In my history, literature, and writing classes for kids, I give students notebooks in which to write. These are looseleaf. They decorate them and title them as they wish. I do not direct this writing. It does not have to be in a certain style nor does it have to be in a certain amount; neither does it need to obviously relate to what we are studying in class: I trust that it does.
I certainly do not expect them to parrot back information. Instead, together, we create context for their writing. I bring materials and information, and so do they.
They sparkle and brim with insight and observation....conversations get lively, and so do play and crafts. It is self- and group-directed and it is expansive. Sometimes I am answering three individual, multi-level questions about spelling or grammar or paragraph construction, or rhyme or phrasing, at once. Sometimes I am letting them know about literary forms, theories, and terms, or historical events, that relate to what they are observing or making. Sometimes they are letting me know. Everyone is learning. Everyone is engaged. Everyone is inventive.
We validate and expand each other's comprehension, skill, and experience.
This is inhabiting a living literature, a co-creative historical and cultural context, matrix. It is beautiful and I am so grateful to be able to do and share this work.
Love, Elizabeth ("Teacher")