Great conversations happening regarding writing and the teaching of writing — here are some of my current noticings/wonderings, and attempts at supporting students craft their writing lives.
Every student who asks, “How many sentences does it have to be?” has been exposed to either Jane Schaffer or another prescriptive writing curriculum. There is nothing inherently good or bad in Schaffer’s program: some need a paint-by-number mode of writing instruction, and the product serves the purposes. But we teachers, and I mean all teachers, will be forever stuck in the siloing of teaching writing poorly across content areas. And when I say “writing,” I don’t necessarily mean typing out lengthy tomes: writing can be many forms and avenues. Across content areas, teachers should focus on the Role of the writer, audience, the form, the topic, and strong word choices.
Here are some Sunday-morning-I’m-still-sleepy resources:
- Read books by writers and trusted teachers of writing
- Some recommendations: Angela Stockman, John Warner, Kwame Alexander
- Join your local National Writing Project Chapter: if there isn’t one, still follow and use their resources
- Research local writing workshops like we have here in Seattle, Hugo House
- Become a writer yourself. I cannot advise this enough. Keep your own blog, Tumblr, Wattpad, whatever. Keep is anonymous and secure, but write.
Moving to the comprehensive high school, I’m currently teaching two periods of 10th grade, one 9th grade honors ELA, (and yes, have already had a debate with one young student about the merits of the What It Says graphic organizer– my sweet summer child, I know you), and two periods of 9th grade ELA. And yes, after being somewhat scolded about how they’ve used Jane Schaffer forever, I had another deeper conversation with my evaluator about how it was okay that I looked and researched the materials, and then collaborate with my PLC about instructional methods. Cool, cool, I can do that. I totally can. And, I can also go back through my previous blog posts and share them again, along with other resources:
Again, this is just a fraction of resources, and it can be overwhelming. My instructional advice is to start with fostering students’ ideas; ultimately, this is what serves them and their creative growth. You may find a different path that meets your students’ needs, and that’s the joy of this process.
You must be logged in to post a comment.