“Good afternoon, everyone!” I chirped. The end of the day had arrived, and most of my colleagues now sat nestled into a chair for faculty meeting. The main topic for the meeting was SBAC (standardized testing) protocols and updates, but I had requested time to invite staff to a special writing event for our seventh grade writers.
This year, we, myself along with the seventh grade team, decided to deviate from the curriculum somewhat. Although the unit of study, designed to support kids in strengthening argument writing skills, asked writers to study a topic beneath the umbrella of “media”, we had decided to open it up. Instead of teachers providing the topic within which writers could research and take a position, students had been given complete freedom and choice in regards to their topic, with the only stipulation being that they select a cause or issue they truly cared about. And teachers have watched as engagement has soared.
In order to push engagement even further, a special event is in the planning. I explained at the faculty meeting that all students will be encouraged to invite an audience member to attend a Global Cause Symposium in our library next week. In this symposium, writers will be organized in panels to present their positions to an authentic audience. And although we know some kids will be successful in bringing someone into school to listen to their positions, I made a plea to teachers to stop by if they could make the time. Perhaps they might provide an audience for some of our writers?
I know teachers’ time is precious, as the demands on our time are great. But creating opportunities for broader literacy experiences is kind of a mission of mine. So I am hopeful this event is a success. Stay tuned…