Monday, March 9, 2015

Writing is the Sum of our Experiences - Day 9

This evening while watching a movie I heard the following words, "Writing is the Sum of our experiences." It really resonated with me maybe because I had just finished planning writing with 4th grade for the week after Spring Break.
I thought about how hard it must be to write about things you know little about. I think of my daughter who is a great writer and it hit me she is so blessed to have traveled around the United States. She regularly visits Virginia, D.C., she has been to New York, Tennessee, Mexico, so many other places I can't even remember them all.
her experiences are endless....she could explain the feeling of losing her best friend. Her first dog Sadie, she could write about being from a divorced family, gaining three siblings within two years, Just from those experiences, she has experienced so many other things.
As I sit here I wonder how does one create experiences for students who have never traveled, who have never had a pet, who may not have that special person that inspires them?
I guess in my perfect world, I would set up Skype with different schools around the US, perhaps outside the country. Maybe set up a pen pal system. Maybe apply for grants to take my kiddos on field-trips, bring in guest speakers, introduce them to people I admire. Let them see how I light up when I feel special and how I put those feelings into words.
I know, what you are thinking....but remember I said my perfect world.
But how can a teacher focus on experiences when there is a test that blinds the creativity and forces stress upon shoulders of the models, the teachers.
Maybe we should let them write about what they know. I see the topics as; Write about the time you were bored, Write about how you feel the STAAR test prepares you for the future, Explain how ditto sheets expands your knowledge.....What is your favorite not so favorite moment?
I believe these topics could be a few in which our students could "sum up their experiences."


  1. Yesi, your post sit alongside Brittany's Inthink. They both hit on a hard reality. So many of our students lack the experiences to be successful with words.😔

  2. It's hard to make up for years of lacking experiences. The lack of experiences puts a child at such a disadvantage over those with the opportunities. If only it was a perfect world!

  3. I agree. I had a student the other day that had never been to the zoo. I was shocked! I think about this so much with Tyler. I try to give him so many experiences and answer all of his questions. I want him to have as much experience as possible. Experience is such a useful tool for reading and writing.

  4. Even the kids who don't travel, have pets or siblings, and whose parents aren't divorced have experiences. You writing about them is helping to tell their story. How are you helping them to rewrite the narratives they tell about themselves?

  5. Stephanie Harvey says we do not have an achievement gap in this country. Instead we have a background knowledge gap. Lack of experience is often connected to poverty, but I think the problem isn't really money. It's exposure, and priorities, and educational access. Yesi, I think you need to be on the ELA TEKS revision team and share some of those amazing prompt suggestions with TEA. Kids would definitely have a lot to say in regards to boredom and mind-numbing test prep!