When I was a new teacher, I firmly believed in the power of audience. I was determined to provide every opportunity possible for any student interested in sharing. Not surprisingly, sharing sessions would go on and on as one student after another took a turn sharing. Some pieces were fantastic, some pieces were twice as long read aloud as they were on paper, and what I had planned to take five minutes quickly grew into 20 minutes or more. It didn’t take me long to realize this wasn’t an efficient use of time, but I also learned students love to share, and students who know they get to share will feverishly work during writing workshop.
With such apparent evidence of the power of sharing writing for an authentic audience, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to hack my mandated class schedule, sneaking five minutes here and there, and assigning writing notebook show-and-tell for homework, but I just couldn’t seem to get the most bang for my buck.