| A WritingFix/NNWP Teacher Presenter: Lisa Larson
a Northern Nevada Writing Project Teacher Consultant shares her on-line materials
My name is Lisa Larson and I am a middle school literacy teacher, focusing on both Language Arts and Social Studies. I became a Teacher Consultant with the NNWP after attending the Summer Institute in 2009. I am also a writer, which is a core value of the writing project. I know firsthand how students struggle to first get their ideas on paper and then how difficult revising is because they then have to admit that their first attempt wasn’t perfect. Writing takes courage!
When students write, they often pen the first thing that pops into their head, slam their pencils down and proclaim, “I’m done!” They believe that…they’re done. How do we bestow the courage required to revisit their writing and change things? How do we shape their fragile writing egos to continue to work with and shape a piece of writing into something that is magnificent, not just “done?”
As a writing teacher, I teach my kids they are never “done,” they are merely at a good stopping point in which they need to re-read and make it better. When that task is completed, they need to do it again and again. I’ve talked to famous authors who have re-read their own published books and want to change adjectives, scenes and entire characters. Writers are never done!
Therefore, I believe we need to give students three core writing values:
- Write every day. Practice is the only way to become better at something.
- Write for yourself; not for the teacher or for a grade.
- It’s okay to cross everything out and start over. That doesn’t signify failure, it signifies courage!
Celebrate and share good writing with your students. Draw attention to what they’re doing well and help them through the difficult parts. Be strong when they are not and--no matter what--write every single day!