Quite a few successful strategies were put into place to help Liam grow in writing skills and confidence during this school year.
Liam realized that he loved information writing because he was able to choose topics to research that most interested him. He saw that he had “power” over the decision of what to write about. He learned about his topic and, as a mini-expert, felt that he could successfully write about his topic with some depth and detail.
With creative writing, he was given the opportunity to complete a small Heart Map (see previous post about Heart Maps and Writing Territories). Whenever he was stuck, he was guided back to his Heart Map to choose a topic.
He grew to understand that creative writing could take the form of personal narrative, where he shared about something that had happened to him, but didn’t have to stick just to the facts. He was relieved to learn that he didn’t have to make up a story from scratch. Personal narrative writing allowed him to blend information writing (what he knew he could do), with creative writing – he was sharing facts about his life.
His teacher conferred with him to celebrate his successes and guide him in only one or two areas of growth. No longer did he get back tons of comments to “fix” on his writing – something that quickly overwhelmed him.
He was officially introduced to opinion writing. He learned that he could base his opinions on facts that he learned, not just from life experiences that he did or did not have, that may or may not inform his position on the topic. This blended his ability to use information to shape his opinion.
Before writing, he was allowed to participate in an oral rehearsal of his ideas with a peer or his teacher. This practice helped him hear how his writing might go, before he had to commit words to paper.
He benefited from each of these writing opportunities.