Today my work consisted of supporting educators on how to teach writing. Upon reflection, we realized that very few of us remember being specifically taught how to teach writing. Sure, we learned a lot about content, genres, and types of writing; but not one person raised their hand when I asked if they had an undergrad program that explicitly taught them how to teach writing. Empowering kids through writing is my passion, and I am driven to change the writing landscape that is found in many schools!
As a teacher of writing, I believe there are 10 Tenets of a Student-Centered Writing Classroom
- Teach the Writer, not the Writing – Focus on the learning, not the end product.
- Write in Front of your Students – Dispel the notion that writing is magic. Let young writers see and hear your process as you write in front of them.
- State the Why – Explain why Good Writers use specific skills, strategies, and resources when they write.
- Focus on Transferable Skills and Strategies – Answer and remind young writers how the skill or strategy can be used today and whenever they write.
- Student Choice – Transfer ownership by letting students choose what they write about. Is it really about the content or is the content the vehicle in which demonstration occurs? Learning to Write, not Writing to Learn.
- Student Voice – Developing voice takes practice. Have students write often and in various genres.
- Write for Real – An authentic audience and writing purpose engages young writers, provides relevance to writing, and allows them to share their story with the world.
- Surround Writers with Exemplars– Collect and share examples of writers and writings that students can gain inspiration from or that challenge them to apply a similar technique in their own writing.
- Differentiate – Pull small groups of writers or confer one to one with students based on needs and goals. While whole class instruction is efficient, small groups or one to one learning is more effective.
- Never Forget the Share – Honor the hard work young writers do through the share at the end of the class. Sharing promotes a safe community, builds relationships, and can target a teaching point!