Monday, November 12, 2012

"Becoming Essayist"

Familiar with Lucy Caulkins? I wasn't until I started teaching in Katy. At first, we were given this "kit" (don't ya' just love "KITS"!), and expected to read through it and use the great ideas.

My first instinct: When am I going to have to time to do this? (Looking through Book 1... "she goes on and on...") Set it aside and think about it later.

Sometime mid-October: We've taught personal narrative and realistic fiction narrative with good success using our own past experiences as teachers and past, no-fail, lessons. We've taught an essay, "What I want to be when I grow up..." with moderate success---(the same 'ole boring essays that every kid can write if they follow the formula.)

End of October: I start reading Lucy's books. I jump to "Breathing Life into Essays" and start to think, "Maybe I'm rushing it. Maybe I'm trying too hard to get them to follow a formula." I decide to follow Lucy, mini-lesson by mini-lesson. (An action research approach!).

Wow! I truly think I'm getting it, and so are my students! We can write about the same topic as a narrative OR as a non-narrative! We go outside and find simple, unimportant topics to write about. We turn them into GREAT topics to write about! We PUSH....yes PUSH our thinking!!!!

We ask ourselves, "Are we doing the minimal, or are we doing the maximum?" We can be AMAZING writers if we CHOOSE to be!

This is going to be EXTRAODINARY writing, and we haven't even written a roughdraft yet!


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