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Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Day of Learning

Anticipation, excitement, notebooks, pens, ideas...these among other things are what I was carrying around this morning as I got myself ready for the first day of the ALL WRITE!!! conference in Warsaw, Indiana. Could I be surrounded by nicer, smarter, more open educators? 
I love being in an environment where I meet new faces that reflect my same beliefs and philosophies when it comes to teaching a writer. 

Here is what I took away from today:

Start and end your day with a poem.
Dedicate the reading of a poem to a student, they will remember this gift.
There is a structure to "adding details." Three main points:
  • action details
  • thought/feeling details
  • dialogue as a detail
There are little bits in between, but saying, "add details" doesn't really help students add anything. 
When you confer there is a structure:
  • Research what your students know.
  • Decide what you they need next.
  • Teach it.
  • Link it, make a connection. 
Top Book Picks: Here are a few that stood out for me from the list of great mentor texts:
  • Little Bird, Zullo  
  • Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw, Zemach
  • Thank You, Miss Doover, Pulver
  • Zero Is the Leaves On the Tree, Franco
I wrote a poem with the simple prompt--Journey, which I will link here.

What a full and luscious day! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

As a Writer...

Writing has become so much more than words on a page. I see and appreciate so much more about the writing process since becoming a writer myself. It was always in me but suppressed by fear. This community is what brought me out of that fear and helped shape a more confident writer, free to express herself. I wasn't sure what my slice would be today, my sick daughter (sinus infection), the beautiful sunshine (perfect day to be outside), a poem (HERE) or my growing excitement for the ALL WRITE!!! conference later this could have been any of these.  Then Stacey's question begged to be answered.

What does being a writer myself do for me as a teacher:

  • grows my confidence
  • puts me through the frustration of not having anything to write about
  • gives me something to share
  • allows me to model planning, drafting and revision....yes even in kindergarten
  • becomes a bridge to drawing, another love
  • reminds me that writing is a process
  • connects me to other teachers who love teaching 
  • makes me vulnerable
  • makes me think and process more
  • helps me to reflect as a learner
  • reminds me that writing is fun and stirs my enthusiasm...therefore stirring my enthusiasm to teach writing.
I think that last one is what makes the most difference. Before I was a writer my enthusiasm for writing was lacking. I was at a loss. I didn't really know how to do it and how to create excitement. I saw writing as a "thing" to be done on the list of things. I now know better. I know it is so much more, so much more than just words on a page. 

If you didn't get a chance to see all the chalk-a-brators last week you should check them out. Remember, there is another Chalk-A-Bration on June 30th, July 31st, and August 31st!