Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Writing with the kids

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Everything I've ever read or heard insists writing along with your students is the way to go. As an enrichment/ gifted teacher, I don't often get the chance to have my students write unless they are responding to literature. Yet I love writing, so I do try to snatch opportunities whenever I can.

So when I was working with my second graders on Halloween on being creative, fluent thinkers, I knew I had the perfect chance to build in some writing. They had generated words to make spooky stories, so we dove in and began to write. I selected my own set of words, grabbed a sharpened pencil, and got down to business.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm writing a story, too. I told you I was going to write with you."

Ten or fifteen minutes went by, and their writing had started to slow. Gleefully, two wrote enormous THE ENDs at the bottom of their journal pages. Another was making a comic. A fourth noticed that I was still scratching away and jotted down a few more sentences.

"Can we draw pictures to go along with our stories?"

"Yes, absolutely. You know where the supplies are." Two of the girls happily began to sketch out the characters for their stories. I continued to write.

"Do we have to draw?" one of the boys asked.

"No, you don't. Not every story has pictures," I replied.

"Are we going to share?"

"Yep."

As the students shared their work, I mentally noted that they need some work on their ability to listen to one another. Those with illustrations kept picking their pencils back up to add some little detail to their art.

I responded to each of their stories, and we had a few moments before it was time to send them back to class.

Not a single child asked to see or hear my writing.

Not one of them.

I'm not going to lie to you, I was perplexed by that. They knew I was writing; they were sitting right there at the table with me. I even mentioned once or twice that I had more to add to my story. I wonder if they didn't honestly care about hearing my writing. Or maybe they felt like I couldn't share because it wasn't done yet? I've written with other groups before, and they always are at least slightly interested in what I've written.

Not that it was a masterpiece. Far from it, in fact. Ah well, maybe next time they'll let me have a chance to sit in the author's chair.

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