Yesterday was the fifth annual National Day on Writing but since it was on a Sunday, teachers around the country are celebrating today.
If you missed the fantastic #nctechat on Twitter last night, check out the Storify archive. It was an inspiring hour of discussion. You can also continue the conversation on Katherine Sokolowski's blog: Read, Write, Reflect.
The theme of this year's National Day on Writing is #write2connect.
There are many ways to interpret what it means to write to connect, but one that I seemed to latch onto stems from the following quote from E.M. Forester:
"How do I know what I think until I see what I say?"
Writing helps us understand and make sense of the jumble of thoughts running through our heads. So often students (and sometimes teachers) are of the opinion that they have to know what they think before they sit down and start writing. They haven't made the connection yet that writing is the vehicle to help us elucidate our thoughts.
When students use their writer's notebooks I want them to write without censoring themselves. I want them to feel free to explore and take risks and heed the advice of James Thurber:
"Don't get it right, just get it written."
But that's easier said than done isn't it? Often I find myself declaiming these platitudes in front of my students, but when it comes to doing it myself, I listen to the censor in my head more often than I care to admit. So in that way, I write to connect in order to empathize with my students. A writing teacher should be a writer. Just like a piano teacher should be a pianist.