Giving Thanks Essay
November 28, 2007
I ask my students to write an essay about giving thanks. I incorporate the writing process and encourage my students to offer their suggestions at every stage of the essay. We start with pre-writing. We use either free writing or use a variety of brainstorming activities to generate lists of ideas. I encourage students to not edit their thoughts but rather write down all the things for which they are thankful. Some students will share their lists, and others are inspired to jot down their own feelings.
I pass around copies of an essay I wrote last year about giving thanks and read it aloud to the class. I explain to the class the type of changes I will make to update my essay. Many events have occurred this year that have changed my perspective. Some parts stay the same; others change. At all stages of the writing process -- pre-writing, drafting, editing, publishing or sharing -- I encourage students to get feedback from their classmates by reading their work aloud or by having a peer read their work.
I hope that this activity brings more meaning to the holiday than just having time off from school. I write along with my students to model the writing process and demonstrate how ideas change. This practice builds community in my classroom and provides all students with an opportunity to experience a writer's supportive classroom.