This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, Ph D.
Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas.
And much to my surprise, the oldest kids are not necessarily the best writers; and some of the little ones already have an obvious creative flare.
I have taught this class now for several years and it seems to get better every year. We generally have sixteen to twenty boys and girls in the class which always feels like an appropriate class size.
An occupational therapist by profession, I have been writing for as long as I can remember including for the high school newspaper and possibly even before that.
Back then I periodically wrote letters to the editor for the local newspaper; many years later, I am still writing editorials.
I also ask each student to fill out a note card and write anything else they want me to know about them such as “I am shy and don’t like to read aloud”, or “My parents wanted me to take this class, but I didn’t really want to.” We then discuss class rules such as the prohibition of grossness or violence or cuss words in their writing.
And, after the first year, I added another rule; students who choose to use the classroom computers be allowed text only, no graphics, no fancy fonts or colors.
When I ring a bell, I ask then to pass their story to another student and add to the story.
We continue this rotation until everyone has written on each story.