I admit Common Core State Standards annoys and fascinates me. Let me just say that this era of CCSS, particularly in English language arts, has me thinking all the time about essential writing skills. CCSS asserts that developing clear, logical reasoning and the use of evidence are essential writing skills - two skills necessary for "private deliberation and responsible citizenship in a democratic republic."
I don't question the fact that it takes attitude and skills to become a proficient writer and that both benefit an individual's intellectual development. The fascinating part to me is how to recruit the broadest possible spectrum of students into the sustained effort necessary to invest in that intellectual development. Using Misa and John-Pio as my data points, I get to witness their development in writing at a very young age - one loves it for the sake of creativity and reporting and independently gets after it on her own. The other can take it or leave it - it's like "eh, just let me get through it." And it's that kind of young writer I need to avoid turning off for the next 6 years or so of formal schooling.
Enter 30-day Poetry Challenge - done in a structured setting in the midst of peers, there is a community of writers rising to meet the challenge to write a poem every day. A challenge for me no doubt, and one my students and my fam get to witness in me. Sending them off for Spring Break with a chart identifying the daily challenge and a successful daily turnout of 40+ poems turns into a trickle as evidenced in my Google shared drive. Can't help that, right - I mean, writing is enhanced by community, especially with my students who show a wide variance in attitude and skills. Still, no one in my class says I hate writing. No one groans or sighs heavily when they're given an instruction to write, and no one has yet to tear, crumple, or throw a piece of paper in my face. But there are those who show indifference and are seemingly unconcerned about their ideas and thoughts on paper - and sometimes I'd rather they be in my face than show this lack of enthusiasm.
That's why I'm in the market for why writers write. Why do you write? Why don't you write? Why is it hard? How is it made easier, more fun? Who writes? There's wisdom in listening to what pop culture artists and writers say about writing and why they persist even when they're alone.
Jay Z, who has a word and phrase gift, says write as much as possible and that repetition is the key to perfection. Without his years of practice, powerful lyrics that speak to young adolescents like “I will not lose, for even in defeat, there's a valuable lesson learned, so it evens up for me” would not make its mark. Let me repeat that like a person in authority and have it fall on deaf ears, but let me say this comes straight from Jay Z and no doubt, they'll listen.