The Power of Writing
Writing is one of the most powerful methods of communicating. We do it every day with emails, texts, memos, and sticky notes. Writing gives us the opportunity to entertain, teach, and change minds. It allows us to share our ideas and gives a voice to the voiceless. Pretty powerful, right? Now, give this power to a child.
Writing in the Past
In the past, children would be given topics to write about using a specific writing method. Teachers would make sure that handwriting was neat and often correct all misspelled words. It was thought that these methods would help children become writers. As time passed, visionaries, researchers and educators discussed and developed new methods; and the Writers Workshop method was born.
Writer’s Workshop is the Present
Writers Workshop focuses on guiding children and allowing them to choose and explore their topic. Teachers use mini lessons to focus on specific writing skills or techniques. Teachers model these techniques, using their own writing as well as mentor texts. After the mini lesson, children head off to write, and teachers conference with individuals about their work. What used to be a teacher-centered lesson is transformed into a student-centered, authentic learning experience.
“Having seen our school implement the Writing Workshop methodology these past two years, it is a moment of pure pride and delight to join the Writing Celebrations. Our teachers are ‘coaches’ in the Writing Process; suggesting ‘next steps’ or more effective strategies for writing. Our teachers are also ‘researchers’…..we watch learners go about their writing, we observe them receiving feedback from peers, and through our research of their work, more effectively understand how to nudge them forward.”
— Ms. Sweeney, ES Principal
If You Walked into a Classroom…
You would see children:
- engaged in their writing
- sharing ideas
- critiquing peers’ writing
- collaborating to improve student writing
- efficiently managing their work
You would see teachers:
- observing students writing
- engaged in conversations with students about their writing
- meeting with individuals or small groups to address needs
- coaching and mentoring students to use specific techniques and skills
Authenticity. We now have a community of authors using words to communicate their ideas to a chosen audience. They are able to transfer skills and techniques from texts of famous authors into their own pieces. But most importantly, these authors have found power in their words and believe that their writing is gold.
Every piece of writing published by our AIS elementary school students is authentic, a one-of-a kind piece. If topics are the same, the content is totally different. If you had the opportunity to pick up or visit a writing celebration much like our recent Grade 1 writing celebration, you could see the child and their personality in each book. Here are some examples below…
You can see that each piece:
- is a different topic
- has the necessary text features of an informational text, such as diagrams, headings, and table of contents
- has different text features within, such as word definition boxes, quizzes
- has edits and revisions
- is unique to the author
Celebrating the Author
During the Grade 1 writing celebration, parents and teachers celebrated the accomplishment of the author. If you were fortunate to be a part of the celebration, you saw many smiles, heard many laughs, and noticed the genuine interest in every informational book. We read books about dinosaurs, pets, toys, zombies, pancakes, and many other topics you can only imagine a 6 year old could write about. At the end of the day, when you provide a child with some freedom, guidance, and encouragement; you will discover that they have powerful words and ideas to share with you.