Over at the NWP iAnthology, Janet Ilko has invited teachers to consider, “How do you build writers with stamina?” As a middle school teacher, she talks about how daily journaling is a way to build stamina in her young writers. (She works to build her own writing stamina through her blog, Writing in My Hand, as well.)
Stamina and fluency are important characteristics of writers. Fluency allows for the words to flow onto the page and stamina means working through the hard parts of writing to keep on writing, to rework writing, to improve writing, to understand the importance of writing to learning and thinking and communicating.
One of the ways we build stamina in our classroom is by creating a culture where writing is the norm. It’s no big deal…we write all the time. We write to explain our mathematical thinking as we explore math concepts. We write to describe what we are learning through our science labs. We write to learn about spelling patterns and grammatical concepts. We write stories, poems, arguments, and to share information with others. We write to plan, to remember, and we write to reflect.
This week we asked students to do some reflective writing in preparation for student-led conferences next week. We asked them to think about their learning in math, reading, writing, science, and with our iPads. And what I notice is that these students have stamina for writing. They know that writing gives voice to their learning. It matters to them, to us as their teachers, to their parents…and to each other.
We are a community of writers. And writers write. They write because writing helps them think, and remember, and communicate. And sometimes they publish too. But mostly they write because writing matters in our community of learners.
I hope it lasts a lifetime. How do you build stamina in your writers? How do you build your own writing stamina?