Platform and Personality: Helping Young Writers Raise Their Voices

I’ve spent a good portion of this year helping teachers unpack and design some pretty powerful writing experiences around this particular standard.

I’ll admit that it’s my favorite.

Sure, research and information writing teach us about the world, and stories help us learn how to live in it. Poets accomplish both of those things and more, but this is the standard that challenges young people to distinguish fact from fallacy and evidence from high emotion. This is the standard that invites them to question opinion and instead, frame forceful arguments. Students who are able to meet this standard are far better prepared to advocate for themselves and for social justice, too.

Have you considered how privileged we are to teach kids how to make arguments…..right now?

Have you thought about the responsibility we have to get this right…..right now?

I’m wondering: How can we can help young writers establish successful platforms for argument writing? How can we help them raise their voices in ways that will allow them to be heard?

These were the questions I woke up with this morning, after another round of troubling world news and a long conversation with a teacher friend who asked me what kind of difference we should try to make in our classrooms and communities.

It’s important to teach kids how to think, not what to think, we agreed.

It’s important that we help young thinkers connect with audiences that actually care about their message, too.

A few moments ago, I finished a fabulous webinar hosted by one of my favorite bloggers: Jeff Goins. I’ve learned a lot from him about blogging purposes and practices in recent months, and every time I take in another bit of his wisdom, I can’t help but think about the kids I teach…..and their reach.

This morning, Jeff presented these five different platform personalities for our consideration. He invited us to choose one and spend a month using that voice with intention whenever we put up a post.

As a writer, I’m still ruminating on all of that, but as a teacher, I’m wondering how I can help my students assume purposeful platform personalities that their audiences will appreciate. The first step might involve moving them beyond print publications (like writing letters to editors) and into spaces where they might have a sustained presence and opportunities to create viral campaigns.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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