Lesson One (SOL #3)

How do you teach a teacher?

How do you teach anyone?

Ultimately, can anyone really teach anyone?

As an instructional resource specialist in an elementary district, I often contemplate these metaphysical questions. After two days of the Slice of Life Challenge, my answers are solidified.

In the constructivism view of Dewy, Piaget and others, teachers provide situations or environments that facilitate learning, and ultimately it is up to the learner to formulate, construct, and capture knowledge.

Lesson learned!

Through the encouragement of my colleague, I join the Slice of Life Challenge with anticipation. She stated, “People who write understand the process of writing. People who understand the process of writing ‘teach’ writing better.” With a learning intention of…we are learning to be a better writing teacher, and in the vein of constructivism, this colleague is “teaching” me to be a better writing teacher by facilitating a situation and environment for me to really learn writing.

The first lesson from the Challenge is the importance of sharing! When I first implemented a writing workshop, although it was in my “best laid plans” to provide my students time to share, I did not faithfully have daily share. The mini-lesson went long. Students wanted to keep writing. Someone stopped by the classroom. I didn’t know how to efficiently manage share, etc. Things can get in the way.

Once I wrote my first Slice, and as I continue to write more Slices, the first thing I want is for someone to read it! My husband, my children, my office-mates, strangers, it really doesn’t matter who. I want someone to read what I write! I am not seeking a grade, critique, or opinion; I just want to share my writing. And, funny thing is, I notice that my office-mates seek the same thing. Once they finish writing, inevitably the next utterance is, “Do you want to read it?” or “Hey can you read this?” I “learned” in writer’s workshop training about sharing. But, it is through this challenge that I truly am learning that share is not something that you “get to when you can,” something you can “blow off” because there isn’t time, or that share is unnecessary. Share is potent and vital to the writing process and ultimately to developing writers.

I knew that sharing was an essential part of writer’s workshop, and now I KNOW that sharing is a fundamental component of the workshop and that whichever form it takes, is has to happen EVERYDAY for EVERYONE.

Lesson One: Implement share during every workshop time.

Thank you D.M.

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