This summer I participated in an amazing professional development with the Illinois Writing Project. For twelve days, we learned about ourselves as writers and about how to be writing leaders in our classroom and our school. On one of those days we participated in a writing marathon. My school’s literacy coach, Michelle, and I knew this was something that we needed to take back to our school.
This past Thursday, Michelle and I met at a the beautiful Cantigny Park with eight of our colleagues. (five returning, five new) We were able to introduce this strategy and build relationships at the same time. Teachers learned about each other and about writing.
One observation made was that sometimes we talked to each other during the independent writing time, but that was alright. It gave us ideas to write about. Maybe a completely silent independent writing time isn’t necessarily realistic? Maybe we need to allow students to wander when they hit a writing block? Maybe we need to give them opportunities to write in places other than their seats? Food for thought.
There were also times that something one person said during a share led to the writing of someone else during the next stop. It just shows that share time is so important. It is often the part of writing workshop that is forgotten or eliminated for lack of time. However, it can generate so many ideas!
I can’t wait to participate in a Writing Marathon with my third graders! However, I know that it isn’t something we can just expect them to do and love without preparation. Here are a few of my thoughts about a marathon with third graders…
- During the fall, with lots of fall colors!
- Practice in the field and at the park before the event. Students need modeling and practice on how to use the environment for inspiration.
- Generate a list of ideas in their notebooks before the marathon.
- On the marathon field trip, bring parents willing to write with us.
You can expect a post later this fall about how this went over with third graders! I can’t wait! Write on!