“I Don’t Want to Share My Writing”


“Rules” of Freewriting
• Your written words are private. • You don’t have to stay on one topic. • Don’t think about spelling, grammar, and mechanics. • Don’t worry about how good the writing is. • Don’t stop. Keep your pen on the paper and keep writing even if you do not know what to say.

Common Questions from Students
• Can I write the same word over and over again? • Will you show the principal? • Will you send me to the drug counselor? • Can I draw pictures? • Will you write back to me? • Do I get points for this? • How much do I have to write?

Answering Those Questions
• Yes, you can write the same word over and over again. I encourage you to . . . What a waste! • Remember where you are. We are in a school building. Words are powerful. You can be held responsible for anything you write. • No, you can’t draw pictures. • This is your personal freewriting and not a conversation, note to Dear Abby, or a diary. • You have to write non-stop for the entire

Mapping My Thinking
• The writing center • Social skills • High stakes hell • Peer conference as conversation

• Think about audience and response in your classroom and in your writing. Map your experiences with audience and response Discuss connections between freewriting and peer conferencing Try freewriting: Private and Public Consider incorporating more nonevaluative response in your classroom. Try teaching “thank you.”

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What’s it called? And what’s it matter?
• Peer Edit? • Peer Revision? • Peer Conferencing? • Peer response? • Small Writing Groups?

Some student thoughts
• “Peer conferencing is talking about the writing—peer editing is marking and correcting mistakes—peer review could go under peer conferencing” “When I think of peer conferencing, I think of more of a conversation between the two people discussing the piece. Editing or correcting is more like looking for wrong mechanical errors like spelling and grammar rather than the piece and meaning and purpose as a whole.” “Peer conferencing=talking with them, peer editing=grammar and spelling, review=maybe 3rd draft,

How has peer conferencing helped you personally?
“Met many new people! Lots of nice classmates. Best benefit of peer conference.”
• •

“It’s helped me get to know people more. Maybe I don’t hang out with them but I at least talk to them now.”
• • •

What allowed you to feel more comfortable in responding to another person’s work? “I felt comfortable responding to other’s work in

What allowed you to feel more comfortable in sharing your work?
“I felt comfortable sharing my work in English IV because I felt like everyone would give me constructive criticism instead of tearing my paper apart.” “I started to realize that no one writes perfectly and no one should judge anyone. I began to see that people got to know me better through my stories about my life. I was nervous when my paper about my cousin was read out loud to the class, but the feedback was positive and I could tell people cared.”

What activities, lectures, or discussions helped you to see p.c. in a new light during this semester?
“I thought listening to author’s chairs then listening to how everyone responded helped me realize certain things to look for in a paper.” “Doing round robin first draft reading at our tables helped give me a lot of good ideas about what other people see in my writing.” “It seemed all the kids so concerned with keeping up appearances suddenly stopped being so concerned about that and cared about writing for ten

Map of Audience and Response
• Take a moment and fill out your own map.

• What areas are neglected in your writing?

• We all have lots of experience with this part of the map. • Elbow writes, “if we get a full range of other responses, then evaluation has every chance of being helpful and productive” (p. 31).

Sharing, but no response
• Poetry reading
• Applause

• Appreciative, attentive listening
• “Thank you”

• “The goal of non-evaluative response is to show writers that they have been heard and understood” (p. 31)

More Elbow
• “To be understood is more rewarding than to be praised. Being understood makes us want to take the trouble to try to articulate more of what is on our minds—and almost on our minds” (p. 32).

Share with no criticism or evaluation
• Freewrite about what you know about the topic. • Ask the following questions:
• • • • • • What does the paper say? Imply? What is the writer’s point of view or stance? What does the writer assume? How does the paper ask me to see the world? What is the organizational structure? Describe all the genre and rhetorical features.

• Authority • Peers • Ally—cares for the writer
• “help friends give each other substantive and useful feedback— and still stay friends” by using ‘thank you.’” • Self

Connections between Freewriting and Conferencing
• Use freewriting to help students begin responding and traveling all over the map. • Taking time to share short pieces of work without response will change the way students talk about writing when they need to evaluate. • “Plain sharing leads to better responding. It helps writers become more comfortable reading their writing out loud because they don’t have to worry about response from listeners. Plain sharing also helps listeners become more comfortable and adept at listening to writers read their work

Student Maps
• What areas are neglected on your students’ maps? Label with an “S” the areas that students probably travel in your class. • Jot down where your normal assignments can be found in terms of audience and response.

Public freewrite on one of the following: •
A class that had writing in it— describe the environment and how you shared your writing. • Recreate scenes when you’ve had to share writing. • Recreate scenes when you’ve had students share writing. What happened to that writing?

Let’s try it
• Listen to your partner’s public freewrite. • Take a moment to write as if you wrote about the same topic. • Share

Responding is a Skill
• A lack of social skills is the #1 reason for losing a job. • Honest and sincere praising is an important life skill. • Model how to talk about writing using the looks/like sounds like structure.

Looks Like/Sounds Like
• What characteristics do you want to see in responses from your peers? How do you want your responders to act? • Take a moment to write. • Discuss with a partner. • Share as a whole group.

Type of Response
• Pairs or Groups • Read Aloud or Copies • Responding out loud or on paper.

Small Group—Early Draft
• “Hello, how’s it goin’?” • Author introduces the piece. • Each member reads his or her piece aloud. • Pause. Freewrite. • Read it aloud again. • Freewrite about what you know about the topic. • After freewriting, share what you wrote with the author. • Author directs the discussion.

Tips for Improving Conferences
• Travel the audience and response map. • Write a lot. • Share a lot without response. • Share short pieces of writing that may never be formally evaluated. • Early on, try activities that get students talking and getting to know each other.
• Find Someone Who • Human Billboard

• Try to structure response depending on the

Ways to Help Response Groups or Pairs Work
• Remember how scary it is to share your writing. • Sharing feedback is scary also. • Encourage writers to be active in a conference. If they aren’t getting what they want, tell the responders. • Try having one writer share with three or four responders. • Remember the effectiveness of “thank you.”

How My Teaching Changed
• I start classes with low stakes writing and low stakes response. And I do low stakes writing and response every day. • For a long time, all I provided were high stakes writing and high stakes evaluative response.

Take Home
• Please take a moment and write down any ideas that you can take away from today’s presentation.

Works Cited
• Atwell, Nancie. In the Middle. 2nd ed. Heinemann: Portsmouth, NH, 1998. • Elbow, Peter, and Pat Belanoff. Being a Writer: A Community of Writers Revisited. McGraw Hill: Boston, 2003. • Elbow, Peter. “The Map of Writing.” Everyone Can Write. Oxford UP,

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