Responding to Text? Responding to Life?

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Two Writing Teachers

I love my children’s teachers this year, the way they encourage deep and fun literacy in the home. This weekend (and every weekend this year) I will be writing my third grade son a letter to respond to the weekly letter he writes me in class. The teacher won’t be reading our letters; he will just be helping us communicate and write to one another. Already in my first letter I told Michael things I don’t often tell him out loud. I think this letter writing might be good for both of us.


My kindergartener Sarah’s fun literacy activity was to bring home a mentor text and the class animal (the mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie). We had so much fun with the mouse, and we penned our version of If You Take a Mouse to Sarah’s House to put in Mouse’s class book.

This makes me reflect on my classroom literary experiences this year. I think my literacy focus is solely on textual evidence and deeper reading; therefore, I am afraid I am losing some of the connections that make literacy and writing personally meaningful. My students seem to be enjoying the change and the challenge of exploring the deeper meaning of text. The problem is, though, that I have little time to help them find their own voice, that one that makes meaning out of life, that memoir voice, that poet’s voice. I must find a place for that in my curriculum.  Responding to text is a necessary skill we must all have; however, responding to life is equally if not more important. 
Given the state units to implement and given the new CC curriculum, I am trying to find a way to keep what is sacred to self-discovery while adding what is necessary for college and career readiness. 
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5 thoughts on “Responding to Text? Responding to Life?

  1. Wow…sounds like you are really into the new CCSS lingo and practice in Middle school. Your kids are doing some amazing things. I know that we can work the core to accomplish 'love' of reading and writing- perhaps through research !

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  2. Tara is right about Lucy Calkins. I bet it would clarify thinking so you will feel good about what you are doing & help you integrate what you know to be important for the personal growth. Thanks for sharing this thought.

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  3. I guess I need to revisit her book, though I do not have a lot of freedom in what I teach because we are teaching the state units. I need to find myself in spite of the restrictions. Thanks.

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