I have always had a true love for writing. Since I was in the second grade, I have been creating stories, poems, and short novels. Due to my great love for writing and my sincere desire to teach, my heart broke as I discovered students, as a whole, really disliked writing.I set out to change this. I observed the students who hated writing most. Those students were generally quite disorganized, could not spell, and had very poor handwriting. However, they all possessed great ideas when asked oral questions. This was very different than what the students would tell me the problem was. The students who refused to even start writing would say, “I can’t think of any ideas.” When prompted orally, their ideas flowed. So, I knew that they were simply covering up their true insecurities.This is where my life’s mission began. I took apart the real problems and they were not creative issues. Instead, they were much simpler. In addition to discovering the beforehand mentioned problems, I also discovered something else. I personally knew the fourth grade teachers that my students had the previous year. I also knew that they were not your ordinary teachers! They were superb and creative teachers who taught from the heart. I also knew that all of these key concepts that I was struggling to get the kids to implement were all taught previously. So, where was the problem?After much thought, I figured that out, too! The students were being taught the concepts, however they were not retaining them. That was yet another challenge for me. Why were these really bright kids not retaining key concepts they had been taught? How could I change this?So, I thought back to everything I had heard my mother, who is an elementary school principal, say about how children learn. She taught me all about the different learning styles that people possess. Then, I looked at my own style of teaching. I had primarily taught my students through the auditory method: capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and composition organization. I made the assumption, that since these were key and simple concepts, and since I was teaching fifth graders, that all I needed to do was an oral rendition of the concepts. I was completely mistaken.This was where my kindergarten teaching experience came in very handy. I had learned to break down, to the smallest degree, everything I had ever taught. So, this is exactly what I began doing in writing! I started to address all three learning styles (visual, auditory, and tactile-kinesthetic) along with breaking down every step and every concept that is required to be a successful writer.A complete metamorphosis took place in my classroom! Students’ attitudes changed from disliking writing to loving it. They started asking for the next week’s prompt early, taking their writing to lunch to work on, and excitedly showing off their masterpieces to parents, other students, and previous teachers. Everyone was impressed with their writing accomplishments. This newfound praise only snowballed their confidence in writing and in themselves. It also catapulted The Writing Academy into the spotlight!
Everyone was interested in how my students had produced such wonderful writing projects and why exactly they loved doing it so much. So, the inquiries began. In only a couple of months, my fellow teachers began implementing The Writing Academy with measurable success. By the end of the school year, we received word that our TAAS scores made us an “Exemplary” school. The TAAS was the Texas state test, at the time. Part of this accomplishment was due to the implementation of The Writing Academy. It is now the school-wide writing program at our school. As word spread, mostly by students expressing their newfound talents in writing to adults throughout our community, other schools wanted to know about The Writing Academy. An article in two newspapers also spread the news about The Writing Academy. After the articles in “The Pasadena Citizen” and the “Houston Chronicle” were published, schools began calling me. They wanted me to explain The Writing Academy to their schools. This has led to countless presentations and an even higher interest level in The Writing Academy. We are now all throughout Texas and 8 additional states. With 15 talented and passionate consultants, we are now reaching over 20,000 teachers/students a year!I would love to visit your educational institution and share The Writing Academy with you. for information regarding seminar information.I hope, that through this approach to teaching writing, students all across the nation will be able to gain confidence in their own natural talents and creative ideas, and that writing can finally be considered to be a fun subject to the majority of the students as opposed to the minority. If all of that can truly happen, we will have a nation of educated writers. In addition to all of my work with The Writing Academy, I also have a loving, and supportive husband, Ken. Together, with his collaboration, this web page has been made possible. We have three beautiful sons, Jake Michael age 20, Luke Hunter age 17, Lane Wyatt age 14, and a beautiful daughter, Lauren Ashlee age 15.