Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Boys Observation - Slice 3 of 31

Friday the Orchestra Honor Students (6th-12th) were touring the elementary schools.  The music was picked to spotlight individual instruments.  It was meant to entice young want-to-be musicians to join Orchestra and learn the foundations.  The kids did a marvelous job.

When we returned to the library I had my 3/4 combination write about their favorite instrument.  One of my favorite responses was from a young boy.

"My favorite was the Bass.  I liked the low sounds it made when they wiped the stick across it.  You could feel the low sounds vibrate through the floor."

This description made me stop and think.  He saw the bow move across the instrument, he heard the music and felt the vibrations.  How is this a great analogy to writing?  In the music they are unaware of the hours of practice.  The amount of effort that goes into correct fingering.  They hear the music after hours of work and practice.  It looks effortless - so they become frustrated when their first attempts are not at the master level.

I watch my young authors as they slap down a few sentences and then turn to me and say I'm done.   I struggle to find new ways to teach them the importance of revising their work.  As I reflected on the short description of a young boy's observation.  I realized why we need to model our efforts.  They need to see our struggles.  They need to see that our writing does not magically materialize from a single attempt.

They need to see us write.


  1. You are right - they need to see us model the process, to know that however challenging it may be, it's worth the effort. I try to do this with my sixth graders, sometimes with more success than others. But they do see me try!

  2. You are so right. I've been writing with my students this year in creative writing (well trying to). And it has helped them realize there's more to it than just putting words down on paper. I think I need to do more, though, than begin writing with them. I need to revise more in front of them. But how to find the time to do that AND conference with them and grade and....well, you know the routine

  3. Sometimes I wish I could just spend all day with them writing.

  4. I'm reminded of my young daughter who wanted dance lessons after seeing a dancer on tv. When she found she couldn't master after a couple of lessons she wanted to drop,

  5. What a great and reflective moment. So many things in life can be compared to the struggles of writing. You are right, they need to see us struggle to understand that writing is not magic, but it can be magic to someone else when we invest ourselves. Much like the bass sounded like it was magical to this young boy. Awesome!

  6. Love your reflection. What great observation from the student. : ) I've been thinking about this concept a lot this year..."it looks effortless". Our students see the success after the work and effort in about everything in life. I believe they they think these people either have talent or smartness. Success is hard work. I too am guilty of this thought process. I think of all the times I didn't want to share my writing after others shared because their writing was so good...not realizing that they had put years of effort and practice.


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