Sitting in the dining room, writing resources spread out in front of me, my thoughts were turning to ways we could offer students a chance to take more ownership over writing time. We are currently in a unit where we are writing about reading. A close examination of the letters students have been writing made it clear that there were MANY experts in the classroom. Some students wrote the title with the correct capitalization. Others, were able to state their opinion about a book or character clearly and with strong emotions. Some, gave several examples to support their opinion as they retold events in the story. They even quoted what the characters said and described characters’ actions in great detail. It felt like just the right time to put students in the role of teacher.
Coming up with a structure that would work in the classroom meant making room for students to practice teaching before working with their peers. We believe all students have something they can teach, and if we celebrate each child’s strength that would give them all the opportunity to teach it to others. When we open up our minds to see what all children have to offer we will never be disappointed. What did we know about our young writers? There were students who created an illustration that really helped persuade their audience, students that knew how to address their audience and other students who knew how to write their signatures on their letters. These may seem like simple skills but sometimes they are just the thing that other students need to pay close attention to. What would it be like if we all just celebrated our students and let them lead?