reThink ELA #017: Project VOICE: Showing Students the Relevance of Writing

Project VOICE Relevance of Writing

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When it comes to inspiring kids to write, it's one thing for a teacher to praise students for their skills and creativity but it's another thing entirely to SHOW them that they can become a published author. And that's exactly what Project VOICE aims to do.

Jamie Hinds and Savanna Payne are the creators of Project VOICE, which stands for Visions Of Inclusion, Culture and Empathy. Teachers create a safe classroom space for students to write narrative stories about whatever topics they choose, being careful not to force students to write about sensitive subjects. At the end of the project, these anonymous stories are published into a  hardcover book. Many local libraries in OK are now ordering copies to share with the community.

The primary purpose of Project VOICE is to give students a voice and an outlet to be heard. So often we find teachers or school districts beholden to the testing companies or other big curriculum producers with very little attention given to the students themselves. What better way to develop relationships with your students and to learn more about their lives by giving them an outlet to share their experiences. 

You'll also be amazed to hear quotes from some of the students published in the most recent edition of Project VOICE and how proud they are to have their work included. Many even tell their friends on what pages their stories can be found.

Important Advice:

If you want to develop a project like this in your own school, inform your administrators AND the district's legal team so they can best protect everyone involved, especially with sensitive topics.

Resources from this episode

Essential Question: What needs to happen for you and/or your school to establish a student-centered publication for your students?

reThink ELA Podcast
reThink ELA Podcast
reThink ELA #017: Project VOICE: Showing Students the Relevance of Writing

About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

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