The Magic of Choice


Gail Boushey

November 6, 2015

After launching Work on Writing in a second-grade classroom using the 10 Steps to Teaching and Learning Independence, we reminded the students that they could write about whatever they wanted. 

As I placed Evynn in a comfortable corner, I whispered, “What are you going to write about?” She looked at me with a sparkle in her eye and said, “I am going to write about my new kitty. I can’t sleep with my kitty until she gets older. Right now she has to sleep on the floor.”

When the first practice was over, Evynn had written four lines in four minutes. That may not seem like much until you consider that until this time she had struggled to write any words at all during writing workshop.

What was the difference? The teacher believes it was choice. Even though this child has had the opportunity to write every day during writing workshop, the focus there is narrowed, but during Daily 5 the choices are wide open. Students can write friendly letters, poetry, pretend stories, graphic novels, or procedures, or continue working on their writing workshop work. 

Choice turned this writing time into a magical moment for Evynn. If you are trying to help reluctant writers, one of the best ways to do it is by introducing choice during Work on Writing.



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