Yesterday was the first day of the Area 3 Writing Project Summer Invitational and we focused on developing a writing community. As I mentioned in an earlier post the morning started off with artifact sharing. This activity allowed every person to share amazingly personal and passionate stories that led to our first moment of sacred writing time. For 45 minutes we did nothing but find a quiet space and write. It was awesome. How often to each of us simply have time to go and write just to write? I’m talking about no deadline, no predetermined audience, no professional connection – just time to write. I highly recommend it. (Yesterday’s post was the product of this sacred writing time.)
The writing each of us produced led to the part of the Summer Invitational I had been a little concerned about – meeting in a writing group. Each day we meet in teams of four to share and discuss our writing. In a collaborative and constructive manner each team works together to help the members grow as writers. This can be a little daunting since writing can be both so personal and a measure of professional effectiveness. While I am sure all of the writing groups are great, I think I’m fortunate to have the best one. Actually, everyone claimed that after our initial meeting, so I think just the mere fact we have the opportunity to meet in writing groups is a rewarding experience for each of us. In my group as each person shared their story I realized the intensely intimate connection writing has to emotion. More than once my writing group took a very personal turn as our writing lead to stories about family, friends, and loved ones. In the next few weeks I think meeting in writing groups might become my favorite part of the Summer Invitational – kind of ironic since I initially found the thought a little daunting.
Later in the afternoon the entire group took some time to discuss Because Writing Matters. During our conversation one particular paragraph connected my experience working in writing groups to the work we’re currently doing at school.
“In many schools, English teachers have the main responsibility for teaching writing. But districts and schools that have made writing an overarching curricular aim have done so by declaring it the job of all faculty and by providing ongoing professional development focused on writing. A key element in such systemic change is finding a core group of teachers who write and are enthusiastic about teaching it.”
As my district transitions into a culture of writing, what are we doing to facilitate the development of a community of writers – a community that includes both adults and students?