Real World Writing

I recently joined Edublogs Teacher Challenge so I could explore ways to make blogging a more natural part of our classroom routine and help students use their blogs for some real world writing experiences. Our 8th graders recently finished research papers and as we debriefed, we discussed how the skills would be valuable in the real world. We generated multiple ways that we research, evaluate sources, analyze material, and put it together to make decisions in our everyday lives. Yet, when it is time to turn it into writing for a school activity, it seems to become a chore. It made me wonder about what turns reading and writing from enjoyable and valuable activities to something that so many people dread. Is it the writing itself or is it this false purpose of writing for the sake of writing that causes the resistance? Blogging seems like a great way to help students find their way to writing in the real world. We have some great examples of writing and blog design on our pages. Make sure to check out our author’s efforts!

Writer’s Block

I promised all of you that I would blog whenever I assigned you a blog. After all, it is only fair, and I really should make sure that what I have asked you to do is a reasonable amount of work. The only problem is that I have no idea what I want to write about. I sat all day in teacher meetings, but anything that came out of those meetings would definitely not interest students. My last two posts were a little  didactic (yep, look up THAT vocabulary word!!) and it was a pretty mellow weekend in my house with no hockey games or major events. I cleaned, and I HATE cleaning, but that isn’t much fun for a topic. It made me think about when I ask you to write for quick writes and tell you to just start writing and if you get stuck, just start sketching or doodling until something comes to you. Just keep the pencil moving and get as much written as possible…word vomit (Hope Mrs. W is not reading this; you know how much she hates the V word!!). It is about building stamina in writing, and usually I am a pretty prolific writer. (wow, I am full of fun vocabulary for you today!). So what do you do when you really just don’t know what to write about? I thought about writing about my latest read, but I just did that with my last post. I am enjoying Neal Schusterman’s Undivided right now, but I am also reading a professional book on teaching and a more adult book by Neal Patrick Harris – where do I go with that? Now I see that I am rambling, but if you stick with me, I may get to a point. Oh wait….I think I am there. This blog is about sharing. We can share our thoughts,  our expertise, our worries, our experiences. So today, I want to share with you that everyone has moments when  we feel blocked or stymied and sometimes it is about hanging in there and barreling through the challenges to find the light at the end of the tunnel. (Ok, it must be late because not only am I inundating you with vocabulary, but now cliches too). So here is my light; I have shared my moment of writer’s block and hope it inspires you to persevere in your own moments of doubt or confusion. Good luck with your own blog posts – I really do enjoy reading them and bet someone’s post will inspire a new topic for me as well!