We are currently practicing writing memoirs in Writers Workshop in my class. Today I asked my students to look over their own work and look for patterns in their writing. I found it to be an important lesson for a couple reasons.
First, there is a reflective piece to it. Students are being asked to examine their own work, as if looking from the outside. They need to notice things they write about a lot and what types of themes appear more than once.
Secondly, this type of thinking can be transferred to the concept of values. As a writer, the topics you are drawn to show what is important to you. The lessons you teach are often those you have learned yourself and you may have benefited from the growth they brought you. My student might not make this connection in 5th grade, but they are beginning the process.
Now I am asking myself to do the same work. Looking over my blog, I notice patterns and themes that appear in my writing.
-Poetry or poetic language
-Self-acceptance or self-awareness
-Home and what it means to me
-Stories from my classroom
-Experiences with my family
-Being in the present moment
-Nerves or anxiety about an upcoming event
-Clearing space for new things
-Physical challenges brings a sense of accomplishment
-Home is a feeling, not a place (started at least 2 posts with this quote!)
-It takes time to be creative
-Life can be lived in different ways
-We communicate through more than just words
-Travel teaches us about ourselves and others
-Your best might look different than someone else’s best
After completing this exercise, I realize that looking over my posts was a cool experience. I was surprised to see how many topics repeated themselves, even if presented in different ways or through a new lens. I can see how I have grown and changed as a writer, and yet also how some themes will continue to show up because they are important to me. When I read over my themes, I notice my values are clearly written out in a list. These are not simply things I believe in, but that I strive to uphold in my life on a daily basis.