things to Consider:

  • Record the videos in horizontal mode for best effect.
  • If setting up a “recording booth,” make sure it’s in a quiet space so people’s responses can be heard.
  • Make sure videos are shared only if there is permission to share.
  • An online platform like FlipGrid can be a great tool for collecting videos from a group.

 

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