As I think about returning to school, I want to be excited about the week to come. I want students to feel happy to be back together. Writing workshop is my favorite part of the day, and it’s the perfect place to infuse some intentional joy for all of us. I have a two part plan to do just that.
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.
This post is a look back at the resources I created to support families with at-home learning throughout the pandemic, and some ideas for supporting families in the future.
Carving out space and time for experiences that honor student agency and their diverse writing lives is not only empowering but also gifts them with the habit of writing and the identity as writers. We can write our way through this pandemic, together and emerge as writers.
Now’s our time to shine workshop teachers! Hasn’t independence and transfer always been the goal of workshop teaching? Haven’t we always strived to teach in a way that allows students to carry on without us? Here are some resources to collaborate with families and caregivers to make this year successful.
Right now, we really do not know how school will look in the coming year. Will it be virtual? Will it be physical? Will it be a hybrid model? Who knows? But if we agree that our beliefs are implicit, and that they guide our intentional actions, then perhaps not only reading this post but also examining and identifying your own will help you be the best you can be… whatever the circumstances you find yourself in next year.
In these days where we are home so much, take your class on a virtual field trip or two and allow them choices of what they will write about! This post includes 6 trips all ready to go with writing menus for each trip. Many thanks to Clare Landrigan and Pernille Ripp who both inspired what I am sharing here with you today.
During the Teachers College Virtual Teaching Institute a few weeks ago, staff developer Natalie Friday introduced an idea for learning during the current global pandemic: Passion Projects. With schools now closed, several of them for the remainder of the academic year, some students (and teachers!) may feel like they are actually living the movie, “Groundhog Day.” So with this gift of time (if we can see our way to interpreting it that way), why not encourage students to pursue a passion they have or would like to grow?
As a new teacher, I sometimes made assumptions about my students that may not have been based in reality. Of course, this is human to do so. We all make assumptions at times. But when it comes to teaching writing, what if we replaced the act of making assumptions with curiosity? What if we worked to make curiosity our best friend in our teaching?
As teachers, how might we reflect on our own practice in a way that could make a difference for our students next year? Here are a few lenses for setting some goals…
We all want to support and nurture inspired writers who work independently. So how might we carefully avoid creating uninspiring, teacher-dependent environments for learning? I present a few ideas here…
The cornerstone of writing workshop is that students get to choose their own topics rather than be assigned a topic by the teacher.
It could be said that what sets a writing workshop apart from other approaches to teaching writing is a focus on empowerment. Here are a few ways to empower writers when it comes to mentor texts…
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.
Whether you’re already back in school or returning in the next two weeks, I’ve rounded up some of our team’s best blog posts that will help you launch & sustain writing workshop in 2018-19.
How can we let writing be part of a “soft start” for students instead of making them complete joyless worksheets? How do your students start the day or class period? Please join the conversation!
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.
There are many things we can’t control in the classroom: the amount of time we have, the number of students, the size (and sometimes temperature) of the classroom space. But one thing we can control is the language we use that conveys choice, versus language that conveys assignment.
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.
With very good intentions, we teach kids to do their best to really finish a story before they move on to the next one. However, a little bit of flexibility will go a long way in increasing engagement, volume, and independence in young writers.