Monday, February 12, 2018

#DWHabit: Word of the Day: Penny

"A penny for your thoughts." I said to one of my students. She had been sitting staring into space.

" I was just thinking that if I would just force myself to write I would get this stupid essay done." She sighed and stared down at her paper. She did this for four or five minutes before picking up her pencil and writing.  Once she started writing she didn't stop until the essay was complete.  She looked up and smiled.

Once again I asked her what she was thinking about.

"You know I just realized that at first I thought I was procrastinating. Then I realized that what I was doing was running all of this through my mind. I thought I was wasting my time by rereading all my notes.  I realized I was just putting them in a logical order. Once I started writing the thoughts kept flowing. Then I went back and looked at what I had read and realized that I could use better words in some places."

I smiled and let her talk. I think this was the first time she had actually looked at her writing and the writing process.  The interesting thing was that other students started commenting.  I asked if they thought what the student had done was unique. I was shocked to hear that they all felt that way. They thought with their mind wandering around that they were doing something wrong.  Where did we go wrong when teaching our students about writing. I will show students multiple ways to do something, then let them choose how they get to the finish line.  I don't believe that all children are the same. I am there to facilitate. I want them to take chances and stretch themselves.

We all fear failure when it comes to our writing. We need to let kids see that fear and know that it is a part of the process.

To think if I had not asked a simple question I would not have given my students the ability to look at their own writing process.  Maybe we need to do it more often.

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