Tuesday, January 10, 2012

...But Ideas Never Die

Test questions
Research papers
Text messages
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All things written by my creative writing students.  Most of them say they hate to write--FOR SCHOOL--

At home, on their own, for fun, they write

Rap songs
Fantasy stories
Adventure stories
Stories about their lives
Lists of their likes and dislikes

They write when they're angry,
They write when they're sad,
They write when they're happy,
They write when they can't talk to anyone else, but things need to be said.

And they love it.

And they get better at it.


As those in power are pushing for more and more testing. Pushing for writing to answer prompts. As people shove students into my class only because they need an English credit.  Because it's "easy". I want them to listen to my students.  They know they need to learn to write for school. They get that. They hate it, but they get it.


Here's the stuff they can't test.

"I like having control over what to write and not having someone tell me."

"When I really feel what I'm writing, it sounds better."

"People can die, civilizations can fall, books can burn, but ideas never die."

"What is a day without words?  Chaos.

"...writing is the only way I can really be myself anymore. I use writing to explain all the feelings I would otherwise have left out. It's how I express the real me, instead of the fake me that everyone see walking around these halls now. Writing seems to be my only blessing because I have lost everything else that ever meant anything to me. Writing is all I have left to show even the slightest bit of who I am.


  1. Deb -- Your students have figured out that writing is not just a way to communicate; it's a vital part of being human. Good for them, and good for you for holding a flashlight on their paths as writers.


  2. My goodness, Deb. I wish you could send this to the powers that be to convince them that something different is needed. This is so poignant to think that writing can be so important, & that you are helping with it. Thanks for WRITING!

  3. So true and from the mouths of 'babes' right? Just ask, and they will tell you. Thank you for sharing and I only wish we could convince the 'testers' otherwise.

  4. And in the lower grades, the playtime, the talk time, the arts, the manipulatives...all things the powers "say" are important, but ask you to leave out so you can have time to assess. Assess what? There is no time to teach, explore and learn first. Could one of your students write something to the powers to represent all students? All teachers?

  5. Please share with your students that their ideas, their stories touch and deeply affect us! Clearly you are empowering them to think and feel and write and show the slightest bits of who they are. Their sentiments are as hopeful and inspiring as they are desperately sad. I wish they had more than a semester of you in their lives. I wish my 8th graders had at least that semester of you in their futures.