Friday, January 23, 2015

Celebrating Writing

Celebrating two weeks ago was so successful, I wanted to celebrate again! Thanks Ruth Ayres for  having me!

This week I am celebrating writing. I often struggle with writing, both teaching it and doing it myself. I am constantly thinking about writing and what to do with it. On Tuesday I participated in Slice of Life and while reading other slices I came across Tammy's slice. She talked about how students just need to write. They need time to just write. I couldn't have agreed more and promptly started to apply this philosophy to my daily routine in my classroom.

On the first day we had a few extra minutes in class so I handed out their notebooks and told them to open to the next blank page. About five students asked what we were doing, three exclaimed that they needed a pencil, and the other few did what they were asked to do.

Looking at the clock I calculated how much time we had until the next class and told them that I wanted them to write until it was time to go.

"What do we write about?"
"Just write."
"Can I write a story?"
"Just write."
"Does it have to be true?"
"Just write." (by this point my voice is starting to get higher.)

They did NOT like this game. One student was almost in tears because he couldn't think of anything to write about. I gave him some ideas and walked away to his protests. They finally surrendered and just wrote.

My classroom was silent for fifteen minutes. Every student was writing and several of them asked to share theirs when time was up, including the student who threw the biggest fit!

Fast forward to day three of journal writing.

"Today's journal entry is going to be a picture prompt."
All the progress we had made the first day was lost.
"What do we write?"
"This is your picture prompt for your journal writing today."
"Do we describe it?"
"This is your picture prompt for your journal writing today."
"I don't get it!"
"This is your picture prompt for your journal writing today."

Finally they got the hint and began to write. Again, they were silent as they wrote and wrote and wrote. This was celebration number one. Celebration number two came when they all wanted to share their journal entries!

I LOVED what they wrote! Each student's writing was so unique and different. They were talking about their writing to each other and upset that we ran out of time to share all of them. I can't wait to hear what the others wrote and see what is to come the rest of the year.

What would you write with this picture prompt?


  1. Sarah -- there is power in giving space to "just write." I'm so glad you were inspired by Tammy.
    Write on,

  2. Tilly sat in the comfort of the grass clutching her favorite journal and joyfully read the words. She knew that even if no one else listened to her writing, she celebrated that her words were scratched onto the page and they meant something special to her...she had no clue that someone else enjoyed what she shared too.
    Love this prompt! Love that you are getting kids to write! Awesome...just awesome!

  3. That is an awesome picture! I love how your students are slowly growing into this writing space. Good for you!


  4. This is just what I needed to read this week. I am starting on Monday with a new schedule that I have figured out in big part because I want to have this time to just write. I love that you included the struggles. It is such a victory when you stick to what you know will be good for the kids and see it working.

  5. "Again, they were silent as they wrote and wrote and wrote." - such a wonderful feeling when this happens in class.

  6. This makes me miss being in the classroom. Glad for teachers like you - "just write".