Slowly but surely I've been trying to get ready for school tomorrow. It isn't easy when you don't feel well! However, I spent part of the afternoon looking at my students' writing. Wow! Finally, I see writers! I see kids with opinions who are trying very hard to support those opinions with evidence and examples. They are choosing their words more carefully, looking for ways to draw in their readers. From the most proficient to the most struggling, each one of these kids is a writer! They have a voice. They use their voices to talk about why things matter to them. For quite some time, they have been really good at looking at samples of writing and sorting the strong and weak. They have become quite adept at picking out what makes good writing strong and engaging. As I read through their essays today, I saw a lot of those qualities in their work. Of course there are some writers who are very eloquent and can incorporate their voice in more mature ways. I am thankful for those students and use their work as mentor texts for our class. I have also noticed some of the more reluctant writers become more confident in their ability and try some of the craft moves they see in other pieces of writing and borrow them for their own. It's exciting! I have to say that I am a HUGE supporter of the Units of Study in Writing (Lucy Caulkins). I think these Units have contributed greatly to my students' ability to lift the level of their writing. My hope for these young writers is that they will take some of what they learn in 4th grade and put that in their Life Skill Toolbox, holding on to some of the craft moves that good writers use. I have said it before, words are powerful... If I can teach these writers that their words matter and are so important, then perhaps I will have helped them become more successful citizens. Their voices matter! The future is bright, that is for sure!