In the process of co-writing a book, Kelsey Sorum and I had many conversations about our writing processes. While I knew it before the co-writing endeavor, I am the type of writer who likes to throw lots of ideas on a page and then find the gems and develop a plan. Kelsey prefers to make a plan first.
Our shared and different processes have made it even more important to me to learn about students’ processes.
Knowing students and how they learn is important for both teachers, and also for the students, themselves. I’ve thought about the importance of mentor texts in my writing life, but have students? I know that in order to write by best pieces, I need a quiet space and a well-caffeinated brain, but I’m not sure I knew what I needed as an elementary student or teenage writer. (I’m pretty sure I was I had no idea.) Therefore, I’ve been giving thought as to how to gather that information for both myself as a teacher and for students as learners.
While I am sure there are many different ways to do this, this form I created for an on-line journalism class I’m teaching provided many important tidbits of information about writers I don’t know well. You are welcome to make your own copy and tweak it in whatever ways help you to know the writers of your teaching world. I’ve taken the time to talk and reflect with the writer who completed this form, thinking about how I can provide them with the space, resources, and practices that help them grow as writers and how they can obtain those systems and structures in the future.
As I consider what to keep and what to leave after the last year of teaching and learning, I celebrate the opportunities for self-advocacy, innovation, flexibility, and initiative. If I can teach students not only to recognize their learning styles and resources that benefit them, but also how to ask for or find those resources, then I increase the potential of having an impact on their learning long after I’m physically or digitally present in their lives.