By John Spencer
A few years ago, my son opened a Google Document and started typing. I asked him about it and his eyes lit up as he described the shared story he was writing with classmates. This was the first day of summer break but he was choosing to write for fun. It might not sound like much but it’s an example of the tiny miracles that happen in classrooms all the time. My son fell in love with writing in Ms. Reddiger’s class. He spent a whole year getting up early and finishing his chores fast so that he could write a blog post or do a story on Storybird. He viewed himself as an author because of his teacher.
This was the year he moved from like writing to loving writing. But it wasn’t just him. I visited his classroom one day and watched as reluctant writers who had hated the subject worked feverishly on their argumentative essays. Ms. Reddiger had created a classroom culture built around the idea that writing should be fun.
That was a big aha moment for me. If I wanted to inspire reluctant writers, I should integrate writing into projects. Sometimes students created media projects, like documentaries or podcasts. Other times, they did maker projects. Or we might do a short Wonder Day project.