Category Archives: Writing

#SOL21: Summer Learning


Reading. Wriing. Thinking.

So many great books out there.

What am I reading this summer?

Here are some of the professional books that I shared with the “BookLove” community last week!

What I am rereading . . .

RereadsThe Responsive Writing Teacher, Grades K-5 : A Hands-on Guide to Child- Centered, Equitable Instruction by Corter, Kelsey Marie (9781071840641) |  BrownsBfS

New Reads . . .

    August

Speakers that I am listening to . . .

What are you reading? writing? thinking? What are you listening to? How is your plan working? Are you working your plan?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum.

Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOL21: Habits


Tulips in Iowa – April 19, 2021

Will they survive? Will they flourish?

Three nights of freeze warnings and this view in the daytime.

It’s spring. A time of growth. A time for blooming. And yet, a time for snow and freezing temperatures.

Do we let Mother Nature take her course? Do we try to mitigate the results? Plants, flowers, pleasing to the eye. What’s our response?

In our schools, it’s the season of standardized tests. Tests in the midst of the pandemic that continues on. A year+ like no other. What are the options?

What’s the cost? Check out Tim Wheeler’s blog.

What are our goals? What are the habits that we want students to develop.

Melanie Meehan and Kelsey Sorum have this gorgeous new book. We featured it on our #G2Great chat March 25th and Val Kimmel’s blog post is here. It was featured on TWT here.

One of my favorite resources in this book is Chart 1.9. It speaks to me of reasons why I write daily. It speaks to me of why students need to write daily. And it speaks to me of things that are not so easily counted. Not so easily measured. But habits that I want all students to have. In their writerly lives. In their daily lives. In their student lives. In their adult lives.

To name just a few habits:

Perseverance

Empathy

Resilience

What habits in life are you willing to identify today? What habits will you nurture today? What habits do you actively support? How do you do that?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC21: Change


Collecting quotes and inspiration remains my constant.

“You must welcome change as the rule but not as your ruler.”

Magnifying Glass, 03.30.2021.

It’s the 31st consecutive day of blogging.

Habits changed.

I wrote and commented every day during the month of March.

That’s a change that I have been a part of for eight years.

By the end of March, my fear of the “publish” button is lessened.

It’s the 31st consecutive day of blogging.

My beliefs remain constant.

Teachers of writing must be writers.

Participating in the TWT March #SOL is one way for teachers to write in a community.

This graphic from Melanie Meehan and Kelsey Sorum (The Responsive Writing Teacher) says so much!

But teachers of writing must also be readers and commenters, too.

It’s the 31st consecutive day of blogging.

I am a writer.

What have you practiced for 31 days? Writing? Feedback Comments? Drafting More Mentor Texts? What’s your plan?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. The community is so supportive! Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC21: What is a Saturday Reunion?


This set of pictures popped up as a six year memory today and is quite worthy of attention.

The year 2015.

The location: Broadway and Millbank Chapel

A day of learning at the Saturday Reunion at #TCRWP.

My first post about the day is here.

What is a Saturday Reunion?

Approximately 4,000 educators from around the world

Descending on TCRWP

For hundreds of free sessions

From some of the smartest educators in the world!

Friends traveling miles.

The picture above includes

Friends from New Jersey, California and me, Iowa.

Friends learning together.

Checking the schedule and attending sessions together.

Friends chatting,

Meeting each other in real life.

Friends exchanging ideas,

And double checking our notes

As well as the ubiquitous “turn and talks.”

Friends meeting for dinner after,

Lingering for another word

Another minute of like-minded company!

What is a Saturday Reunion?

  • Challenging
  • Collaborative
  • Future-focused
  • Goal-oriented
  • Grounded in practice
  • Relevant
  • Sustained

And above all . . . A “choose your own pathway for learning and fun for the day.”

Saturdays . . .

Not just a day off

Not just a day to reflect

Because Saturday Reunions are endless days of possibilities!

When have you chosen to spend Saturdays learning with friends? What were the convincing arguments? What were the benefits?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC21: Depending on when you met me


I’ve returned to this invitation three times, so it literally is time to act. Leigh Ann Eck issued an invitation to a party with an ID required here and in Margaret’s post here. This is my fourth draft. I’m not ready to call it a final copy yet.

Depending on when you met me, I might have been: that kindergarten student hiding in the classroom during reading class as I devoured the books; that first grade student who read all the books on the single first grade shelf who wasn’t allowed to read books from other shelves; that first grade artist with a purple sky, red sun, and green and purple blooming flowers who watched her teacher tear up her paper, that third grade student who recopied her “When I Grow Up” story in red ink so the teacher could not red ink the page, that middle school reader who read Alcott, Hemingway, Henry James, and Tolstoy (to name a few) as I read my way alphabetically through the fiction stacks, that sophomore in high school who wrote “To Wear or Not to Wear” to question the school dress code; that college student who questioned authority and arbitrary rules; that special ed teacher who questioned rule exceptions that had 28 students in my resource room program (limit was 18); or that adult who continues to ask WHY?

Draft # 1 As I read it for at least the tenth time, I reflected again on the job roles that were a great portion of the list. I felt it lacked “interest” and any real coherence for the reader (Boring list) or the writer (icky list)!

Depending on when you met me I might have been: a middle child, a child with her nose in a book, an egg gatherer, a tree waterer, a bike rider, a knitter, a teacher of religion classes, a cousin, a bass player, an international traveler, a student desperately trying to fit in balancing school and work, and work, and work, a transfer student, a marching band afficiando, a teacher, a researcher, an inquisitive soul who craved deeper understanding, a cross stitcher, a professional development provider, a teacher, a college instructor, a mom a learner, a principal, a consultant, a speaker, a listener, a writer, a grandmother, and a quilter.

Which version did you prefer and why?

When and where do you share writing drafts and finished product? How do you model revisions for your students?

_______________________________________________________________________________ Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.
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#SOLSC21: Same? Different?


Same

Prep in advance. Study schedule. Decide on big questions. Develop a plan. Set all devices to charge.

On Saturday, review schedule. Develop a “notes” page. Set tabs. Check power levels on all devices. Hydrate. Caffeinate.

10 minute alarm. Ready. Set. Go.

Flurries between sessions for drinks, snacks, restrooms.

Worry about keeping caught up.

Worrying about wi-fi connections.

Worrying about rooms being filled and second and third choices.

Rousing keynotes

Readers, Writers, Makers, Authors, Thinkers!

Informative sessions

Practice doing the work

A wish list . . . long and lengthy

Different

Alone

No subway

No travel

No F2F meet ups

Many square boxes

Sitting in my living room in Iowa

Saying group and individual “hellos” in chat boxes

No time to process with others

No coffee with friends

The 99th!

It wasn’t my first. I wrote about that day here. Six years ago was my first #TCRWP Saturday Reunion (88th), and I missed it terribly yesterday. The hustle and bustle of NYC. The traffic. The navigation. The travel. The farm girl in the big city.

The people. Clare, Tammy, Melanie, Tara, Julieanne, Dayna, Sally, Catherine, Stacey, Ryan, Christina, and Lanny. Just a few of the familiar faces.

The hustle and bustle of the day long ago and yesterday.

Some same. Some different.

What do you find when you compare two days across time and space . . . one pre-pandemic and one still regulated by the pandemic?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC21: What would I say to my dad?


Draft 1 (213 words)

Hey, Dad,

It’s been over 13 years and so many stories for you and it’s only fitting that it’s the first day of Spring and time to start thinking about planting. Stewardship was always important to you.

The light of my life: a son who found a gorgeous wife 8 years ago who have a 5 year old kindergartner and a two and a half year old charmer who would lead you around everywhere.

I retired early three years ago when work became untenable . . . ethically so inappropriate, but that’s a story best kept for another day as I only have 100 words.

There are a total of 7 (Pat’s), +4 (Jim’s), +2 (mine), + 4 (Wayne’s) for 17 great granchildren ranging from first year of college to three weeks old. The last grandchild graduates from high school this year so all the kids are growing up and building their own lives.

The farm is still rented out. Mom’s in an Atrium apartment and is fully vaccinated and has had cataract surgery in both eyes. Crocheting, sewing, and cards fill a lot of her time.

Sad times . . . we lost Joe and Ashley . . . and it’s been tough, but I’m sure you’ve already seen them and have quite a crew in your collected already. Since you left so suddenly, we’ve been better at family gatherings and trying to stay in touch because you never know when it will be the last time – the last chance . . .

Draft 7 ( 102 words)

Dad,

13+ years. the first day of Spring, and time to start planing planting. 

My son is still the light of my life:  a gorgeous wife (8 years), a 5 year old kindergartner, and a two and a half year old charmer who would lead you around everywhere. (+ dog & 4 fish) 

Briefly: 17 great-grandchildren.7 (P’s), +4 (J’s), +2 (mine), + 4 (W’s)… range: college to three weeks old. Mom’s in an Atrium apartment, fully vaccinated.

Sad times . . . we’ve lost so many but you’ve seen them. BC we never know when it will be the last time – the last chance . . .

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Format inspired by Tim yesterday at ” Tim’s Teaching Thoughts“. Thanks for the mentor text, Tim!

The word limit was hard and required many revisions!

What would you say? How would you decide what to include? What to leave out?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC21: Summing it up in 5


I remember the obligatory third grade paper “What I want to be when I grow up”copied carefully in red ink on manilla tablet paper so that my teacher could not bleed red ink corrections on my pristine paper that was reverently stored in the family Bible for posterity.

Writing was something assigned only in English classes after months of grammar drills and diagramming sentences until we were allowed to take a course entitled Creative Writing in high school and then I doodled my way through poetry and bits and pieces of plagarized phrases and lines of writing that caught my attention and my ear.

College took so much out of my writing spirit as I was spoon fed through the expectations of my first humanities paper, “The Role of Imagery in ‘The Sounds of Silence'” to the published graduate school thesis chock full of charts at the paid typing rate of $2.00 per page (before computers) and the fear that allowing anything to bleed into the required one inch margins or the template frame laid over random pages would cause it to be rejected and the degree denied.

As a teacher, I took a writing course and discovered the “Six Traits”, taught them, and assessed them for decades before a writing workshop institute where Colleen told me I could write and others heard my writing so I began to blog in order to share a small part of myself as a writing teacher/coach with friends far and near, including the TWT community and the Slice of Life.

As a writer, I have hundreds of blog posts, thousands of tweets and scribbles here, there and everywhere on post its, notebooks, and computer files galore as I collect words, phrases, lines of writing, and pictures of what I would like to imitate in writing as I continue to write daily and publish occasionally.

What is your history of your writing life? Can you summarize it in 5 sentences?

Today’s format was inspired by Julieanne Harmatz here and Multifaceted MusingsIt’s Elementary, and Elisabeth Ellington at The Dirigible Plum. It was also, without a doubt, my most revised piece of writing thus far this month!

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC21: Three Words


This post was inspired by Elena Wetmore at Standing Tall whose post “3 Words” was the inspiration at TWT today. Check out her blog post here.

A few three word stories provide today’s slice.

In no particular order:

My Three Grandsons

Eight Year Anniversary

Kids, Dog, Fish

Shot 2 Today!

Perseverance Paid Off!

Greatniece Baking Cookies!

Hallalujah! New Stove!

Lasagna Family Dinner

Don’t Open Frig!

Cold, Cold, Cold!

Thankfully, No Snow

Funny Stories Told

Challenge: What 3 word stories can you tell? Where might you use these micro stories?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#SOLSC21: By the numbers


Typically when I participate in the #SOLSC I number my posts and get the shell format done in advance. Sometimes for the entire month. Sometimes for the week. This year, during the never-ending pandemic, I am not numbering them. The March numbers just don’t seem as relevant.

What is relevant?

As an author:

I write blog posts for two blogs: Resource-full and Literacy Lenses.

I have written 856 posts for Resource-full.

I take my turn writing blog posts, approximately 10 per year, at Literacy Lenses for #G2Great. (link)

My goal has been to be more “in the moment” with my writing so that I can wing it if necessary when life consumes my writing. What does that mean? I’m also more reflective about my writing. In ten days this month, my posts have included:

Planning and Playfulness: “And before that” and “Fortunately/Unfortunately

Risk-Taking: Making and Fail

Revision: Revision and Palindromes

Celebrating: Celebrating and today’s “By the Numbers”

Goal Setting: Timing and Living

How does your writing reflect your goals and purposes? How does your writing reflect your beliefs and what you value about writing? How do your stories about writing create a more complete picture of writing? What themes do you see emerging in your own writing?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March. Check out the writers and readers here.

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