Morning, all. Fell back asleep in my chair this morning, so this will be a short, practical post. I have been experimenting a bit with writing. Well, really, I have been experimenting a bit with “writers.” I talk some about teaching writers v. teaching writing, and so to keep myself in check, I have been walking some, too. In an effort to give them some agency over their learning, over their growth as writers, I created an independent opportunity with writing description, one of eight modes of discourse that I am emphasizing this year. I chose description for this independent opportunity because I believe (don’t crucify me here) it is the least risky of the eight for me to turn over to the kids. To be sure, turning something over to kids, even for someone who’s comfortable doing it, creates some discomfort, some anxiety, so I took a smaller risk; I chose description.
Here is what turning it over looked like.
- I provided guidelines.
- Kids chose topics/focus.
- I provided class time for writing (6 uninterrupted days).
- I provided an analysis opportunity (see below).
- I posed questions for them to consider along with their analyses.
- Kids made decisions about revision based on analysis.
- I created an authentic audience. We are publishing classroom books.
- I created a self-assessment opportunity (see below).
- I served as a consultant only.
- I will not grade their writing.
- I will not read their descriptions until we have our publishing party.
Nothing terribly fancy, and since it’s my first shot, it most likely is not my best shot, but I turned it over. And I think that’s an important first step in providing ownership opportunities. They have to find their way, which means I have to let go some. And so, I will. I will learn. The kids will learn. We will learn. And we will all get better.
Along today’s trail we will…
…begin with Smiles and Frowns.
…complete self-assessments of descriptions.
…reflect in our Journey Journals.
…end with a Sappy Sy Rhyme.
Happy Tuesday, all.
Do. Reflect. Do Better.