Sometime it is a struggle to know what to write each day. For March I am part of the Slice of Life Challenge and I want to write something each day that matters to me. Yesterday took me longer than usual and as of 7PM I still was not sure what to write about. I was reading some article I found linked on Twitter (can’t even remember what it was about) and suggested articles at the bottom included Logan’s TEDx talk.
I instantly began to reflect, to gather my thoughts, and to write. I love participating in the SOL challenge and writing each day, but I never want to write anything just for the sake of writing or just having a post. Each day I wait until I have something to say. Some days it comes to me the night before (like today), the morning of, and sometimes I have to wait until after 7PM.
These were my thought last night lying in bed, and I couldn’t help but think of our students being forced to write from prompt after prompt chosen for them. How many times do we allow students to write what they want, share how they feel, and pick a topic they are passionate about? How can they master writing a standardized writing test when they have no opinion or could care less about the prompt they are given. Why not give an open and generic topic like, “What do you think of education?” or “How will your past influence your future?” Are those even to specific? “Write on something you are passionate about and why?” Is that better?
I will look at classroom writing differently. Give students choices in their topics and leave time for free writes. As for the standardized test? Hopefully, if they are able to find their voice and confidence in writing enough with self-chosen topics, the state’s topic will be easier. I hope.
How do you encourage free writes and student choice in your classroom?
During the month of March 2015, I will be completing a daily blog as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge! More Slice of Life posts from Day 18 can be found on Two Writing Teachers.
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