Sunday, January 31, 2016

Trying to Gain a Focus Freewrite

What makes me happy when I teach writing to my students? This is a loaded question because there are so many answers! I can think of very specific moments with very specific students, but when I think of bigger-over all-hey my kids got it-moments-or I love teaching this to my students moments-there are a lot! Perhaps a list will be best.

I am really happy when:

  • powerful, important, and meaningful topics are selected for their writing pieces
  • a personal writing goal is mastered by any student 
  • meaningful revision work takes place and they understand that it is improving their work
  • a one on one conference goes well
  • I can use my own writing as mentor texts 
  • they say they loved a unit or a particular writing piece they created
  • their writing is transformative in some way on a personal level
  • a strategy group succeeds 
  • an advanced student challenges himself outside of his comfort zone
  • I find the perfect mentor texts
  • they use their Writer's Notebooks well 
  • I feel like I taught a lesson well
A few proud moments this year:
  • Ian hugged his writing portfolio because he was so proud of the work he had done
  • Karina captured the heartbreak of missing her dad a few years after he died through the use of symbolism in her piece
  • Realizing that half of my second block didn't know when to indent, and three strategy groups later, most of them were using paragraphs!!!
  • Seeing "author's crafts" being used regularly in most of their writing pieces.
  • Persuasive topics about gun control, marriage equality, Seaworld's treatment of the orcas, animal abuse, benefits to organic eating, sexism, and so on...
  • Jayden, "My revisions have revisions!"
  • Shannon, "I am no longer allergic to revising my work."
  • Rosemary, "Ms. Martinez, please finish writing your turtle story. It would make the best mentor text."
  • Diksha, "Ms. Martinez, you are the best mentor we have."
  • Fighting for the author's chair!
  • A successful conference with Ryan about authentic dialogue.
I can keep adding to both lists. There have been so many proud moments and so many reasons why I love teaching my kids writing. I don't know if having so many thoughts is a good thing for narrowing down a thesis idea, but it's good that I still love my career choice.

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