Students Writing: Day One and Every Day

It’s the first day of school the students walk in all dreamy, wearing new shoes, clothes, and book bags.  Students’ and parents’ minds and hearts are filled with anticipation of the new year.  Some parents drift into the classroom, others linger in the hall hoping for a glimpse of their child.  The first day of school is a big deal for kids, parents, and teachers.

While the kids and families are worrying about new friends, lunch, recess, and dismissal, I am worrying about all this and more.  Who are these kids academically?  How do they best learn?  What do they play at home?  Who are their friends?  How will I pry gently into their lives?  How will I design instruction to meet them where they are and to move them forward?  Uncovering the various layers of a student takes time, intention, and writing.

Why Write?

Students writing: day one and every day.  

Writing is personal.  Writing shows the students’ feelings and their interests. When students write, they share their lives, daily events, surprises, peeks into their families, sad moments, and more.  When students write, I learn about who they are.  When I know my students, I can design personalized instruction.

Students writing: day one and every day.

Writing is brave.  Writing shows what we have accomplished, what we are willing to try, and where we are going as writers.  When students write, I learn about their writing development.  When I know where my students are as writers, I can adjust instruction and meet my students at the edge of what they know and what’s next in the development of a lifelong writer.

Students writing: day one and every day.

Writing is decision making.  Writing requires the students to make choices.  When students write, they choose a topic, genre, environment, tools, and audience.  When students write, I learn their learning styles and preferences.  When I know my students’ learning styles, I can design spaces, reach out to audiences, and stock the classroom with tools to allow the students to maximize their creativity.

Students writing: day one and every day.

Writing is communicating.  When my students talk about their writing, I learn about their intentions.  Intentions aren’t always visible in the process or the finished piece of writing.  Intentions are uncovered when I talk with the writer.  When I know the intentions of the writer, I can introduce them to other authors, books, and strategies to support them in finding craft and voice as a writer.
When I am asked if my class will write on the first day of school, my answer is, “Yes, and every day.”