Many of today’s students crave choice, freedom, and the excitement of exploring something new. This year, as you prepare to roll out your writing units, you may also want to reconsider the level of constraints within each unit. How and when might you invite students to choose the product that best fits their personal preference and intended audience?
Many teachers assign graphic organizers to help students learn about structure and organization. But do these organizers actually impede authentic writing and student agency? Read about why Leah chose to stop mandating graphic organizers, and some tips for letting go!
What we place on the walls of a classroom tells students, or any other person who enters the room, what is valued most, and what we should value most in our classrooms is student work.
“Social psychology has found the more you reward people for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward.” – Alfie Kohn (2000). Sometimes our students expect something for the work that they do in the classroom. They become accustomed to manipulation techniques. We’ve heard… Continue reading Growing Writers: Eight Alternatives to Extrinsic Rewards
As we set off to create writers who write in tandem with the printed world and the digital world there are a few we need to consider.
When writing with digital tools, students have the opportunity to design and share writing in a variety of ways that not only add a new aesthetic to writing but more importantly they offer teachers the ability to skillfully and intentionally scaffold writing development.
Technology gives us all choices and decisions to make. Big decisions. How can we welcome technology in our classrooms? Technology can be a new way of doing the same thing. Will we seek apps that allow our students to make choices in creating and sharing with others, or will we seek apps that do the same old thing in a different way?
Moving to a learner-driven classroom has changed my role in the classroom and writing workshop. As a teacher in a learner-driven classroom, I have stepped back to observe the learner.
Kate brought us in closer to consider the importance of the tools’ accessibility and their effect on learning. Not only do these tools need to be accessible to the students, but students need to understand how and when to use them for learning.
The young writers sitting in our classroom will rise above the fears and struggles of being a writer, but it will take intentional planning, repetitive teaching, daily writing, and reteaching. Writing is hard work. Students don't become writers because we have writing workshop. Writers become writers because teachers have clear intentions and a vision of what's possible.
As I opened my classroom door Friday I knew we would be writing a poem for Mother's Day. I was feeling a bit guilty about the ease and maybe the lack of thought that I had put into the gift this year. As I switched on the lights and straightened books, I thought about Wonderopolis. I entered Mother's Day in the search box and found a wonder on Mother's Day and an invitation to dive into Writing Maker Space!
Teaching well demands we stay current and try new ideas. There isn't any insurance policy that the newest strategy, book, program, or app will work for all or anyone, but we trust our education and experience, and we do what we know to be best for kids. Brené Brown in Daring Greatly says,
Risk aversion kills innovation~ Berné Brown Daring Greatly
So embrace the mess, the awkwardness, and all the uncertainties rattling in your mind and do what you trust to be best for the students in your classroom.