Monday, September 12, 2011

Thoughts on Writing

During the Northern Virginia Writing Project Summer Institute back in July I, obviously, spent a lot of time thinking about writing. One of my goals at the moment is to look back at my journal from that month and delve more deeply into some of those ideas.

Looking there, I see two things that I wrote separately that seem very connected.
  1. We ask kids to write about their lives. In our first grade classroom we highly encourage students to write stories of things that happened to them. The reasoning is that they have plenty of knowledge about things in their lives and therefore, this is a way into writing. However, our discussions this summer led me to wonder if students, especially as young as mine are, really have the perspective to write well about their own lives and experiences. The ability to write about something that has happened to you requires that you step back and look at it more closely and from a new perspective. Maybe young students aren't really ready to do that.
  2. There are many types of writing. Spending time with middle school and high school English teachers made me realize that we teach only a limited few types of writing. English teachers, not surprisingly, teach the types of writing they do in their field. However people in all fields; science, history, math, medicine, anthropology, are writers. They write, often in ways that differ greatly from those in English classes. We need to be offering students the opportunity to write in a wider range of texts.
This year I will strive to share a wider range of writing with my students and offer them the opportunity to try new types. Last year we talked so much about their 'wonders' but we never truly connected that to their writing and reading. I think doing so will open up new types of writing quite naturally.

I will work to encourage their writing in whatever style, type, genre they are interested in pursuing. That's what I would want as a writer.

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