I am in day three of a twelve day workshop with the Illinois Writing Project and it is already a fantastic experience. I have learned so much in just a few days, but I have also realized how far I have come in my writing instruction in two short years. You know how when you see your kid every day and so you don’t always notice how tall his is until one day the top of his head comes above your chin? Well, that is how I feel about writing in my classroom.
I think about where I was with my knowledge two summers ago – just learning about workshop. Two summers ago I was reading through Lucy’s Units of Study for third grade. I was taking notes, wondering if this would work. All of my thoughts were hypothetical. It was going to be my first year as a classroom teacher, after four years as a reading teacher. It was also my school’s first year implementing workshop and Lucy.
Now, I see how far I have come and how much my students have grown. I know what aspects of my writing instruction and workshop need to be strengthened. I know where to look to find resources. All of a sudden, I realize how much I know and how much of that knowledge has been gained in the last two years.
When asked to write a poem using only prepositional phrases today, I ended up thinking about how writing workshop has been essential in developing my third grade writers. Writers with skills, willing to write, and confident in their writing. Writers writing EVERY day. But just like my son’s height and my writing instruction, they don’t really realize what is happening until the end. Until that all important publishing.
at the beginning
at war with
with the help of
for better or worse
at a distance
by my watch
in the end
to THEIR astonishment