Tag Archives: Writing

The Next Great American Blog Post

I haven’t blogged in a while. I’m coming in just barely under a month. However, it is not because I have not been thinking of what I want to say to you dear readers and fellow teachers. I have actually spent quite a bit of time (that probably should have been spent grading) working on this site behind the scenes and drafting some blog posts.

I currently have four drafts, none of which I feel are ready to go. I think it might be that “Publish” button. It seems so final. So official. Yet here I am in a voice, which rambles noticeably more than usual, about my lack of recent published blog postings.

I promise I have a point. These recent writing quandries I’ve experienced through the blog have helped me to relate a little bit better to my writing students.

Publishing is a critical step of the writing process.  As teachers, most of us have also read the research and seen the evidence in our classroom that the more authentic the audience, the more powerful that publishing step may prove.  However, publishing can also be a powerful intimidation.  It seems so final.  In the posts I am still drafting, I feel this pressure to be profound.  To say something that will hopefully bring you affirmation for your own classroom practices.  Or challenge you. Or, from a more selfish place, make you stop and think, “that girl knows what she’s talking about.”  Now I’m not saying that this blog should not be a place that could affect change in education or bolster my personal and professional learning network.  However, I also need to remember that the next time I hit publish, it doesn’t have to mean I am uploading “The Next Great American Blog Post.”  If perfection is what I’m waiting on, I may never publish again.

It is easy to see when our students have test anxiety, but what about their “publishing” anxiety.  They may feel that sharing their work with us and others makes their work final, finished.  But, that is just not true!  How can we demonstrate to our students that writing is an continual practice.  Even great books put out revised edition.  I want my students to let me in on the process, and not fear the finality.  After all, there isn’t really much finality in writing at all.  Especially in this digital age where everything seems up for revision.

Want to see what else may be coming down the hatch?

Here’s a glimpse at the ideas hanging out in the “Drafts” box:

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Poem-A-Day Challenge Updated

So, I am mostly up to date with my efforts in the poem-a-day challenge. Each entry was written this month. However, I cannot actually claim that each was written on the day ascribed to it. Let’s think of it as “Thirty Poems for April” instead. If you are interested in checking out my efforts, go to the “Writing Teacher Writes” tab above, or you can just click here.  Keep in mind that I never promised they would be good!  If you would like to follow along with the challenge on your own, you can check out the daily prompts at Poetic Asides.

The promised follow up to the summer reading poll is coming tomorrow.  Get your votes in on the poll and check back Monday for my thoughts.

Spring and Poetry in the Classroom

Spring has hit full force here in Georgia.  The highs have been hitting in the 80s nearly every day this week!  Along with a pretty yellow coating for all of our cars and shoes, Spring has also gifted us with fever in the classroom.   Teachers feverishly try to get everything done that they have been hoping to accomplish this year and students wait feverishly for the coming summer break.

 

I like to follow Robert Lee Brewer’s blog,Poetic Asides, over at Writer’s Digest.  He posts poetry prompts on Wednesdays which I occasionally try out.  Yesterday’s writing suggestion was simply on the general theme of Spring.  I through my own contribution into the mix on his blog and would like to share it with you here, as well.  As of now, my efforts are still rough and untitled, but I am always open to suggestion (kind, well-intentioned)!

 

Pencils flying

Erasers arcing in air as they

Drum drum drum on the desk.

 

 

Birds peek in

Watching my lesson

Forgetting there is glass.

Students stare back at them

Forgetting there is class.

 

 

In our worn texts,

Winter marks

The ending of days.

In school,

Spring marks time.

 

 

And now, for some supplementary thoughts on poetry, and teachers’ writings in the classroom:

 

A hard lesson for me to learn was that my own writing does not need to be perfect or professionally published for me to share it with my students.  They need to see my enthusiasm for the practice.  They need to see that it has a place in my world outside the classroom.  They need to see that even teachers have room for revision.

 

Participating in a blog such as Poetic Asides helps provide me with some structure for my own practice.  In April, Brewer will be challenging his readers to compose a poem a day.  I am hoping to be an active participant in this challenge and hope you will join me.  Yes, it will be tough! But, it could also be remarkable for your own writing practice and the role that practice and poetry in general might take on in your classroom.

 

I have never been fortuntate enough to particpate in a NWP program, but I am ever hopeful that I will still have the chane one day.  In the meantime, I will keep bringing my meager offerings to the table, that they may grow and improve and serve.

 

Snow Jam 2011

I don’t know what this past week was like for all of you, but here in Georgia it was COLD and Icy and did not include school.  We southerners are obviously not equipped for harsh winter weather.  I still remember the “Blizzard of ’93” from my own school days.  Whether or not that event actually qualified as a blizzard is up for debate, sides typically being chosen by geographical region.  My dog, Mia, did not even know what to do with all of that crazy white stuff!  It finally took a leash to convince her to venture outside, and even then she didn’t exactly appear thrilled with the idea.

Mia's Snow Day

Mia's Snow day

 

We came back from winter break for exactly four days and then took another entire week off, plus Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  It feels like the four days we did have didn’t even happen.  Coming to school today, I knew that if I personally was feeling disjointed and disconnected from our prior work together, the students were probably even more out of sorts.  I was a little apprehensive about how to jump right back in and regain any momentum we may have developed two weeks ago.  My typical back-to-school fare had already been spent.  I’d like to share what I came up with, but I would also love any suggestions people may have for these types of situations. 

I started by sending an email out to all of my student families last Thursday.  I included some details about my own time off and attached the pictures included here.  I then reminded parents that it is important for students keep their brains “warmed-up” even if it may be cold outside.  Based on fall semester final exams, I knew that the students still struggled with identifying, creating, and differentiating between similes and metaphors.  Attached to the email was a document guiding the students through creating their own versions of literary devices about their snow weeks along with the opportunity to attach a picture of their time off from school to share with the class upon our return.  When it snows here in Georgia a LOT of pictures are taken.

I was well pleased with what the students brought in to school today.  It gave us an  instant way to start class that was both content-focus and personalized to each student’s experience.

Other ideas?  Comments?  Anecdotes? 

In case you’re interested, here is the assignment I sent out.

Snow Day Writing

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