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.
•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 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!!
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