This week’s post is written by Jennifer Shettel. Jen is a member of the Lancaster-Lebanon Reading Council and an associate professor at Millersville University, where she teaches literacy methods courses in the Early, Middle, and Exceptional (EMEE) Education Department.
Goal 4 is all about helping writers develop focus. Common themes that emerged throughout the strategies in this chapter are passion, spirit, and heart. I really loved this emphasis and it caused me to rethink writing in a more passion-driven sense which clearly helps writers hone their focus. Strategies like “Find the Heart” (4.3, p.138), “Find Your Passion to Focus” (4.8, p. 143), and “The ‘So What’ Rule” (4.19, p. 154) all emphasize this approach to writing.
One of my favorite strategies is, “Write a Poem to Try On a Focus” (4.10, p. 145). I thought this was a great idea and something I hadn’t considered using with my writers. Writing your piece as a poem really does help you “zoom in” on the important parts and could clearly help writers develop focus.
Another strategy that caused me to have an ah-ha moment was, “Their Topic, Your Idea” (4.13, p 148). While writing to a prompt can be overdone in our current assessment-driven climate, the idea that real writers sometimes are given a prompt was mind-boggling to me. I wrote, “Prompt writing in the REAL WORLD!!!” in the margins on this page.
What strategies in this chapter were new to you? Which ones might you try before the school year ends?