Monday, April 28, 2008

"Just Write" Continued - Feedback and Response!

To Lydia, (and others who are curious!)
Great feedback on my last post, thanks! I am still working on this anacronym to possibly use in the classroom soon.
The part about time - the "small moment" is a writer's workshop term from Lucy Calkins, I believe. Her instruction in writing asks students to choose to write about small moments, that is, moments that are short, so the writing can be DEEP instead of WIDE. Example: My trip to Florida is not a small moment. My day at Disney World is not a small moment. However, Deciding to Go on Space Mountain would probably qualify as a small moment - do you see how the writer would have to "zoom in" (another Calkins term) on a topic that happened in a small amount of time. This way, students can then develop this moment FULLY with sensory details, attention grabbing leads, dialogue, etc. And the moment would get well-fleshed out and hopefully lead to quality writing, as opposed to a summarization of key events on a WHOLE trip or even a WHOLE day. The point is to get the students writing deeply and specifically.

The part about engagement - again, "engagement" is more of a reader's workshop term (again, Calkins), and it refers to a student's ability to stick with their reading and return themselves to their reading despite distractions, motivation, disinterest, etc. You know, I didn't really think about the reflexive use of the "-self/selves" pronoun, but I will look into it to be sure I am using it correctly. I keep HEARING "engage yourself" so I just started using it in my writing as well to explain the concept.
So - as readers, we often get distracted, but we as adults have usually learned how to "re-engage" with the reading. As writers, the students are often SO easily led away from their writing by any little thing, including the poor choice of topic (much like how readers "disengage" when they have made a poor book choice).

So - I am aiming to have students stay engaged. (Let's just avoid the "selves" for now! :) )

Thanks again for the thoughts, as it really makes me think further into the topic/idea!


  1. Wonderful workshop notes.
    Your students are very lucky to have a teacher like you!

  2. Hi Julie,
    I hope that you are having a nice mother's day with your mom (did you bake her an applie pie?).

    Will you be teaching summer school or special workshops during the summer?
    It seems to me that creative writing would be a wonderful summer study for students in the age group that you teach. There's something about the free sense of those summer days that might stimulate creativity in unique ways.
    Have a good week!



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