Well, that was then, Spot. That's where we started. Happens every year. That's why we spend the first six weeks of school focusing on the many ways to pull an idea out of thin air. Most kids think that the ability to write well is some sort of mysterious gift. My hope is to teach them otherwise. It's a game of practice and endurance...and I am the personal trainer. There's no mercy, Spot, we take no prisoners.
And now...we've just finished our Memoir Unit, Spot. I have a huge stack of papers to read and make comments on. And you know what, Spot? I'm actually eager to see what you guys have come up with this year. Kids have not only settled on an idea and crafted it, but they've learned to "step away from the text" and hear the comments of others hearing their story out in the world for the first time. We randomly fishbowl-conferenced and the audience was able to tell the author what three ideas they walked away with after the reading! We even had 'personal connections,' Spot! And that is...in truth, the best way to compliment the author.
Here are a few of the mini-lessons we covered along the way: Word Puddles, Writing off a List,
Right in My Own Backyard, The Places to Love, Cherries...and the Pits, Mind Your Mentor, The Heart's Tug/Playing up the Hot-Spots, the Look Back Factor and many, many more! Many people tell me kids can't write these days. That notion is so unfair. People think texting, Twitter and Facebook are wrecking their writing. But you know what, Spot? This is so untrue! Learning to make your ideas clear in 140 characters is no easy task. It connects kids to an instantaneous audience! But in order to make lifelong writers out of kids, we need to give them more time in school to work at it. A good idea takes a long time and a lot of hard work to spin!