Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Words to Live By

It's early on Tuesday morning. My brain isn't fully awake yet and I'm struggling to find a slice to share. What do I do? I'll lean on some advice I give to my students. Find some words that inspire and let those wash over you. Listen to them. Sit with them. Find your words. I found some words this week on social media. Here are some of those words...






These are good. Inspirational. Thought-provoking, but they still don't grab me on this early morning. Here's the one...


I found this final image on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/dailydose_of_growth/). I love the phrase, "follow your bliss". I believe those words and I try to live those words. These words. These ideas...they feel true. 

I'm working on a book about writer's notebooks and using them in the middle school classroom. I'd put things aside in the busy-ness of opening a new school. I let fear take over. I'd gotten down on myself and frustrated with my progress, or lack thereof...until last week. Last week, I returned to my draft. Last week, I wrote again. Last week, I felt like this is the book I have to write. 

In the days following that experience, I had multiple unexpected opportunities to share my ideas and perspective about notebooks. These opportunities popped up out of nowhere. I shared my ideas and again I saw a need for this book. I'm writing this book. 

My dream is to get it published, but that isn't even the most important part to me anymore. I am going to follow my bliss. Writing is my bliss. Notebooks are my bliss. I'm going to let the rest go and see where this journey takes me. 

As an aside, using quotes with students is a powerful way to invite writers to begin. My sixth graders love quotes. A few of my students add a quote to their daily writing, isn't that a great idea? It's one I think I may start using. 

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Celebrating Notebook Writers


We've launched notebooks. We write in our notebooks every day. 

I collected notebooks for a first check. Spending time in these pages inspired me. 

I get to know my sixth-graders as writers and I get to know their interests and passions. Notebook writing and reading their writing is certainly something to celebrate today! 
The rest of this post will be pages from their notebooks. They've given me permission to share. You are in for a treat! Enjoy...























Thank you to Ruth Ayres for providing this space for sharing our celebrations.
Please join us and share your own!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Writing Wednesdays Begin


Writing makes sense of my world. When I sit down, with my notebook or at a keyboard, things make sense. That's not to say that writing is easy! It's not. Writing is necessary for me, like breathing or eating. When I go without for awhile, I feel out of sorts.

This year, I'm part of an inaugural staff in a brand new middle school. New beginnings. I decided to take a risk and invite other teachers to join me in my writing practice. I sent an email last week to invite teachers. Here's what I said:



I worried that no one would respond. I was wrong. Teachers from all content areas responded with interest. More than a dozen teachers replied and I'm hoping more show up to write. Math teachers, science teachers, and English teachers...getting together to write.

Tomorrow we begin. We will gather together and write. Reflect. There will be quiet and thinking and a little bit of chocolate. I can't wait to spend an hour writing with other educators. If this goes well, I may expand it to Mondays too. 

My notebook and pens are ready! Writing Wednesdays are almost here!

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Launching Writer's Notebooks

How is it possible that I've never written this blog post before?!?! Today, this day, notebook launching day...it's my favorite day of the beginning of the year! It's so exciting! The energy is palpable!

We begin by talking about what writing is. This helps me get a peek into their previous writing experiences and the emotions surrounding them. Here's what I heard today...




These answers gave me such joy and hope. It's evidence of students who already feel successful as writers. Next, I shared my life as a writer. I love when I show them my very first notebook and hear the gasps when they see what year I began writing...1982. 

After we discuss my experience with writer's notebooks, I say, "Writers, you need notebooks." Students begin shuffling around until they see the giant pile of wrapped notebooks...

I begin passing them out and the volume slowly goes up. Students start whispering and soon, they are cheering. The sound of hearing their joy as they unwrap their packages is like no other I've ever heard. It's JOY! 

Once the students open their notebooks, they notice that there's something inside...

I wrote a poem for them. It seems as if they enjoy the poem. And now, they are off! Writers, begin writing...




















All this and it's only day one with our notebooks! Watch out world, here we come!

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.