5 Stages of Writers: Transforming Writing in the Classroom

I am a third grade teacher. I teach and love all subjects, but my passion for teaching writing is a deep-rooted one. Every year students who were deemed “non-writers” or ‘non- likers’ of writing shine in my room.  I do believe that a teacher’s feelings and passion for a subject can impact a student’s reaction and success in the area. The average student believes that writing is boring and takes too much energy. In a typical math problem, you solve and you are done or for a reading assignment you read and provide an explanation of what you read. Writing comes with more structure, planning and end product results. There is a writing process to follow and a grand end product to be shared, that comes with the extended work put in as one labors through the dreaded writing process! When you are in a classroom and students echo loud groans of disappointment when you announce the end of an extended writing workshop, you know the love for writing is real. So…how do I get my kids to write? Well, I first share my love for writing, some of my personal writing pieces and habits that work for me. I believe that writers fall into one of these 5 stages of writing below.

Stage 5 – “The Naturals”

In the beginning I immediately gain the attention of the “Naturals.” They already have keen interest and a natural love for writing. They possess an urgent need to do well and have already emulated good writing practices. These are my leaders of writing who pave the way for the rest of the writers. I share their work with permission and I encourage them to keep pushing. This in turn attracts the eyes of the next group.

Stage 4 -“The On-the-Fencers”

The “On-the -fencers”- these are my students who are the easiest to transform. They ‘kinda-like to write,’ but believe it is too difficult, but just need that extra jolt. They benefit the most from shared examples from the ‘naturals.’ They appreciate the knowledge that they can have a similar love and appreciation for writing. They push themselves, as they are partnered with the ‘naturals’ and become challenged by the experiences. Very soon they build the stamina and use the same tools to develop their work. Before we know it they become ‘naturals’.

Stage 3 – “The Safes”

These are the students that are comfortable in their ‘safe space.’ They are okay writers and they believe it’s okay to remain that way. They usually use the least amount of next step tips possible, slowing attempting to move themselves, with minimal progress quite satisfying. This is the most difficult group to transform, since their work always to them seem okay. They have come to realize that the ‘Changers’ and the ‘Unnaturals’ require the most attention. As a result, I assign them to work with a ‘changer’ or a ‘non-liker.’ By doing this they are able to boost their confidence and take control of their own work.

Stage 2 – ‘The Changers”

The changers are the students who have come to believe that are not great writers. They were never given that extra push or just simply did not have the urge to make writing a priority. They were always satisfied with just getting by in writing, but there is room for change. Writing for them has to be proven to be fun and very interesting. They have to find a purpose to write. For these students I begin with basic writing activities or materials that will spark their interest. Some of these might include the use of writing games, acting it out activities, graphic organizers (helps student organize work), checklist and rubrics. These tools act as a guide to support these struggling writers. Upon realizing their potential, they eventually become very focused on improving their craft, with a newfound interest in writing.

Stage 1 – “The Non-Likers”

The “non-likers” have pretty much given up on writing, since it does not come naturally to them. This is a group that always says no! They are yet to see the reason to write and need the most convincing. But how can I convince someone who has given up? Well we celebrate! One might ask what are we are celebrating. Celebrate every moment of progress, no matter how minuscule. This is an opportunity to highlight qualities of writing that these students, without that extra encouragement would not see.

By no means does every student become a “natural,” but the increased level of interest in writing is evident in their positive attitudes and eagerness to write.


Let it Go!

Ever get that feeling you are a superhero without a cape, attempting to save the world with no particular super power! Maybe, I do possess some inner strength that leads me to believe this.  I can’t decipher…life’s happenings comes in droves. I feel compelled to take on the burdens of the world like they are all mine. Every invitation seems to have an inner conversation with me that eats away at every thought of saying no. I cannot make this one…LET IT GO!

I consider myself to be a ‘stand-up kinda-girl.’ I don’t wait around, I get up and do. I think about purpose and end results. I think about feelings and hurt. These attributes are derived from varied experiences from family relationships, lifelong friendships and just life. They have inadvertently contributed to my inability to LET IT GO and say no.’

Today, I have come to realize that I don’t always have to be that superhero and guess what it feels damn good! I just LET IT GO! I decided to utilize my rights of saying no sometimes, or delaying or putting off something that seemed like ‘life and death,’ but was actually just life. So when that superhero-like feeling overwhelms you, think twice and LET IT GO!

Charlia Moulton-Campbell


The Meaning

Pushing myself to limitless understandings,

Driving my mind to meaningless “demandings,”

This is unheard of, unless you are an extraordinary human,

A one in a million individual,

It sells itself even without attention,

It’s naturalness is beyond recognition.

But are we capable of the reality it unfolds,

The strength it beholds,

The attitude of the onlookers, the beneficiaries,

How does it play off,

Who has the stand,

Who is represented and admonished,

The true story is never told.

5 Reasons Why It Took Me So Long to Start My Blog

  1. Fear– I feared starting and failing. I feared what people would say. Me- super mom of a teenage daughter and twin boys, wife to a husband with one of the toughest jobs known and teacher to third graders!  I must admit, my first blog entry has been ready for almost a year, just sitting in my google drive. FYI, this is not the entry I had intended to use, but I believed that I needed to share this story. If you want to take a leap of faith…just do it!
  2. Time– I felt like I was always busy and always putting my blog goals off. But in reality I am indeed very busy with my family and working. I have come to understand that the importance of balancing responsibilities and time is pivotal in my journey. I believe I am in a better place with balancing life as it comes. The journey continues.
  3. Over-researching– I became the researching guru of blogging. Everytime I told myself I was ready to begin my blog, I found some information that ‘needed more research.’ This trend became habitual and contributed to numerous delays in the process. I guess I was trying to find another excuse!
  4. Too many questions– Would it affect my name as a future published writer? Would I be still taken seriously? Then after researching many well published bloggers my questions changed to -Am I blog material? How do I maintain the integrity of my blog? How will I attract my target audience?
  5. Finding a specific niche- I have so many things I want to write about, so many things to say. This made it very difficult for me to identify my niche at first. I decided to ‘keep it real.’ My intentions are to share my experiences as a mom, wife and teacher with you. Enjoy the ride.