Joy Write Chat – Question 1
The series of posts for “Joy Write” refer to the title of the text our new Summer Institute participants are reading. This is a fabulous book that examines writing instruction, published in 2017 by Ralph Fletcher. Our SI participants are going to comment on the questions, but any reader is welcome to contribute (whether you have read the book or not).
In chapter one, Fletcher is asked by a student what his bumper sticker would say. He responds with, “Writing is fun.”
What is your writing bumper sticker? Explain why/provide context for this choice.
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My writing bumper sticker would say, “Life Write,” because the best writing is done when you write about a topic of your choice as elementary age students do during writer’s workshop from grade one to six- a time during which our writing identity is being developed. The key to the enthusiasm for writing is that students pick a topic of their choice about any aspect of “life -their “life.” I personally feel the best stories written are about one’s own life and the greatest literature ever written, the true classics- the canon of best literature are treasures because they make a human link and reflect life on the planet as we know it! Therefore, my bumper sticker would say, “Life Write” because I too will write my personal journey and life story in books entitled, “The Ministry of the Heart” and “A Rose with No Thorns.” I will also create an eBook/app- an anthology chronicling the lives of other cultures through the best writing and writers from all over the globe through a multicultural/comparative literature approach. Preface of anthology: “For we shall know ourselves and our history through literature.”
I been thinking about several ideas during the course of the week, but I’m going to go with the phrase that became my AP class’s test prep mottto – “Fake it with confidence”
I have found with often anxiety-ridden seniors getting ready for the AP test, this saying comforts them — they have put in all the hard work all year, but then worry before the test. I feel like this philosophy has gotten me through many professional situations. This is not ever meant to replace the hard work of whatever the task is, but rather to help me shake off uncertainty.
Yep! I agree with and like your bumper sticker. I called it “justified confidence” which is a part of AP instruction. But, I like your bumper sticker because it keeps it real! AP students are anxiety ridden and need to shake off uncertainty as we even do as instructors- always wondering did we instruct well enough for our AP students to have a chance at passing the exam? How long have you been teaching AP? Would love to collaborate and network with you…
I love both of these ideas for confidence, and I suspect that it doesn’t only occur in the AP classroom!
My bumper sticker for writing (and for life) would be the ever cliche phrase, “The struggle is real.” And while that may be cliche, it’s the most true statement that I have ever heard. No one sits down to the page and feels 100% confident in what they are doing, and it doesn’t come 100% easy to anyone (and if you say it does–I don’t believe you). Because of this, it’s important that I share with my students that writing isn’t always easy for me either.
One day, I sat down with my kids and told them I would be writing while they wrote. Their response was, “Yeah, but yours is going to be awesome, because you’re good at this.” I had to let them know… the final products that they see… yeah, they’re decent. However, the process is rough, and even as an adult, I struggle just like they do.
My bumper sticker would be something borrowed/paraphrased from when I met/heard the wonderful author, Avi, back in April as it really struck a chord with me
Writing is for Readers & Listeners. (I added the ‘listeners’)
I think sometimes we forget the goal of writing is to share our thoughts, our connections/ah-ha moments- whether for ourselves as individuals or with others. Along the way in the writing journey is the process of puling our thoughts together, make connections, to expand our thinking, to explore other ideas & information to help us make sense of our world….that leads me to a second bumper sticker:
Like a Good Book, Writing Opens Our Eyes to the World. It can be both a Mirror and a Window.
I agree that our high stakes testing has hurt the joy of writing and even more so, the joy of learning & teaching for many- teachers and kids alike. I recall when the standards push came full force. Writing was already hard for my middle schoolers with diversabilities and while the standards gave structure it also made the task harder for the kids. The bar was raised and tests had more of it required- math and ELA- , and rightfully so, but I saw my students over the years get tired of the it and their fear of being wrong or of sharing their insights was made more difficult with the pressure of scores on rubrics and such focus on mechanics vs “just write” and then we’ll develop it further – together.
Need the art of the language arts to come back so we can grow true life-long readers and writers in ALL our students.
My bumper sticker would read: Write your way out.
Unabashedly stolen from David East and Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton Mix-Tape, this sentiment perfectly encapsulates the many ways writing can transform a person. Whether writing your way out of mental blocks or literally writing your way out of situations and spaces that are dangerous, writing becomes a tool that we can use for escape to or escape from our realities.
I can’t really do justice to this bumper sticker, so check out the full song on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zhR6d6LDzM
I love this. I tried to use Hamilton in class a bit last year, but I couldn’t quite get my class inspired to “write their way out”. I might try again this year.
My sticker would say “Just do it.” I find the blank page intimidating. I often let ideas stew around in my head for quite a while and sometimes, when I find the time and drive, they spill out onto the page. I would like to make writing more of a habit, even a daily habit. I see my students struggle with the same hesitation. If I can let go of the need to produce perfect writing the first time, I would get a lot more enjoyment out of the process!
I agree with how a blank page is scary! Once t he ideas start and I get down to tying/writing, it starts to generate a sense of momentum for me and helps me think and make connections, motivates me to see what will happen next, how it will turn out- what paths it will lead me to….It is a hard process for me to get it going but I know it will take me some place new- like the Balloon in the book! sadly, not all our students embrace or view writing in this manner. It could be due to deficits in the literacy area whether as a disability or poor instruction. It could also be their fear/insecurity in sharing what they have in mind as it may be seen as wrong rather than their view on the world…Writing puts it out there- its a risk taking activity even if the writing is for one’s own purpose as it makes the thoughts salient/concrete. Thus, it may make one see their words reflect back at them as something they don’t really wish to see in themselves or in their world.
My bumper sticker would say “Read. Write. Repeat.” because it illustrates writing as a fluid process and highlights the relationship between reading and writing. Whether writers are reading their own work for revisions or reading other authors for inspiration, the relationship is undeniable!
I love these ideas so far! My bumper sticker would say “Write On” because sometimes I feel that I need to remind myself to keep writing, even when I don’t think my idea is very good or worth sharing. My students feel like this too sometimes, but as long as we keep writing we can keep growing. You can edit or revise anything…except a blank page.
I think mine would be Dory from “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory” and it would say, “Just keep writing…just keep writing…”
I have found a comfort in the persistence needed to get through revisions and editing so you really get to say what you mean in the best way possible.
LOVE Nemo and Dory! Great connection. I also see writing as a mindset: I think I can…I KNOW I can. Just need to use my supports along the way and have positive attitude- can’t let the process “beat down” our students…
Love this! I was thinking about using this one for my bumper sticker.
I actually have an AP student (not a confident writer) who draws fishes at the bottom of her essays when she runs out of either time or ideas.
Since the format is a bumper sticker, what came to mind for me is “I brake for writers!” The context for this is that I find writing conferences to be of great value, with writers of all levels of experience. Sometimes they’re planned and at other times they’re more spontaneous, when a writer needs to check in with a peer or mentor about some aspect of their work. Whichever, I think it’s a practice we should prioritize, even if it means taking time from something else.
My writing bumper sticker would be a box, outside of which, upside down and following the perimeter of the box would appear the statement “Write Outside the Box!”
If students are encouraged to move beyond the bounds of conventional thought, or as Fletcher said, “break the binds of gravity, inertia, the daily tedium of school…” I think the conditions he listed would all be well served. Joy in writing, joy in learning; joy is the only true path to genuine intrinsic motivation. Now, about those state tests…
Up, up and away!
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Haha I kind of love this, because we want our students to think outside of the box, and we want them to be creative thinkers… but then we have the pressure of getting them to fit all of their ideas literally within the confines of the box on the state tests… the irony is not lost on me!