This DigiLit Sunday Margaret invites us to reflect on the function of the word technique in the writing process, and since my slice of life today is about making the final revision suggestions on my students’ feature articles in preparation for our writing celebrations tomorrow and the day after, I looked for (and found!) connections between the two.
Ever since September, we’ve been exploring techniques of great writing: show not tell, specific nouns and verbs, creating beautifully described scenes for the reader to visualize, incorporating vivid sensory details and meaningful dialogue, crafting effective leads and conclusions, using punctuation intentionally and effectively. And these are just some of the writing techniques we have studied, played around with, and then stored away in our writing tool boxes.
I was up early this morning to read through my students’ final pieces, one last time before I click “Return All” . In feature article after feature article, I was struck by how often my kids had chosen to reach into their writing tool boxes and try out a technique we had learned about and practiced. Some of these techniques were put to use where expected, but the real joy was in discovering how and why my students had done so in unexpected places, and to surprisingly good effect.
In our writing workshop, we hold true to two things, one of them is choice – my kids have complete freedom in choice when it comes to what they want to write about. Most often, choice of topic leads to great satisfaction: the writing piece shines and lives up to our expectations. Sometimes, though, choice of topic leads to something less than satisfaction: the topic was hard to research, or the passion for it faded. We learn that there is a technique to settling on a topic, no matter how passionately we first feel about it. Even in disappointment, there are lessons to be learned.
It was great fun reading through my students’ work this morning, especially because it seemed that for all the sweating out that was our revision process (never fun, but always necessary) they had take our two truisms to heart, and had written, to quote Ralph Fletcher , “downhill, with the wind at my back.”