Today was the first Monday of our writing challenge. My students had a three day weekend in which to write on their own. We are writing in class each weekday but the weekends they are on their own. I was worried. It has taken us most of the year to build a good reading practice. Many of my students don’t have large or any book collections at home. They aren’t apt to sit down with the family and have everyone reading for the night. Family reading is a new idea for some of them. They are now however almost all carry books with them and most books are being read. They know they are to read at night and on the weekends. They ask when they can’t find a book they want to read. They are checking out and reading books from our library. This was a practice we needed to build and it has taken time.
So why did I think we would build a writing practice in three days? Dud! We have been writing all year but not this daily practice. Not this writing that pushes you to think beyond what I eat for breakfast writing. But there are those who did push themselves and came in this morning having written all three days. There were many little celebrations. What I enjoyed most were the few children who came up to check in with the statement “I didn’t write this weekend but I thought about all three days! Does it count?” It would be easy to say no – what matters is pencil to paper until I though of how many times I have said I am going to write this weekend, thought about it all weekend and never put pencil to paper.
Writing is a practice that we come to slowly like our reading practice. I celebrate that they thought about it, knew I was expecting them to try and that they hoped today they could write two post or three to get caught up. They cared! Isn’t that always the first step to any new challenge – to care? When we care, we try and once we try – things happen.
So yes, it does count that you thought about writing this past weekend and that you will write each day this week in class and we will hope that you try to put pencil to paper next weekend. It takes time to be a writer and that is what this slice of life challenge is about for us – taking time to be a writer.