Some folks out there might know I’ve been at work behind a writing initiative for my school district. The answer is yes! I have big and grand plans for what I think my colleagues and students and I can accomplish, if only we put faith in ourselves and align our instruction with our philosophical and moral compass. Which sounds lofty and wonderful. But that’s not why I’m writing today.
This year is about NOT asking much. This year is about little things that accomplish a lot. This year, the focus is on low-investment, high-reward tweaks and changes. This year, classroom teachers are only asked to do two things:
- Post a copy of a school-wide Writer’s Creed (more on that in another post)
- Spend 15 minutes a week letting kids write whatever and however they wish.
You and I may both be well aware that it might not end there. We might both realize that once students get a sense of freedom, of autonomy, of choice, of trusting themselves…they may not want to let it go. And we might both realize that once teachers get a sense of the power that comes from offering said freedom, autonomy and choice, THEY may not want to let it go.
…but you didn’t hear that from me.
Anyway, I’ve been in several classrooms now to introduce writing time, and it’s been a blast. I’ve gone in with my notebook as well, writing right alongside students and teachers. So today, for your reading pleasure, I bring you glimpses of the kiddos I inevitably see from class to class, the kinds of kids we find in every class when it comes to writing time. Cheers! Let’s make a toast to these loveys:
- The sitters-and-thinkers
- The lookers-at-their-neighborers
- The write-a-bit-and-give-a-quiet-gigglers
- The dogged starers at empty pages
- The spend-half-their-time-finding-better-spots-to-sitters
- The earnest pencil movers
- The just-can’t-keep-it-to-themselvesers
- The all-of-a-sudden-and-repeated-emergency-bladder-havers
- The can-I-ask-you-if-this-is-right-ers
All of them. All of these friends – and more! – have a space at our writing table. I observe them from classroom to classroom, and I can’t help but feel love and excitement for what’s to come. As the year goes on, I cannot wait to see what they bring. Buckle up. It’ll be a fun ride.