Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

The Beauty of Joy Writing

If you dropped into Room 212 for a vis­it between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. you might won­der what kind of “Writer’s Work­shop” was under­way. It’s not that you wouldn’t find evi­dence of writ­ing … the ques­tions raised might cen­ter on the gen­res of writ­ing you would be hard pressed to detect. No per­sua­sive essays. Not a sin­gle five-para­graph essay. Zero per­son­al nar­ra­tives.  And where are the friend­ly let­ters?

What you would dis­cov­er in Room 212 is a refresh­ing approach to Writer’s Work­shop that is intent on cul­ti­vat­ing JOY among the two dozen aspir­ing writ­ers spread around the room. What you would also dis­cov­er is a cel­e­bra­tion of indi­vid­u­al­i­ty, cre­ativ­i­ty, choice and voice …

An anniversary wish to an amazing school cook on 25 years of service

An anniver­sary wish to an amaz­ing school cook on 25 years of ser­vice

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An eclectic list of favorite bands

An eclec­tic list of favorite bands

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A sincere and well-thought out list of “Things I Hate”

A sin­cere and well-thought out list of “Things I Hate”

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a heartfelt note to a friend praising their virtues

a heart­felt note to a friend prais­ing their virtues

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Joy Write Ralph Fletcher

Ralph Fletcher’s lat­est con­tri­bu­tion to the world of teach­ing writ­ing, Joy Write, is one of the loveli­est approach­es to Writer’s Work­shop I’ve ever encoun­tered. It’s about set­ting aside the for­mal, com­mon core, stan­dards-based, often ener­gy-drain­ing ways we sti­fle kids in the Writer’s Work­shop. Instead, teach­ers are encour­aged to be inten­tion­al about cre­at­ing a “green­belt” space (an anal­o­gy relat­ed to com­mu­ni­ty plan­ning and land man­age­ment) that allows kids the free­dom to make writ­ing “per­son­al, pas­sion­ate, joy­ful, whim­si­cal, play­ful, infused with choice, humor, and voice” and best of all, “reflec­tive of the quirk­i­ness of child­hood.”

In addi­tion to extend­ing an abun­dance of ideas on what to do to dur­ing Writer’s Work­shop, Fletch­er cau­tions teach­ers on what NOT to do, such as cor­rect, grade, assess, quan­ti­fy pages or cri­tique messy hand­writ­ing.

If this peek into the Writer’s Work­shop in Room 212 leaves you won­der­ing just what the teacher could and should be doing to pro­mote the beau­ty of joy, you must get your hands on a copy of Joy Write, by Ralph Fletch­er, pub­lished by Heine­mann (down­load a free chap­ter of the book).

As my wise 3rd grade friend Will points out, “Joy Write means to write fre­aly. you don’t haft to write per­fect­ley. it doesn’t mat­ter now mat­ter what!”

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One Response to The Beauty of Joy Writing

  1. Kris October 16, 2018 at 6:57 pm #

    Love it! You are an end­less source of inspi­ra­tion!!! For­ev­er grate­ful.

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