Tom Romano’s Fearless Writing: Multigenre to Motivate and Inspire published by Heinemann in 2013 offers a window into the world of new possibilities. I was instantly a fan when I read that “multigenre writing calls for students to use narrative thinking (Elbow 1990,p. 191), thinking that renders experience, thinking that reveals rather than explains, thinking that shows more that it tells.” It’s critical thinking!
This reminded me of our faculty meeting this morning. We are moving towards power standards that are determined by us, in consideration of the trajectory of children and what they will need to move through their educational process. We want them to think. We want them to have the skills they will need to do that and we want to do this gently, with care and deep thought. There is the reality that we can harm. It was evident in Romano’s essay by Maggie Bensch, a college junior who completely rebuffed “the rubric” – one of the things that is open ended (so I thought), easy for everyone (so I thought), but not. Her simple eloquence in trying to verbalize her pain was palpable. Yet, it made me so sad. Maggie embodied so many of my students who do not fit into those little square rubric boxes with check marks. Boxes of empty checks. No comments or negative ones. They missed “the mark.” I wondered what Maggie Bensch would have created if she didn’t have to fit in a box.
Don’t you wish you could have offered her another way in to learning? I wonder what she would have done with multigenre writing choices like these….