Showing posts from June, 2018

Notebook Sharing Generates Energy.

As I opened my suitcase of surprises, the assembled students peered forward hoping to gain an advanced sighting of the contents. I had brought a collection of Writer’s Notebooks to share with them. During my previous visit I had informed them that I would bring some notebooks to share. They had gathered some artefacts and made some preliminary lists of things that they considered potential topics for their writing, but neither the teacher, nor the students had much previous experience with Writer’s Notebooks. They quickly formed into groups of three as I distributed the notebooks. ‘I want you to be readers and researchers. I want you to be text detectives and make a note of the different types of entries you see in my notebooks. Feel free to take as many ideas as you can carry away. Writers share.'  I wanted them to see the broad influences on my writing. I told them that there are many ways to use a writer’s notebook. I further explained that what they would be seeing is

Helping Young Writers Discover The Words They Need To Begin

The writer sits down to face the blank page, only to be greeted by the dazzling whiteness of the paper. The pen is tightly gripped as the writer stares at the empty page. There is hope that time will deliver the wondrous words desperately sought. The empty lines beckon. How to begin? If you have experienced this feeling, you will have greater empathy for your students and those feelings that sometimes overwhelm them as beginning writers. They often have a broad idea regarding their writing, but have little idea where, or how, to begin. They want to produce something that effectively conveys a message, but remain unsure of how to begin the process. 'I know what I want to write about, but I don't know how to start.' We need to recognize that it is at this point we can provide meaningful support to allay such writing anxieties. Teaching students how to think of something to write, provides a way forward. This prewriting stage is the time for students to think a

Slice of Life Tuesday- Let's Stop Calling Them Reluctant Writers

'On every page, confidence fights with self-doubt.' David Morrell I continue to hear the term ‘reluctant writers’ when educators describe certain students. It’s a term that causes me a fair degree of discomfort.  When teachers talk of young writers in this manner, they pull up some way short of the mark. The question needs to be asked, why is this student behaving in a way that has them shying away from writing?  Asking ‘why?’ is a key to finding out more about that particular young writer and hopefully what is inhibiting their full participation in writing- their connection to writing. Invariably, what is impeding the writer from experiencing a stronger connection to the writing task is confidence- or rather a lack of it. And if we dig a little deeper it is frequently connected to a poor self-perception in relation to spelling. It may also be the challenge presented by the physical task of writing due to a lack of a fluent writing style. Sometimes it is related

The Quest For Independence Among Student Writers

The Quest Continues When I find myself working in a classroom where student writers are openly encouraged to think for themselves and to make their own writing decisions, it's hard not to smile. The writing of such students is invariably wide ranging and exciting. Their engagement is clearly heightened. The classroom seems to hum with possibility. There is demonstrable energy in the learning space. As I move about I see student writers choosing not only their topics, but also the preferred genre for their writing. They appear more fully engaged in matching their words to the needs of their readers. They exhibit an authentic sense of purpose and genuine ownership of the writing tasks they have chosen. When you talk with them, they articulate the reasons guiding their actions. These writers are supported in informed decisions. This is most evident. Each writer appears to know what they want to work on and how to approach their own particular writing challenge or project

Slice of Life Tuesday- Time For Tea

  Sitting in the mid-morning light of day my thoughts land on the idea of enjoying a cup of tea. The sun is ever so slowly warming to its task. By mid-afternoon it may bring soothing warmth to my shoulders. Right now the air is still crisp after a rather cold night. Remnants of dew linger on the wooden deck and on the hydrangeas. This is the pattern of recent days. Cool nights followed by days of clear blue skies and a brief burst of mild sunshine.  My choice of tea slides mostly between Earl Grey and Green tea. I take my tea with no sugar and no milk. I like to share a cup of tea with someone. I rarely drink tea alone. I was trained by my parents to view drinking tea as a social occasion. To sit and ruminate is a simple pleasure. Action plans are streamlined. Review and reflection frequently occurs. Often speculation drops into a conversation. Dreams and plans can find a spark at this time too. Matters may be resolved. Tea helps a conversati