569. Adults Write- Too!

Many children get to see and hear their parents and/or other adults read. They also sometimes notice ways math shows up in everyday life – the calendar, the checkbook, the thermometer, and more. But I’ve noticed that adults who write tend to wait until children are not around. So children tend not to see adults writing. Though they may see adults’ finished products, they usually don’t see adults struggling to figure out which words they want to use, crossing out or deleting words they’ve decided not to use, and all the other activities that go into writing
I think I understand why. First of all, when people write, they have to concentrate in a way that can be difficult when other people are around. I’m almost always alone when I write. I do all my writing on my computer now (my right hand – the dominant one – won’t do much any more), and that’s in my home, where I live alone. But even when I used to use pencil or pen and could take my writing with me wherever I went, I preferred to write when I was alone. Alone, I could get on a train of thought and keep going. I could pause when I felt like it and resume when I felt like it. That can be harder to do when there are other people to deal with.
And maybe some adults feel as if writing where they can be seen is flaunting their fallibility. Perhaps they think the messes, grimaces, grunts, and groans involved in much writing will make them look bad, or make writing look bad. Writing is not a performing art, and someone who is writing – even someone who loves to write – may look as if he or she is having a terrible time. It can look like self-torture. We certainly don’t want children to get that impression of writing. So it’s important, if and when children see us write, to assure them that we’re really doing what we want to do.
There were many times during my teaching career when I had D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) sessions. Parents came into my classroom and read to themselves while children read to themselves. It was a common thing to do in our school, and it was good use of time. It’s good for children to see that what we’re teaching them to do is something adults do, too. And so, during my last few years as a professional teacher, I also had times when parents came in and wrote. We started with about ten minutes of silent writing when everybody wrote, including me, and then we had conferences, wherein writers helped each other think about what they’d written and/or were going to write.
Several children in my classes grew to love writing during those years. They had already seen adults as readers, mathematicians, athletes, artists, musicians, and more, and now they were getting to see them as writers. Not just as producers of written material; they had already known about that. But those sessions taught children that the process they were learning was not just for kids.

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