As I worked with my class today on “inventing characters”, I stopped to look back at some of my anchor charts from last year. I always save them for a year as a “bread trail” of what I did…I always remake them with my class each year but as I get older–it helps having a little visual reminder!
I happened across this one.
I remember the day we made this…I simply asked the students what I would see during writing time and they REALLY struggled to answer. They were eventually able to tell me the first things on the list..that students would be writing (I prompted them to get the “entire time” part!), that they should spell carefully, and remember punctuation and capitals.
Was that all writing WAS to these students? Writing down words with correct spelling and sentences? Were we failing to communicate the important things about writing–like that writing is a creative process of sharing ideas, opinions, and dreams? Are we not communicating that learning to write is about trying new thing and playing with words? So…we had a great discussion and by the end, we were able to add the final three items…that we will take the lessons we are taught and apply them to our work, that we will “recursively revise” and know that good writers are always tweaking and cutting/pasting to their work, and that it’s ok to TRY new things…even if they aren’t perfect. It was a GREAT discussion, and I think my students really better understood writing time as a place for experimenting with new learning–that not everything needs to be a perfect published work.
So…before we dig ANY deeper into our realistic fiction unit, I’m going to back up a step and “have the talk” with this year’s group. I wonder what they will say when I ask them, “What should I see during writing class?” I’d love to hear your thoughts!