In my classroom, my favorite part of our writer’s workshop is the share. Students gather on the rug to hear each other’s work and give feedback. One by one, they sit in the special author’s chair, clear their throats, shuffle their pages, and read their work. Some read with hesitation, glancing up every few words to see how we, their audience, are reacting. Others read with assured confidence, projecting their voices and perhaps giggling at their own work.
When the sharing student finishes reading and looks up, their classmates’ hands pop up eagerly to give a compliment, a comment, or ask a question. I can see the validation in the readers’ faces as their peers compliment the way they hooked the reader, or noticed a new description.
But the best part for me usually comes the next day in writer’s workshop, when I see students inspired by each other to try something new in their own writing. Maybe the way I modeled figurative language didn’t work for them, but hearing the way a peer tried it out- cautiously, imperfectly, but with excitement- gave them the example they needed to try it themselves. When students can be mentor authors for each other, it raises the level of everyone’s writing in the classroom.
One of the things that drew me to SOL was the focus on feedback- the habit of giving and receiving comments each day. Just like our classroom writing share, I have found the reading other slices has inspired me. Some slices give me an idea of WHAT to write about, others HOW to write it, still others just TO write. Although I’m starting the challenge a few days late, I’m looking forward to being a part of this writing community for the rest of the month.