As you know, this is The Reading and Writing House. I am a reading and writing teacher. I love reading and writing workshop. I love working with readers and writers. I love reading. I love writing. I love teaching.
My son loves math. And chess. And sports. He likes to read (mostly fluff and stuff and some "real" books, too), but numbers are his thing. He is practically famous for being very concise with his written assignments.
Today, Fran and I were discussing his revision of a narrative he's writing. Lucky kid, I know! It went like this:
M: Hmmm... (turning page over- anything on the back?) Fran, your revision on the car section was- well- short. What do you think you should do next?
F: I should work on it more.
F: Well, I could add more words.
M: What kind of words could you add to tell more that matters?
M: Like- you could add dialogue to say more.
F: Yeah- talking!
M: And actions.
F: And add more memories! (Zipping hockey bag.)
M: And feelings, too, like you used in your ending. Hmm... You have lots of way to elaborate- or add more that matters: actions, dialogue, memories, and feelings! Wow- I should write those down so we don't forget them....Actions...(writing)
F: Dialogue. Memories...
M and F: And feelings.
F: Hey, mom! (Face brightens, looking generally excited.) Put that in my writer's notebook with the writing tips! (Rolling hockey bag to the porch.)
M: That's a great idea, Fran.
This may be what I am thankful for this year. That my kid can think of ways to tell more that matters and that he wants to keep his list of strategies in his writers notebook to help him remember ways to tell more today and in the days to come. And he can add to this list as he notices more ways that other writers and storytellers elaborate.
Concise is nice as long as you are careful to tell enough about what really matters.