Reading, Writing and Learning

Every Tuesday Two Writing Teachers hosts a Slice of Life Writing challenge. Check it out here. Join the fun!

I started thinking about the title of my blog. “Do my posts match the title?” I wondered. I’m writing. So that’s good. I’ve written often about what I am learning about myself and my life. Sometimes I’ve written about my experiences in the classroom. This post for example. But I’m making a goal to write more regularly about my teaching and  classroom life. I’m a huge believer in taking time for reflection. Writing about the learning in my classroom will help me reflect. I haven’t written much at all about reading. So, that needs to change. Not a problem. Look at my summer reading stack.

I think I will have plenty to write about as I work my way through these. Next week I’ll be at the June Writing Institute at TCRWP, where I just know I’m going to discover and be introduced to even more titles to add to my pile and I can hardly wait.

But here is what I can write about now- what I have learned about writing because I am writing, what I know that will inform my teaching. I’m starting a list. I think I will be adding to it for a long time.

1. When I  started writing, I began to really understand all those emotions that student writers feel. Frustration when you know your piece is going nowhere. Apathy when you can’t come up with an idea and don’t really care, or when you don’t feel like writing. Fear when you put yourself out there and actually share. I recently posted a link on Twitter to this post. I was terrified. It has gotten 29 views, not that many in the world of writing rock stars, but quite a few for little old me. I can share my writing ups and downs with my students and tell them what I do when I experience those highs and lows.

2. Students love to know that I am writing, and they love when I share my writing. Not only do I gain credibility with them for walking the walk, but they are a kind and appreciative audience. They often burst into spontaneous applause when I finished sharing a piece. I  gained their trust because we were in this writing thing together.

3. Deadlines and regular scheduled writing opportunities help me maintain my writing habit and stay on track. They also give me an amazing opportunity to read what other regular, everyday writers are writing. I get ideas, gain insight, discover interesting writing voices, and learn a lot about how to support other writers with specific and detailed comments. I learn what I need as a writer,  and it informs me as I structure classroom workshops.

4. I have learned that practice helps. I  share that insight with students. And I am credible… I can show them.

5. I’ve gained experience that helps me  work with my students not only as a teacher but also as a writer. That is a HUGE plus. When I do it, I get it. Suddenly what I knew to say and teach and learn took a leap beyond books and curriculum to authentic experiences. It was and is a wonderful Ah-ha moment.

6. I write  in different places for different things. I use my notebook mostly for collecting idea, trying things out, writing poetry. I like the computer for composing and drafting because I am one of those writers who revises, A LOT,  as I write. The more I write, the more I learn about my habits and preferences and knowing those things helps me as a writer.  When I write in my notebook or on paper, it matters to me what kind of writing implement I use. I like fine tip Staedtler markers the best, I don’t like dull pencils. I need to remember this for my students, to notice and honor their habits and preferences and to encourage them to learn about themselves as writers.

To be continued…

14 thoughts on “Reading, Writing and Learning

  1. We have many of the same books in our summer reading stack! I agree with what you say about the importance of reflection. I find that I often have ideas for posts that I want to write about the learning in my classroom and then I don't get to the post immediately and the idea/motivation/energy for writing it fizzles. I keep myself blogging regularly with the various weekly memes I participate in, but the posts that mean the most to me, that I learn most from writing, and that get shared most on Twitter are the ones reflecting on teaching and learning. I have a goal to write more of those posts too–just wish they didn't take so long to draft!

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  2. I am hoping to encourage a few colleagues to participate in the March challenge next year. I would love to have people close by with whom to share this experience.

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  3. A meaningful list – also another thing you can share with your students. There is a large group of us from my district Slicing each March, and when the month ends, we always come together to share our insights. They are very similar to yours. Writing makes us better teachers of writing. So powerful.

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  4. Very nice post – and well written, too!
    I used to have to write with a pen – not a pencil – and had so, so many edits the words piled up on the page! Now with the computer, I find I still do a lot of copying and pasting to keep the original words in my vision…just in case they find a more comfortable place to be! The computer has been more of a help than I originally (lots of years ago) thought it would be.
    I tried to make a “found poem” from your stack of books! Maybe when you get the rest of the titles there after your Writing Institute a poem will fall into place!

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  5. A great list and I am looking forward to your additions. I also hope to see you at TCRWP Writing Institute next week! I think it is so important to re-visit WHY teachers also need to be models of writing as you have done in this post!

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  6. A great post about the importance of the teacher doing the walking and not just the talking. But I also think it is important for your students to see your reflections. After all, teaching isn't just about the subject matter but about also how to navigate life.

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  7. We're still uber-busy with the last weeks of school; however, I am inspired by your reflection on your writing life. I too have a mix of teacher and personal posts these days and the mix varies over time. Sometimes, I think I should split my blogs; other times, I really do think that my multiple intersecting identities merge on the blog! ANYWAY, your points about the impact of writing on your teaching as SPOT ON in my “book.” !

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  8. I am loving seeing everyone post their summer reading stacks on their blogs. I check them out and make a list ready for my next holidays. I really like your reflections in this post and agree you really do know how your students feel when you yourself are a writer. Thanks for sharing your wonderful stack of reading delights. And, I love a “to be continued,” I'll be back. 🙂

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