Although writing is embedded in our nation’s history, writing ability is not just a skill needed in the past. The need for this ability to write well spans across time, past-present-and future. Let me share a few noteworthy aspects of writing that are presently being highlighted and delve into future implications of technology and writing.
“We live in a world of distraction,” declares Maryanne Wolf in her book Reader, Come Home. The truth of this resonates with me. I often feel as though my day was too short, I didn’t achieve half of what I had hoped, and I am weary beyond what is warranted. Seemingly unending emails, constant text messages, and a plethora of social media with which I will not engage…how can a person keep up and live any kind of life? I wonder if the demands of being ‘connected’ ensure that one cannot connect to oneself….
Leather goods, artisan cheeses, and the perfect pair of jeans. These are just some of the things that are known to improve with time. Unfortunately, lists of things that get better with time might fail to include mathematics when in reality, mathematics and number sense should top the list.
“Math and middle schoolers don’t mix!” This statement feels so true to so many of my middle school students as they meet me on the first day of our small group math elective. I am greeted with looks of frustration, fear, and even a touch of defiance. I understand them. I am not surprised by their needs, their fears, or insecurities.
Words. What are they really? Some may define words as sounds or symbols arranged in patterns, with each unique pattern carrying meaning. Others may define words as the basic building blocks for communication.
It is obvious that young children thrive on communications between themselves and the significant adults in their lives. Watch any family as they interact, and you will see the young child vying for attention of the adult, attempting to tell that person something they think is very important.
Writing is the result of a miracle. Composing a text requires whole-brain engagement. For one, the frontal lobe manages sorting through ideas for a topic, choosing one, and making an organized plan of idea presentation. Next, the hippocampus helps to create or recall knowledge from long-term memories. Finally, these memories must be translated into words that retell the ideas the hippocampus brought up - words that eventually will have to be transcribed.
Do you know any students who take hours to complete a simple assignment that might take other students only 15 or so minutes? Maybe those same students struggle with making decisions quickly, following multi-step instructions, or completing tasks – especially timed tasks.