For this blog post, I want to talk about writing workshops and some techniques for teaching writing. Since I am student teaching in middle school, this blog post will be focused on a middle school classroom but a lot of techniques can be changed to fit a variety of other grades.
From Atwell’s chapter on the writing workshop, I found it interesting where she talks about Jeff. To recap, Jeff was a student who drew pictures in class rather than writing his assignments. Like any teacher, Atwell got on him telling him to “Stop drawing and get to work”. Eventually, Jeff got angry that he was constantly being told to get to work so he and Atwell came to the conclusion that he needs to have enough pieces of writing in his portfolio by the end of the year. We are later given information from an article about how students use drawing as a prewriting activity, much like a graphic organizer to get ideas together. To me, this shows one of the many different ways that students learn. We, as teachers, have stuck to the traditional way of writing. We go through the writing process and form a final draft. I support the writing process because I know it works but that does not mean we can’t add more steps. It can be very beneficial to have a student create an illustration of their writing before they start. This way, they get to thinking about details and setting and what the character is doing.
Something I think is needed in any writing classroom is having a variety of different assignments to complete. This can be different genres, writing on something that is not paper, even trying to write in a made-up language. These are just a couple things that are nice for students because they are allowed breaks from regular essays. They also give students the opportunity to think about things in a different way and think outside the box when they are writing.
In the video, it is great that Atwell allows students to express how they want their writing to sound and look and she is able to give her professional advice. To me, this is how a writing classroom should be.
Overall, these are my two biggest takeaways from this chapter. Being able to allow students different ways to write not only helps their overall product but it also helps different levels of learners. They are individuals and are performing at their best. With writing, they are only compared to their own work. With different assignment options, we can challenge students by forcing them to work outside their comfort zone as well as assisting them by having different levels of difficulty in assignments.