Slice of Life: We choose to write


Every morning, students can choose to read, write, or shop for books. At the beginning of the year, students read. Mostly graphic novels. It was a lovely prelude to read aloud.

Yesterday, I noticed a shift. Students were writing. Students who a few weeks ago struggled to type in their emails were at it deep into their stories on Chrome books.

Last night I read their writing and noticed my own shift as a teacher.
I noticed my first read has fundamentally changed.

At the beginning of my teaching life,  the first read was painful. I had to work hard to see beyond the errors. The change in my vision started years ago at a TCRWP summer institute in a session with Katherine Bomer where she had us dig for the “hidden gems” in our student’s writing. That summer work marked the beginning of how I saw student writing. I had to consciously stop my problem focused thinking to see the hidden writer.

Last night, I noticed the joy reading student brings. It always makes me smile because it shows me who they are and what they could be. What they value, what worries them.
Bad report cards, popularity wars, Minecraft disasters, lost best friends, after-school drama, trouble with the principal. Cars they want to drive, people they want to be.
The games they play. The stories they read. The lines they hear.
This all shows up in their writing.

Their writing is a window. It helps us see our students and more importantly allows students know themselves. This is why writing matters. Why students choose to write. Why our children must write, and we must allow for it. Writing sifts through our problems and helps us recognize our dreams. Writing shows us who we are and who we could become.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays.  Read more slices here.


4 thoughts on “Slice of Life: We choose to write

  1. Writing is a window on our students, who they are and who they could become–great word choice. I gave two grades on essays, grammar and writing. I went through every paper checking for grammar issues before starting over and evaluating the writing. An obvious A/A paper wouldn’t need a second reading. What if someone got a C- on grammar and a B+ on writing? That would be a (72+88)/2=80.

  2. I, too was inspired by a summer writing conference – JoyFest – focusing on the joy of writing. Your slice helped me to see that I have also shifted my thinking when reading students’ writing. Reading the first draft was always so dreadful- fighting the urge not to mark up so many of the missing/incorrect conventions. When you read with joy, you connect with your students in a powerful way. This is also the second time I’ve seen Katherine Bomer’s name appear! We launched a memoir unit today and I wish I had a copy of her book, Writing a Life – it’s on my list to purchase! Thanks for sharing!

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