I am a writer. – Jayde, age 6
I’m not a writer. I didn’t go to journalism school and I have no proper credentials that certify me as a writer. I haven’t immersed myself in the study or practice of writing. So how can I expect my students to view themselves as a writer if I don’t even view myself as one?
Maybe the problem lies in how one defines “writer”. I think my perception in the past has been that writers are trained and paid for their work. Since I’ve been using the Writer’s Workshop approach to writing, I’ve learned that we are all writers. Writers write every day. Writers share their ideas. Writers write on a variety of topics and writers are good readers. As educators, we have to remember that our attitudes are conveyed to our students. I want my students to be excited about writing. When I start Writer’s Workshop each day, I call my “writers” to the carpet and I ask them in conferences to share with me what they are learning about themselves as a writer. In turn, I model writing for them. I think aloud about writing ideas. I model what I do when I get “stuck”. I model writing on a chart tablet and on my iPad. If I think of a writing idea in the middle of math, I jot it down on a sticky note or in my Notes app. I tell them to do the same. I blog here and I blog with them on KidBlog. We talk about what good writers do and we use mentor texts as examples.
My modeling has been fruitful. My students write every day. They write about a variety of topics and for a variety of purposes. They write fiction and non-fiction. They write stories on paper and on their iPads. They make lists. They make books in eBook Magic and on Pages. They write personal narratives and one even wrote a song. They blog with each other. They fill one page and ask for another. And another.
They have no doubt they are writers. It never occurs to them to think they aren’t. They write and they share. They encourage one another. They have all the necessary tools. They have training. All they need now is to get paid!
Hey wait! Can I get in on that too?
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