Friday, September 5, 2008

Essential Writing - Julie

So I've learned that I'm teaching a small class for struggling writers at the middle school this fall. It's called Essential Writing. I'm excited, because, as you may know, I love writing. The kids are not excited, because, as the data shows, they hate writing.

I'm planning the technical, here's-what-good-writing-looks-like, here's-a-comma-use-it, you-ought-to-indent-occasionally sort of thing, but I also want to have lots of activities that are so fun that kids forget they are writing. Over my twelve (gasp!) years of teaching I have accumulated many folders of engaging writing activities, but hope to gather from you, Dear Reader, more of these activities that you remember, as well as other thoughts about Essential Writing. What has inspired you to write? What has inspired you to improve your writing?

What is essential in writing?


Christy Raedeke said...

When I think back on my Jr. High experience, the thing that comes to mind first is when we had to write a short piece for Editorials section of the Daily Tidings. My mom dug this out not long ago - I wrote mine on how we should ban medical testing on animals (was this really a problem in the Rogue Valley in 1979?). As all locals know, the Daily Tidings will print ANYTHING and there's a certain thrill to seeing your work in print. For the first time these kids-and their parents-will see themselves as published writers instead of problem writers. Our pieces were only about 7 sentences long, but I remember working all semester on it. It was the first time I used the word "inane" in print; I felt so high-falutin'.

Anonymous said...

Wow -- I love this and am going to steal it.
Keep 'em coming Writers!
p.s. I think the reason that animal testing wasn't a problem in the Rogue Valley, and continues not to be, is because of your letter.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember writing a single thing in Junior High. I blanked out after Haiku in the fifth grade.

I was fortunate to have an english teacher recognize my love of "the craft" when I was a sophmore at Newport Harbor High. He petitioned to get me into AP English, even though my IQ wasn't high enough.

My breakout piece came with Mr. Ulander in AP English my junior year.

We had to pick a picture and write a story about it.

My mother loved a book of photography called "The Family of Man." I wrote a sensory piece about a boy in wartime England. What did I know?!!!! But it was a big hit and catapulted me into writing for a lifetime . . . Seeing a grown man, an AP English teacher no less, be dumbfounded by my work was exhilarating. A high I've been trying to recapture ever since.

Good luck