Risking Writing–an Awesome NCTE Session About Modeling Writing for Students

I wanted to share my writing from one of my favorite NCTE sessions. The topic was Risking Writing, and in it, Shanetia Clark, Mary Lee Hahn, Heidi Mordhorst, and Patricia Hruby Powell, talked about and demonstrated the process of writing in front of an audience.

I have done this on some school visits and in Young Authors Conferences, and it’s always a bit intimidating! But I end up learning a lot and I think kids do, too.

In this session, we in the audience watched Shanetia Clark brainstorm to a photo of veggies. You can see the image in Irene Latham’s post here. She talked her way through it so we could see her thought process. She mentioned things like: sensory details; what’s just outside the picture frame; connections; similar sounds; metaphors; and emotion.

Then Mary Lee drafted a poem. She talked about juicy words carrying emotion, word choice, and line breaks.

Then Heidi revised the poem. She advised reading the poem slowly, listening for the music, asking if the emotion is coming through.

It was fascinating to watch someone else write!

Then those of us in the audience took our turns. I was sitting with Irene and Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and as we individually brainstormed, from that same produce image, I loved seeing how different our lists were!

Brainstorming from Amy, Irene, and me
Brainstorming from Amy, Irene, and me

Here’s my full brainstorming:

Brainstorming a poem.jpg

Then we all drafted. Here’s mine:

Drafting a poem.jpg

And then we revised.

Revising a poem.jpg

As usual, I started with an image and ended up with a totally unrelated poem:>)  I’ll share a neater version on Friday. But I hope you guys will think about writing in front of your students. It is SO wonderful for students to watch us struggle a little and to hear our thought processes.

Fantastic session!

8 Responses

  1. Love seeing the colorful pages of notes! the letter carrier just delivered a package of poetry goodness from Irene–can’t wait to open it at Christmas!

  2. Process is always fascinating to me. I loved writing with my students as an audience as that accentuated the process to me even!
    Would love to have been there. How wonderful to see everyone writing!

    1. Exactly! Even just knowing Irene and Amy were likely to see my brainstorming I’m sure changed it a little bit, but mostly it helped me analyze my own approach and tendencies. Very helpful!

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