I love when I find books that nurture my soul and not make me worry or panic there's more to learn or do. Ralph Fletchers words in joy write are gentle, kind, encouraging, and offer nudges to make students and writing the focus of our work. As I read this book, I kept reflecting on the work I read by Donald Graves when I began my teaching journey. Ralph has created the phrase greenbelt writing to help us understand writing and writing time should be protected in it's natural environment. This writing from us and our students should be real, authentic, informal, comfortable, personal and filled with joy/passion. If you are feeling you need support to balance units on narrative, opinion, and informational writing then this book is for you.
These are nudges I found to try within my own work.
-give my writers moments of freedom, finding a balance genre standards
-use greenbelt writing as a way to get to know my students, as people
-remember writing workshop was not intended to be formulaic or extremely structured
-encourage, embrace, celebrate low stakes writing
-find the humor and try to enjoy feral writing students may produce
Here are some quotes that are sticking with me and might interest you in looking at this book more.
"I believe Piaget was right: we learn by doing, from our own experience. We learn to write by writing on a daily basis."
"Blanket compliance to any program is dangerous. Compliance doesn't allow for our intelligence, thoughtfulness, or professionalism." (find this on page 18 for more)
"I believe it's important for kids to begin developing their own internal standards for what makes good writing."
"When you work with a reluctant writer, it's helpful to expand your definition of writing to include drawing, sketching, and doodling."
"But for many students, this low-stakes writing will have higher impact than any of the "school writing" they produce."