Watch. Look. Listen: AUTHENTIC PURPOSES FOR WRITING
Writing is a stalwart act. Through writing, we express ourselves, uncover feelings, tell our stories, organize our schedules, share our beliefs, and change our world. To some students (and even adults) writing can seem like a monumental task and writing may feel cumbersome. But when you think of the necessity of writing in our lives, writing is unavoidable.
As an educator, I feel a significant obligation not only to teach my children the power and effect of writing but also to model the uses and act of writing. I work to recognize and embrace authentic writing opportunities. To welcome writing occasions at the moment they present themselves, a variety of writing tools are readily available, and our schedule doesn’t limit writing to the daily writing workshop time.
Writing workshop is the time in our schedule when we study authors, books, writing craft, structure, organization, audience, and the purpose of writing. My intention is as students learn how to write, they are also learning the power and need to write. Because writing is not limited to writing workshop, you can see purposeful writing popping up in and outside of our classroom
Watch. Look. Listen. Writing Opportunities
As I worked with the class lunch helper to take attendance and order the day’s lunches, we noticed many students forgot to move their lunch clip to order lunch. As part of our morning meeting, the lunch helper mentioned this to the class and requested his peers do better tomorrow. One student responded, “I need to write myself a note. Can I hang it on my coat hook so I see it in the morning?” Of course, this is the authentic writing opportunity I want to recognize. As R jumped up to write his note others clamored, “Me too, and can I write one about doing my morning job too? I always forget to sharpen the pencils.” The requests were varied, and the need to jot a quick reminder note was contagious!
Daily Models of Purposeful Writing
The need for reminder notes is just one example of writing for a purpose in our classroom. Another example is the regular maintenance of our class calendar. We keep a large paper desk calendar hanging where the students can easily reach and read. Each week a student is appointed the responsibility of recording the week’s special schedule (art, music, gym), school-wide events, when library books are due, new book releases, (thank you @MrSchuReads) and special events in our classroom. The calendar helper leads us in interactive writing to fill in the week’s events and reports to the class each morning. Students quickly came to rely on the posted information. The shared responsibility, accessibility, and content of the calendar make the calendar an example of purposeful writing.
Writing is for Celebration!
The work we do each and everyday in our classroom is a step forward in our development. All steps are impactful, and each one is worthy of celebration! Throughout the week students are encouraged to jot a note of celebration! On Friday, these notes are gathered and together, we compose a class blog post and share it with our families. Students are telling their story, our story, considering audience, and using yet another tool for writing. All this and feeling proud at the same time!
Writing is a stalwart act. Through writing, my students are learning to express themselves, tell their stories, organize the class schedule, and celebrate their personal journey and the path of their peers. As my students advance in their school career, I am confident they are prepared to embrace the necessity of writing in their lives and see writing as the monumental task used to advance themselves and our communities.
- This giveaway is for one copy of Heart Maps: Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing by Georgia Heard. Many thanks to Heinemann for donating a copy of this book.
- For a chance to win one copy of Heart Maps: Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing, please leave a reaction to any post in the blog series, including this one, by Sunday, February 5th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Lisa Keeler will use a random number generator to pick the winner, whose names she will announce in our blog series’ IN CASE YOU MISSED IT POST on Monday, February 6th.
- You may leave one comment on every post in our Authentic Purposes for Writing blog series, which runs January 30th – February 5th.
- Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so Stacey can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, our contact at Heinemann will ship your book out to you. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
- Heinemann will only ship the book to a winner in the United States. If you live outside of the U.S. and wish to be considered for this giveaway, you must have a U.S. mailing address.
- If you are the winner of the book, Stacey will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – HEART MAPS. Please respond to her e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.