Dear Dr. Jones,
I am writing you this letter to share with you my feelings on how this class is going so far. First I will start off by saying that I am a bit overwhelmed! My responsibilities in my student teaching placement have increased a lot in the past weeks and my capstone portfolio is pressing on my mind at all times. In conjunction with the assignments for this class, I barely have time to breathe! However, I keep reminding my self that in 3 weeks I will be finished student teaching and will have much more time to devote to my school work.
This class has made me more aware of the connections between reading and writing. I notice it all the time in my student teaching placement during writers workshop, ELA, and my intervention groups. I have noticed that it is very seldom that reading or writing used in solitude. Barbra Eckhoff (1983) discusses this connection by noting the direct relationship between success in writing and reading scores (p. 607). She also claims that "the findings of this study clearly showed that the writing of the children studied contained features of their reading texts" (p. 615). This shows that students use what they learn in their reading and apply it to their writing. I have seen this in classrooms before and am starting to really look for it.
The writing I do for this class, as well as my other classes, allows me a time to really reflect on my learning and come to terms with it. I would say that I think when I write 95% of the time. During this time I really think hard about the topic or assignment. It always suprises me that I do not fully understand something until I am trying to write about it. Prior to the writing experience I feel confident, however I see the limitations to my knowledge once I am put on the spot and try to write about it. This is not a bad thing, however. This little set back lets me know what I need to look into and learn more about. This shows how writing really helps me as a learner. There are some writing pieces that I chose to think harder about than others. This means that I read and reread these pieces over and over again. I edit them and think about my message, my voice, word choice, and audience. These are really long and important pieces that many people will read and will have a large impact on my life. Other pieces that are not as weighted, I chose to think less about them. I still think about them as I am writing them, but only reread them once or twice to check for my effectiveness. One thing that I would change about the way I read and write would be to ignore the misspellings and typos until the end. I get very distracted by the red squiggly lines on the page and often loose my train of though as I go to correct a previous part of my piece.
I think that this class has really prepared me to set up and implement a writers workshop in my classroom. I have thought about what aspects of writers workshop are important to me and how I would like my writers workshop to to look, sound, and feel. This class has also prepared me to use many digital resources, and taught me the benefits of using these resources. I will admit that prior to this class I did not think much about incorporating computers and technology into writers workshop, but now I know that they can add a whole new dimension to the process. Lastly, I have learned how and why to incorporate various genres into teaching.
I feel pretty good about this course. I have not thought much about my genre pieces project, but I hope to have lots of time to devote to it when my student teaching placement is complete. I will also continue to work with my writers group on this assignment and hopefully will have something in the works soon. The only thing that I could ask for, would be to see a example of complete genre pieces project.