Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Teaching Tips - Take it Personal!

You know how sometimes comments are made and people say, "Don't take it personal!"  Think about that . . . why would someone say that?  Because if you take something personal, it hits close to home and stirs up emotions.  Once emotions are stirred up you open up the floodgates!

Well this time I'm telling you to TAKE IT PERSONAL! 

In writing, that is.  =)

I'm encouraging you to encourage your students to take their writing to a personal place as often as possible. 

Writing prompts are great.  Some can even push students into a personal direction and tap into some great creative juices, but sometimes writing prompts can make your students feel limited.

One of my favorite subjects to teach is writing (because I LOVE writing so much).  I actually incorporate a variety of ways to teach writing so that my students are exposed to different writing styles and techniques.  They need to be able to write on a given topic, but they also need to know how to self start.  I often reserve writing prompts for writing centers or writing benchmarks (to keep writing uniform, comparing apples to apples at the beginning, middle, and end of the year between students).  When I do Writing Workshop, however, I try to lead with a genre or style of writing but then let students choose their own topics.  Some kids have difficulty doing this, so when I confer with them I try question and lead students in finding something that is meaningful to them.

Personal writing (experiences, likes, dislikes, wishes, and opinions) get people excited.  When you're excited you take interest and often get wrapped up in the task at hand. You can get worked up and then . . . the floodgates open!  Now imagine that in a student's writing.  Imagine the floodgates opening up right inside their notebooks on what was once a blank piece of paper.  I can't even describe to you my joy and satisfaction when I see that happen, or even better - when I ask students to stop to clean up because writing time is over and I hear the disappointment vocalized simply because they truly wanted to keep writing!  (Oh, how that touches my heart!)

Anyways . . . you get the point.

When it comes to writing remember to . . . 

Take It Personal.

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