When we think about learning to write, we often think about learning skills like spelling, grammar, and proper handwriting. But writing is not just ‘mechanics.’ It is all those things mentioned and so much more.
Teachers Are Learners, Too!
At NIS, it is not just the students that need to refine and improve their practice. So do the teachers! And so, when it came to teaching writing, the NIS primary teachers knew that we wanted our students to learn the craft of writing as well as the mechanics. Mostly we wanted them to truly see themselves as the writers they already are!
In addition, we have also been planning our writing units in more depth and teaching units that focus on specific genres. There are also units in which students can choose which genre they write in but focus more on the writing process. We knew we would need support in deepening our own understandings around these types of units and thought we would be doing a disservice to our students if we only focused on mechanics.
Inviting Mr. Glover Into the Classroom
To address that concern, NIS primary teachers have been working with a consultant to ensure we have a structured and well-rounded approach to teaching writing. Since last academic year, Matt Glover has been working with teachers and students to help us implement a writer's workshop structure that allows us to teach our standards for writing and enables students to have voice and choice when they write.
Before becoming an educational consultant and author, Glover was an educator for 20 years, a principal, and instructional leader. He works with numerous international schools around the world and state and private schools in the USA. Glover spoke with teachers about a wide range of topics, including how to use the work of published authors when teaching, how to honor the approximations that students make and nudge them onto the next steps in their writing, and how to confer one-on-one with students effectively.
In this new Zoom world, we were fortunate to have him teach some of our students live (while still online!), which gave the students an excellent opportunity to be taught by Glover directly. Teachers were able to observe him and engage in dialogue about the work students were doing, which helped them formulate their next steps in guiding their young writers.
An Added Bonus!
We know that many of our parents would also like to hear what Mr. Glover has to say, so we have organized an online parent workshop on Friday, January 28 from 1:45 - 2:45 pm. Further details and a survey giving parents an opportunity to submit questions will be sent out on Monday, January 17. Japanese translation will also be provided. This is a fantastic opportunity for our parents to learn about our approach to writing and ask any questions they might have to help foster their children’s creative writing outside of the classroom, too!