October 6, 2019- Writing with Kids
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
A busy week on so many teaching and writing fronts!
This week I began to help my 5th graders plan and prepare for an essay contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. They are to write an essay as a passenger on the Mayflower. In discussing the contest and the prompt, I was shocked at how tenuous their understanding of the voyage of the Mayflower and its passengers was. Naturally we stopped and did a little digging, reading, exploring, and investigating. That also meant a stop this week at Barnes & Noble to add a few books to my class library on the topic. J The more we researched, the more excited they became about the writing contest.
I do love writing contests. For many writers, (both young and not-so-young) much of the value of a writing contest is the feedback we get from the judging rubrics and comments. Being able to take that feedback, and look at our writing through fresh eyes can be a very powerful tool.
Several of my student groups (3rd, 4th, and 5th) are also beginning to work on their contributions to an Expository Anthology we will be publishing. In reviewing the writing process, I spent a lot of time discussing the process of feedback and revision with them. They are so excited to get started and many have already chosen their topics.
And then of course, there was my college class. Their first major project was due this week, so reading and grading all 40 projects took some time. I love the passion that came through in so many of their projects. They had to select a children’s historical fiction novel, and then collect a group of primary documents and artifacts that could be used to deepen students’ understanding of that historical time period or event. Naturally historical fiction is near and dear to my heart, but it is also an incredibly powerful way to teach young people about history. While reading names and dates and events in a textbook can be dry and sterile, reading about an event or time period in which we can slip into the psyche of those who lived it, can be life changing.
Getting kids excited about reading, writing, and history! That is my vocation. It is priceless when your job, career, and hobbies also enable you to do the same thing!