Rick’s post about writing and thinking spaces made me recall my college years in Washington. I used to go to the National Gallery of Art before every history exam (My minor was History.) to study in an atmosphere that was devoid of distractions. I bragged to my friends about how wonderful it was to have a space to go to, even if it was a Metro ride away, that enabled me to completely focus on studying for an exam. My time at the Gallery was a true treasure!
We encourage students to find reading and reading spots at home. However, for most students, they do not have a gorgeous place, like the National Gallery of Art, to inspire them as writers and readers. Therefore, they need to create such a place.
This past year I had a student who created a reading box for himself so that he could focus for extended periods of time. Some of my former students have created study carrels for themselves to help them focus as well. One student, this past year, placed photos of his family and quotes he loved on the inside of his study carrel so he could be inspired to write more when he came to that part of his homework.
Please realize, I’m not suggesting that we encourage our students to create boxes or study carrels for themselves (albeit a cool idea). Rather, I want us as teachers to encourage our students to seek out writing spaces for themselves that will inspire them to do their best writing. And, if they cannot find such a space close to home, then let us help them create one for them.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).