The Journey Is Everything: Teaching Essays That Students Want to Write for People Who Want to Read Them
"In the electric, pulsating world around us, the essay lives a life of abandon, posing questions, speaking truths, fulfilling a need humans have to know what other humans think and wonder so we can feel less alone."
Sadly, many students only know "essay" as a 5-paragraph, tightly structured writing assignment that must check all the boxes of a standardized formula. How did essays in school get so far away from essays in the world? Katherine makes a powerful case for teaching the essay as a way to restore writing to think-that it is in fact necessary for students' success in college and career. "Essay helps students write flexibly, fluently, and with emboldened voices," she writes in The Journey Is Everything, "qualities they can translate into any assigned writing task in school or in life." She argues that the close reading of essays fulfills the recommendations of state and national standards, while practice in essay writing leads to better academic and test writing. More importantly, "Essay gives its author the space, time, and freedom to think about and make sense of things, take a journey of discovery, and speak her mind, without boundaries."
Don't students deserve the chance to develop their own topics, discover their own writing voices, and learn to structure prose organically, according to the content? Katherine gives you tools, strategies, and activities to bring a unit on more authentic writing into your practice. Rediscover the power of the essay to bring out students' true thinking-their true selves. Because after all, the journey is everything.
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About the Author
Heinemann congratulates Katherine Bomer for receiving the 2017 Outstanding Elementary Educator Award by NCTE. Katherine Bomer, author of The Journey Is Everything, Hidden Gems, and Starting with What Students Do Best, is one of the field's most gifted writers as well as one of its most gifted teachers of writing. In more than two decades of teaching and consulting, she has used her writers' eye to focus on how craft isn't just an instructional goal but an instructional tool that allows writers to grow well beyond the range of most publicly available assessments. An internationally-known consultant and frequent keynote speaker, Katherine began her consulting career with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. In addition to Writing a Life, she is the coauthor of the Heinemann title For a Better World (with Randy Bomer) and delivers on-site PD through Heinemann Professional Development Services. A published poet and essayist, Katherine is also coauthor (with Lucy Calkins) of A Writer's Shelf. She began over fifteen years ago as a professional developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. A classroom teacher for ten years, she now works with teachers in elementary and middle schools throughout the country. As a frequent speaker at conferences and institutes, she combines a teacher's practical advice, a writer's love of language, and a powerful plea for social justice.