Finding Meaning through Writing: A Personal Journey into Writing Development through Writing Workshops, Personal Experimentation, and Finding the Balance to Create Ideal Writing Environments and Communities with Elementary School Students

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter Taylor


Elementary education has evolved into a compartmentalized system where each academic subject is treated as a unit and filed away until the appropriate time to resurrect it. In a mad rush to the finish line, basic skills such as grammar and computation are prioritized over more all-encompassing skills such as thinking and problem solving. We need to find ways to incorporate the basic skills our students need with the more through provoking skills in ways that reassign the appropriate emphasis on each part of the whole. My paper looks to the writing workshop method of writing instruction to establish classroom writing communities that foster development of the writer as an individual first and development of the products that writer creates second. In my paper I explore why writing is so important to a student’s development. In the course of this exploration, a new definition of writing instruction emerges and begins to focus on the writing environment as a catalyst for good writers, and hence good writing. My paper offers both my personal journey into this new definition of writing and my research into writing and learning communities. My research allowed me to tackle questions such as why it is important to write, what it means to publish, and what are the best ways to sustain writing development as a writing instructor and writer. Writing and thinking are intertwined. Good writing instruction leads to good thinking instruction. Show me a good writer, and I’ll show you a good thinker. The ultimate measure of one’s ability to succeed lies in their ability to think most effectively. The writing workshop’s emphasis on the writer over the product takes us closer to the ideal of educating a whole person rather than educating to various, compartmentalized skills.


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