Writing Identities


Our classroom has evolved into a community of writers. This is particularly evident in my classroom during our 8th period. Five student writers are in the middle of writing a speech as part of a national competition. Each writer has her sights set on placing in the contest.

Before I send them off to work on their speech drafts, I teach a quick mini-lesson. Thursday, I emphasize the importance of adding elements of narration to their speeches. I also reminded them that their voices are their identities and what makes their writing so special. Then I tell them that when I read their final drafts I should be able to figure out the author of each speech just by their writing style. At first, my five writers look at me blankly as if what I said was simply hyperbole, so elaborate.

“Now that we’ve come to the end of the third quarter, I’ve read enough of your writing to know you as a writer.

There is Katy, the professor: She writes from an old soul perspective. Her thinking is deeply analytical and her vocabulary is robust.

Then there is Hannah: She writes with a paintbrush. Her compositions are full of imaginative figurative language and imagery.

Juliet is her own worst critic: She is a master of symbolism who writes from a vulnerable and mystical place.

Next to her is Ann: She is Miss Detail. Her writing is logical and fully developed.

Evelyne rounds out the group: She is one of my most gifted writers, a natural born storyteller who eloquently captures the inner thinking and struggles of her characters to create a memorable narrative.”

My writers blush and nod as I describe their writing identity. I’ve surprised each of them, but in a good way. We are a writing community, I say again. We know each other on a whole new level.

5 thoughts on “Writing Identities

  1. This is amazing in every way. It is the best accomplishment of any school year, and the most profound way to remember our dear students.


  2. Amy, this is an inspiring piece. Because you are such a talented writer yourself, you are able to share that love and insight with your students. It is clear that you do have a writer’s community going. Your students are very fortunate! Congratulations on a great year and thanks for inviting us in.


  3. Wowser! I love how you know each writer by heart and can profile each so vividly. Who did it? The Professor or the Paintbrush Writer? Sounds like a mystery series… these characters coupled with your art of suspense…


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