I have been doing a lot of reading lately, for work and for fun (although I think reading “school stuff” is fun …). All of this reading has me bursting to talk about the books, to tell someone about the great idea I just read about, the beautiful sentence that brought tears to my eyes, or the educational writer who makes everything sound so easy…so many things to say and very little time to actually sit down and say them. So I decided I would write them, of course, use my writer’s notebook that I talk about so much. The same writer’s notebook I tell kids and teachers alike to write in. Of course, writing in the notebook would solve my problem of so much to say, I would get it all on paper, process my thinking and feel great.
Well, things are never that simple. I sat down to read the other night with my notebook at my side, ready to write every thought that came to mind and nothing. It must just be the night I thought, so I tried again another night, no luck. The next day I decided to try during lunch, no luck. Why couldn’t I think of a thing to write when I felt like I had so many things to say?
This led me to think of those kids who look at writer’s notebooks and claim nothing to say. A lightbulb went off…talk…it is talk that I am missing. I had so many things I wanted to talk about but when it came to writing them they disappeared. I wanted to tell someone my thoughts and get immediate feedback, to see their face when I shared my ideas. The notebook would not give me the interaction I needed to sort out all of my thoughts. Many of our kids need that talk too. There are so many things bouncing around in their heads when it comes time to write they have the same problem I did…too many ideas to even realize they had one worthy of writing. These students need to talk first, get feedback from another person and sort out their thinking aloud before they begin to write. Try it out, instead of writing time, try some “talk time”.