Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: I Never Knew That is What Writers Do #SOL17
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Slice of Life: I Never Knew That is What Writers Do #SOL17

So what are you going to write about today? 

I don’t know.

Did you talk it out with your partner?

Yup.  Still don’t know. 

 

Her eyes meet mine, daring me to ask again.  I don’t take the bait.

 

Ok.  Sounds like that’s the work you need to do as a writer today.

What do you mean?  I can’t write.  I don’t have a topic.

Well, finding your topic is writing.  It may just be the most important part of writing.  You know what you need to do as a writer today, so off you go.

 

She didn’t move for a minute.  She watched me to see if I was really serious.  Then she set off to her writing spot.

 

As I moved around the room conferring with partners I noticed she was writing.  I decided to check in with her.

I see you are writing. 

Yeah.  I am writing about the time when my cat died.

Wow.  That is going to be a powerful story.  I can’t wait to read it.  Seemed like finding a topic was easier than you thought it would be.

Well, I never knew that finding my topic was writing.  I just thought I was bad at writing.  Now that I know not knowing what to write is writing, I think I am better at it.  I just never knew.

  

Some days it’s the little moves we make … and more often than not it’s the ones we don’t even realize we are making that impact the readers and writers in our classrooms.  Writing is messy, slow at times, and never the same way twice.  Once we help our students embrace the process they may see themselves in a whole new light.

9 Comments
  • Avatar
    Molly Hogan
    Posted at 10:36h, 07 November Reply

    “Well, finding your topic is writing. It may just be the most important part of writing. You know what you need to do as a writer today, so off you go.” Powerful move there! Well done!

    • Avatar
      Christine Baldiga
      Posted at 11:57h, 07 November Reply

      “I just thought I was bad at writing. Now that I know not knowing what to write is writing, I think I am better at it. I just never knew.” And I never even thought about explicitly telling the children this! genius! I know many students who would benefit from hearing this message.

  • Avatar
    Michelle Haseltine
    Posted at 10:51h, 07 November Reply

    “Ok. Sounds like that’s the work you need to do as a writer today.” YES! I love this. I will be borrowing this move. Thank yoU!

  • Avatar
    Stacey Shubitz
    Posted at 13:02h, 07 November Reply

    It is those little moves, and those times we don’t take the bait, that matter most when we hope to move kids forward.
    AWESOME!

  • Avatar
    Julieanne
    Posted at 13:54h, 07 November Reply

    YAY you for not giving into the classic whine of, “I don’t know what to write.” She got so much more out of writing workshop Not just something to write, but a belief in her ability to find her way out of a problem. BRAVO!

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Laffin
    Posted at 15:14h, 07 November Reply

    I agree with Michelle’s comment — I’m going to borrow that line. Congratulations on creating independence in your young writer. It looks like your plan worked. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Lisa Keeler
    Posted at 18:16h, 07 November Reply

    Huge moment! Wow! I was holding my breath and it felt so good to exhale when I finished reading your slice. I too love what you said to the writer about finding a topic being the work she needed to do as a writer that day.

  • Avatar
    Mandy Robek
    Posted at 03:03h, 08 November Reply

    Finding your topic is writing…I don’t know if I thought about that in our workshop…writers need time to think and work. Thanks for the nudge!

  • Avatar
    Carol Varsalona
    Posted at 01:02h, 09 November Reply

    Ah, you wrote about messiness, too. I really like your response to the writer: “Well, finding your topic is writing. It may just be the most important part of writing. You know what you need to do as a writer today, so off you go.” How many times have I heard, “I don’t have anything to write about.?”

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