When do you write? Other than work related? If I’m honest, the answer is not too often. The same applies to the children in school. When I asked the children in my class the same questions, I was pleasantly surprised by the number who said they enjoyed writing stories away from school, but still, it got me wondering when else can children find opportunities to write.
So I made a list.
I shared that list with some children and their parents at parents evening. The idea is to give them some real life reasons for writing so that they have a real reason to practise and develop their skills. The children enjoy the autonomy of writing what they want. In school we often tell the children what to write in terms of genre, topic, audience, purpose, etc. This is just a list of reasons, the children have the freedom to decide which ones they want to do, what they write about and how many times they do it. There is no requirement for the children to bring in or show me the writing they produce. Just practise.
Any other ideas for writing opportunities to add to the list will be gratefully received.
I didn’t just give the list to everyone for two reasons. If it was given to everyone, then I felt it would have been done by the same children who diligently do as they are asked. This is not a problem in itself, any writing is good, right? But I really wanted it to be a challenge that only a few children had so they felt it was special, placing greater value on the writing opportunities for them. I was also worried that the individual ownership and autonomy over the audience and creative process might be diluted if everyone was doing it. We’ll see how that turns out.
During my research for this list I asked eduTwitter to offer any reasons for writing to add. One deputy head teacher and literacy specialist, Claire Tunnicliffe, shared a great idea about finding out when and where people use writing. Research local businesses and then write to them asking them when and why they use writing. I’ll give this a go next term when we are doing a local area study. Keep it real y’all.