Slice of Life March 10 Writing Roots

 

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Writing is is not easy. It’s not simply talk written down. I tell my students that. It’s not just rambling on and on like we do sometimes with friends. It requires thought. Lots of it. With a friend, we can backtrack and add asides. But in writing, we’ve got to plan those — we’ve got to make our ideas clear.

That’s why we support each other, show our words, ask, “Does this sound right?”

When we ask that, we’re wondering if our ideas are clear and our words speak with both language and story sense.  We KNOW what it should sound like, but authors are always growing — moving from “talk” to “text,” and sometimes we just know we’ve written talk, but not text, not story.

That’s where peer and teacher feedback is so important to budding authors. That’s why teachers provide models and lessons. As students branch out into different styles and genres, as they try to compose a description of their character or a comparison of ideas from their reading, that’s why those who’ve learned it will share, “Oh, try it this way. Here, read how I did that in this paragraph.”

When we know that support is there, we branch out and bud out more and more, knowing we have a community to learn with. We share our successes and smile. Because writing is hard; but it’s hard fun.

We’re participating in the Slice of Life Classroom Challenge, unofficially. We’ve reviewed descriptive writing — especially using the sense of sight and sound. Here’s one example of description: A Day Fishing for Salmon.   He included many of the strategies we’ve discussed:ask a question for introduction, action verbs, sights, sounds, snapshot writing [take a snapshot and describe what happened before, during, after.]  Now, it’s not perfect writing, but it is practiced writing from support.  And that’s our goal.

Models and practice with time to write about one’s own topics have helped this young author develop description,  with sturdy roots that are the foundation of solving writing problems: strategies to use when branching out in new directions. And he’ll be there for the other writers who struggle with the hard task of writing and ask him,  as they learn to write descriptions, “Does this sound right?” Both will discover that “Writing is hard fun,” as Donald Murray used to say.

So, open your mind and listen to each other find the right sound in your writing. Develop strong roots from writing lessons to draw from whenever you write.

What strategies are the roots of your foundation in writing?

classroomsliceoflife


 

Writing Strategies

Gather idea:  Use images, quote, and recent experiences to draft.

Explain: Develop the idea — define what writing is and isn’t

Snapshot: capture the moment of struggle and describe the solution

Image:  use the image to choose words [branch, bud, roots, support]

 

 

One comment

  1. Such an important thing for students to realize — that writing is “not simply talk written down.” I like your phrase “open your mind and listen”

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