In front of the John Lennon Wall in Prague.

Monday, March 14, 2016

SOL 2016 Day 14: What Writers Need

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge 2016
This March, more than 300 teachers have committed to daily writing. If you’d like to read more “slices” (from other teachers and even students), visit:

Today two of my coaching meetings got cancelled at the last minute, and I was the only one in the ELA Department office for much of the day.  So I spent time doing more research on writing workshop, finding information and advice for my coachee teachers. Some of that research included reading  What A Writer Needs by Ralph Fletcher.  The introduction to one chapter leapt out from the page: 

“Too often in classrooms we give children little squirts of language,” Bill Martin says, “We squirt at them, and they squirt back.”

This is precisely the problem. For too long, we have not been willing to give children the time they need to develop their skills. We expect that squirting copious amounts of information in their general direction will give us the results we desire. Too often we think that equals teaching.  

Those squirts won't help our students become better readers, better communicators and better writers. Why are the powers that be in this country's educational system so afraid to slow down and give children time to grow and learn?

Reading this today made me think of all the times I was guilty of "teaching" like that. It made me more determined than ever to coach teachers to grow beyond that. It made me want to repeat over and over "mea culpa, mea culpa" as I watch students in the classrooms I visit scribble long and hard in their writer's notebooks.

1 comment:

  1. What a powerful observation! I think so many teachers, even the ones who "know better" struggle with this! I know I had a moment today where I thought "If only I could give them more time", when the only one imposing the time limit on them was me! Food for thought for sure.