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Maybe It’s Down a Different Path: Project 180, Day 48

I will hit the target if I…

…engage in the creative process, have fun, and grow as a writer.


“We are writers.”

We say this every day in 211. Forty-some days ago, in a Journey Journal reflection that began with either “I am a writer,” or “I am not a writer,” most of my kids indicated that they did not perceive themselves as writers. Forty-some days later, I am now trying to change their mindsets, and I will continue to do so with the remaining one-hundred-thirty-two days I have. No easy task, for many of their minds are set, and too many, to quote, “hate writing.” So, the battle is long and uphill, but I believe it is one worth fighting. So I will. And this is my plan.

  1. Mindset Mantra. If we hear it, If we say it, we can believe it. Jaden, after a recent reflection, told me he that he had written, without thinking about the mantras, that he had grown as a reader, a writer, and a learner. Every day we say, “We are…readers…writers…learners.”
  2. Multiple and Various Opportunities. I want my kids to have a number of different writing experiences. They will master no mode, but they will grow in each. We are currently working on description and focusing on development.
    4.1…demonstrate my ability to adapt the focus/purpose, organization, and development of my writing for a specific mode (narration, description, definition, argumentation, persuasion, exposition, cause-effect, compare/contrast).
  3. Due Drafts. Names matter. I no longer call last drafts “final drafts.” I don’t like the finality of it, for writing–creating–is never done; it’s only “due.” So, I call them “due drafts.” Time runs out, and when it does, I ask my kids to give me their best at that moment. I will then give them feedback and opportunity for a next draft if necessary to achieve proficiency.
  4. Limited Targets. I have begun only assessing a minimal number of specific targets. With each experience, I seek to make it manageable for them and myself. When we focus on too much, I believe we do not create sufficient clarity for learning. And that is what I care about: learning, moving forward as writers. Writing is transient and temporary. It is merely a vehicle. I care about the drivers.
  5. Writer Targets. I also include “writer,” not just writing targets. For our latest writer experience, the kids are creating sensory descriptions to publish in Sense Books. I do not expect them to become expert authors from this experience, but I do expect them to grow as writers. So, as you can see in the self-assessment targets below, they will have to consider and report on how they have grown as writers from their experience in this mode. I am earnest that I want them to engage in the creative process and have fun. I know that is not an academic writing consideration. But is a writer consideration. Why can’t it be fun? Why can’t they “do” for the sake of creating? Cannot they learn from that? Cannot they grow from that? I believe they can. And in a roomful of kids who harbor little love for writing, have I really anything to lose? Maybe helping kids grow as writers lies down a different path than the traditional. Maybe. Hard not to explore new paths. Something always draws me. Gotta see what’s there.

Today’s Trail

Along today’s trail we will…

…begin with Smiles and Frowns.

…draft descriptions.

…reflect in Journey Journals.

…end with a Sappy Sy Rhyme.

Happy Wednesday, all.

Do. Reflect. Do Better.

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