Lovely sunset

Lovely sunset

Monday, July 15, 2013

You Teach Writing by Writing. Brilliant!

Today I sat down to write so I could post on the Teachers Write website. I was coerced into joining this online writing class by my colleague, Andrea Page, who has already written a book, belongs to a writing group, and is regularly encouraging me to write. She knows I have a story I could write. I am not so sure. I love to write though and through the process of signing up for the class started to blog. So, if you come to my blog and see just a few posts, don't abandon me like you would a boring book. Stick around long enough to give me chance. I am still figuring out this medium.

I purchased an e-book last week for my Kindle, Blog It by Molly Green, that I thought might help me with this process. If she were reading my blog right now, she would know which chapters I have already read! I believe there is much I need to learn as I venture into the land of blogging.  With Molly by my side, I feel braver already!

I am still not sure though, if I really have things to say that others will like to read. In my 6th grade classroom, I often model quick writes for them. They seem truly surprised that I can sit down in the time it takes them to sharpen their pencils, get out their journals, dream up an idea and have two pages of text already written. I write as they write and always finish first.

Bandit "Houdini Dog"
They often ask me to write about the stories I tell them. I had several to tell about our Houdini Dog who is able to escape from any and all kennels known to mankind given enough time and, perhaps, the added incentive of a scary thunderstorm.

 I regularly tell them about the mishaps that often occurred in classes before them. Hence the advice, "When the teacher leaves the room, do NOT fall out the window!" This is just to remind them that similar to what  Art Linkletter used to say, 6th Graders do the darndest things!

One day they suggested I write about coffee since ala Nancy Atwell's Writing workshop, you need to write about something you have strong feelings about. Well, clearly they heard me that day! They reminded me they often see me clutching my coffee cup as they work in my room.

So, I wrote in my first period class about coffee and read it to them. I boasted to them I had much more to say on the topic.  My next period class demanded to hear what I had written and challenged me to write again about coffee. So, I did and read it to that class and the next. By the end of the day, I had written four short essays on the topic of coffee. When I shared my writing with the 1st period class the next day, they were astounded. Incredulous even. Even I wasn't sure how I had continued to write about a fairly minor topic in my life. Well, but maybe, then again, it wasn't all that unimportant.  That was the lesson I followed up with. They needed to add to their writing territories often with topics and ideas because you just never know when you may be inspired to write about one of them.

Writing is not hard for me, well, this kind of writing. But, I may be the only person really ever interested in reading it. Well, me and, perhaps, my students. That's ok for now.  If I ever figure out how to write the story that Andrea keeps telling me to write, I will be ready.  Practice makes perfect, right?

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