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!
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.
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.
What is a memory? What makes a moment memorable? Were they moments of utter joy and warmth? Or was there embitterment, stress, and even trauma that made it special? For me, the 2020-2021 school year had many moments that were both. As much as I would like to move forward from last year, those memories… Continue reading I Remember
My beliefs about teaching and learning have grounded the decisions I make, in the classroom and now during this time of remote learning. Come with me on a video tour of how my beliefs are shaping my actions. Share in the comments how your beliefs are influencing the instructional decisions are you are making.
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.
The writing work in our building is transforming, and it is exciting to be a part of the change, to witness the impact on kids as we make our workshops increasingly authentic and compelling. We are constantly reflecting on what’s working—what’s leading to measurable shifts in how we plan for writing (and how kids experience writing)—as well as where we might be getting stuck: places there is genuine motivation to transform the task, and yet, our best intentions are still missing the mark in some significant way.
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 we know the purpose or the why in our work we work intentionally. As teachers, knowing our writers are working with intention allows us to trust the students. With trust, we can step back and allow students to make the decisions about their writing.
The decisions I make from the classroom library to family connections are intentional and responsive to building a community of writers and learning about the students who make up this community.
Find out how Amelia Poor, age 12, learned "at a really young age how powerful writing can be."
Amelia's journey will surely inspire you and your young writers!
Teaching students to take the risks necessary to be inventive spellers means I have to respect the stage of development of the student. I can't expect the students to know (or use) something I haven't taught. It also means communicating to parents about what it means to use inventive spelling and its role in developing writers and readers.