A Beginning?

I think I kinda-sorta participated in my first twitter chat last night.  I’m not sure I was hashtagging “the right way”.  I’m not sure who I was responding to when I used hit my @ button.  I know I kept reading and thinking and then tweeting here and there.  It was fun.  It got me thinking about change.

Ralph Fletcher was tweeting away.  The tweets were coming in fast and furious.  Kylene Beers was also on fire last night. Two colleagues, Jess and Erika were also joining in the tweetfest.  My evening brain tried to keep up with it all.  This morning, my refreshed brain went back to twitter to do some rereading.

I started by searching Ralph Fletcher’s tweets. As I scrolled through his page, I found this tweet from Barry Lane:

“Don’t implement a writing program. Don’t teach it with fidelity. Implement yourself. Be faithful to your own teaching heart.”

I think it’s hard for teachers to teach writing with heart if they don’t write themselves.  This summer, thanks to Joy Write, we have started a teacher research/teacher writer group.  We are Joy Writers.  At our July meeting, two teachers shared their honest thoughts on the writing and teaching it –

“This (writing) is hard to teach.  All I know is the units.  I don’t know any other way.  I want to meet kids where they are and not just get through the units.”

“Writing is my least favorite subject to teach.  Some units I love, but others are hard.”

At our July meeting, the first hour was planned to be professional reflection on Joy Write and the second hour was planned to be spent delving into your own writing. img_6361  The plan didn’t go as planned.  The majority of our two hour meeting was spent in conversation around our districts current expectations for writing and the ideas Ralph Fletcher puts forth in Joy Write.  So, as we brought our meeting to a close, I casually asked if people would be willing to take on the second half of the meeting on  their own.  To my surprise, many agreed.   I had created a shared google folder to hold their writing.  I was optimistic that they would actually take on observation and writing on their own time.  But, I was also “nervous” – writers need community and the community had just all gone their separate ways.  Would they really write?!

Within the week, Peter had his own blog https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/68592540.  This was fabulous!  I always knew Peter was a writer but for him to change it up and put it on a blog! I was energized and have been with every post of his I’ve read.

Many of the other folders remained empty until this week. This week, four teachers have added writing to their folders.   See below.





Back to Barry Lane’s tweet-

“Don’t implement a writing program. Don’t teach it with fidelity. Implement yourself. Be faithful to your own teaching heart.”

I hope and believe that these pieces of writing are the beginning of teachers implementing their teaching heart and not just the program.  These teachers are taking on the brave work of finding another way, an honest, authentic way to implement themselves –  by discovering themselves as writers.

“When we write we become visible, we are players in the game of life.” Donald Murrayimg_6362

6 thoughts on “A Beginning?”

  1. ❤️❤️❤️ This is a new beginning… getting back to the roots. You’re doing what any great writing teacher would do, celebrating. You cheer on when it’s hard and when it seems impossible. But all that cheering is getting the growing going. Also, you picked a doozy for your first twitter chat! It was super fast. I saw you though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Last night was the first time I actually participated in a Twitter Chat too! I have tried before, but not been able to figure it out. Wow, was that fun (and fast)! I’m so interested in this conversation. We have to find ways to teach student writers, not just units. Can we “be faithful to our teaching heart” inside of a unit of study? I’m looking forward to our ongoing discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw the Barry Lane quote in my Twitter feed and instantly connected. I’m not sure I ever implemented a writing workshop or program the way others did. I was always adapting to myself and my students at that particular time–but the most important part was that I wrote with them. And sometimes FOR them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started out in teaching when the WW was teaching from the heart – I now work with teachers who know nothing other than a program. We are working to bring back the heart, joy and INSTINCT of teaching writers!


  4. This is so exciting! Teachers writing together, sharing their writing. Kudos to your staff! Love these two words in the midst of Ralph Fletcher’s tweets: ‘Implement yourself.’ Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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