I have always loved writing, but found it incredibly challenging. From middle school on, I loved sitting with my fingers poised over a keyboard, coaxing the ideas to flow. It sometimes felt a little unwieldy, like preparing a dinner feast–so many little details and parts that need to come together, so much time spent stirring the pot, waiting for the dish to bake, but I loved the process and the outcome. Seeing everything suddenly form after spending hours revising sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph, omitting needless words was satisfying.
After college and graduate school, however, I stopped writing. I rarely took the time to craft any writing unless I was applying for a grant or penning a letter to a friend. I had thoughts about starting a class blog or even a teaching blog, but never got very far.
This year, after attending the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) Writing Institute, I decided to begin writing again after being inspired by Lucy Calkins’ opening keynote. In her keynote, Calkins had three main points. She said if we want to get results with students in writing, we need to:
- Go for it. Don’t waffle. If we don’t stick with something it work have an impact (much like a diet). We need to role play our way into the actions of a writer.
- Work with deliberateness towards challenging goals. Learners benefit from having specific goals based on what they are already doing. Having a strong relationship and knowledge of students is key and feedback propels the learner forward.
- Bring writing to scale at our school. The relationships between teachers makes the biggest difference. We need to venture into each other’s rooms, collaborate, and work together to create a community of writers and learners.
While these ideas were about the teaching of writing, they have implications and applications far beyond writing workshop–they apply to all learning and teaching endeavors both in and out of the classroom. So, I am taking Lucy’s advice both inside and outside of the classroom. Here’s my plan for personal growth:
- Go for it: I want to bring thoughtful writing back into my personal and professional life, so I am starting a blog
- My challenging goal: I aim to write 1-2 posts a week about teaching and learning sharing articles, lessons, tech ideas, websites, videos, artifact, quotes (trying to bring in at least one outside source each time I post)
- Bring work to scale–collaborate and form a learning community: I’m going to try to extend the scale of learning by collaborating both at school, within my district, between districts, and across the internet using this blog, the kidblog I just started for my class, and twitter.
I’m opening the door, inviting you in to see the beginnings of the process. I’m going for it, and I’m crossing my fingers that what emerges is interesting and, hopefully, delicious.