Tag Archives: writing

Thursday Quick-Write Catch-Up

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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

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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!

Monday Mini-lesson 1: Making Time

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For the first Monday of Teachers Write! Kate is challenging everyone to start by making time to write. You can’t just “find” the time, you have make a conscious effort to write. She says, “You have to not do something that you’re currently doing, and use that time to write.”

My writing plan for the summer is to write for (at least) 30 minutes every day. In June my own kids will still be in daycare, so I will write in the mornings after they are gone and before I start my other activities. The rest of the summer my kiddos will be home, so their nap time will be my writing time! It will be when school starts back up that writing will be more of a struggle. My husband has recently taken up blogging, so we could work together to cut out some wasted computer/TV time after the kids go to bed so that we can both focus on our writing.

During the summer I will be writing at the kitchen table. There are window that allow sunlight to stream in, so it’s a very peaceful spot (when the children aren’t running around!). One of my summer projects is to clean out a closet, so I can convert it to a small nook for myself. The goal is to write there once that project is complete!

Right now I have nooooo idea what I will be writing. I’m jealous of those of you who already have something in the works! I have an idea for a children’s book (that I’ve had for ages), but I’m not sure how that would translate through this process. We’ll just see what comes out when I put pen to paper…it’s just important for me that I’m writing!

So now I have shared my Teachers Write! goals. Will you check back in and hold me accountable?

Teachers Write! My Introduction

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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?