I've been thinking a lot lately about the pace at which I teach, especially when it comes to writing time.
The list of skills and strategies students must learn is a mile long.
Every day, I teach a mini lesson. We practice it. We talk about it.
The next day, we repeat.
I hope (wish, pray) that my students will learn the daily concept and apply it to their writing, magically transforming themselves into expert writers by the year's end.
But the truth is that in 5th grade, I still have students who cannot identify a fragment from a complete sentence, tell the difference between dialog and description, and can write five pages without a paragraph's indent in sight.
Why don't they get this? I frustratingly wonder to myself.
Maybe....it has something to do with pace.
Yes, mini lessons are important, but so is practice time. Students need time to practice and play with the new concept, to take ownership of it. If we are constantly rushing to the next lesson without allowing time for this to happen, it's no wonder that some kids can't write a coherent paragraph when they get to high school.
I'm going to try to be more aware of how much practice time I offer my students before moving on to the next skill. My hope (wish, prayer) is that with more time, my students will internalize more writing moves that will help them grow into strong lifelong writers.