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Gimmicks Versus Authentic Experiences

Have you read the comments from this post?  They were a luxury for me this weekend and so very good for my soul.  A special public thank you to all those who left a comment.  You will never know how much it blessed me.

Lately I’ve been struggling with the vast amount of stuff— activities, skill builders, minilessons — touting their effectiveness for student writers (and readers) in the guise of Writing Workshop (or Reading Workshop).  At every turn there is a new “trick” promising the attention of students in the name of Writing Workshop.

I’ve been struck by the fine line between a gimmick and an authentic experience for our students.  I’ve come to believe that it all boils down to the teacher’s focus.  When all is said and done if the teacher focuses more about the writers sitting in the classroom than producing writing; if the teacher focuses more about meeting the personal needs of the readers in the classroom as opposed to getting everyone excited about reading the same text, then Workshop becomes authentic.  Until then, anything done in the name of Workshop is simply another gimmick to get students to do what the teacher wants them to do.

I’ve been thinking about how to help teachers with this paradigm shift from teaching writing to teaching writers (or from teaching reading to teaching readers).  Perhaps the place to start is by sharing the comments from Saturday’s post. It is this change of heart that makes for authentic, genuine, important teaching.

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

2 thoughts on “Gimmicks Versus Authentic Experiences Leave a comment

  1. I’ve been thinking the same thing– it starts with the writer not the lesson. It starts with accepting writers where they are. Last week was our first week. We wrote a little. We created our notebooks. We celebrated our notebooks (it felt like we blessed them). We got started– and getting started is the most important step in creating a community of writers. I documented it on my blog this week with a silent digital story. Silent, but it says a thousand words about the hope I feel.

    Today we generated ideas. It’s a start and an encouraging one. I loved the comments that Ashley’s courage inspired. What grade does she teach?


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