SOL #1: Real Writing

“Woman writing” Artist: Pablo Picasso. 1934. Style: Surrealism. Period: Neoclassicist & Surrealist Period

Deep into a lesson on writing a response to literature, one of my students called me over during the drafting stage. As she is a thinker and a solid writer, I prepared myself for a provocative question. Eager to engage in intelligent discourse, I leaned in to consider her question.

“When will we get to do real writing?” she asked with sincerity.

My response was one of shock and disbelief. “What do you mean by real writing,” I asked. She then went on to define “real writing” as an opportunity to write about topics that you’re interested in, not simply the ones a teacher assigns. “You know, creative writing,” she explained.

This question’s staying power caused me to reflect on my practices as a teacher. In my quest to prepare students for their future in high school, I had thrown out what they love most about writing – creativity and autonomy. I killed their motivation.

Through much contemplation, soul-searching and reading about the topic of creative writing, I resurrected the writing workshop in my classroom. Honestly, I am ashamed to admit I had let it die.

As a result, students have created blogs with a focus of their choosing. We (myself included) blog every other day, and one day in an eight day cycle will be devoted to writing. Already I have seen a change in motivation.

Today, we start the Two Writing TeachersSlice of Life Classroom Challenge, and look forward to gaining an authentic audience to add to our enthusiasm for writing.

I love that my students make me think. It makes me a better teacher.

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52 thoughts on “SOL #1: Real Writing

  1. Wonderful thoughts about teaching writing. Still in college, I struggle with only being allowed to write on those assigned topics and do get frustrated. Your blog reminds me of what I need to do when I have my own classroom to help foster a love of writing in students. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Real writing transforms classrooms and lives. So glad you and your students are joining the Slice of Life community! I teach English Language Learners in Ohio and my students are participating in the March Challenge for the second year. We would love to connect with you and your students, since my students are from all around the world! Global connections are so exciting! (I’ll admit that I wasn’t even sure where Kuala Lumpur was… so cool!)

    My students are writing at http://kidblog.org/WritingOurOwnWords/

    • Thanks for the welcome Jennifer! I would love to connect with your class. I will encourage the students to reach out to your students on Monday. Looking forward to getting to know you.

    • Thanks for the comment Jennifer. The students are excited to establish a blogging audience. I will be going over comments with them this week and have placed a link to your class blog on our site for easy access. We look forward to getting to know you and your students.

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