Tuesday, March 1, 2011

First Writing after vacation

March 1, 2011 My school just returned from a week's break. Just as I was moving into a good rhythm of work and play at home-no out-of-town trip this time- I have jumped back into work, beginning new goals of teaching, & learning, with our students. I have been welcomed into many classrooms this year, & this time, one colleague & I are beginning a 3 week intensive to write personal essays with her class. As I begin with the group, students are so attentive, laughing when I think they might laugh, thinking about the topics under discussion, & answering some of my questions rather tentatively, but they do try to respond. These upper elementary students are just on the edge of adulthood, & now I am working hard to motivate them to consider choices, to decide some things they believe are important, & then to write to tell others what they think about them. It's easy to write down one's opinion, but crafting personal essays that then broaden one's outlook by doing some further research is the more difficult part. This is the goal, that students begin to gather the beliefs, but then strengthen them by finding out what others' think. The group again asks questions. One of the first of course is 'how long?', & another is 'how about this?'. These first hours together we are all a little nervous, but when I respond to the topics of important things, I am reminded of Margaret Wise Brown's The Important Book, when she starts with "The important thing about ____________ is _______________, & I remind students of these lines, empower them to tell what they believe is important, & why. I share a bit of my own writing; students seem ready to write, & the rest of the time until lunch, we do.


  1. I am going to write down your sentence "the important thing about __________is ________" in my writers notebook. This is a great way to find "what's the point?" of any writing.

  2. Young adults are just so much fun to work with for the reason you pointed out - the so want to know who they are and what their place in this world is - how fortunate that we teachers get to work with them on their journey of discovery!

  3. Welcome to slicing. It's a great experience, and we learn a lot about each other and the challenges of writing/teaching writing. I look forward to your posts.

    Elizabeth E.

  4. Glad you are joining us for the challenge. I look forward to writing our way through March.

  5. You caught the moment. Glad you are slicing. Love the book connection as a mentor text. Makes their writing stronger. :)MHG


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