Time for…Rehearsal! No, no, I am not in theater. No, no I am not playing an instrument. No! I am not singing. I am writing!
Thanks to Andover Public Schools funding, I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend Teacher’s College’s writing institute at Columbia University for the second time. Whenever there is talk about teaching writing, there is talk about the process…which of course starts with rehearsal.
You know what I noticed this week, though? Whenever authors talk about rehearsal, it is usually paired with something. Jack Gantos talks about rehearsing as he is climbing the stairs in the library. Leslie Connor talks about her morning walk with her dogs in the woods. Educator Meghan Hargrave spoke yesterday about rehearsing as she runs. And I know you’ve heard people say, “I do my best thinking in the shower.”
Why? My hypothesis is that these tasks are automatic. We don’t have to think about them so our minds are freed up to wander, plan, and consider new ideas. In these situations, our minds are not distracted by advertisements, TV, facebook, news, or twitter. They are just free to dream, explore, rehearse.
Now picture where you are in your writing process. Where do teachers ask kids to do brainstorm? I ask my fourth graders to talk out loud to their partner, sitting down, in a timed, pressured situation. But what if I told my class about a writing skill before P. E., recess, or if during morning work I gave them five minutes to do a few laps outside and think about their writing and goals.
I must have this discussion with the kids I teach. We should talk about rehearsal and discuss where they feel most comfortable rehearsing for their own writing.
Let me know your rehearsal routines. I’d love to dig deeper into this pattern.