Mentor Teaching Moves – Finding Authentic Audiences for Writers #T4TMoments

As writing teachers, we want students to know their writing matters.  Writing is a way for students to capture their thoughts, ideas, feelings, and memories and to share these with others.   We are always on the lookout for opportunities for students to write for real purposes and authentic audiences.

As we read Carrie Gelson’s blog post, we noticed how she used her absence as a genuine reason for students to write.  Instead of preparing a list of classroom routines for the substitute herself, Carrie involved her students in the process.  Her students crafted letters to the “guest teacher,” and these letters express more than a list of directions.  They welcome the guest teacher to the classroom, explain the classroom rules, and reflect the classroom culture that has been established.Carrie’s absence provided an opportunity for students to take ownership and share the values of their classroom community with a guest.  Instead of the teacher holding onto the responsibility, she gave the responsibility to her students and they rose to the occasion.  We can only imagine the look on the guest teacher’s face as she read these letters.  Thank you, Carrie, for reminding us to be on the lookout for opportunities to find real reasons to write. These moments are all around us!

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