Posted on

WIHWT: Why I write.

This Wish I Had Written That is inspired by Rebecca Solnit.

Sometimes the artmaking stalls out.

Sometimes I’ve written my truth and it conflicts with someone else’s narrative. Writers step on toes, cause disquiet, and challenge ideas and status quo: and yes, I count myself in that group.

And when I stall out it’s because of fear. Fear of reprimand, unwarranted criticism, or being misunderstood.

But I suppose if I want to write, reflect, question, challenge, and process I must let go of any naivety and just write. Let go of the belief that all my words and ideas will be welcomed as a first-grader’s art project stuck on the fridge with a souvenir magnet.

It’s fun when there are over 1,000 hits and views on this blog. I realize other writers get tens of thousands a month, but for now, I’m satisfied with whoever takes the time to read.

There are too many fascinating and amazing miracles happening every day not to take snapshots of them, and curate the wonders of this world, and let fear get in the way. This age demands transparency and questioning. Carry on, be brave.

From:

Focus:

“You make art because you think what you make is good, and good means that it’s good for other people, not necessarily pleasant or easy, but leading toward more truth or justice or awareness or reform. I write nonfiction and know a lot of journalists, political writers, and historians, whose efforts tend to be more overtly geared toward changing the world but I believe this is true of poets too. This weekend a friend sent me a Neruda poem to celebrate the king tides—the exceptionally high winter tides we get here—and though it’s hard to say the way this might help someone, it helps me to read:

the disdain, the desire of a wave,
the green rhythm that from the hidden bulk
lifted up a translucent edifice

Because pleasure is part of what gets us through and helps us do what we’re here to do. Because the political struggle is to protect the vulnerable and the beautiful, and paying attention to them is part of the project.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on

write now

It’s 12:15 PM on November 10th. Do you know where your NaNoMo novel is? Yeah, about that. Good intentions aside, I have done everything but just sit and type. I made a video. Updated grades. Reheated a bowl of chili mac (that will come back to haunt me), and read a few Tweets.

But two things grabbed my brain this morning:

  1. The epiphany that teachers enjoy creating lessons for themselves and having agency, just like students. This has nothing to do with the rest of the post directly, just needed to remember this.
  2. We must flip reading around to writing, or balance it much better.

For some time now, my professional opinion held the research of the National Writing Project that writing helps us become better readers. Reading helps us become better writers, too, but somehow that message got lost in translation.

Summaries, Claim, Evidence and Reasoning paragraphs, Short Answer Responses, etc. are not ‘writing instruction.’ They are a form of writing, of course, living in the Land of Explanatory, formulaic, structured texts, but alas, really do not help or support writing instruction.

And, as one who prides herself on good writing instruction, it’s hard. It’s really hard.

Until it’s not.

Do you know why middle school students give up on their writing lives? Well, wouldn’t you if no one really cared to hear what you had to say? If you didn’t get the answer “right” or scrambled madly for text evidence just to get the dang assignment done? (I asked my students this week if they ever just grab text evidence randomly and every one giggled and confessed yes.) This is not any teachers’ fault –not at all. I am recommending that we teach them how to find their OWN “text evidence” first. Their own stories, insights, moments, etc.

From The Real Reasons So Many Young People Can’t Write Well Today–An English Teacher

“A 2010 study by the Carnegie Corporation called Writing to Read found ample evidence that writing can dramatically improve reading ability. The authors discovered that combining reading and writing instruction by having students write about what they read, explicitly teaching them the skills and processes that go into creating text, and increasing the amount of writing they do results in increased reading comprehension as well as improved writing skill.”

I know this so well. This message is inscribed in my heart. I passed along Writing to Read to past administrators, who’ve come and gone, and I am not sure current ones want or need it. I’ll ask. In the meantime, I’ll take a look at works and reformulate them to fit the digital instruction:

The current test focuses so much on reading, it’s true, but not all of it. Here is the brief write portion of the test, just in case anyone wants it, (even new teachers).

Here is a lesson on memoir writing:

And the parallel writing structure:

Now I’d better go write my own story.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on

’tis the season: December Ideas

Two Writing Teachers posted:

Narrative Writing Makes a Beautiful Gift

Writing is a gift–and perhaps if students of writing see themselves, their words, as gifts to themselves and others we can reshape how they feel about writing (which isn’t always positive).

My favorite December idea:

Drabble-A-Day

Creative constraints provide necessary restrictions for all of us who wish to create productively. It may seem counter-intuitive, but creative constraints produce better focus and creativity, not less.

Drabble A Day Writer Portfolio Document: (click for Google Doc)

Using Signposts:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ohdgdQm4siMObbeEOsaO9hhuV9iVTCyQqu5Dm02EJ0I/edit?usp=sharing

Going to freshen this up today, too: http://lookupwriting.edublogs.org/

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Posted on

today was a good day

My first period: my friend’s first period. Her second period. My other friend’s third period. My fourth, fifth, and sixth periods. Almost 170 students signing up and starting blogging on the Digital Dogs’ blog. 

I KNEW they could do it!

And, I even recognized some writers in the crowd. Those who lingered a little longer, or confessed to having Tumblrs and Wattpads. I have writer-adar.

Yes, I realize their posts are not works of grand literary import. Pfft. Putting in your first HTML embed is addicting. Sharing content, and seeing your words published is this generation’s ‘Andy Warhol fifteen minutes of fame on television,’ but this screen is more relevant and powerful.

It’s working…

Print Friendly, PDF & Email