"It's very important to have feedback from other people . . . people you trust.."
- Tracy Mack
JUMP TO WORKSHOP
One of the first steps in building a writing community is exploring what other community members value in their writing lives. Sharing writing and opinions becomes easier as the community members come to know each other as writers and thinkers.
Lori Mayo often uses this inventory to find out more about her students and their interests.
Whether you think of writing as an art or a craft, there are some very specific tools that writers work with. Chief among these are the sounds and shapes of letters. Senior Scholar Roy Peter Clark has put together a more extensive list of tools of the trade. The Poynter Institute is a school for journalists, future journalists, and teachers of journalism. While concentrating on journalism, Clark's tools have applicability in every writing community. You can use Clark's list as a centerpiece for a class discussion. Talk about:
writing tools vs. writing rules,
other opinions about the suggestions offered in the list, and
suggestions for other writerly tools to add to the mix.
Susie Lebryk-Chao uses these activities to help her students get to know more about each other.
Kelly Quintero uses an activity, based on Sandra Cisneros's vignette "My Name" in The House on Mango Street, to start to build community.
Student writing often deserves a larger audience than each school can supply. There are many venues on the Web that offer students a place to be heard by the community at large. Here are some sites that publish the work of young writers. Perhaps you and students can find more: