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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Lost for Words - Natalie Russell

Here I am writing about the writing process, again.  I really hope all this effort inspires teachers to embrace Writer's Workshop.  I seem to tell any teacher who will listen that, by doing Writer's Workshop religiously, you WILL develop writers who are inspired.  I truly believe this!  If I'm ever back in the classroom, I look forward to this part of teaching once again.  It can be truly magical.

This is an adorable story that will show kids that lots of people feel like they have nothing to write about.  One of the beliefs of Writer's Workshop is that, most times, students will write whatever they want, about whatever they want.  This means that like the story, some students may choose to write poetry, songs, narratives, procedures - whatever.  A kid who loves narrative may detest poetry and never choose to write that genre.  Totally ok.  When you get the chance to write, you write whatever inspires you.  It is an opportunity, a chance, a treat, something great, never a drudgery.  Ultimately in this book, the main character decides that he is an illustrator.  I think students should be allowed to tell stories through pictures as well.  It is another form of instruction.

There is a time when you have to learn all the different forms of writing.  I tell students that even I have to do writing that I wouldn't normally choose to do.  That's life.  Everyone has to learn about poetry even if they dislike it.  You have to learn how to do a procedure.  But when you get your chance to write whatever you want, then you get to choose.  In Writer's Workshop you teach all the forms of writing and students are required to produce at least one of each form that is taught, but free choice is free choice, no questions asked.

Please look up my entry on The Best Story by Spinelli where I started this conversation about Writer's Workshop. I'm sure you'll find a similar theme...

The big life lesson for kids after reading this book: Do what you are good at and feel comfortable with, don't worry about everyone else.  Be YOU!

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