In our February webinar, Travis Crowder (@teachermantrav), a middle school ELA teacher in North Carolina, invites us to try to tackle the ever-present issue when students tell us, “I have nothing to write about.” He and his students are currently in the midst of the process described in the webinar, and he is seeing some amazing results.
He began his presentation asking us to consider the question: where does writing come from? This got quite a powerful discussion going and made participants reflect on their own writing process and experiences. He invited us to consider how the ordinary gives our lives — and our writing — meaning. Illustrating this, Travis invited participants to dissect the imagery in some poetry and prose from a variety of sources. He discussed how the ordinary creates a theme and a thread that helps inspire students and enriches their knowledge of who they are as well as giving them inspiration for writing.
Then, Travis walked us through the instructional scaffolding that gets students to think and write about the “ordinary” in our lives in detail, both in their reading experiences and their lives more broadly. He invited participants to write about ordinary things in our lives and discuss what this could do for us as writers and for our students. All participants agreed: this in-depth writing exercise will really bring the joy and the magic of writing back for both you and your students. It will also give you something new and exciting for them to study and discuss in their reading lives as well. As an added benefit, this gives students additional mentor texts for inspiration and a new focus for writing.
Travis’ writing activities will challenge your students, make them better writers, inspire them, and lift them up all at once. You will want to try these techniques out in your own classroom!
The Chippewa River Writing Project is a site of the National Writing Project at Central Michigan University. Currently, our site is supported only through grants and professional development work. Teacher consultants involved in the webinar series are donating their time, talent, and energy to these events.
If you appreciate the ideas that these teacher consultants are sharing, and are willing to support our work, please visit <giving.cmich.edu> and select “Chippewa River Writing Project.” If you are interested in having us work with your school or district, please contact our Director, Dr. Troy Hicks <email@example.com>. Find out more about CRWP at <chippewariverwp.org>.