Walk into my classroom and you will see a lot of minds exploring in many directions. They are expressing their feelings & emotions. Verbally, they will all tell you what they think and most of them will listen to others opinions without arguing. Transferring those ideas and thoughts to paper doesn’t come as easy for some of my students. Their thoughts are there, the transfer needs support. The support comes from practice and modeling….my kids love modeling! And don’t think I don’t hear, “can I just copy yours?”…..I would like to say, and what good is that doing you? Instead, I use my teacher words and remind them that if they copy what I write, they aren’t helping themselves in any way. They aren’t thinking on their own and they aren’t really writing on their own! Half of class, from observing, are comfortable with writing for the most part. The other half question everything they write or everything they are thinking about writing. They are the students that could stare a hole in their paper if it were possible. They want their teacher to guide them through every single step. Of course if it’s something we have never experience, we do most of it altogether. If it’s something we have talked about all week or for a couple of days, I tend to let them explore on their own….That’s when I become concerned if they are still wanting to copy everything I do or can’t put two words on a paper.
As a writer myself, I have had to overcome that sense of not being comfortable with my own writing. I feel that it has been the biggest obstacle to conquer. I feel a lot more comfortable then I did before taking writing classes. I think my fear was not having enough background knowledge to teach writing. I love seeing and exploring ideas. I can’t learn how to write by someone telling me this is what helps. I need to explore it for myself and test things out on my own.
I really want to focus on having a better schedule for writing! Yes, it’s the timing for me and structuring my time so that it used the best way possible. I tend to have a plan for writing instruction and it never works out like I want it. I want to make sure I have a writing workshop at least 3 times per week. A huge obstacle is we have to teach a certain type of writing so students are familiar with the writing techniques to pass their assessments. Part of my week is instructing them on how to successfully write to the test and the other half is writing workshop or free writing. I just feel unorganized when it comes to writing. I would like to hear ideas/schedules for other teachers where their writing schedule has really worked for them. For my students, I want them to feel more comfortable with their own writing. We have included the writing journal in our routine where the students write about anything they want to. I think this lets them understand anything they write is important. The only thing that stands in my way is we do not get to this every day because of our schedule and timing. For my next step, I would like to have enough time to do writer’s workshop every day with some free writing at the end or beginning of our lessons. I know that’s a lot of writing but this way they are getting an instructional piece and they are also exploring their own ideas for importance!