Our 4-year old son wakes up just after 6am most days. If I’m home (and not playing early morning basketball), I go to him and hang out with him. Sometimes we play birthday party with his stuffed animals, other times we play with his magnetic letters, and sometimes we read books. This morning he looked at his newly-acquired package of superhero underwear and asked me to tell him stories. I wasn’t quite sure what he wanted. At roughly the same ages, I used to tell our older two children made-up stories that generally centered around sports and always had the messages of “Did you get exercise?” “Were you a good sport?” “Did you have fun?” I ended up telling the 4-year old stories about the origins of Batman, Aquaman, Superman, the Flash, and Green Lantern. They were really basic, they were really simple plots, and they just explained why they became superheros and what their super powers were.
As I thought about what to write today/tonight, I really struggled. How meaningful and thoughtful and organized did it have to be? Did I want to impress someone? What topics and thoughts are worthy of sharing? Do I have a writing itch to scratch? (not my metaphor, I heard it from Ralph Fletcher years ago.)
Audience matters. I can whip up a simple story that might not even make a whole lot of sense for my pre-K child. I can even tell a quick story to a friend or colleague, and leave out some important details. When I’m writing for this SOL Challenge, I’m not totally clear on the audience. I think I’m writing for myself and to fellow teachers, who are teacher-writers (or writer-teachers) and who are also incredibly supportive of each other. After Day One I worried how critical someone might be of my first post or how they might even suggest trying this writing craft move or that. No one did. The comments I received were supportive and thoughtful.
- I need to remember to provide an authentic audience for my student-writers.
- I need to keep my writing conferences and comments on their writing positive and supportive.
Your comments encouraged me to try another day of this challenge. That you didn’t critique or make suggestions (even if I needed it) freed me to keep writing. I want to provide that feeling in my students. I need to ease off “correcting” them and telling them to fix this or that.