#sol- Writing Like a Third Grader
August 23, 2016
Today I was humbled (again). We are in the part of the writing unit where I am supposed to introduce the grade three narrative writing checklist to the students. We looked at a sample third grade piece of writing and we discussed which parts should be rated “not yet”, “starting to”, or “yes!”. It was easy to go through and find proof of our assessment. Then came the hard part. We were each to turn to our most recent writing and self-assess it. We looked critically at our writing and searched for proof of our ratings.
As their teacher, I felt it only fair to look at my own writing through this lens. Keep in mind that I am many years past third grade. There are 12 criteria, yet in only three areas did I rate a “yes!” (and they were in punctuation and spelling). While I talked with my students about the need to set high standards for ourselves, and not talk ourselves into overrating, it was still humbling. Okay, so this piece in my school writing notebook was written for this unit, it was not writing I did for myself or for my blog, but still… I am asking them to do hard work!
It is in moments like this that I remember the reasons that I am a teacher who writes. Today’s lesson filled me with empathy for the writers who have so many goals they do not know what to work on most or first. I also understand the writers who see the end goal as being so far away from where they are today. I also face the challenge of continuing to work hard to improve a piece, even though the first draft was what you may have considered your best, or good enough. I love being able to talk honestly with my students about how hard it is to be a writer and today they got a close look at my checklist, to see firsthand that their teacher is working on goals too.