A Celebration of Writing
For two months, my students have been immersed in writing. We used the Writers’ Workshop format designed by Lucy Calkins and focused on writing realistic fiction. Before we started, I had my students do a writing sample for me. Some wrote a paragraph, some wrote a single sentence, most wrote something in between. Then we started working on developing stories, identifying seed ideas, picking topics that we already know about from personal experience, sketching pictures, outlining story arcs, developing characters, “turning on the lights,” and writing so that the reader can “jump into the character’s skin.” Then student had time to just write. Every day, for 30-45 minutes. They wrote, I conferenced. They wrote, I conferenced. Repeat.
Today we celebrated our writing. After two months of work, the students shared the stories with one another. I divided them into groups and let them read to each other. One read, the others listened. They took turns. They shared. They applauded. They celebrated. We celebrated.
I am so impressed with the quality of writing that my students have produced! From a few scattered sentences to well-developed narratives, they have shown me what they are capable of! More importantly, they have realised what they themselves can do! So many started to unit telling me that they hated writing, that they didn’t want anything to do with it, that it was boring, and that they had nothing to write about. Now they know better. Everyone has ideas. Everyone can write those ideas and create something that nobody else has ever made before. That’s some pretty powerful stuff there!
A huge shout-out to our expert from the University of Illinois Center for Education in Small Urban Communities, Mrs. DeHart! She helped us get started, offered support throughout, and came back today for our celebration! This celebration was such a wonderful way to end our quarter and the first semester! I already have so many ideas for where to take this next, with writing and researching and sharing and publishing and oh so many other things!