Skip to main content

The Power of Writing

Recently, several families at my school experienced the devastating effects of a fire that left five families on their block without a home. Fortunately, no one was hurt but one family at our school lost all of their belongings. The different communities this family belongs to have offered various levels of support as they look for other places to live and try to reconstruct their lives. Some people are offering monetary support and some are just providing a bed to sleep in for the children and parents.

Our principal sent a letter to all the families in our school detailing the situation and asking parents to consider making a donation for this family in our school. On the back of the principal's letter there is a simple drawing and a brief note from one of my former students. Having been evacuated in the early morning hours and probably wondering herself if her home and family would be safe, she wrote a simple missive to her friend calling her a hero. My former student's mother realizing how upsetting this event had been for her child prompted her daughter to draw and write about it as a way to soothe her fears.

As I read the correspondence that went home, I marvelled at the power of writing. The principal recognizing the urgency of the situation prompted by my former student's writing decided to use her piece of writing to spur others to action. He recognized that the fire is being discussed and worried about among the children. So, how can we reassure our students and take an action that may help this family in their time of need? Teachers agreed to discuss the letter in our classrooms and to urge the children to talk about what happened with their parents.

It is events like this that reconfirm for me the power of using writing as a way to make sense of our world and to consider how we can have an impact on what happens around us. I know this little girl and her mom are feeling very empowered right now.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Mini Lessons

Sometimes, I plan too many teaching points for one lesson. For example, instead of focusing on one strategy that students need in order to become more proficient readers and writers, I try to teach several strategies at the same time. 

Sometimes, I stretch out a teaching point beyond the 10- or 12-minute time limit I've given myself because I worry that my mini lesson wasn't enough or my students won't have understood what I intended to teach. So, sometimes, I beat the lesson to a pulp one too many times, or forget to have the kids practice the lesson before they go off to read or write. (Asking students to practice a lesson after you teach it, with you right there to observe and help guide students through the process, is very effective. Try not to skip this step!)  

Here's an example of a mini lesson that lasted less than 10 minutes and resulted in better learning.

My students are in the second round of historical fiction book clubs. In a couple of weeks, we will start …

A Confession

I have a confession to make.

I want to write a book. 
A professional book. 
I think I have a lot to say. 
I think others could benefit from my experience.
After all, I have been an educator for over 30 years.

But, what could I possibly say that hasn't been said before?
What new knowledge could I add to the table?
Who would even bother to read what I have to say?

These are questions borne of fear.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of not being able to complete such a daunting project. 
(At least, that's what it feels like to me right now.)
Fear that I won't make time.
Fear that I'll run out of time.

But, over the last couple of days, I've gotten some encouraging words of support from the Innovative Teaching Academy - 
#ITA17 Facebook group. 

You can do it!Write for yourself.
But the message that is propelling me forward is this one: 
It doesn't matter how many times something has been said...each time someone else says it, new people hear it...and that's where you make the d…


Today's post is short and sweet because I just got back from a night of playing Bunko with friends. 

I share some questions I'm grappling with in my classroom. 

No answers. 

Just questions.

(1) What purpose do math stations serve in my classroom?

(2) How can I continue to engage writers without overwhelming them or me?

(3) How can I determine if my tangled readers are learning to be better readers from the books they choose to read?

(4) How can I strike a balance between student choice and making sure my students learn what they need to learn at any given time?

(5) Am I demanding too much from my students?

As I find responses and solutions to these issues, I will post some ideas on my blog.

Any thoughts are more than welcomed!