Thanks for stopping by the blog. Last week I promised to share student work and my reflections after a week of Getting Kids Excited About Writing.
As I listened to teachers talk about their plans to support the earliest demands of their writers, “What do I write about?” I began to wonder, “What if we simply got kids excited about writing?” What if we bypassed lessons on finding topics and immersed students in mentor texts with relatable stories, craft techniques, and language our students could pick up and use in their stories?
Would these writers catch the urge to write like the authors of their beloved books? Would we begin to see evidence of the authors in the work of our students?
Would the students’ excitement to write move them past the struggle of choosing a topic and directly into writing stories?
After one week of immersion and learning to read like a writer I hear and see:
- The writers are more engaged in writing.
- New writing partners spontaneously developed through a joint interest.
- Writers began to plan stories and make adjustments on the run.
- Evidence of craft and language in student writing.
- Students are self-selecting mentor texts from books in the classroom and their homes.
- Spontaneous writing conferences between peers during the workshop.
- Writers have an increased energy in the workshop.
- Writers are independently taking more risks.
- Writers are requesting more writing time.
- Stories span across 3-5 pages.
What I Haven’t Heard or Seen:
- I don’t know what to write about.
- I am done.
- Students wandering around the room during the workshop.
- “I like” stories.
- Rainbow and Flowers stories.
- Brief, one-page stories.
Our workshop and the writers themselves have a new energy. The atmosphere is electric, creative, and satisfying. As students share stories and name their mentors, I am encouraged to continue this path. Students are becoming friends with the authors. Often I feel as if these authors are teaching and learning right alongside us.
3 thoughts on “A Weeks Reflections and Student Work”
This year, before formally launching into the Units of Study from TCRWP, I began by doing a lot of Quick Writes (inspired by Linda Rief & Penny Kittle at the Boothbay Literacy Retreat). I wanted my kids to experience success, and like you, just wanted them to be excited about writing. I think it worked, because, also like you, I’m not getting a lot of “I don’t know what to write about.”
I do think kids need structure and routines in Writing Workshop, but I think they also need freedom, choice & other possibilities. It’s all about balance!
Hi Deb- I’m bringing this post to a teacher who has a student who has nothing to write about. Might spark some interesting ideas! Thanks!
I hope this sparks ideas and creativity!
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