When I’m asked to get specific about what it means to MAKE writing, I often find myself sharing stories that underpin four of the largest lessons I learned from watching young writers:

When we take the time to learn more about what kids love to build, paint, code, engineer, craft, create, and make we no longer have to define writing topics for them. They’re often thrilled to write about what they are making, for other makers who will benefit.

When we move kids through the process in a linear fashion in order to produce a draft, they often struggle to experiment, tinker, and play within each phase. They rush to implement the strategies we’ve taught them through our mini lessons, and they race toward the finish. Too many treat drafting as a “one and done” experience, and when we wait until drafts are complete to share robust feedback, they often fail to revise deeply, if at all.

When we block the form and build it bit by bit, processing AROUND each bit rather than THROUGH the entire draft, writers are more willing to generate abundant ideas, test them, and choose those that are best. Revising bit by bit builds stamina as well. Writers think deeply about how they might transform a small bit of text. The feedback we provide is often far more targeted as well.

Print often creates a barrier that some writers struggle to scale. Remove the barrier, and writers move forward. How might writers build what they don’t yet have words for? And then, how might you transition them to print?


Making is a firestarter, too.¬†How might building help writers generate ideas, perspectives, and options that they have difficulty seeing when they’re required to use print as their first and primary modality?

This week, I’m traveling to Boston where I’ll be sharing these ideas and others at the Learning and the Brain, Merging Minds and Technology Conference. If you plan to be there, I hope you’ll let me know. I’d love to connect with you! Want my slides? You’ll find them here.


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