During our August Blog Series, I wrote a post titled, A Writer’s Mindset: Nurturing Independence from the Start. Since writing that series post, I have thought more about how mindsets impact daily interactions in the writing workshop. I’ve also sought to find how the five stances from A Mindset for Learning, Teaching the Traits of Joyful, Independent Growth, by Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz can play a role within those moments. Today I’m sharing ideas on how to weave in these stances to support a writer’s life as well as their writing mindset. Each section below unfolds a strategy for building a writer’s mindset and the opportunities to connect to one or more of the five stances shared by Mraz and Hertz within the writing workshop.
Word Counts Quantity–Optimism and Persistence
Letting a student count their words each day to see the number increase can give a writer momentum to keep going. A student can both persistently work toward a word count goal or see gains and optimistic progress within a piece of writing. This type of strategy is best used with a student who may not be getting more than a word or a sentence on the page. Seeing small gains is what puts a writer on the trajectory toward progress.
Tracking the Writing Process–Flexibility
Looking back to see they have worked within the writing process can give a writer encouragement to try again and continue to work as a writer. Being flexible within the writing process sometimes means a lot of the work of a writer is done in thoughts, small jots, and planning. Being able to shift from planning to drafting, or from one piece to a different piece can be a way to show a student, they are flexible within the writing process.
Comparing Their Own Writing–Optimism, Resilience, and Persistence
Looking at a piece of writing from the first week of school and comparing it to a piece three or four weeks later can be a source of optimism. If your writers have made significant gains over time, they might not realize it until looking back at previous work. When possible, showing them writing from a year or two before can also be powerful for a writer needing hope.
In addition, when a writer is feeling as though nothing they try is working, seeing their progress can help a writer bounce back with resilience to try again.
Mentoring Younger Writers–Empathy
Sometimes a writer sees the best in themself when helping someone else. It is often through witnessing the struggle in a peer or younger child that a writer will rise to help and feel empowered in the process. Being able to show compassion and empathy for another writer can allow them to have empathy for themselves in a similar situation.
Obviously, working on a writer’s mindset is complex. Our own mindset is influenced by so many things within our day and our lives. The impact we can have on our students, and the way they see themselves is immeasurable. I feel as though I have barely scratched the surface in finding ways to connect the stances and my writing workshop. I hope you will look at your own writing workshop with these stances in mind. Where can you notice and name them in action? How can you broaden their capability to grow your writers’ mindsets across the year?
Daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, and writer.