38 Ways to Write about Writing

Writing writing writing...The second National Day on Writing is nearly upon us. Wednesday, October 20, is the day established by the National Council of Teachers of English to celebrate the many kinds of writing that people everywhere do.

Chances are that the students you teach are already writing and already talking about writing each and every day. What can you do to make this one day stand out?

NCTE has some celebration ideas, and the National Writing Project has gathered details on how many sites plan to celebrate. Last year, there were school-wide celebrations at places like Eastern Michigan University and Boston University, special acuities in college writing centers and writing program offices such as the University of Minnesota and Arizona State University, and hundreds of people adding submissions to the National Gallery of Writing like these writers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The New York Times Learning Network blog even suggested writing activities for students.

For a classroom-based celebration that can fit in with whatever theme or topic you are teaching, try asking students to write about writing. No matter what they are doing, they can reflect on the writing they are doing, the strategies they use, and the different experiences they have had as writers.

The resources below come from a variety of sources, but all ask students to think about themselves as writers. Though some are framed for specific projects (e.g., writer’s blogs) they can easily be adapted and customized. Just share the question and ask students to discuss it in whatever way you like.

Whatever you choose to do, I’d love to hear about your celebration. Please let me know about your plans in the comments.

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by dbdbrobot]


Video Interview of Author Tim O’Brien

Vietnam War Soldier Helmet, CC Flickr photo by MattsipIf you’re teaching Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, be sure to take a look at Big Think’s video interview with the author.

In addition to talking about his novel, O’Brien talks about the process of writing and the role that literature plays in our lives. Having just written an Inbox blog on making personal connections to the texts that we read, I was especially taken by O’Brien’s story about how his writing had touched one specific reader. He concludes by noting that “Literature does touch people; it’s not just to be read in English classes.”

The video interview is accompanied by a text transcript, so you can read excerpts to your classes if you do not have the equipment to play the video itself in the classroom.

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by Mattsip]