The Writing Strategies Book started shipping this week. I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the positive responses and enthusiasm from so many. Before you all get this book in your hands, though, I need to get something off my chest:
This book would not exist were it not for a community of friends, mentors, colleagues and teachers—giants—whom I’ve been lucky to know. I want you all to know them, too.
My most immediate teacher and mentor around the teaching of writing is Lucy Calkins. I first read her books in college, leaned on them heavily throughout my years in the classroom, and eventually was lucky enough to spend years with her at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Her contributions are deep-reaching—not only in writing curriculum and workshop methods of instruction but also as a mentor to so many who have gone on to inspire others. If you asked Lucy, though, she’d probably tell you she stands on the shoulders of her mentors, chief among them Don Graves. I came to Graves’ books, such as Writing: Teachers and Children at Work, many years after being introduced to Lucy’s books, but through Lucy, I was learning from this work years before going directly to the source.
Today on the Heinemann Podcast, we're exploring credo.
In 2013, Heinemann celebrated the legacy of Don Graves at a special breakfast during the National Council of Teachers of English conference in Boston. Three years later, at the 2016 NCTE conference, we wanted to reprise this moment by inviting those in attendance to consider the theme of credo. The event was hosted by Tom Newkirk and Penny Kittle and featured Heinemann authors Katherine Bomer, Smokey Daniels, Georgia Heard Allison Marchetti, Rebekah O’Dell, Cornelius Minor and Heinemann Fellow, Kimberly Parker. We began the event with a welcome from Heinemann’s General Manager, Vicki Boyd. Listen below:
What comes to mind when you think about the traditional 5-paragraph essay? Do you cringe? Sadly, many students only know “essay” as a 5-paragraph, tightly structured writing assignment that must check all the boxes of a standardized formula. How did essays in school get so far away from essays in the world? In her newest book, The Journey is Everything, Katherine Bomer makes a case for the benefits of authentic essay writing that breaks free of the 5-paragraph formula used in most middle and high school English classes.
Adapted from the introduction to The Journey Is Everything, the newest book by Katherine Bomer.
By Katherine Bomer
Whole generations of adults fear writing because they grew up in schools thinking writing means sentence diagrams, penmanship, spelling, and proper placement of that darn thesis statement. Our students deserve better than this. They need essays to help them think in reflective, open-minded ways, to stir their emotions, teach them about life, and move them to want to change the world. And now more than ever, with the hyperattention paid to preparing students for college and careers, young people need practice in finding subjects of interest and passion to write about. They need lessons that show them how to think deeply about these topics and how to write about them in compelling ways.