Tuesday, October 20, 2015

#WhyIWrite National Day on Writing

Today we celebrate the 7th annual National Day on Writing.  Create by the National Council of Teachers of English, the organization partners with many others to promote the importance of writing in our lives and to showcase the variety of forms that writing can take.  In this digital world, those forms are many - from texting to more traditional forms of storytelling - yet we sometimes forget that so much of how we communicate on a daily basis requires us to write.  Writing is fundamental to who we are as a society.

So to honor the role of writing in my life and to share my love of writing with others, I joined my son's third grade class today.  In preparation for the lesson, I asked the parents and grandparents of children in the class to respond to three prompts:

  • What kinds of things do you write each day?
  • Why is writing important?
  • Writing is... (fill in the blank).
We developed quite a list, which I summarize here.

In the lesson with the children, we developed answers to these questions, and I shared with them the responses from the adults in their lives.  They each selected some that they liked.

In partners the children thought about the message that they wanted to send to the world today about writing.  They planned their words, some of them borrowed directly from the list the adults had created, and considered an image that would help them to state their message.  They took pictures, searched for images, and saved to iPads.  Then they used meMatic to create memes with the images and the words.

Image macros, the foundation of memes, have become an important way of sharing opinions via social networking, but even more importantly, writers can use images and words to convey ideas, and the third graders today did a wonderful job of thinking about what writing is, why it is important, and how we can, as one girl put it, "get our ideas out to the world."

By the end of the lesson, students reflected to their teacher that they had learned 
  • "that writing is a lot of things," 
  • "that writing is sometimes pens and sometimes computers," and
  • "how to use the app."
These takeaways are all important for these young writers, but more importantly, they were able to share their writing with the world.

So, why do you write?  Consider sharing your perspective on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #whyIwrite.  I know some third graders who think you should.  :)