Out of This World Literacy : What do We, as Teachers, Understand About Writing?
menu   home About Me Freebies Products Workshops  

What do We, as Teachers, Understand About Writing?

Writing is my absolute favorite subject to teach because it is the time in the day when I begin to understand my students the best.  Through their writing, I can see their experiences, beliefs, values, and so on.  It is a magical time when their creative minds are at work!  But, before I can begin teaching writing, I have to ask myself what it is I want my students to be able to do as writers when they leave my classroom.

Before we begin planning and teaching writing, we must be self-reflective and ask ourselves questions as writers.  What do we, as teachers, understand writing to be?  What do we understand writing not to be?  What do writers do to ensure they are creating their very best work?  Only after we have answered these questions ourselves can we begin to understand what it is we need to teach our young writers.

Here are my best answers to these questions:

What do I Understand Writing to Be?

A creative expression of the mind. 

A way to respond to personal experiences.

A way to deliver information that is extremely important to the author.

A place to share our purpose about the things we are passionate about.

Making a difference with the written word.

Feeling valued with what we have to say.

Connecting with the readers (our audience).

A place to ask and answer our own questions about matters that are important to us.

What do I Understand Writing NOT to be?

Writing is not about everyone in the class writing about the same topic.

Writing is not about simply responding to a prompt.

Writing is not only about correcting poorly written sentences.

Writing is not at all about trying to write with someone elses idea.

Writing is not about learning how to follow directions.

Writing is not just about learning about paragraphs, indenting, spacing, etc.

Each writer brings a unique set of experiences and beliefs to writing.  A class of writers can not produce the same response to a prompt.

There is no right or wrong answer.

What do Writers do to Ensure they are Creating their Very Best Work?

They are reflective…they think about their personal experiences.

They have a strong purpose for what they are writing about.

They understand their audience.

They brainstorm ideas by making lists, webs, timelines, charts, more lists from lists, etc.

They talk with other writers.

They ask questions.

They research.

They reread their work several times.

They consider their audience when they write.

They are observant…they don’t let the world pass them by.  When they get an idea, they write it down so that moment becomes a permanent place in time.

They carry a notebook with them to gather ideas.

They are patient with their work. 

They read books from other great authors and think about how they could try certain writing strategies in their own work.

They value their own work.

They see themselves as really writers that have something important to say.  They know their words matter to their readers!!

As you begin teaching writing this year, ask yourself these 3 questions and make your own list!  You may find that the third list makes a great set of teaching objectives.  After all, we all want to teach our young writers to do their very best!

I’d LOVE to hear your lists and thoughts!  Send me a message and tell me how you are planning to instill a sense of value and purpose in your young writers!! 

Best wishes to all the writers out there!!


Visit my TpT Store
Follow me on Pinterest


  1. Hi Jen,

    I'd like to start by saying that your Blog looks great!!! My name is Martin and I'm a teacher from Canada. I just started a new website called Resources4teaching where educators can buy and sell lessons and educational resources. We are new and are looking for people to join and put up their materials for sale on our website. We are having an iPad draw for the first 100 Vendors who join and upload at least 1 lesson /resource for sale on our website. There are absolutely no fees to join and you get to keep 70% of the profit. You can visit us at: http://www.resources4teaching.com/blog/

    If you know any other teachers who might be interested in this Website, please forward this to them and if you have any questions, feel free to message me.

    Have a great day

  2. I love this and turned some of it into a fast PPT to use with our first Writers Wrokshop Wednesday. It was a great way to get my sixthers to relax and to think about really being a writer! Thanks!

    Traveling Though Sixth