Monday, January 21, 2013

CREATE-ing writers...at home

My daughter's mailbox...I love "Dale"
peeking in the background of this picture.
Every year I reflect on the message I am sending about writing in my writer's workshop.  Is there choice in writing? Is there purpose for writing? Is writing seen as a process?  Are writer's notebooks not only implemented at the start of the school year but utilized the whole year through?  I always give these questions a lot of thought and reconsider my structures.  But...what about in my home?

Since my children were little, they have been surrounded by books.  They have been read to, read with,  seen their parents read, seen their grandparents read, seen their mom's next stack by her bed, had books in the car, and have been falling into their own independent reading routines over the past few years.

A few years ago, I thought about how to make writing more visible in our home.  It hit me as we were walking through Target.  In the wonderful dollar bargain section, there were mailboxes for a dollar.  We bought three.  One to put by each of our beds.  My daughter decorated hers and my son and I opted not to.  We bought several packets of notecards in the dollar section too.  The mailboxes were placed in our bedrooms and when you sent someone a note...you put it in and raised the flag!  The best part was our writing had an audience.  They were discovering the power of communicating from writing.  My daughter was motivated by the process and element of surprise.  My son did not write as frequent, but became very good at understanding how to pick the most precise words to keep it...short, simple and to the point.  This is something I have always wanted to try in the classroom...to change the meaning of "mailboxes".  Moving from a place that holds school flyers, graded papers, etc...and find an avenue in the room for this type of writing for each person.  At the start of every year I play with this idea, but have never found the right purpose or structure to fit it in.



My writing "Next Stack"


Now my children are growing up and realized... they have not seen me write other than typing blog posts, mailbox letters, or grocery lists.  So, one of the things I CREATEd this year was a journal next to my bed.  I have one for each child.  At night, before I go to bed, I jot down thoughts about each one of them....I am trying to avoid "retelling" the day, but thinking about those moments, life lessons, quotes or snapshots that they did not realize I thought, saw, or chose not to say.  Every morning they wake up and read what I wrote.  They add more details to the story and ask why I didn't write other things...and then the writing becomes storytelling, explaining a quote that I wrote, or why I chose that moment or feeling to write. I am so excited about the gift I will have to give each of them...a journal of my thoughts about them and creating memories of sharing my writing with them now.


4 comments:

  1. WOW how I wish I could turn time backwards with our own two children. What an amazing gift and conversations that will be saved forever. When my grandmother passed away, one of the treasures that I have are her letters that she wrote to me. I still believe in the power of the pen for writing.

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  2. This is a wonderful gift for your children Tracy! My dad has written me letters throughout the years and I have loved receiving them. He continues to now write my daughters letters to be saved and opened when they are older. A journal for each child is a great idea.

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    1. What has been great about the journal is that they are excited to read MY writing! My daughter even said the other day "I knew I could read books, but I can read your fancy writing too!". Guess I need to work on my D'Nealian! :)

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