The Write Start

I certainly don’t profess to be a professional writer or blogger but whatever it is that I do, I enjoy it.  I enjoy the act of noticing stories around me, I enjoy searching for the perfect word, and I enjoy the fact that I never know the direction I’m going to go until my fingers start tickety-tacking on my keyboard.

I get it, though: not everyone likes to write. That was my sobering realization when I came back to my classroom a couple of weeks ago.

When it was Writing Time, surely my students would skip to their desks, gleefully open their books, and start writing fearlessly, giving life to every golden idea…

That didn’t happen.

As it turns out,  I have a group of reluctant writers on my hands.  They have yet to see the value in writing and they don’t want to try because many are obsessed with doing it the “right” way.  Since emergent writing is the lay of the land in grade one, getting it all “right” is next to impossible; as a result, many are not motivated to try and are unwilling to take the risk.

With the help of a fabulous presentation at our last Non-Instructional Day by the lovely and talented, Adrienne Gear, I was reminded of the key missing piece in this puzzle:

The why.

Why write? What’s the purpose? Why should you care?  People write for a variety of reasons:  to share, to communicate, to think, to entertain… I needed to go back and get at the core of the reasons behind writing.  When I asked my class the question of why we’re learning to write, it was met with a sea of blank stares.  One little guy actually said, “because you said so”.

Clearly I have some work to do.

After some initial conversations and constant assurances of “it may not look right but it’s right for grade one”,  and celebrating successes – I’m pleased to say that the tide is slowly changing.

We’re a long way from the skipping and the glee, but at least they’re willing to pick up their pencils and give it a try.  We’re getting there.

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