Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Renew: Become a Better and More Authentic Writing Teacher

A couple of weeks ago I shared my excitement for a book that is getting a lot of buzz this summer, Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. It's deservedly getting a lot of attention because it has a lot of thought-provoking, non-nonsense ideas about how we need to pay attention to how we read. 

Well, today I'm so excited to share Renew! Become a Better and More Authentic Writing Teacher by Shawna Coppola. If you've read Disrupting Thinking, now it's time to read Renew! They compliment each other well but in Renew! Shawna focuses on writing and she tells it like it is. I found myself emphatically reading, cheering, and marking this book up because she her voice and passion comes through so clearly but also because her message needs to be heard!



If you aren't excited yet...maybe this will help...


In all seriousness, I adore Shawna and the messages she shares in this book. Here are a few of my favorite quotes that I'm keeping with me as I go into the school year.

"...it is crucial to routinely examine our practices in light of the children we have in front of us and adjust as needed." (p. 4)

"Oftentimes, when things aren't working, we are quick to place blame on students: they're 'unmotivated,' 'lazy,' or 'reluctant.' Rarely are we willing to turn the lens on ourselves to rethink - and if necessary, revise - the practices that have become, over time, our 'default' practices." (p. 4)

"I believe with every fiber of my being that it is essential for educators to do everything we can to avoid becoming complacent in our work." (p. 9)

"...if we are truly willing to honor the individuality of our students writers, the uniqueness of each community of learners, and the ever-changing nature of our global landscape, we must continually rethink, revise, renew our practice." (p. 10)

Um...I honestly want to quote all of chapter two but I can't so you seriously need to buy this book! In chapter two, Shawna points out that the writing process isn't as simple and clean as the posters we hang up in our rooms and she is soooooo write. She explains that we have to "acknowledge the dynamic nature and the fluidity of writing process." (p. 27)

She also talks about how we need to reexamine what it means to "write" in the 21st century, what tools we use with our student writers and how we assess and evaluate writing. And to top it all off, she shares how we need to look closely at our role as teachers of writers. I've been part of Teachers Write since in started in 2012 and it has completely changed how I view teaching writers. When we write ourselves, we have a deeper understanding of what writing is all about. In this chapter Shawna shares tons of resources for teachers to take the leap into being writers themselves.

I just had to throw one more round of applause in there. Shawna says so many things I believe and know to be true. I found myself nodding along and marking up the margins and I'm sure you will too!


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