"These children put pen to paper without fear."
This was an observation made at the beginning of the second day of the writing residency. By the end of the morning even those new to the residency knew one of the reasons why. Celebration. With Nancy and Regie as our mentors, we have learned to celebrate each and every writer in a very detailed way.
"Celebrating is teaching." (Nancy McLean & Regie Routman, Winnipeg, 2013)
The first time through a piece, Nancy usually reads all of it. Then she celebrates the writers line by line. She starts with the title, stopping to say, "I love how your title captures the gist of your story in just two words. That is just what good writers do." and continues on to the lead, " Let me read that again. You had me hooked with this line. I HAD to read more." She celebrates every line, reading most of it twice and saying things about the message like:
There is so much to celebrate here.
When I read this part, my heart beat a little faster.
I had to smile because this sounded just like you talking.
As your reader I was thinking... something big is coming.
This part touched my heart.
Some of the celebration also included comments about the craft of writing:
Listen to that great lead.
This part shows that you are thinking about your reader.
Your writing shows evidence of revision, of you thinking and changing your mind as a writer.
These lines really help me get a picture in my mind.
I want to make sure that I am really clear here. All of the celebration recorded above is for one writer. Let me say that again. One writer. This week we heard that we should be publicly celebrating 3-4 writers four times a week.
Another gift from the week was the connection made between celebration and whole-part-whole teaching. When we are celebrating we are working with the whole child, it is about so much more than writing.