The Setup: Help Desk, Open for Business It started out like any other writing workshop time. Kids were settling into their work spots, some grabbing keyboards, others tapping away on their iPad screens. There was a certain level of productive noise as students figured out what projects they wanted to work on and how, and… Continue reading When The “Help Desk” Fails: Rethinking Support for Writers
Here we are, once again, at one of my favorite times of the week: the Tuesday Slice of Life post. Write, comment with your blog link, and share the joy by commenting on at least three others' posts. Happy writing! Words have the power to really help us take in the world around us, understand… Continue reading It’s Tuesday! Time for the Slice of Life with #TWTBlog!
Students care about writing when they know they’re being read. When they feel the power that written expression holds for themselves and one another, THEN they have a true desire to practice and improve their craft. Until then, it’s just routines and class assignments and writing prompts.
It’s no secret that storytelling helps children develop a sense of story. It’s no secret that oral language supports kids who don’t yet have the mechanics of writing. And it’s no secret that storytelling and oral language allow students to compose writing in a low-risk, often fun way. What many don’t realize, however, is that oral language can support writing throughout the writing process, and that learners of all ages - through adulthood! - can benefit from bringing oral language into the picture. In this post, I’ll share a few activities that highlight the way oral language can strengthen writing instruction. Focused on later parts of the writing process, these activities support revision and feedback. I’ll explain each activity, tell you why I love it so much, and offer tips for adapting each one for different learners.
Sometimes, I am overwhelmed with the amount of new learning about writing that I wish to incorporate. I’ve come to realize I’m not alone. I’m not the only person with more resources and ideas than they know what to do with, and I‘m not the only one who risks inertia because I don’t know where to start. If that’s also you, or someone you know and love, I’ll be sharing my process for how I work my way to more clarity and focus.
Here we are, many of us ready to wrap up the school year... We CAN re-align our moral compass with student instruction. We CAN commit ourselves to being sincerely, wholeheartedly, a community of learners. This summer, I’ll be gearing up for what, I’m hoping, will be a year of excitement and discovery. I also hope that somewhere, you, too can find a kernel of hope, joy, or idealism to carry with you into the summer.
Poetry, she thought, with a sigh,is little more than proseedited forbrevityand line breaks. Right now, I’m doing a poetry unit with my fourth graders. Most of them dread poetry writing. While it’s no surprise, this news saddens me. As someone who prefers to express herself through poetry, I hold the belief that people are much… Continue reading Poetry Month: That’s the (Line) Breaks
It’s March. If your schools are anything like mine, you are slogging through the remnants of a long winter, all while gearing up for a season of standardized testing. Kids of all ages still need play and fun. I don’t know about you, but my kids always seem to do a bit better when some of each is incorporated into my lessons. I’ll share some ways to bring joy into writing workshop.
Everywhere I look, the world wants me to engage in self-care. Instagram posts, TV commercials, Twitter threads, email newsletters…all of them chock-full of reminders that even as the world falls to pieces around us, It's important to fill our buckets, put on our own air masks first, give ourselves grace. But how about creative self-care? What can we do to make our writing selves feel stronger, happier, more resilient?
Let’s turn our attention to the classroom, to the kids in our care. Like many of us, they need a space to release burdens, to feel the same connection and validation that has kept us afloat. This, my friends, is where we begin. THIS is where we claim our power as writers, as teachers of writing. No matter the age of our students, no matter their readiness level, no matter the constrictions of a mandated writing system, there are ways to create and protect a nurturing, supportive community of young writers.
Today, in the United States, we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Today, kids in the U.S. might eat breakfast in pajamas. Their parents might shop a sale. Many will see (and welcome!) a day off of school or work. Some will use today as a day of service. It’s easy to let a day like today slide by without taking stock, without offering it the full measure of what a day like today deserves. So let us consider today.
"If kids see writing as just another avenue of self expression, if they realize that craft and skill are necessary for all areas of self-expression, then perhaps they might use these understandings as a foundation for their writing."