Wow! What an amazing experience to have gone to All Write! This was my first year to attend. I heard about it on Twitter last year and read all the tweets from attendees. It sounded amazing so I had to see what it was all about this year. And it was well worth the trip!
I was able to listen to some wonderful presenters including Carl Anderson, Jeff Anderson, Jennifer Serravallo, Terry Thompson, Ruth Ayres, Tim Rasinski, and Lester Laminack. And there were more I wish I could have seen!!
I learned so much and took so many notes I had to let it all digest for a few days before writing something about it. After some reflection, here are a few of the things I took away from All Write.
1. If you want to teach writing, you need to be a writer! This is something I am really trying to work on. I have been writing more, but I know it's not nearly enough. I am signed up to do Teachers Write with Kate Messner and I am really going to put a lot of effort into it. I started it last summer but didn't finish. Someone once said (and I wish I could remember who so I could give them credit) that you wouldn't take golf lessons from someone who didn't know how to golf. Why would you teach writing if you don't know how to write?
2. We need to give students choice. Carl Anderson talked about how in writing workshop, children learn a lot taking initiative because they have choices to make, and because we teach them how to make those choices. When students have choice of topics they are more motivated and they end up knowing the topic very well. They also need to be given choice of genre. He also went on to say that we are stifling creativity.
3. Anything you want to teach writers, make sure they know it as a reader first. The idea behind this is if they don't understand it in reading, they won't be able to use it in their writing.
4. Kids need to step away from their writing. When they initially write something, have them step away and work on something else. When they do go back to revise later on, they are looking at it with fresh eyes!
I want to end with a few inspiring quotes from Carl Anderson:
"How we teach can matter as much as what we teach."
"It's not what you know anymore, it's what you can do with what you know."