A Burr in Your Sock

I’m thinking about these powerful words Kim wrote

“I worry about who in our schools gets the most formulaic writing. Why are our English learners, our students of color, our students who live below the poverty line most likely to get writing instruction that is pre-chewed, scaffolded to the point that no thinking is required? In the name of being helpful, we are robbing students of the opportunity to make sense of their thinking through writing.

And yet, letting go of the formulaic means inviting messiness, losing control, welcoming confusion in order to find clarity and coherence. What replaces the formula? That is a question that I am asked over and over again. The answers aren’t easy, they aren’t neat, and they mean teaching writers rather than writing.”

The answer is there:
“teaching writers rather than writing” so that they can “make sense of their thinking through writing.”

We offer many choices for authentic writing and teach the writer– the wordsmith.

We can accomplish this through student planned frames rather than formulas. I’ve written about it here:
http://whatelse.edublogs.org/2014/07/06/clmooc-play-is-the-game/

I’m also remembering the work of James Moffett: Active Voices- Writing across the Curriculum and others books. http://www.amazon.com/Active-Voice-Writing-Program-Curriculum/dp/0867092890#

His work reflects much of the Connected Learning Principles as students write in genres they choose for their audience and purpose. Important is oral language, peer feedback, and and choice in a workshop approach to teach each writer.

Isn’t that what we’ve learned from technology as well? We teach writers what they need ‘just in time’ for their needs and purposes.

What do you think

Thinking Through My Lens

Today was a prickly kind of day in the SDAWP SI.  There’s something about confronting formulaic writing that sticks in your socks like those little burrs you find on weeds that seem to plant themselves in the most unlikely places.

burr

Over the weekend we read a collection of articles about formulaic writing, thinking about why this approach to writing instruction persists, and the implications for student writing.  Even teachers who are proponents of using a formulaic approach to teaching writing still complain about the deadening experience of reading the resulting student writing.  Who wants to read paper after paper of repetitive phrasing and uninspired thinking?

I contrast that with the playfulness of this week at the CLMOOC.  This week’s make is to hack your writing.  And already on day two interesting writing is filling my feeds.  I woke up this morning to a poem by Kevin “stolen” from yesterday’s…

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