Tag Archives: TeachersWrite!

Thursday Quick-write


On Wednesdays, Kate Messner hosts a Q & A session with authors in the comments section of that day’s blog post. If you haven’t been by to check out the question and thoughtful responses from the authors, be sure that you do! I think it is so amazing these authors are taking time from their own schedules to invest in a group of writers!

Now, on to the quick-write! Today’s post is here, and the quick write topic is provided by author Pam Bachorz.

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Think of the place that is home for you. It might be where you live today, or perhaps where you grew up. Wherever you choose, be sure to pick a place that you know well. Take one minute to write down every detail about this place that you can think of.

We’re about 20 miles away from my grandparents house, and this is my favorite part of the drive. I put my book down and press my face to the window. After being on the interstate, the small two-lane road seems dangerously small, like you might swipe the edge of a passing car. The trees that line both sides of the road form a canopy over the road, and we drive along under the mottled sunlight that makes its way through the leaves. All you can see of the small country store on the side of the road is the dirt driveway that leads up to it. If you didn’t know it was there, you would miss it. I close my eyes and feel the muted flashes of sun on my face as we glide through the tunnel of trees.

Take the rest of your time to write about three changes that would make this place utterly altered for you–changes that would mean it was no longer home. 

As we turn off the interstate, a new road stretches before us, and the smell hits me. Not the fresh country smell, but the smell of wood and gasoline and asphalt. Where is my small two-lane road? Why are there cones and construction barrels everywhere? Big trucks are moving through the grass on the side of the road. I look ahead, confused. Where is my tunnel of trees? We all stare out of our windows. A construction worker flags us down and holds up a STOP sign. We wait as a semi pulls across the road in front of us and heads toward us. Its long trailer is loaded down with long pine trees. I catch my dad’s eyes in the mirror as we’re waved on to continue down the road, and his eyes look as sad as mine feel. Gone is the peaceful tree tunnel that hid us from the sky as we drove. It is replaced by a road being broadened and stretched, the harsh sunlight beating down unforgivingly. The small country store stands exposed on the side of the road. I pick up my book and tuck my head as the sunlight streams unchecked through my window.

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 Another activity I’ll be doing with my students! Now I am all caught up, and it is my goal this weekend to start jotting down notes I have for ideas of a “main” piece that I want to work on. Hopefully I can come up with something!

Happy writing!


Thursday Quick-Write Catch-Up


I’m still playing catch-up from the first week of Teachers Write!, so this post is from LAST Thursday’s quick-write. You can find Kate Messner’s original post about the topic here.

A student walks into the library/media center at lunchtime.  What is she/he thinking?  Worried about?  Dreading?  Hoping or wishing for? What are the risks/stakes for him/her? Show us in a paragraph or two.

Myra dashes into the first open door as she sees her two best friends approaching down the hall. Her heart beats fast in her chest, and she feels guilty for ditching them, but she just doesn’t have a guts to face them right now. When she turns, she finds herself stuck in the library. Great, she thinks to herself, this is the perfect place to hide. As she loses herself among the shelves of dusty reference books, Myra’s heart starts to steady. At some point, she will have to face her friends, face their questions, and risk tipping the balance on the perfect life she’s built around her. But not now. Not today. She settles into a table far at the back of the library and pulls out her Calc homework. Today she is still perfect.

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I wish I had a WIP (work in progress) so that I could apply these exercises to one piece that I’m working on. But so far I’m just writing whatever pops into my head. Who knows? I might be able to use it later!

Tuesday Quick-Write 1


Clicking the Teachers Write! button above will take you to Kate’s original blog post for today’s writing.

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Write for two minutes to describe a very specific place.

A sliver of light shines across the floor as I slowly push open the door. I flip on the star nightlight by the door. I slide my feet as I move across the room, not wanting to be stuck by a Lego or Little Pony. I pause by the bed, looking at my two beautiful babies, sound asleep in their beds. I lean down to pull up the blanet…

Time is up!

Write for one minute about each of the following:

Everything you see: I see the peaceful faces of my sleeping children. Their delicate features remind me that, even though they act so big and independent, they are still children. I see the shadows of toys as they lie scattered on the floor or cluttering shelves.

Everything you hear: In summer, the sound of the fan whirrrs through the air. The slow breathing of a deep sleep fills the air. As I knock over a Lego mansion, the rustle of blankets and sheets fills the air as both children stir in their sleep.

Everything you smell: The smell of watermelon shampoo fills my nose as I lean down to kiss my daughter on her head. My son’s breath smells of his “grown-up” minty toothpaste, his mouth hanging slightly ajar.

Everything you feel: The soft carpet slides under my feet. I brush my daughter’s long silky hair from her face as she sleeps. I kiss my son’s smooth forehead and whisper, “I love you both,” as I tiptoe quietly back out of the room.

Rewrite that descriptive paragraph. Include your best tiny, surprising details…

 A sliver of light breaks across the floor as I slowly push open the door. In the summer heat, the sound of the ceiling fan whirrrrrrs in the silence. I flip on the star nightlight by the door, and slide my feet across the soft carpet, not wanting to impale my feet on an errant Lego or Little Pony. Unsuccessful against the toy landmines on the floor, I knock over a Lego mansion, and the rustle of blankets fills the air as both children stir in their sleep. I pause by the bunk bed, looking at two of my beautiful babies sound asleep in their beds, absorbing their peaceful faces. Smooth porcelain skin is softly shadowed in the darkness. Bodies that are usually jumping and running and active lie quiet and still. Their delicate features remind me that, even though they can act so bold and independent in the daylight, they are still my tiny children. As I lean down to straighten her blankets and kiss her goodnight, the smell of my daughter’s watermelon shampoo fills my nose. I brush her long, silky Rapunzel locks from her face as she sleeps. I straighten and stretch to kiss my son’s smooth forehead as he sleeps on the top bunk, arms thrown over his head with his mouth hanging open. The smell of his minty toothpaste makes me smile…he’s so proud to have graduated to “grown-up” toothpaste. As I turn to tiptoe quietly out of the room, I glance around at the toys, trophies, and memories hiding in the shadows of the room. I stop at the door and whisper, “I love you both,” knowing these days won’t last forever.

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Wow, that was a lot harder than I thought it would be…just like usual! It took me a while to come up with the “place” I wanted to describe in the first place.

 This is definitely an activity I will work on with my students next year. Possibly even this summer while teaching a writing test prep class!

Teachers Write! My Introduction


I am joining a huuuuuuge group of educators to participate in the Teachers Write! summer project hosted by Jen Vincent, Kate Messner, and Gae Polisner. Kate has info and sign up here. Jen talks about the project here.

Jen already had a Secret Writing Plan in the works for herself and her blog, Teach Mentor Texts. During a conversation  on Twitter one evening, about 4-5 of my Twitter friends and I started talking about how we, as teachers, need to write and write MORE. Who are we to instruct students and expect them to perform when we don’t even practice what we preach? The more we talked, the more I realized that we all had the same “fear”…the fear of putting ourselves out there, of giving voice to our ideas. But I felt that it was safe to act on this fear because I had others, even if just a handful, who would be joining on the journey.

So imagine my surprise the next morning when I see this tweet from author-extraordinaire Kate Messner:

I was completely blown away that a professional author was not only following our conversation but also willing to step in a provide guidance for us.

If you haven’t visited Kate’s blog to read her introduction to the Teachers Write! project, do so now. Then head over to Jen’s intro at Teach Mentor Texts. Join us this summer, and flex your writing muscles. When it’s time for school to start back in the fall you will be able to walk into your classroom and tell your students that you ARE a writer…and don’t they want to join you?