Monday, June 24, 2013

Why is writing important?

I have had a whirlwind semester, and, sadly, have not made the time to sit down and write on here since January.  I'm hoping to fix that this summer:)  I'm once again do the Teachers Write workshop with author Kate Messner.  Although it is late, I'm finally getting a chance to do my Monday "morning" warmup.  To see the warmup, you can visit Jo Knowles's blog at

So.. why is writing important? Ironically, I love writing for more reasons than I could probably ever write down:)  One of the biggest reasons is that I've always found that I express myself better when I write than when I speak.  This is especially true if I'm emotionally invested in the topic.  It helps to be able to pause and think, to organize my thoughts, to add words at my own pace, and to DELETE.  Isn't it nice to be able to instantly take back words and thoughts before someone else can read them?  We can't do that when we're talking.  No matter how many times the judge tells the jury to disregard something, once something is spoken, it can never truly be taken back.  So, yes, I do enjoy that delete button.  My dramatic side especially loves that button.  

Another of my favorite reasons for writing is true both for myself as an individual and for myself as a teacher.  Writing helps us LEARN:D  I once had a professor that often used the quote, "How do I know what I know until I see what I have to say."  He often argued that we often knew much more than we realized.  He thought writing helped with this realization and both as a student and teacher, I wholeheartedly agree.  Writing helps organize thoughts and requires us to really think about an answer.  This helps us realize everything we know about a topic.  The past few years, I have been teaching a class for struggling readers.  Because the subject is difficult for them, many students have a hard time speaking up in class.  Others really take their time about answering.  So... in my efforts to fix this problem, I started having them write their answers before answering aloud.  I require them to write all of our key answers in their books before I will let anyone even raise their hand.  At first they were frustrated by this.  However, guess what happened?  Classroom participation went up exponentially!  When given the time to think about their answer, possibly even look back to the text, these students not only knew what they were talking about, but they were often eager to share that information.  Confidence and smiles grew:) 

Finally, I will end with the fact that writing helps humans to heal.  Every time I have gone through something rough in my life, I have turned to writing.  It helps get emotions out in a safe way.  There's no one to judge.  No one to comment.  The blank page (or blank screen as the case may be) is the ultimate impartial listener.  Sometimes it's nice to be able to put my entire heart out onto a page without having to put on my "brave face" or try and make my listener comfortable.  Sometimes I need to write without apologies.  Sometimes I need to be vulnerable and afraid.  I need to let everything out.  This is my way of moving past bad things.  Consequently, I have a stack of notebooks on-hand at school at all times.  Every year, I always have one or two students at least come talk to me about something big they are going through.  I give them a notebook and share my own coping mechanism:) 

Writing is an extension of the soul :D

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