It is common to hear adults criticize the youth of today and to hone in on what is wrong with this generation, but I feel privileged every day to work with today's youth and this generation of teenagers who are thoughtful, caring, and preparing to serve as competent and informed leaders in our communities, nation, and world. There is so much "right" happening in this generation, and my students are prime examples of this.
My students are creators, makers, thinkers, and collaborators, they just don't always know it yet.
They come from diverse economic backgrounds, and many live in poverty. Most of them have never experienced an English/language arts classroom that requires them to ask the important questions, to control the direction of the course, to learn how to manage their time, and to use the design-thinking model to uniquely respond to the world in which they live. However, this experience is exactly what they find in my classroom because it is important that they learn the skills, practice the skills, and feel confident in these skills to make a positive life for themselves and a difference in the world. After all, this generation is going places!
Writing happens every day in my classroom, but the majority of the writing we do begins informally. It needs a place to grow and be developed through the writing process.
"Rehearsal books" (or writers' notebooks) give students a place to try out their ideas, to sketch, and to germinate the seeds of future word gardens.
Spiral notebooks allow my students to do their writing and drawing on the right-hand page. The left-hand (facing) page can then be used for the larger writing process--adding ideas, getting feedback from peers and teachers, researching, revising entire sections, concept mapping, and placing notes and amendments to their thinking. It keeps all of their thinking in one place and the spirals are small enough to store easily in the classroom or to slip into a backpack to continue developing ideas outside of school.
Many of my students cannot afford basic school supplies. If there is a standard expectation of a resource to be used every day, we need your help in making that a reality. My students can change the world with their thinking, if they have time and space to develop their unique ideas.
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