Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Is There Ever a Time to Value Product? #SOL18
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Slice of Life: Is There Ever a Time to Value Product? #SOL18

I didn’t have jitters or second thoughts as I walked down the aisle on my wedding day.  I am typically pretty decisive in most aspects of my life.  There has only been one time when I truly experienced the urge to bolt –


– and it is happening once again. It is T-minus 1 day.

There is nothing more humbling than putting your thoughts into the world in the form of a book.  Blogging, tweeting, pinning, emailing, presenting, and even slicing for 31 days are all transient.  You can delete, change, revise and even hope participants will forget.  A book is permanent.

Every time someone asks us a question we find ourselves panicked – Did we put that in the book?  When we think through how we worded something we worry – Is our language inclusive?  When we read blog posts and books from colleagues we fear –Did we remember to acknowledge them in the book?  As we reread our posts and presentations we doubt – Did we include that information?  As we read and discuss opinions in our profession we distress – Did we address that topic thoughtfully?  When we have these thoughts about our digital writing, we never worry.  We simply log on, edit, or even delete!

I pride myself on being a lifelong learner.   Sometimes, having my thoughts in print feels static and fixed.  I change my thinking all the time – when I go public with a book it feels more vulnerable. As a blogging community of writers – slicers – each of us has been going digitally public for 28 days.  I must admit, I don’t have the same jitters when I hit publish on my blog.  My digital writing feels more personal – I write for me – rather than for my audience.  I know you are all out there and I love reading your responses, but when I sit down to write my true purpose is personal.

Having these two types of writing going public at the same time this month has really highlighted the difference for me as a writer.   It makes me think more about the publication stage of the writing process with our students.  I don’t think I give this stage enough thought.  I never want to slow down the drafting process or value product over process, so I don’t really talk with teachers about how to publish student work.  I always recommend students “go public” with their writing by sharing it with an authentic audience, but typically students read it aloud and it is in draft form.

As I am personally going through this final stage of the writing process right now, it makes me think more about the role of publishing writing in a fully edited form.  It is a part of the writing process and I wonder if it is important for students to experience it more often. I want to think more about the difference between draft and final publishing.  I want to consider more deeply the pros and cons of taking the time to formally publish student writing.  How does it feel for students to take their writing through the final step?  Is it worth the time it takes?  How often should we do this in elementary classrooms? How do we give our young students this same experience without taking up too much time or valuing product over process?  I am not sure I have any answers, but I know I want to give it some more thought.

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBethKathleenDebMelanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year.


  • Avatar
    Lynne Dorfman
    Posted at 10:30h, 28 March Reply

    A great post about the value of process and product and what to emphasize with students. It is hard to go public with writing – especially, the first time. There is excitement and joy as well. But I think it begins with knowing your process and savoring the journey. So many great questions posed here, Clare. I cannot wait to read your new book! I know it will be thoughtful and will challenge me to think deeply about my ideas – how I might grow from the thoughts that you and Tammy put forth here. I cannot wait!

  • Avatar
    Diane Esolen Dougherty
    Posted at 10:58h, 28 March Reply

    Oh boy do I relate to this. When your book is out there, it’s too late to revise. The finality of it is daunting. It is for students too. We need to remember that for sure. As for me, I am looking forward to adding your newly published book to my collection. Congratulations to you and Tammy!

  • Avatar
    Carol Varsalona
    Posted at 13:15h, 28 March Reply

    Clare, your post is a timely one for me as I try to gather thoughts on the publication of one piece of writing I was asked to write. There is an excitement I hear in your piece about writing. There are also doubts I hear because you like me I believe are thoughtful people who write with intent. The what ifs come in and disturb the flow. I am very excited to hear more about your book so continue writing these reflective posts for us to savor.
    I created a what if video poem today so I can clear my mind and move on with my tasks. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to ponder again about writing going public.

  • Avatar
    Ashley Tice
    Posted at 14:45h, 28 March Reply

    When I have my students do their writing pieces for Writing Workshop, I always have them complete a final, typed draft for me. I find that my students make better revisions when they draft electronically because it is easier to revise and to edit that way. Additionally, by having them “publish” their writing, it shows them the importance of drafting and revising. Knowing that writing is a multi-step process is something that students have to know.

    Good luck with the new publication!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 18:52h, 28 March Reply

    Your reflection invites me to reflect both on my writing process and the publishing opportunities for my students. It is exciting that you have another book coming. Your previous book “Assessment in Perspective” I have returned to more than once and shared with ,my colleagues.

  • Avatar
    Posted at 23:48h, 28 March Reply

    I wished for the book today as I helped a teacher rethink her classroom library. Hope I did you proud. Glad your voice is in my world.

  • Avatar
    Christine Baldiga
    Posted at 00:28h, 29 March Reply

    You raise some serious questions for us all to consider. I do recall many years ago having my 1st and 2nd graders feeling such pride over their published piece of writing that was typed by a parent volunteer. Not sure I’d repeat that arduous process.
    Can’t wait to read your new book!

  • Avatar
    Cathy M
    Posted at 11:21h, 29 March Reply

    Well, you’ve done it again. You’ve crafted a beautiful piece that brings true life struggle back to the opportunities we provide for students. I remember the days where we focused on publication with our young writers. As I tried to learn and understand the writing process with greater clarity, I went to a session where Katie Ray reminded us that publication can mean a lot of different things. (That’s a terrible paraphrase of a profound idea she shared.)

    I was in a similar conversation yesterday with teams of teachers who were discussing the challenge of students balancing choice with things teachers were asking them to do. One of the things that struck me about the conversation was how our world requires some flexibility in knowing our task/opportunity and adjusting. When we are writing in our notebook, that is different than publishing a blog post. When we are taking a test, that is different from sharing our thinking. As you shared, publishing a book is very different from pushing the publish button on our blog.

    Oh, the book. First of all, I am so excited to read it. Secondly, I hear you. It was one of the challenges when I finished More Than Guided Reading. I just struggled with my thoughts being fixed because, like you, my thinking is always changing. Additionally, a reader brings different experiences to the text which sometimes colors their interpretation of the message….a message a writer hopes to have written with clarity. On the other hand, there is something about being able to return to the permanence of that thinking to dig a little deeper into the ideas.

    Thanks for all you share. I learn something every time I stop by — or read (and reread) your work in its more permanent version.

  • What I Learn From Other Slicers #sol18 | readingteachsu
    Posted at 04:51h, 30 March Reply

    […] my friend,  Clare Landrigan,  I continue to learn that you can accomplish what you set your mind to, that encouragement means […]

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