Creating the ideal writing program

What are the components of a great writing program for students?

A great writing program for students has structure and freedom, allows for choice but also sets parameters, it teaches technique and reliable devices but allows for discovery while building skills and discipline.  It needs to use models for writing that stretch the horizons of the students and also has a diverse set of cultural and historical texts to appeal to student interests and contexts. It needs to involve the full cycle of the writing process on more than one occasion and also at different depth levels.  It needs to promote analysis and self-metacognition.

Assessment allows for students to repeat a process multiple times to see growth in key areas throughout the semester.  Assessment needs to be personalized and measure individual growth over time. It needs to allow for students to develop a portfolio of best work but should emphasize process as much as product.

It should allow for collaborative work manifesting a classroom culture of trust and reliance among students.  Peer assessment and feedback that is timely and constructively critical should be the goal. Multiple modes of expression using various levels of technology should be promoted.  Above all various community experts and authentic audiences should be employed to heighten the authenticity of the writing program.

These are the goals I aim to hit every day in my writing program.  I don’t always hit a a bulls-eye, but my aim is true.

Mrs. King’s recommended reads

I’m teaching grade 12 creative writing this fall and I’m so excited about it. I believe that to be a good writer that you need to read and write as much as possible.  At my library, students and staff can sign out any seven books they want to for the whole summer.

If you’re reading this, then you might be excited too.  Here’s a list of the books that I highly recommend

a) because they’re written really well

or

b) they connected with me personally and I want to share this part of me with you.

Life Changers

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

100-Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon (non-fiction)

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman (non-fiction)

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein (non-fiction)

The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant

Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese

The Wars by Timothy Findley

Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf (non-fiction)

Just Juicy

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

The Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Origin by Dan Brown

Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

Dataclysm: Who We Are by Christian Rudder

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolffson and Andrew McFee (non-fiction)

Spin by Clive Veroni (non-fiction)