Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Lesson From Katie Wood Ray

I have always believed in the saying that "you get out of something what you put into it."  I say this to my students all the time, but recently this is a lesson that I have learned.

Last summer I bought and started reading What You Know by Heart from Katie Wood Ray.  I have to admit that I abandoned it.   I could not connect with it, and I was not getting anything out of it.

Fast forward a year.

This summer I decided that I was going to concentrate on becoming a better teacher of writing.  The first thing I did was to create this blog and start writing!  I also ordered several professional books on teaching writing.  Here is what I ordered:

Before those books arrived, I decided to dig out Katie's book and give it another try.  Reading it through a different lens, (that of someone who is actually writing) has been a "light bulb moment" for me.

She says, "We look at the texts of our experiences to see where ideas come from, how those ideas are developed, how a writer gets a draft started, what happens along the way as the draft progresses, and on and on."  p. 17.

The rest of the book uses those experiences to develop writing curriculum and minilessons.  The first time I tried reading this book, I was not putting anything into it - I was not writing.  Therefore, I did not get anything out of it.

Now all that has changed.

I have a notebook with ideas, and drafts, and revisions, and yes even published blog writing.

I have those experiences on which to draw.

I have visions of using my writing as mentor texts to teach these process lessons,

AND I can speak from experience when I say "you get out of something what you put into it!"

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