Today was an emotional day for me in writing camp (AC and Jax have started calling the Summer Institute that and I like it!) Our first workshop was presented around the idea of writing letters. The kick was that Caleb, the teacher presenter, was really interested in the idea of letter writing as a means to heal. And boy did I rip off a band-aid and let the healing start! I think I cried more this morning than I have in a long time about the subject that I wrote about. (sorry to personal to share here and it doesn't really speak to what I wanted to share about the workshop). We meet daily in writing groups and today ours was more a therapy group. Such a close bond is happening through writing. WOW... anyway this idea of writing letters got me really excited about using letters in my classroom. Now thinking about little people land and the lack of transcription skills at the beginning of the year, I am working to come up with a way to use pictures or illustrations to "write" to someone... or maybe starting as a group project that is used to create the what we want to know about section of a KWL chart. I see it working with my author and illustrator studies. It almost makes me want to teach older children, so that we could really explore this idea of writing letters.
I got kind of excited about the idea of researching a person and then writing letters to them. For example, writing to Rosa Parks about her not giving up her seat on the bus but in bigger terms how she found the courage to stand up against the norm. Or writing to the president to ask about policy and how it effects the future of the students. Of course the idea is not to mail the letter but to have students learn enough about a person to ask questions that would then drive them to find the answers. (see how cool this could be???)
I am working to complete the readings that I want to be finished with by the end of next week- when writing camp ends...sad. I have so much that I want to read and not enough time to complete it, or at least it seems that way! LOL... If you have not looked in the National Writing Project (NWP) and your local chapter then you simply MUST!! NWP was created for teachers to lead teachers into best practices in writing... and to create a community of writers. I never saw myself as a writer... not sure if I still do but I know that I am loving exploring the writer side of me. I know as a blogger I should feel like a writer but I had never thought of myself that way. As I work through what is my new position on writing in my classroom, I'll post snip it's here and see if you guys have ideas or thoughts on what I want to bring back to my classroom.