In his book Write Like This, Kelly Gallagher shares six real world writing purposes and different ways to get kids to start writing with each in mind. I’m going to try at least one example from each chapter. Although this is written with high school in mind, I think most of the ideas can be adjusted for middle and intermediate elementary school. And the real world writing purposes:
Inform and Explain – Trying this one today!
Evaluate and Judge
Analyze and Interpret
Take a Stand/Propose a Solution
There are so many great ideas for Inform and Explain. Here are a few of my favorites:
- “You Should Know” Biographical Paper (“Find an ‘average’ person in your life with an ‘above average’ story.”)
- How does _______work?
- Unwritten Rules (Inspired by The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian)
- My Favorite Words
Today I am going to try “My Favorite Words.” Christina, this one is for you, my word loving friend! The word I decided to write about isn’t in all dictionaries and I hadn’t actually heard of it until today: querencia.
Definition according to www.merriam-webster.com: “an area in the arena taken by the bull for a defensive stand in a bullfight”
Origin according to www.merriam-webster.com: “Spanish, fondness, haunt of an animal, favorite spot, querencia, from querer to want, like, love (from Latin quaerere to seek, gain, obtain, ask) + -encia -ence (from Latin -entia)”
I’m not a huge word person, so when approaching this idea, I searched around a little on Pinterest for words. (To clarify: I consider myself a reader and writer. It’s just that I’m not one to use big words when a simple one to do. I love stories, words strung together.) In my search I found this:
This word alone didn’t stand out, it is it’s definition that struck me. “the place where you are your most authentic self” This is a powerful word and got me to thinking about my querencia. Do I have one?
For a very long time, I don’t think that I had a querencia. I’m not sure I do now. At this point, my home is becoming a place I am comfortable. Each new memory, each laugh, erases some of the damage done. Each smile makes me feel safer. One day, this home may become a place that I can draw strength, my querencia.
I think the place that I have always been able to be closest to my authentic self is in the presence of children. Standing among kids, I have always been able to take chances – dance, twirl, joke, and even sing. I have always drawn strength from my time with them and not needed courage to be myself.
I hope that my classroom can be a querencia for my students, as well. I hope that my students feel safe, at home, and accepted each year. I hope that my students have a querencia in their life, but if they don’t – I hope our classroom can be that place for each of them.