|Check out other Slicers' stories at Two Writing Teachers.|
|Get the details at Teachers Write.|
Practice with pen and paper keeps my writing muscles nimble. I need to work on my writing range too and luck for me, Teachers Write, a virtual summer writing camp for teachers and librarians, started yesterday. There must be more than a thousand of us coming together to write and cheer each other on. If you've never given yourself a little time to write, I encourage you join in.
I know I started thinking like a writer sometime between third and fourth grade. I was sitting in my room at the wooden desk my mom had painted for me (the desk was sunshine yellow and the drawer faces tangerine). I wrote a story featuring my cat. I remember looking up the orange peel plaster wall through the high window to the blue sky dotted with white clouds and thinking about writing. Writing was fun. I wanted to do more of it.
These days I mostly write to model a technique or demonstrate a concept as I'm teaching. I write curriculum or lesson plans or emails or essays or outlines for books about teaching. I'm flitting between ideas and not writing long or slow.
Writing can be such fun, immersing yourself in a scene or description or poetic line as indulgent as ice cream. I don't write as much as I'd like to, so this summer I'm going to give myself time to write everyday. Mornings are best for me.
If you haven't done much writing lately or you haven't written with your students in a while, why not write a bit this summer too? When I write what I ask my students to write I learn. I discover where students will struggle or I see where an assignment is too constraining or sometimes even ridiculous. Sometimes the hardest part is beginning. When I discover that I know that I need to go into my classroom with ideas that will help students get started. If I don't, due dates become more about punishment or shame than celebration. Sometimes when I write with students, the writing goes swimmingly, sentence follows sentence into paragraph pools that threaten to spill off the page--until the end. Sometimes I discover how difficult endings are.
|A start on an illustrated journal page from our vacation.|
We write for a myriad of purposes and audiences. Sometimes we write to process information. We list. We note. We write quickly. Writing gathers our thoughts in a crowd so that we can see what we've learned or where we are. Sometimes we write to capture beauty or memory. We draw. We illustrate. We spin tails of travel with family and friends. We write gifts. We write stories or poems to entertain or speak out.
Sometimes we write to practice thinking critically. Writing can be exercise. We analyze. We critique. We review. We research. We pretend and protest.
Writing in community helps. When I started teaching that community came from the National Writing Project and the time I spent with a cohort group in graduate school. Now, I also find community online. The possibilities are beyond virtually infinite; they are infinite. We can connect with people over poetry or blogging or photography or fan fiction or you name and I bet there is a group, a list-serve, a blog community, or some yet to be invented venue designed to gather and group.
Spend a few minutes each day writing. Kate Messner posts a bit of inspiration to spur writers on each day. Check out today's quick write exercise. The water is nearly as warm as the welcome. Dip into the writing pool and swim a bit, won't you?