| A WritingFix/NNWP Teacher Presenter: Christy Aker-Minetto
a Northern Nevada Writing Project Teacher Consultant shares her on-line materials
Hello, I’m Christy Aker-Minetto. I am a writer, but sometimes I’m not a very good writing teacher. It’s easy for me to sweep writing to the side, since it is an ongoing process. There’s always another day. But I’ve finally realized that I’m sending the wrong message to my students, that writing isn’t as important as other subjects. I need to remind myself that there is a reason the NNWP calls free write journal time “Sacred Writing Time.” Writing is sacred, or should be so. Every time we write, no matter what it is, a piece of us, our thoughts and feelings, are left on the page.
As a teacher who has taught almost all grades K-5th, my beliefs on writing are simple. Writing is hard work! At any level – at any age! Below are three of my beliefs about teaching writing to elementary students.
Belief #1: Writing takes time. It takes a lot of thinking and talking and planning before the pencil ever hits the paper. Students need to know that they have the time to think and work things out. Writing on a short deadline (in school) rarely leads to good writing.
Belief #2: Writing takes patience and perseverance. Writing frustrates young students with their lack of skills or how quickly their thoughts come. How many teachers have seen a giant THE END, instead of a satisfying conclusion? We need to remind students it is ok to stop and take a break, think some more, and continue on with the writing.
Belief #3: Good writing has true revision – not just editing. Yes, students need to proofread their writing all the time – but that is not revision. Revision takes a second approach towards the writing – and, once again, that’s work!
Finally, what I like best about writing is that there is always a promise, at the beginning of a piece. I like that optimism that this piece of writing will speak to the audience. Students will surprise you. You see what’s in their heads and in their hearts. Great writing can come from anyone on any given day. The best thing about being a writing teacher is the smile I get when I’m done reading a good piece of writing.