My parents stopped by their classroom to meet my students yesterday. They were supposed to stay for a few minutes. In reality, they stayed for over thirty.
There was no plan for their visit. I pulled up two chairs for them to sit in, had each student introduce him/herself by name, and then said, “They have a few minutes, so if you have any questions, go ahead and ask them.” That’s when the unexpected happened. They started asking questions… and didn’t stop! My parents, who are good-natured, answered all of them.
I noticed, as the kids posed many of their questions to my Mom and Dad, that they were asking follow-ups and thick questions about things I’ve shared with them about my life. I reflected on the visit later in the evening, realizing that the kids really do listen to what I say (Whew!), I realized that most of the sharing I’ve done and stories I’ve told them about myself and my family has happened in Writing Workshop. What an awesome power we have, as teachers, to be able to share our lives with the young writers in our classrooms! For one year, when we open up our lives to them, tell our family and personal stories to them, and have them watch us as we show them how we make sense of it all (by putting it on paper), then we have given our students an awesome gift. When we do all of these things in front of them, we transfer power to them; allowing them to see the true purpose of story-telling, which lies in writing it all down.
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).