Like many other writers this month, I chose an OLW for 2018. My word is CHALLENGE and I definitely considered my writing life when choosing this word. I am a goal-oriented person and I know for me to just say I am going to do something means it may or may not happen, so I had to set myself some parameters within that word.
Some writing goals are those I want to continue, such as slicing each Tuesday, as part of the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life. I will also participate (again- for the fourth time) in the March Slice of Life Challenge (I will invite my third graders to slice with me. Some of my former students are already excited for March, and I am hoping their enthusiasm will spread to my current students.). One thing I especially love about this is the real writing community my students get to be a part of as a result.
I also want to work toward daily writing. I do so much “prewriting” in my head, but do not always get words on the page! What I have done so far in 2018 is set aside a time- 7-7:30PM. I go through spurts where I write daily and then stretches where I do not and I know I feel better when I write regularly, so I have to make it work.
Reading often fuels my writing- whether it be inspirational (like Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Anne Lamott, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, or any of the amazing teacher-writers who inspire me regularly), so I have to make sure I do plenty of that as well.
I want to expand the types of writing I do. I tend toward journal writing, which is great for helping me process and set goals, but it means that there is lots of writing I do not develop. When we first started with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Units, I was good about doing the writing I was asking my students to do (including the on-demand pre and post assessments). This was a great way for me to really experience what I was asking of my students (and man, is it hard to meet all of the third grade standards!), but since then I have only done this sporadically. I will do more of this variety of writing this year.
I want to continue to make time for “joy writing” (thanks to Ralph Fletcher for the term) in the classroom. We have 15 minutes of quiet time every day after lunch and some students choose to write then, and we also have “Free Choice Friday” time where students can read or write what they choose- regardless of the genre or form. This is something that I definitely want to continue at the next school too.
Just this morning I noticed that within my OLW, CHALLENGE, are the letters that spell 'CHANGE'. I am open to new goals that come up throughout the year!
Erika Victor is currently a third grade teacher in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Most of her career has been international and this summer she will move to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to teach a new crop of third graders. Looking back she has been a writer since childhood (Somehow she has the original compilation of haikus from her fourth grade reading group which she brings out each year to show her poets. Over the course of fifth and part of sixth grade she wrote a looong story Dina and Amy- scarlet fever added some of the drama.). You can find Erika on Twitter at @ErikaMVictor or on her blog at msvictorreads.wordpress.com.