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Making Authentic Writing Discussions An Instructional Priority

By Author: Arsenalo
Total Articles: 116

Engaging in authentic writing discussions helps students develop writing practices that extend be-yond an individual piece of writing. Anthony commented on what he learned from his peers through his writing discussions:

I didn't know so much work could go into a piece to make it better. I always thought that a poet could just write. Put words on a page and poof, just like magic, there it was: great work. I didn't realize how good Cartier Replica peer review could be. It's one of those things where you have to take advantage of it to get it. To share with peers, edit, and practice the exercises definitely made my writing better in the end. If I had ended the process after my first draft, which I thought sounded good, I wouldn't have the piece that I have now.

Anthony observed that talking about his writing helped him write a better poem, a piece that exceeded what he might have envisioned or crafted on his own. Even more important, Anthony's reflection shows he has engaged in writing practices that he can draw on in writing future pieces.

The strategies shared here may not be new to many classrooms. What I hope is useful are how to deliberately use these and other strategies to teach students how to talk in meaningful ways about writing, building real-world writing practices. When teaching writing, I want to enable students to discuss their purposes, questions, frustrations, and decisions as writers. It is this complex talk about writing that is missing from so many peer-response lessons. I want students to want to share their writing and to consider their classmates, parents, teachers, and community members as resources who can help them develop particular pieces of writing and grow as writers.

To reach these goals, which prepare students not only to participate in our growing classroom community of writers but also to participate in wider communities of writers, I need to be as purposeful with my instruction of talk as I am with my writing instruction. Just as merely assigning writing does not result in writing growth, merely assigning talk does not result in meaningful discussions. I ask students to engage in what may feel like risky behavior to them: to speak aloud in a classroom, to share their writing in draft form, and to provide feedback when Omega Replica Watches they may lack confidence as readers and writers. It requires intentional instructional support to prepare students to engage in these important practices. These real-life skills—the ability to open one's practice to others, to articulate one's purpose and intent, to request and use meaningful feedback to shape a text, to inquire into other writers' decisions, and to help other writers clarify their vision or intentions—prepare students to interact as writers and in their worlds, beyond the walls of our classroom.

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