In every writing class and every blog post and every article I read about teaching writing, there are things that show up consistently: writer’s notebooks and modeling and I cannot stress how important I think that these things truly are.
I know I talk about writer’s notebooks a lot, but I think that they are vital to teaching writing because it gives writers FREEDOM and we all want freedom in school. Students need a chance to write about what interests them or they will forever have a negative attitude about writing. We want our students to feel like we trust them and we want to foster creativity in their minds.
I have had the most luck writing when it comes from prompts and freedom to let it take me in any direction. When I talk about my plan to use this in classrooms, I get a lot of negative feedback because people my age and older, never got a chance to appreciate writing in school because they were forced to write essays and research papers, and that was it. I always tell people who have negative comments about writing notebooks that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows that writing notebooks helps in writing classrooms soon much.
Modeling is another one of my favorite tactics. Students always have a negative mindset when a teacher tells them to do something that they don’t have to do. For example, in gym class when my teacher sat in a chair or on the stage and told us to run sprints, I wanted to sprint over there and kick her. If you don’t need to run, then why do I need to? I feel like the same goes for reading and writing. We should never ask a student to do something that we wouldn’t do and when they see us doing it in class with them, then they will be more willing to hop in and do it. So teachers and future teachers, my advice to you is: when you give students a writing prompt or time to read, read and write with them so that they see you using it, not just telling them to do it. I promise they will appreciate it.