These are the things that I am certain about when it comes to teaching writing:
1. Students need to write -- a lot. Yes, this takes time. No, you should not hover.
2. Telling students what to write about does not necessarily make them better writers. They need choice.
3. While writing can be assessed, grading it makes me cringe.
4. Writing gives us authority. It makes our thinking concrete. It is our way of sharing our ideas with the world. It demonstrates our uniqueness.
5. The writing process is not circular and orderly. Expecting students to go from prewriting to drafting to editing to revising to publishing in that order is NOT how real writers write. We jump all over the place before we get to the end. Take down the charts and clips.
6. Revision is where the magic happens. Drafting should be quick -- simply getting our ideas down on paper before we lose them.
7. Students need time to talk to other writers to share their writing and get feedback. Don't skip share time or undervalue writing partners.
8. Students write best when their teacher is a writer too. You don't have to write a book, a blog, or anything more than simply putting a few words down on the page or computer document regularly.
9. Opportunities for teaching writing can happen in every subject throughout the day. You can teach writing during your read aloud (see my tips here), in math journals, or in science logs. Specials teachers -- there are ways you can have students write too.
10. Writing for an authentic audience makes all the difference.
NOTE: This is a post I wrote for the Daily Writing Project's Word of the Day: CERTAIN. You can write along with me. Search #DWHabit on Twitter for the daily word.