Today, like many Fridays in my classroom, was Free Write Friday.
Many of my 7th graders were in a fiction mood, but some were more focused on the disturbing chapter from The Giver that was today's read-aloud. (They finally found out what "release" really means.)
The eighth graders are still going through a few phases, in life and writing. It's spring, after all.
And I wrote a little bit of everything: a recap of my birthday root beer float extravaganza, a letter to Congressman King's education chair to protect SEED funding for the Iowa Writing Project, a rant list for the week, my own reaction to the idea of "release" and whether it's humane or inhumane that we don't euthanize humans who are pain the way we do with animals, and more.
The only difference was that today we had a few visitors from another school district. At first it was just one teacher. Then it was her and her principal. Then it was her, her principal, and my principal. They watched. They asked me questions. And through it all, my kids didn't bat an eye. They know that nothing gets in the way of Free Write Friday.
The teacher hadn't seen anything like it. She wants to come back, to observe more writer's workshop in my room with some of her other colleagues. She wants to know what I do to help them love writing so much.
The truth is, she already saw it today.
I give them time to write. I give them permission to write about what they care about. And I give them response as a person instead of a judge.
Most teenagers love to write if you just let them be writers.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.