Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Still at a Crossroads
Back in September I picked up a book, Talking, Drawing, Writing by Horn and Giacobbe, that forced me to question many of my prior teaching methods and really look at what is important for the youngest writer.
I started the year with my old way, and two weeks in completely shifted.
I was loving the change, it felt good and I was seeing good results.
A few weeks ago I thought my students would be okay going from a drawing notebook of blank pages to their old marble covered draft books. It was okay for a few days, but I began to see students slip back to things they did the first two weeks of school. It was as though the form of their writing took a dive and I somehow lost my way too. I tried to rationalize, a change in materials could create a slip, but this was a slide that I was not expecting. Another reality, someone is going to ask to see my student's draft books at some point. If I don't have them, whatever I do have needs to be of value. I am striving for a miracle.
Had I continued with the plans and wisdom of Horn and Giacobbe I would have moved to booklets and not a journal. But here I sit, confused.
Since I really need to move on from this place, I am asking for help from those of you out there that may have tried both ways with young writers--booklets or journals?? Which do you prefer? In the past, I have been encouraged to use journals (draft books). I feel like this has mostly been due to the convenience of keeping everything in one place. However, I am struggling with this...a lot. Should teaching really ever be dictated by convenience? Is there a better way to utilize the journal--writer's notebook for ideas instead of the place they draft pieces? I really want to try the booklets that I am reading about in Talking, Drawing, Writing, but feel a little apprehensive that it might flop, I won't be organized enough--or won't train the kids well enough. I know it will be a lot of management and I worry that my teaching of writing will be put on pause while I get everyone on track with paper, staplers, booklets, lines, no lines, etc. Then on the flip side of all that, I really think the booklets might push my writers to naturally expand and add details. I foresee a lot of good and hope to have a happy update soon! I think by the New Year I will have a plan in action; something to look forward to!