Do Your Students Care About Your Writing Assignments?

Now that’s an offensive question. It presumes that students might not. And that the teacher dictates what a child will write in the classroom. And when does that happen? Because in school students have plenty of opportunities to write freely… during designated classroom writing times… in the genre chosen for them… based on the seasonal requirements of the district writing program. Ugh… Hopefully, not all schools have their students write like this.

But Ralph Fletcher expresses concern for such scripted classroom writing (with “conscripted” writers, my quotes) in his book Joy Write. He called on teachers to loosen the reins on our classroom writing and promote opportunities for “low stakes” writing. Encourage writing that is purposeful and fun for the writers, whether it’s through notes, signs, silly songs and rhymes, or a reflection of their continuously gleaming imagination. Perhaps a play that captures the realities of life as a kid. OrĀ  observations that hint at a future Katherine Paterson or George Lucas. It’s the low stakes writing that builds the foundation and upper reaching supports for high stakes writing. It makes writing meaningful to a young writer.

When classroom writing opportunities are allowed to expand beyond the requirements of a commercial program or state standards, and open doors for our students to the possibilities of writing, who knows what their jottings will lead to? Perhaps we can use these famous people and the notebooks they kept, as reference.

This summer I gave a workshop to K-12 and Higher Ed educators and librarians at the Summer Institute of Digital Literacy at the University of Rhode Island. The topic was about making writing relevant to students through everyday “writing rehearsals.” I had teachers fashion characters or objects out of pipe cleaners and write about their creations and then I spoke about developing creative writing techniques through Adobe Spark (Video, Page, Post apps). Because digital tools don’t always have to be about making final presentations. They can be used to discover and outlet imagination that can jump start the more complex and creative narrative. In other words, writing for the fun of it!

Students don’t have to start and finish a piece in one classroom sitting. They don’t have to devote the entirety of their daily writing to a particular piece. They just need a chance to write freely with purpose and preferably… through an open door.


Don’t Mix Up Your Google Accounts Again

Chrome PersonHow many times has this happened to you? Someone sends you a link to access a shared Google file. You click on it, but you get a message saying your account does not have permission to access the file. This happens a lot when a user is logged into more than one Google account in a single browser window. For instance, there’s the work Google account, the personal, the family member’s account, etc. Only one of those accounts provides access to the file shared by a work colleague. And there’s no way your browser will know which Google account you want to use at any given moment.

The solution is to create a separate Google Chrome Profile, so that you can switch between Google accounts as needed. Perhaps you can create a Work profile and assign your work email to it. Do your professional work in this browser. And then create a Home profile and assign your personal email to it. Do your personal stuff in this browser. And so forth.

By keeping your Google accounts logged in on separate Chrome browser windows, you’ll be able to easily switch back and forth between accounts and avoid any confusion regarding file access. Check out this tutorial to help you set up your multiple Chrome Profiles.