Monday, July 29, 2013

Let's Be Real: Writing Process Vs. Product

Bulletin boards are my nemeses.  They haunt me, just like that old show Unsolved Mysteries once did when I was a child.  (And still does, actually.)  Every summer, one of my biggest challenges is: What in the world do I put on that outside bulletin board?

Lucky for me, this past summer, I had the wonderful fortune of learning from Lester Laminack at the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers summer institute.  He had a brilliant suggestion about displaying student writing.  Why not display writing in the process of being written?  See Mr. Laminack's website here

I thought about this.  At one point in our district, we were expected to display perfection on the outside walls.  The problem is, how does this even remotely convey the reality of how my students are working through the process of writing?  Writing is so fluid; never quite finished.  Revision seems so scary and monumental when we teach it as a STAGE, but really, revision, starts the minute we begin drafting.  I want to convey this to everyone who walks by our 3rd grade room.

So this past week, the bulletin board started going up.  

In the center, I will post the standard, skill, or craft move that we are working on.  Then, the student work displayed will show our work on that specific standard, skill, or craft move.  Even if the spelling isn't perfect.  Even if the periods aren't all in their correct places.  (Gasp!)

When I talk with parents, administrators, or other teachers about the writing progress of my students, I'm hoping that they will see our work in progress and in process.  

Teaching writing is like watching a tree grow.  It is often slow, but there are gains over time.

So take that, bulletin board.  You are staying up and growing all year long.

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