With all credit to Bill Ferriter who posted a link to his Pageflakes page that he uses with his students, I created this iGoogle Page to begin to flesh out an idea I have for a writing class that I am thinking about for a future pet project.
Inspired by all of the work Justin and Dennis, Jeff, and Kim have done in Asia, as well as a host of the other wonderful people in my network, I’ve decided to begin to craft the vision of what I think a writing class should look like in the grade 6-12 setting. Here is my short list of adjectives/descriptive phrases for what it should look like:
- Connected: our students and their writing should be done in conjunction with some other, larger project that connects them to other classrooms and work being done in their community or another community somewhere in the world.
- Reflective: our teachers should be striving to teach their students to understand how they are learning, not just what they are learning. By asking them to discuss their learning and their progress, failures, and processes, we allow them the freedom to think out loud and open their thinking to the world.
- Archival/Portfolio-driven: students need to be shown visual representations of their improvement, and shown often. Being able to pull out writing from September to view in June and show growth and depth will change the way a student looks at their writing.
- Driven by student-interest: I keep hearing about student apathy from the teachers I work with. I want it to stop, and I want to know how you can drive student interest through the roof. Tim Tyson made Mabry Middle School “Irresistible;” why can’t I?
- Public: Hearing Chris talk about how SLA was a walled garden, yet so full of connections made me think hard about my definition of audience. Yes, I would like our students writing to be global, but I would also like it to be intensely local as well. Regardless of where it’s seen, I know it needs to be seen. Students need audience in order to shape their voice.
- Vibrant: I didn’t grab onto writing for myself until I got to college, and many people don’t ever or won’t ever. Clay speaks often about taking his high school students into the fray by helping them find their writerly voice. It’s difficult, it’s going to be marred by failures, but I want these students to find the spark, the one piece that generates interest–the one that keeps them coming back to the page to try again.
I am in the early stages of creating this class, but it’s exciting to do this. My appeal to all out there who might come across this is simple: what would you include in a writing class that spans all academic disciplines in its content?