January 29, 2009, Thursday
” I wished more people could pay more attention to me and not see me as a weird child that does not talk much.”
Writing brings out voices that need to be heard. Today this came through very clearly with one writer in the class. She chooses to write herself and let her voice be heard. As writers, we know these voices surface and today a voice came out with a cry for help and understanding. The above statement was quoted from one exit slip that sums up the narrative she wrote about herself today. When one chooses to teach writing or one chooses to write, we must be ready to deal with the voices that surface. As a teacher, you must be prepared to nurture and support not on the words on the paper but the writer as a person. Some days writers may not know where their pen will take them. Sometimes I have even surprised myself and wondered where my own thought and words came from. That is the mystical aspect of being a writer.
Today technology seeped into the classroom. As students finished writing their drafts they were able to go to a laptop to type their narrative or poem. I have access to five flip cameras and I am trying to figure out how to use those cameras in this classroom. How can I put them in the kids hands and have them record their experiences as a writer and reader?
As the wrote, Pam and I circulated around the room and got permission to read their drafts. We read for content and praised them for their efforts. We asked questions to make them think. I am pleased they each have such a positive attitude about their writing. We want to build that with each of them.
The main goal this week has been to think like a writer and to read like a writer. We have to do more of the later to move them where I want them to be as learners.
Pam and I met with the director of the Coastal Area Writing Project Dr. Files. She helped us think through using anchor charts in the classroom. Yes, this is so important. I noticed seeing these charts around SLA in Philly over the weekend. We need focus charts for our mini-lessons we teach daily.
Today the mini-lesson was helping student notice white space in poems and how white space is used. Typical young writers have a difficult time with white space and spacing in writing poems. They seem to see writing poems linearly like they write narratives. Mostly these kids have not experiences writing like readers or reading like writers. Until they have that experience they don’t grasp it.
I continue to echo the need for strong writing instruction in a reading classroom. It has to happen to make learner understand the real rules of reading and writing.ReaR