Do you believe that asking students to write stories about any topic they choose can turn students on to writing? According to author Bruce Coville, that’s how he discovered his love of writing. For him it happened in sixth grade. By the time he was 17, he had decided he was going to be a writer. Of course he had a few other jobs along the way: gravedigger, toymaker, cookware salesman, and teacher of second and fourth graders. Why did he quit teaching? There wasn’t enough time to write! (We certainly understand that, don’t we?) He also had experienced writing success with his book The Monster’s Ring, which allowed him to step away from the classroom.
I’m always super happy to remind teachers of the powerful impact they have on their students. This example also reminds me of the importance of student choice. Student choice can mean different things. Giving students a choice of how they learn and allowing students to demonstrate their learning in different ways are two examples. This can be a bit tricky when working with young students. Giving students the choice to read about topics that interest them and to draw, write, or research these topics is a first step.
Do you believe student choice is an important component of student learning? I do!
Now, about those aliens…