Writing Identities

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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.

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  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.

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  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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