I’ve posted a bit about our environmental essay project (with the companion media component), noting how I have assigned myself the same project as they are doing it, too. The idea is to make my own writing more visible for them, so I am constantly sharing out how things are going and using the comment feature in Word to share my reflections with the students. My aim is also to have them assess me with the rubric I will be using to assess them. How interesting will that be, eh?
The other day, I finally finished my essay on Fuel Cell Technology. I shared it with my students yesterday, stopping many times as I read it out loud to talk “outside the paper” about approaches such as “loaded words,” use of background information and plagiarism, how to form an argument, and summarizing thoughts with some final points.
I am hoping it helps them as writers, although I had to remind them that I have been writing for years — sometimes, professionally — and my essay is merely an example, and not necessarily the model. No, that’s not right. I guess I am worried that my essay might intimidate, rather than inspire, my young writers.
I purposely did not “dumb it to down” for the classroom of sixth graders. I wrote as I would write about a topic, as a writer. But I know some of my kids were thinking, “I can’t write like that,” so I placed extra emphasis on them writing to the best of their abilities, and my belief if them as writers with something to say. Still, I have this nagging feeling that I set a bar some of them (not all, certainly) will have trouble reaching. I only got this feeling after I had shared, though.
I’m curious to know what you think about sharing our own writing with our students? Can it intimidate them? Inspire them? Do we “change” our writing to reflect where they are at, as writers? Or do we write as writers, and show them our skills? Please chime in. I need a little help thinking this through.
Peace (in the thinking),