Do Your Students See You Write?
Do your students know you write too? Do they see you write? If you do write, your students deserve to see your writing in action! It’s something you need to share. Trust me, writing for and with your students will make a huge difference to the writing your students turn out. I commend those of you who already do this.
If your students are required to keep a writer’s notebook, then you should have one too, Share with your students some of your entries This will enable you to confidently discuss your writing process. They will have questions for you about where and when the writing idea was sparked. Being a mentor to your students begins right here. Ralph Fletcher in his latest book, ’Pyrotechnics on the Page- Playful Craft That Sparks Writing’ writes, ‘Keeping a writer’s notebook is like dragging wide net through the world.’ Your notebook entries show your students one writers ‘catch.’ - the myriad observations, memories and thoughts a life presents.
This sharing allows you to show how your notebook shapes ideas that might eventually be written about in greater detail. It also allows you to show them how you keep a writer's notebook with you at all times.-how it becomes an extension of you, the writing and reading teacher. Such an approach will enable you to teach your students the very important message that writing ideas don’t just visit you inside a classroom.
Writing alongside your students makes you a partner in learning. Your writing program has thus gained the potential to reach a higher level of excellence. Writing with your students can mean the difference between being an okay writing teacher and an exemplary writing teacher. It’s far better to find yourself living inside the writing community you are trying to create.
If you want your students to write a personal narrative or an opinion piece, show them examples that you've written. Talk about your pre-writing behaviours. Talk about where you struggled while writing; where you felt your writing really worked well, and where you captured your ideas most effectively. This is valuable teaching!
If you ask students to share their notebook entries, be prepared to share yours. The entries you share don't have to be written during that day's writing lesson. If your students know you value your own writing, then you can reasonably expect them to value theirs. –and isn’t that one of our teaching goals?