Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Don't Have Anything to Write About

Slice of Life ChallengePlease join the challenge over at Two Writing Teachers!

Today is slice of life day...I got nothing. I looked back into my drafts...nothing. Looked back into my notebook...nothing. I have nothing to write about. You may be thinking, "Then why are you here?" Because I need to write. Tuesday is a deadline for me. I've made a commitment to post here every week and I want to be a model for my students. When they tell me that they have nothing to write about, I coax and cajole and encourage them, "Write anyway. Something will come..." Uh-oh! Nothing's coming...WAIT! I'll write about writing with my students. 

I've been lucky enough to have access to a document camera in my room for the past couple of years. This year, someone showed me how to hook it directly to the screen in the front of the room, instead of running back and forth from the front to the back. Now, I sit in front of my students and write WHILE they write. 

We talked about it today. I didn't announce what I was doing. I simply picked up my pen and began writing while they were writing. Their response to this was interesting! Some found it distracting...note to self, explain next time! Some found it helpful, "I didn't know what to write, so I watched you and it reminded me of something I could write." 

I asked them this question, "Is it important that your writing teacher writes?" As I looked out on the sea of faces in front of me, I noticed some scrunched foreheads and confused looks. I think they may have thought it was a trick question. I repeated the question and the answers came spilling forth, 
"YES! How can you teach us something if you don't do it yourself?!"
"I believe you more now that I know you write too."
"You know how hard it is because we see you working with us."
Such wise words from my sixth graders. We took our first steps as writers together and I can't wait to see where this journey takes us!

13 comments:

  1. Good for you! Writing with my students is one of the best lessons I've ever learned as a writing teacher. I'm glad you wrote today...even if you had nothing to write about. :) Have a great Tuesday!!

    Jennifer
    Sweet Writing Life
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

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  2. I write with my students as well. I wouldn't do it any other way. They are enriched when they know we are working by their sides.

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  3. Love that you write when ya got nothin! Actually you had something. What model for your students and us. Thank you Michelle. AND, I will see you at NCTE. SO excited for that. :)

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  4. The students probably won't forget that "first" time, either, Michelle. Love that you use the doc camera-so many good uses for it! I wonder if you could let one of your students write with the camera while the rest of you watch and discuss? Glad you wrote anyway, lots to think about! Sorry I won't be at NCTE this year, would love it!

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  5. Hooray for sixth graders...and hooray for the fact that I will see you at NCTE!

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  6. Well, for not having an idea of what to write...you sure did create an interesting post. I find that if I just start writing, something will come to me....looks like you do the same. Your students are fortunate to have you guiding them with their writing. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

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  7. Out of the mouths of babes! (I did mean to make that a double plural since you're quoting multiple students. I THINK I wrote it right. Did I?)

    Glad you're going to be at NCTE. Hooray! We'll finally get to meet in person.

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  8. I read an article "On Writing: Show, Don't Tell" with my students yesterday (http://www.sfwriter.com/ow04.htm). At the end, the author says, "Don't tell your friends and family that you want to be a writer; rather, show them that you are one by planting yourself in front of your keyboard and going to work. . .." How much this is like our classrooms! Don't just tell your students how to write (or that you write). Show them by sitting your butt down and writing with them! So important. I love that you asked your students to answer that question. Smart kiddos :-)

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  9. I often wonder what I will write about on Tuesdays. Somehow inspiration comes---some weeks better than others. I often wrote while my students were writing as well. I think it is important for them to see that we all have stumbling blocks we have to overcome.

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  10. It was a challenge for me to decide on a topic today, too, Michelle. I love what you came up with!

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  11. Love your students' comments and admire your commitment to your own weekly deadline. I struggle a lot with writing consistently myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  12. Love it! I tell my students to just START - something will come to them. Your post is the perfect example!

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  13. Yes, just write. I showed my students my grocery list, my old personal narratives from 2009 (that I may still revise!), letters to Mr. Harris about me, and other opportunities for writing! Have fun!

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