chapter  4
Create a Writing Community in Your Classroom
Pages 16

Alicia’s explanation is perfect: Our students are public writers already with the social media they use constantly. I once saw a student agonize over a 140-character tweet in a way that I am certain she did not agonize over a paper for class for me. The very act of writing for the majority of our students is already very social: they tweet, post, and caption their hearts out with an audience in mind. Writing a paper just for a teacher narrows their world

I approached creating writing groups with my preservice teachers with trepidation; how would they take to posting their writing online? Would they like commenting on each other’s work? Would it turn into a popularity contest? Yet, I knew I wanted to give attention to their writing beyond my feedback. Four weeks later, our online community was thriving. Students were waiting with bated breath to read the next installment of a serial being written by a quiet student. Students were enjoying the encouragement from the peers and posting far more than I required. When I asked them why this was working out so well, Alicia put it best: “Dr. Wilfong, we do this kind of stuff all the time with Facebook and Instagram. It actually makes class feel more like our social lives. That’s why we love it.”