Slice of Life: This is just for fun

“So this is just for fun? We can write whenever we want?”

That’s what T* asked me about our classroom blog launched on Friday.

“Well…yes.”

Her questions surprised me. The purpose of student blogging had become so second nature, I’d forgotten the liberation it offers.  I forgot my intent.

I started blogging with students over five years ago because I was worried about the unit by unit workshop standards-based writing I was offering. I worried it sucked the love out of what writing could be.

Writing attached to a grade no matter how constructive, seemed to move counter to all that a writer needs to keep writing. Comments, compliments, suggestions yes, but a rubric and points assigned to every piece of writing bred a feeling a dread and nudged me to create writers as defined by standards rather than engaged writers.

This is not to say that the units of study are unnecessary. On the contrary, they are the rock on which my students stand. They have had years of explicit lessons on how and why. But just like the explicit teaching of reading, students need lots of time to practice.   Blogging offers students the freedom to write what they want for their classmates and a teaching window into their writing.

Today, E* posted a humorous slice of life. Full of voice. One that only capitalized my name and the word washer. I asked him, what was his intent.

His response, “I was lazy.”

My response, “Oh, I thought the lack of capitals had a meaning. You see, writers do that. They use capitalization to show things. I thought there was something you were showing me.”

His response, “Oh.”

Next thing I know, “Would you look at my post again?”

Amazing, capital letters. I resisted my desire to ask about the one lower case “i.” Perhaps capitalization holds a little more meaning for E.

Passion breeds practice and with practice comes proficiency. With that, skills and strategies have a purpose.

After one day of blogging, I have seen a half dozen completed posts and nearly 20 comments. How to make slime, how much I love my cat, why the guitar is an amazing instrument, and small silly moments are just a few of what is being published. A constant flow of writing, just for fun.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. So we can write. Just for fun. Read more slices here.

12 thoughts on “Slice of Life: This is just for fun

  1. What a great slice! I can totally relate to your concern about sucking the love out of writing and love your wonderful response about capitals to E. This post has nudged me again to consider starting a blog with my classroom.

  2. “Passion breeds practice and with practice comes proficiency.” Great line! I love your purpose behind blogging! Freedom for writers! I could her your casual voice questioning where the capital letters were. The honest response “I was lazy” – that’s testament to your relationship with your kids! The shining moment, when the writer chose, on his own, to go back to his writing – now that is agency! Thanks for sharing!

  3. And the whole reason why or why not for evidence of transfer so perfectly captured . . . “I was lazy” . . . but in the context of “what a writer does”, does “just for fun” mean that we abandon all we know? So interesting to see our students “stretch their wings” . . . and write for fun. Choice writing!

  4. Your class must be so excited to be blogging. The fun, the freedom, the comments all make a writer grow without their even knowing it. Magic.

  5. Writing for fun, now that’s a topic I can get behind. As a matter of fact, that’s what sent me back to my blog. I love the way you allow students to explore and use what they learn in class.

  6. I am teaching Reading 6 this year but still want to have my students blog. Thanks for the reminder that it is a necessary space for them to have fun, give a comment/compliment and receive peer feedback. I’m starting in January, 2018. It will be my third year blogging!! Thanks for the nudge that your post gave me!

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