When this scenario happened to me (years ago), it did give me pause. As a teacher of writers, I am not the conventions police—I have always been the kind of writer who values content over conventions in the workshop. This is not to say I do not teach conventions or have high expectations for their use. However, it would be fair to say that this particular situation challenged me to think about grammar, punctuation, and spelling differently—shifting the way I approached conventions in the classroom going forward.
To put it simply, the writing process can be excruciating for our perfectionists. If we aren’t careful, we can unintentionally curb the enthusiasm of a writer who leans toward perfection.
When I visit a classroom, one of the first things I often say to kids is, "Today, please don't erase. I want to see ALL the great work you are doing as a writer. When you erase, your work disappears!" Often, this is what kids are accustomed to and they continue working away. But sometimes, kids stare at me as if I've got two heads.
We've all been there. You've gathered your students into the classroom meeting area, nice and cozy, with the intention of doing just a quick l'il minilesson. Just a quick tip about writing and off they go, right? Maybe just a quick little demonstration? With a tiny bit of practice? Oh, and a chart... you'll need… Continue reading Top Ten Ways to Keep Minilessons from Turning into Maxilessons
Big Time. Seriously. It wasn't pretty. But it was a good experience. Here's the scenario -- A classroom of first graders + Exploding folders filled with stories + Each story is written across pages + NO staples + A weak focus lesson = Monster Chaos The teacher took a photo & I must say a… Continue reading i flopped.
Today I was reminded of a story from Stephen King's book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Here are his words -- My room in our Durham house was upstairs, under the eaves. At night I could lie in bed beneath one of these eaves-- if I sat up suddenly, I was apt to… Continue reading on writing