So I am doing more and more of writing WITH my students lately. Actually, I really began taking it more seriously last year after reading Aimee Buckner's Notebook Know-How. (LOVE THAT BOOK and it's a quick, easy read!) And I was doing just fine with writing in my nice little composition book last year while the kids were writing in their notebooks. (LOVE those composition notebooks!)

BUT, now that I've begun this experiment in blogging, I feel I can relate more to those kids that say, "I don't know what to write about." I get it now! When I'm writing in my notebook, I don't have to worry about anyone looking it over, reading it, analyzing the grammatical errors I'm making, or the words I'm spelling wrong. I write in there purely for me and, MOST importantly, I don't worry about whether or not someone will think my writing is any good or not. I only share my writing from that composition book with others when I think I might have something on the verge of "good."

But, now that I know there's an audience (thanks for being my audience, Mo!) as I'm writing for my blog, I'm feeling the same thing as those kiddos. Gosh, I don't know what to write about! After all, I don't want to write anything that someone is going to read and think, "WHY did she even bother with THAT?" I only WANT to write things that are WORTHY of being written. And some of my ideas are not all that great... yet.

So, I get it now! I'm thinking that maybe those "I-don't-know-what-to-write" kids really DO have some ideas brewing, but they don't think those ideas are WORTHY. So, next question? How do I get them to validate those ideas and SHOW them how to turn those ideas into a stories that ARE worthy?

So-o-o-o, instead of babbling on and on about all of the different things they COULD write about, I'm going to look them in the eye and say compassionately, "I KNO-O-O-W! Isn't that the hardest part!" and then we can have a REAL conversation about where ideas come from and how to play with an idea until something good DOES come out of it.

Now, I've got to go and add to my LONG letter of apology to the adults that were once kids in my first class. I really didn't know what I was doing! And I'm STILL amazed at how long I take to figure somethings out! No more, "What do you MEAN you don't know what to write about?" for me!

Views: 32

Comment by Maureen Ericikson on September 9, 2008 at 8:55pm
this was challenging. 1. i don't write when they write and 2. i have said the same thing to kids. you got me thinking AND you have yet to write about something that wasn't of interest to me. thanks for sharing.
Comment by Mobbsey on September 11, 2008 at 1:44am
I get this, totally! I have an extension english group - all very bright and all with some great ideas/opinions, but they never want to share them. I even have some students who will make the post, but alter the colours so no one can SEE what they've written. It's so frustrating, especially as some of it is very insightful and moving work. I find it takes a lot of personal risk to help them feel safe - I even share my silly posts about TV shows. You've certainly got me thinking now too!

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