TRY THIS TOMORROW: READING AND/OR WRITING TIMELINES
The students who enter our classrooms each day have histories we desperately want to know. These past experiences tell the stories of how they arrived at our door, who influenced them along the way and how we can support them as a learner. It can be informational overload when we try to navigate all these new-to-us learners. In her resource Leading Literate Lives, Stephanie Affinito talks about creating reading and or writing timelines to provide insight into who we are today as readers and writers.
Stephanie recommends doing this practice yourself to learn about your own writing identity. The same practice can be used for students.
- Start by drawing a timeline on your page. The image below shows the timeline drawn as a roadmap.
- Create some prompts that address some specific times in your students’ lives and ask them to record positive memories above the timeline and negative memories below the timeline.
- Stephanie provides great prompts for you, the teacher, to reflect on your own life. Several of these could apply to students as well. For example, on page 6 she says:
- Think back to the earliest memory you have of reading and/or writing. What was it? How old were you? How did it make you feel toward reading/writing?
- Reflect on your experiences with reading/writing at home. What were they like? Who supported you? How did you feel?
- Think of your experiences in elementary school. What sticks out in your memory, good or bad? Which teachers do you remember making their mark on your reading/writing identity?
- Think of your experiences in middle school. What sticks out in your memory, good or bad? Which teachers do you remember making their mark on your reading/writing identity?
- What recent experiences have you had with reading/writing? How does your reading/writing life feel?
Add your memories to your timeline.
Affinito, Stephanie. Leading Literate Lives: Habits and Mindsets for Reimagining Classroom Practice. Heinemann, 2021.