writing, reading, goals, and grades

My students turned in their Writer's Workshops today. Well, yesterday, but I've been grading them fairly constantly since yesterday afternoon, so the days have blurred together. As usual, my students have delighted and surprised me.

One of my favorite aspects of Writer's Workshop is that it allows so much student choice. A colleague of mine just gave his first ever assignment that allowed students to pick their topic, and he was shocked at the number of completed, and well-written, essays he got. I just grinned.

So far I've gotten letters to authors (which, if the author is living, I mail off), letters to me, letters to friends(real and imaginary) and several short stories. I've also gotten a few passionate essays on the dress-code and cell phones written with the pleading only present in middle school.

It's great fun. Of course, I also included an "essay" assignment in their contract, they do have to learn to write those, but because they were able to do other things that they wanted to do; the thing they had to do was made palatable. And easier. And more fun.