I absolutely enjoy teaching writing to my students. As a matter of fact, I encourage a variety of writing every day, cross-pollinating the curriculum all year long. There have been many times I have heard, “There is no time to write”; “I only write twice a week”, or “how do I include writing in all subject areas?”
Reading and writing go together, and you can’t teach one without the other. The Common Core expects our students to be able to respond to the text with writing. No matter the subject, our students must realize that what they read has a purpose. They must realize that every author has a style and an approach to their writing as well. When our students read, they are reading “writing”. Now it’s our turn to help them visualize the author’s purpose and apply their understanding with a written response. I accomplish this goal by creating various visual strategies and hands-on experiences using multiple visuals and props. It most definitely brings the teaching and learning to “life” and my students enjoy the creative elements as well. There are obvious challenges for a few children with some of the basic writing skills, but when we unleash the creative side of their journey through writing, my students begin to find their “voice” and become more confident readers and writers.
I have not only created different strategies for all learning styles, I have also inspired my students to have a “choice” in the process as well. They can work individually, with partners, and even in small and large group settings. They can use props to inspire collaboration and of course there is always time to pair- share and participate in presentations. All of this requires various genres of text, graphic organizers, art mediums, visuals such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, illustrations, calendar art and more. And yes, writing is at the center of it all.
“This doesn’t sound like writing”, one would remark, but it most definitely is. Reading and writing go together, and you can’t have one without the other. It’s time to try some new strategies/organizers and remember writing involves reading, researching, fact finding, elaboration, visualizing, critical- thinking, creating, expressing collaborating, and vocalizing. Give them the tools and I promise you, your teaching and their learning will come to life, one word, one sentence, one paragraph at a time.