Challenging students to expand how they think about writing, national literacy and educational groups are asking teachers, librarians, writers, children and creators of all kinds to share what they write on Twitter and other social media channels on Friday, October 19.
Under the hashtag, #WhatIWrite, the National Writing Project (NWP), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the New York Times Learning Network, among other groups (School Library Journal is a participant), are exploring the myriad forms that writing can take—from a list to a Facebook post, a podcast to a video piece.
“Our effort is to draw attention to the critical role of writing in our lives,” says Paul Oh, senior program associate with NWP. “I think we’re at this moment in education defining what it means to be literate.”
Encouraging students to find their literary voice and empowering them to craft pieces is more important than ever, particularly with the emphasis on writing in the Common Core, says Oh. As paper and pen yield to pixels and screens, students may need help understanding that the blog piece they craft, or the podcast they record, is adding to their literacy skills—and should be celebrated.
The online gathering is geared toward students, but everyone is encouraged to get involved. The digital event takes place the day before the Fourth Annual National Day of Writing—with the hope that children will tweet about what they’re composing at school and at home. The Twittersphere was already chirping with posts from excited participants, from learning coach Aaron Svoboda (@Mr_Svoboda) suggesting people tweet in haiku to sixth grade teacher Kevin Hodgson (@dogtrax), linking to a multimedia project he’s creating to celebrate the National Day of Writing.
Oh hopes more people will participate through blog pieces and social media posts using the hashtag. He wants to hear from school librarians in particular: he sees them as a core group thinking broadly about media and literacy, and a community linked to students of all ages. “Librarians have helped me see that video and audio composing is part of being literate today,” he says. “They’re often the ones helping us to expand our definition of writing.”
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