This year I have been working with Michele to bring a sense of excitement and authenticity to my students writing. In the past and at the beginning of the year, I would have students write first and then draw their picture with crayons at the top of the page. We would always have a focus lesson but I was very strict about writing with pencils on the lines, etc. Writing became very boring for myself and the students, so I began grappling with what I could do to bring some excitement to writing. I really wanted the kids to love writing time and they were definitely dreading it. During my coaching time with Michele we came up with a new plan. I created author boxes (smelly markers, markers, gel pen, glitter pens, colored pencils, etc.) with any kind of writing tool you can think. They each got a journal and we used Amelia's Notebook as our mentor text and we really went to town. Now the kids can't wait for writing time. In fact, in the morning they have a choice to just write in their journals and the majority of students are choosing this option (that means they are using this journal twice a day). We are moving into fiction writing and we will continue to write in these journals in the morning. We also will use them for ideas for our fiction stories. This little shift of me letting go of words being written with pencils has really resonated for us during writing. The kids cheer when we transition to writing. Students don't want to miss school because they don't want to miss the author box.............so I believe I have successfully met my goal that I had at the beginning of the year. It is funny, every year I find myself saying as soon as I let go of control it turned out GREAT!!!!!