Summer Series of Saves: Dismantling the Essay (III)

My goal this summer includes curating a new concept of what an essay is and can be. 

I sent my request out to the good educators on Twitter, tagging @ncte and @writingproject, and received a few ideas. Some switched up the medium, such as “do a video essay” and that’s partly what I was looking for, but not quite. I’m looking for essays that don’t feel like the rigid essays of “school” — one of the most unnatural forms of structured writing.

This post doesn’t have answers yet, or the curated list. It’s a start, a placeholder for the process. My goal is to encourage and foster true excitement about what essay writing is, and reading of essays. Though I have bristled over the structured, formulaic writing of essays it’s a love of reading essays that motivates me. I don’t want students to hate writing. None of us do. So why do we keep ignoring all the rich content and mentor texts that are shared? Not a single writer uses the five-paragraph structure. I can understand its use as a foundation, but we need to have some hard conversations about when to take the scaffold away.