Slowing down the brainstorming part of the writing process and recognizing the emotionality of feedback has big rewards for two published authors, in addition to our young classroom writers.
As we move forward this season, near concluding a challenging 2021, I aim to respect the messy writing process for myself. We will share with our students over and over that getting your ideas out doesn’t have to look one way; that they can move forward and backward and around again. They can toss out ideas and start anew. And while I do that, I’ll hold Jasmine and Olugbemisola’s thoughts close: as educators, let’s not stifle by virtue of supposed tos. There’s no wrong way. The final product need not look the way we initially imagined.
I believe we might understand student experience is by looking at student composition with asset-based eyes, first to recognize students as whole children and secondly to determine flexible writing goals.
My litmus test for the work we do in the classroom pivots on an understanding that collecting one’s own ideas and practicing ways to communicate them will serve students outside classroom walls. And it is with that framing in mind – with children reflecting on their journeys, in carefully selecting the language I use, and in sharing feedback on growth as opposed to the final alone- that I hope to continually communicate the importance of process over product.
When writers feel empowered to write for their own personal catharsis, it matters. When writers know they will have the opportunity to strengthen their writing alongside peers, it matters. When writers have greater degrees of choice around topic and genre, it matters. And when, at times, there’s a wider audience for writing, beyond classroom walls or the teacher’s eyes alone, there is often deeper motivation.
One way to keep writing interesting and fun right now is with the writing of life equations, supporting students in finding phrases to add together to capture small moments, experiences or feelings in their lives.
Recording for revision, encouraging translanguaging, and repetition are useful strategies to exalt and empower multilingual writers. As teachers of multilingual students, encouraging translanguaging and recording as revision is akin to telling students: every aspect of you is valued. Every aspect of you is important.