Next week on October 20th, is National Writing Day. Today I introduced my students to the prompt; Why I Write. Prior to having them begin our process of writing, we had some chuckles about the reasons they write. Some of my students stated they were “forced” to write when they are in school. I played along with them and let my students have their moment. One of my boy writers raised his hand and pointed out that the prompt was indicating he wrote outside of school and he insisted that he did NOT do any writing other than what was required of him in school. I smiled and proceeded to ask my students to raise their hand if they write text messages or do Facebook. Everyone’s hand shot into the air. I explained to them both of those are examples of them writing outside of school. It was almost like I took the wind out of their sails. The expressions were priceless.
My students were now ready to write and I can’t tell you how moved I was by some of their responses. I had a young man discuss how writing was a place to escape for him and how he could visit different places without having to leave the comfort of his room, classroom, or car. There were students who expressed how writing was a means of communication and they knew it was required of them in school. All of these were really well thought out responses and I was pleased with their effort. But, that wasn’t what made me feel uplifted as a teacher and a writer. I had two students in two separate classes both express how writing is a place where they are not judged. The pages did not question what they wrote or laugh at them. In addition, they wrote how it is their place of freedom where they can create whatever they want. After hearing each one of these journal writings, I stood silent and almost speechless. My mind finally jolted me to wake up and respond. All I could sputter out was WOW! Let me remind you this was in two different classes too.
It is safe to say that they get it. Kids and students truly do know the power of writing and what it can hold for each of them. I know I didn’t hear from all of my students, but I didn’t need to. I may not reach all of my students, but I know within the first 6 weeks, I have reached a few. What else can I say about writing, except WOW!