Monday, August 1, 2011

15 minutes a day? i can do this.

I happened on this post by Two Writing Teachers about joining Laurie Halse Anderson's  "15 minutes a day" writing challenge and thought...hmmm, sounds like a good way to restart the writing engine. It obviously works for Laurie Halse Anderson, successful author of books for young readers to young adults (or readers of any age, really). 

Writing for 15 minutes a day with little purpose other than to get my pen and ideas moving will be good on so many levels. Grabbing a new notebook right now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Small group planning

hosted by Two Writing Teachers
Spread around me, 37 pounds of thick, generously endowed reading books to reference. Some at my feet on the ottoman, one near my elbow opened to a page with the heading, "self-monitoring and self-correcting." To my right, stacked flush, are recently analyzed running records; that special evidence of approximations and partial knowledge, ready to build on. Add to that, a bit of straight up accuracy. I'm topping it off with a good mechanical pencil, planning template, and my warmed with the microwave, aroma therapy pillow collaring my neck. A necessity after moving around with those 37 pounds of books, I think. Look out guided reading group! Lesson on the way.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

an Irish wake

They walked in with their beautiful suits, their black, their eyes sad with grief, wondering if she would be on the dining table. They figured she probably wouldn't be. But, they still told of how it's done in Ireland. Americans take a bit of license with tradition. The local funeral home provides all the support. Even in Ireland now, local funeral homes are used for the wake. This funeral home is more than the just the local funeral home though. They are extended family. It's a small town and everyone's more than what they would be lost in the crowd of a larger town. Everyone grows up knowing everyone else. It was family taking care of family in these last moments.

 She lived in this town for 50 years and the standing room only space reflected she was still the life of the party. She came here as a 17 year old rose from Ireland. So everyone came to say good-bye.

It was almost like it was her dining room in the large reception room, as family and friends greeted the travelers from Mayo and New York, all over New England, and even,Virginia. There were Tiffany memory lights on every table with wishes for the family to keep her memory as lights were shone. Flowers were fanned out, cascading, and soft hues of pink and white, and green. Lots of green. Photos covered walls in the vestibule and more photos faded in and out on a screen remembering her. Bits of Eire were everywhere; Gaelic, Claddaghs, emerald green, Celtic crosses, the lilt of language.

I felt like I got to know her that much better as we gathered close to remember her. It was a sweet farewell.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's that time of year again- Slice of Life Challenge 2011

Two Writing Teachers host us again!
Over the last few years, during March I've worked in a month of daily writing through the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I'm tardy. But, I can't pass up the chance to think and write about those small things, to choose those just right words, or share the events as they come. Truth is having a collection of stories at the end of the month feels good.

The volume of stories and comments by fellow slicers; at once encouraging, nurturing, smart, and enjoyable is an important product of this special writing workshop. Being part of that feels pretty good, too.

As I posted the icon to the right here, I thought how one of my goals three years ago during the Challenge was to get closer to what my third grade students must go through when they are writing in class everyday. When I wrote daily, I reflected daily on my writing process. The more I wrote, the more I realized how many decisions I was making along the way. It was hard. I developed empathy in a whole new way for my student writers. I immediately changed how I conferred with my students. I'm wondering what changes in my teaching I'll be thinking about this month.

If you write or get to teach writing, I encourage you to join the Slice of Life Challenge! Click on this to learn how to get started.