Slice of Life Tuesday: Writing to Stay Awake

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I just looked at the date for my last post: August 12. What a disgrace! How can I expect my students to write daily if I cannot write daily? Well, we talked about that today in a conferring session. I was sharing with a student who hates to write (her words). We discussed how writing is a mindful activity, one full of thinking and acting and thinking…it’s exhausting! I shared with her that sometimes I write just to keep myself going. Maybe I look at a favorite picture, then write to describe a part of it I have not viewed before. Maybe I write a “to-do” list for the next day. Maybe I send one of my kids a text with a little information and an “I love you” reminder. Anything to keep going, keep writing. All writing counts. My goal for her is that she will see writing as an outlet, and as an effective means of communication. I told her I wanted her to publish something great — whatever she wants!

I promised this student that we would keep in touch throughout the year. She will share her thoughts, experiences, observations, and writing with me, and I will do the same. I love that I am able to share my writing with students, and I look forward to reading their writing as we move through the school year.  For now, I continue to write, to stay awake.

For those of you starting a new school year with students today, Have a GREAT Year!

“What Did She Say?” — My answers to chat questions from the past week

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I want to remember and reflect on my participation in social media chats. Chatting with others is a wonderful PD-on-my-own-time opportunity, and I am learning so much from my time with new-to-me technology. I thought it would be fun to creatively record my answers to Twitter chat questions, so I dreamed up this blog column, “What Did She Say?”  — I will share my answers to some important Twitter chat questions and opinions about current educational issues each Monday evening.  Here’s the first one!

From “Teach and Celebrate Writing” First Sundays, August 3, 2014 (#TandCwriters):

Q1: What routines and procedures do you put into place to help students be organized as writers?  A1: Set up workshop routines the first week. Keep a consistent plan/schedule. We have notebooks and 3-ring binders. Never tear out pages of notebooks!

Q2: What are routines and procedures for conferring with writers? A2: I love Carl Anderson’s work, and attended his workshop on conferring in June. I love that you compliment the writer first. I found out about Penny Kittle’s “Bless (compliment), Press (research), Address (teach)” plan for conferring. I’m stealing it!

Q3: What are routines and procedures for helping students to revise/edit? A3: Read the piece aloud! (great help) Peer editing groups, circling parts to check, highlighting. I need to look up “Express Lane Edit” by @writeguyjeff (Jeff Anderson). I also learned that long-term writing partners give support.

Q4: What routines and procedures do you have for students to share? A4: Penny Kittle’s “Symphony Share”; writing alongside a mentor text to show comparisons. I want to review the book, Write Beside Them again. There was a YouTube video, “Austin’s Butterfly critique” I want to see again. The message from the chat group was that students need more audience — more forms of sharing. I loved the idea of “Best Lines of the Week” — students each share one great line from notebook.

Q5: What writing routines of your own do you share with students? A5: I share my mentor texts, my blog, my ideas list, and my past (college) assignments. I also show risk-taking — things I tried. The chat group repeated the “BIC” way of writing: “Butt in Chair.” Just do it!

Q6: What is something new to try this coming school year? A6: I want my students to blog at school, maybe using KidBlog. I joined a writing group already, and I want to have students get together in writing groups often. I loved the idea of going to a bookstore (field trip!) for a publishing party!

Q7: What are you celebrating as a writer? A7: I am writing more, and more often; I have carved out times in my week to write. I have writing buddies now. Writing is so much fun!

Thank you for taking time to find out, “What Did She Say?” I hope this outlet will help all of us to remember to be great readers, writers, and teachers. See you next week.