Saturday, June 09, 2007

Slowing Down the Pace

It's the end of the school year and everyone is busy: final meetings, recording grades, interview for new staff. So it won't come as much of a surprise to anyone that the footwear above is what I ended up wearing Thursday morning. Of course, I didn't notice until I was well on my way to work!!

And my reaction was a bit atypical for me....I couldn't stop laughing!!

So my footwear fiasco helped to put things into perspective for me. I been running around trying to fit too much into my day and into my head. I am not stopping to do anything well - but I am getting it done. And it made me think (of course) about teaching writing.

There is most certainly a process to writing. We start with ideas that we get from somewhere: a conversation we overheard, a memory, our writer's notebook. And then we take that seed and feed it with more words and more ideas until we have a rough draft. For some writers - that is that. But for the rest of us - we need to weed out the pieces that don't fit and stake up others. And maybe then we'll have a productive final draft. Sometimes.....we just have to start all over again.

But lately - the conversations I have had and overhead with teachers seem to be about planting the seed, piling Miracle Grow on it, and then harvesting - without allowing time for something to grow into rich, productive fruit. Things like "I need to get them ready for the assessment" or "I don't have enough written pieces this semester for a final grade" lead me to wonder how much we are nurturing student writing, slowing it down, letting it grow.

And ultimately - it comes down to our hopes for our students. Do we want them to to well on the state assessments or do we want them to be better writers? Are they mutually exclusive?

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