Last month I received an email from a secondary teacher friend from another district who was in pursuit of some early elementary writing samples for professional development she was planning. I was more than happy to send some writing her way. She briefly shared her disappointment with the lack of elementary teachers who believed young children can really write. She was having troubles finding these teachers. I completely understood her frustration, because I've been baffled about the same issue for several years. It's a shame actually. Our elementary schools, both lower and upper grades alike, should be running over with authentic writing pieces. There should never be a lack.
I believe our problem is driven by teacher insecurities, lack of knowledge, and the wrong assumptions. Admittedly, teaching writing is not easy. In fact, it can be downright gruesome some days, leaving me questioning my abilities at times. A solid knowledge base and ongoing professional development definitely make a difference. More importantly though, it takes belief in my writers first and foremost. If my assumptions about my writers are on the mark, then I won't wait until November to introduce writing. I won't teach writing only when there's time. I won't ask my writers to fill in the blank. I won't repeatedly give them prompts. Young children can write, want to write, and have lots to write about. Those assumptions should lead the way to schools that are overflowing with writing samples to share.
Now I shall send you to Laurie at Chickadee Jubilee. She's got her own Saturday Saying this morning that you won't want to miss.