Every time I’m in a school for a writing residency, I am inspired and humbled by students.
Last week, when I asked a class of grade six students what they find challenging about writing, one student shared his difficulty and frustration with printing, the fine motor aspect (without naming it such). Often, when one student is brave enough to share a vulnerability, others feel willing and safe enough to talk about their own challenges, too. The open and honest conversation in grade six that day proved this to be true.
In another school last week, when I sent grade one students from the reading corner to their desks to write, one little guy remained on the carpet. I sat down next to him to talk. Eventually he said: “I don’t know how to write.” By the time I left that class, he was so proud of what he had written! Did he need scaffolding and support? Yes. But did he write? You bet.
I’ve said it before: writing makes us vulnerable. By acknowledging the emotion tied to writing, by giving students the space to feel and to share, they are often empowered and willing to try.
What a great place to begin.