Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wobbling Just a Little

Ahhh, it's done, it's done! I honestly have no idea why I was so nervous today. I mean goodness; I teach my lovely little sixth graders everyday without getting nervous (OK, maybe the first day of every year I am a little nervous). But geez..today was a little ridiculous if I do say so myself?

I have to say though...I think the demo went really well!?! (Maybe..no, I think it did.) I think I wobbled (figuratively kiddos) more than I anticipated. I find myself REALLY not liking outlines; but then I find myself asking, what else can I do to help my students get their ideas down and written out?

In my demo I wanted to get our group to wobble with me. Wobbling about whether to use outlines, not use outlines, when to use outlines, if outlines are restrictive, etc? I like how Sally mentioned, during our after discussion, that outlines typically lead to students simply filling in blanks on a piece of paper. But, then Nick (who was in the Viking Group...with no outline) mentioned that his group had a lot of ideas, but were not sure where to begin? Therefore, I'm back wobbling. However, I do think that, as I was saying yesterday, Erika's list of suggestions from her demo would help get my students writing about their topic. Even if they create a comic strip, a letter, or even a chart or diagram...wouldn't that be similar to an outline? Their ideas would be getting down on a paper and then we could use that short writing to lead into a formal piece? I think that works...right? I mean, I think it makes sense.

Then, still in our after-demo conversation, Steve mentioned that he struggles when writing anything, even in his present day writing..So, by not giving an outline, are we preparing student writing for "real world" writing? Won't students struggle throughout all their writing as they mature? I still struggle with what to put in this wonderful-blog-thing I got going on...and I definitely struggle with where and how to start on most of my papers for my masters classes. Therefore, by not giving students an outline, would that be preparing them and helping them develop problem-solving skills when writing? Whoa, now my question is to research this more and possibly take this to a higher source? County-wide? Just an idea :)

Me doing my thing today! Demo Day!
Before closing out for today, I wanted to give you a real look at my wonderful writing group. They are fabulous and I am so thankful that the "Writing Group Gods" have placed me in this group. :)
Kim, Jenny, and Kendra down the left. Your's truly and Nick on the right. 


  1. It was an awesome demo today. We all were wobbling--and that means we were all thinking (without outlines to keep us on the straight and narrow path). Wobbling is good. I really heard Steve, too--that it is difficult to start any piece of writing--and we need to help our students find the power of not knowing--of learning the power of uncertainty. Real writers learn to write their way into knowing.

  2. You rocked that demo! And "geez" that discussion at the end was intense. Very thought provoking. Great job!!!

  3. you did a great job! Your demo brought up some crucial topics related to writing and the use or non-use of outline and its impact on students' understanding of writing. Outlines or graphic organizers can be helpful if used as a guide and not a be all end all. Helpful demo!

  4. I like how you are questioning whether to do outlines with students. In real life, I don't use outlines when I write. So I don't ask my students to do outlines. Rather, I ask them to work with ideas and see how they can put those together.

  5. Your demo was fantastic (as I knew it would be!) And I think that it went so well and why we had such a rich discussion afterward is because we all wobble on this topic. Every teacher wants to do what's best for his or her students, but sometimes (as in this case) what's best isn't always clear. We want to show them how they could organize their thinking with outlines, but we don't want to force that organization (or their thinking for that matter!) It's such a difficult line to draw, which is why I think the wobbling, the demo, and your post sparked such great discussion. You are awesome!