Once a week, on Mondays, my students have writing homework.
They write, anything, for at least 10 minutes without stopping. A parent used the term “uninterrupted writing” in an email message to me earlier this year, and so the phrase has stuck.
10 minutes of uninterrupted writing
My students keep track of their writing on a sheet of paper. They record what they wrote that night and how it went for them. Comments range from “no one interrupted me” to “I wrote more than I have previously”. Although this is a start, we’ll be working on being more metacognitive over the next few months.
Sometimes my students
- write a letter to someone
- write the next section of a story they’ve been working on
- write about their families
- tell a story about an after school activity
- make lists.
And, sometimes, they don’t even share their writing with me.
But, when they do, I am often pleasantly surprised and secretly pleased.
Last night two students wrote poems.
The first poem was about getting writer’s block in the middle of writing her poem, and how she overcame it.
The second poem was shorter than the first poem. It rhymed, just like the first poem. It was written on a loose sheet of paper, unlike the first poem. It was about running and walking at the same time.
My students are finding their voices. Slowly. Tentatively.
They are learning to explore their ideas and feelings through their writing. They are discovering, whether or not they know it yet, that writing worth reading isn’t about the extraordinary experiences in life, although it is that too. But, writing worth reading,the kind of writing readers gravitate to, is about the everyday. The mundane. The ordinary.
It’s writing that mirrors all of our stories.
If that is my students’ one takeaway from our writing experience this year, that will have been enough.
Crossposted to The Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge