In Which We Change the Way We Write

For a while, I have been struggling with how to teach writing well.  Sure, we write every single day almost, sure we blog, we write by hand, and we type.  We have authentic purposes and authentic audiences.  The kids write, we discuss, we create.  And yet, something has been missing and for the longest time I couldn’t put a finger on what it was.

Then I watched this video from Brad Wilson – please stop and watch it right now, it is 6 minutes, and it is so powerful.

Brad is right, “…the containers have hijacked the concept.”  I have compartmentalized everything we do in writing rather than just teach the craft of writing.  I have created barriers for my students so they think that writing is a completely different thing depending on the purpose.  The ideas of writing, the craft has been lost, and students are going through the motion of writing as drones, even if we are blogging, even if we are doing something “fun” with our writing.

We need to get back to the core of story-telling.  We need to focus on the journey we are on as writers and celebrate how we develop our stories.  We need to see that in all of the writing we do, we are working on becoming better writers, not better bloggers, not better editors, not better persuaders, but writers and that being a great writer is an essential skill to all.  Not just those that gravitate toward it.  The conversation within English has to change.  The language I use has to change.  Enough with the self-invented purposes and barriers, back to the core of writing we go.

I am a passionate teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin, USA but originally from Denmark,  who has taught 4th, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children.  The second edition of my first book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students” is available for pre-order now.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press.  Join our Passionate Learners community on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

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