Category Archives: Writing

#CCIRA18


Screenshot 2018-01-02 at 1.32.46 PMMy #OLW for 2018 is “curious” and being curious led me to #CCIRA18:  LIteracy Renaissance:  Invention, Intention, and Close Study in Colorado.  The conference keynoters, speakers, and format all made me curious about the learning opportunities.  Check out the entire #CCIRA slide show on their information page!  And then the registration for sessions sealed the deal – preregistration for sessions!  My only regret was that I had waited and some sessions were already closed. Slides 2 and 3 were so convincing and looked just as incredible on the big screens yesterday in Evergreen Hall!

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So small wonder that the ideas behind the theme were brilliantly repeated in session after session on opening day with a balmy 61 degrees outside!

Curious and Study 

Ralph Fletcher talked of studying his grandson playing in order to determine the “play” elements that should also be included in writing.

Maggie Beattie Roberts talked about being curious and her study with Kristen Warren of students’ Independent Reading Journeys to:

  • Help adolescents discover the rhythm of  thinking . . .
  • Help adolescents discover the nuances . . .
  • Help adolescents live comfortably in the gray.

Jeff Anderson talked of being curious and studying punctuation and grammar in a way that “sticks” for students and also is not black and white.

Kile Clabaugh and Keith Patterson in their “Primary Sources” work talked of using the Library of Congress format of “I see, I think, I wonder”.

At lunch, Kate and Maggie both shared some of their thinking behind DIY Literacy which grew from being curious about WHY students had problems with memory, rigor and differentiation.  And then Kate created a tool  in front of us explaining, giving tips and embracing mediocrity.

Cris Tovani talked of student curiosity driving the compelling questions that students could study to move them from disengaged to empowered.

Troy Hicks talked of curiosity as we studied a picture and a “I see, I think, I wonder” viewing format.

Other Words I heard repeated and demonstrated throughout the day: 

Questions

Student-Centered  

Joy 

Create

and so much respect for Mentors and the Research/Authors Behind their Work!

#CCIRA18

so easy to feel welcomed,

so easy to navigate,

so easy to learn.

#CCIRA18

a class act,

great speakers,

marvelous learning, and

incredible organization.

Thank YOU, CCIRA18!

And off to Day 2!!!

 

 

 

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#SOL18: Pride goeth before the fall


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Pride

I can do this!

Shimmying . . .

Sliding to a stop.

“NOOOOOOOOO!”

Sliding backwards.

The top of the car is even with the top of the hill.

Almost

There

50 feet

Give or take a few feet.

I can almost smell the top of the hill.

It’s that close.

Burning rubber.

“Oops” or some similar “firetruck” word.

I slam it into low.

Inch forward.

Roll back.

Inch forward.

Roll back.

Straighten the wheel.

A half foot.

I almost crack a smile.

“I’ve got this . . .”

And then the rear end slides and slides and slides.

More “oops”

Snarling!

Patiently.

Smoking.

The smell of tires spinning on ice . . .

Just a 2 inch by 2 inch patch . . .

That little patch under the rear tire

Almost in the gully (no ditch) . . .

The wall of dirt will be next.

“It didn’t seem that deep.”

Two inches said the weather map.

Two inches said the forecast.

Two inches . . .

More snow than we have had for a month.

And that #$%^&@!* hill.

I should have gone around.

I should have been cautious.

I should have left sooner.

I slam it into low.

Inch forward.

Roll back.

Inch forward.

Roll back.

Straighten the wheel.

A half foot.

Park.

I double check.

I’ve gone over 10 feet.

Gouging,

scraping,

rocking,

leaving

blackened snow,

detrius,

behind.

The path I took so carelessly that only had one lonely set of tire tracks

through the pristine glistening snow.

One set of tracks before me.

It didn’t look that deep!

The path that I MAY avoid next time.

2018 – Driver 1:  Hill 0.

Beware:

Pride goeth before a fall!

Take the flat road

And the long way next time!

About five miles would have been faster and less harrowing. 

Easier on the brain.

Easier on the vocabulary. 

It would have saved 35 minutes of anxiousness!

And stomach-wrenching worry about landing in the ditch. 

Or being hit by a vehicle coming up the hill.

Or being hit by a vehicle coming around the corner too quickly.

Wasted time.

Wasted worry.

Lesson Learned!

Silly driver.

Remember:

You don’t know how

AND can’t

back 1/2 a mile downhill on a dry, sunny day.

What were you thinking?

Why would you put yourself in that predicament?

Was I over confident?

Was I just hurrying a bit too much?

Was I exhausted and worn out from all the big honking 4 x 4 trucks driving down the middle of the road?  (And 4 x 4 MEANS 4 wheel drive so they could have driven through the ditches and left the road to all the cars!)

Yes, Pride Goeth Before A Fall!

EPIC FALL!

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This was Monday’s drive home.

I could have written a different slice.

I’m a learner.

I learn from my mistakes.

I try not to repeat my mistakes.

But, yes, I too fall!

When do you share your “falls”? 

When are you “human”? 

When does learning have to be filled with angst (anger and a few pithy words)?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: Process? Product?


“I don’t know what to write.”

Is that a struggle with the process?

I don’t have a beginning point, a topic, an idea, or even a glimmer of a slice growing in my brain.

I don’t have an outline.

I don’t have a plan (other than to publish a blog post).

I don’t have a graphic organizer to fill in the blanks.

Is that a struggle with the product?

I know I need to produce a blog post,

but I had no idea percolating in my brain as I fell asleep.

No inspiration emerges from my sleep-heavy brain

as I peruse  at least a dozen slices this morning.

And where, oh where, is my idea file?

You know, that list of, “ideas and topics” to write about!

Or my heart map?

The one with pretty colors and fancy word art,

that writing notebook,

Out in my work bag, in my car, in the freezing cold.

And I, snug in the house, barefoot, sipping my coffee.

“No words appear on the page (or screen). “

Is that a struggle with the process?

Just write.

Anything.

Rearrange and fix it later.

Begin something.

The clock is ticking.

Rewrite the prompt.

Repeat the quote.

Reread last week’s post.

And still, no words appear on the page (or screen).

Is that a struggle with the product?

Am I really still stuck on “What should I write?”

Or is it fear that what I write will be unworthy?

My words will remain unread.

My thoughts will not be validated by comments.

Inside, my brain is cluttered with ideas, words, phrases,

but, YET, no clear starting point emerges.

What word should be first?

“My grammar and the conventions of language are atrocious.”

Is that a struggle with the process?

Should I not have words on the page before I worry about spelling, subject/verb agreement, and writing a post with the same verb tense?

After all, wordpress will give me red underlines when it doesn’t like my draft, my first revision, my second go, or my “Oh, silly Word press, Now are you happy?

Is that a struggle with the product?

As soon as a red line appears under a word, do I respond and immediately fix it?

Or do I let my fingers remain ever moving across the keyboard

in an attempt to quickly capture some words, any words,

because after all, in my mind . . .

I’ve missed my personal deadline to post my blog.

Lack of 

Ideas,

Production,

Grammar  and the Conventions of Language

Is an intervention in order? 

Do I need a writing intervention? 

I’m dying here.  I don’t know what to write.  My mind is fuzzy. More coffee please.

What do you notice when a student is sitting quietly and not producing “writing”?  What do you name? 

How do you use your own writing (process or product) to gently nudge the writer onward?  

Just curious . . .

Is it black or white?  Process or Product?

Or are there shades of gray?  Shades of both?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL18: MLK


One year.
Five years.
Ten years.
Twenty years.
Thirty years.
Forty years.
Fifty years.

Time slipped away.

What is the legacy that remains?

Yesterday Google displayed:

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From friends on Twitter and Facebook:

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Quotes, Speeches, Books and Resources:

15 MLK Quotes that Still Resonate (Newsweek)

Strong Quotes for MLK Day (Al Jazeera)

Inspirational Quotes for MLK Day 2018 (International Business Times)

Martin Luther King Jr. was More Radical than We Remember (TeenVogue)

Martin Luther King Jr Found Inspiration in Thoreau (Tween Tribune)

A Call to Conscience:  The Landmark Speeches of MLK (Stanford)

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The Greatest MLK Speeches You Never Heard (CNN)

Audios and Texts of His Most Famous Speeches

Celebrate?  Yes

Commemorate?  Yes

Teach about?  Yes.  We can do “Write Arounds” where students explain what each quote means to them.  We can close read the “I Have a Dream” speech.  We can analyze the effectiveness of the rhetorical devices that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used in his speeches.  But is that enough?

Not just THAT ONE DAY! Instead consider what it means to stand for equity for all living in the United States.  Consider what it means to have the same quality of life for all who live and work in the United States.

And then live the life that supports EQUITY for ALL!

That’s the legacy,

that’s the living,

that’s the WORLD

that Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed

and worked for over HALF A CENTURY AGO!

How are you living the “Dream”? 

How would we know? 

What would be our evidence?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

 

#SOL18: #LitEssentials


What is essential in literacy instruction? 

How do you know? 

Is this something you were taught? 

Or is this something you have learned?

As you can see, “curious”, my #OLW is already in play for 2018.  It sits on my shoulder daily encouraging me to wonder about new and old issues.  So let’s take up “essential”.

What does essential mean?

“1.  absolutely necessary; indispensable:

Discipline is essential in an army.
2.  pertaining to or constituting the essence of a thing.
3. noting or containing an essence of a plant, drug, etc.

4. being such by its very nature or in the highest sense; natural; spontaneous:

essential happiness.”  Dictionary.com
Without a doubt, Regie Routman is using all these definitions in her use of “essentials” in her newest book . . .
And the words that I want to emphasize, from the definitions, are:
“indispensable,
essence,
natural,
spontaneous,
happiness”
This book is not about following a script or a recipe for success.  This book is about empowering teachers and leaders as thinkers.

Why this book? 

Because Regie is first of all a teacher.  Working with students is her passion and she wants to help you regain, regrow and re-empower your expert teaching voice.  . . .”you – one caring and knowledgeable teacher – can make an enduring difference in a child’s life.” (Routman, Stenhouse, p. 3)

What additional information is available?

@Stenhousepub tweet:

“”…without that culture of joy and celebration of strengths…we are never going to get our students where they need to be and where they want to be.” @regieroutman talks about her new book, Literacy Essentials:”

Video LInk”

Stenhouse

What makes this book so appealing?

  1. The format of the book.

The three big “units” are Engagement, Excellence, and Equity.

You CAN begin with any of those sections.  They are very well cross-referenced so that you can dip into the pieces that you need!

       2.  The format in the chapters.

There’s a conversation with Regie with facts, questions, and anecdotes that illustrate the point.  Then there is a detailed “Take Action” section. This is repeated multiple times in each chapter which has endnotes for a closing.  A single teacher could choose actions to make changes in their classroom.  A group of teachers could choose actions to make changes in their building or district.  The possibilities for thinking teachers are endless.

         3. The teacher in the book.

Calm, practical, thoughtful and thought-provoking conversations.  Not a bunch of “mumbo jumbo” from publishers, test-writers, or those who have not been in classrooms recently or perhaps . . . EVER!  Real solutions that will NOT add hours to your day.  Real solutions that you can advocate for.  Real solutions that will bring joy back into your life!

Not yet convinced?

Join the #G2Great chat Thursday, January 11th.  Be a part of the conversation or listen in – whichever role is most comfortable for you.   Listen in to hear the essence of the text, the indispensable actions, the natural, spontaneous actions that can bring JOY back into your teaching life. Then consider your next steps!

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Why does this matter to me?

I remember meeting Regie at a Regis Literacy Institute in the late 1980’s or early 90″s.  She was the first real live, up close and personal “edu-hero” that I ever met.  She was so kind, so thoughtful and so willing to talk to me even though her coffee was growing cold in the cafe and I was totally interrupting. She’s a teacher.  She’s a leader.  She’s a reader. She’s a writer.  Regie’s amazing!

What professional reading do you have planned for 2018? 

What books are you “curious” about? 

Where will you begin?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

Trusted Resources


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What was your “Most Trusted Resource” for 2017? 

Who do you turn to?

I listened to the local meteorologist this morning to hear that the temperature was -10 with a wind chill of -35.  I did not turn to the Weather Channel.  I did not want to see an entire country enveloped in cold.  My little region with the ticker of church cancellations across the bottom of the screen was sufficient.  It met my needs.  I did not need a second source.  I already had verification when Mya was outside for less than one minute.  It’s cold!  It’s REALLY cold!  Right now Iowa is as cold as the South Pole.

So if the local TV weather and my dog’s reaction were “enough” today . . . how do I typically make decisions about resources? Here’s the process that I typically use with my criteria.

1. What’s my learning goal? 

Begin with the end in mind.  What is the end point learning?  What do I want to be able to know and do after the use of the resource that adds to my knowledge base? Because I value this thinking, I often search for UbD resources, Understanding by Design – Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe.  Resources built on a UbD framework already encapsulate some basic learning principles that I value as shown in this ASCD resource.  How well does this learning goal align with the standards, assessments and learning targets?  How will I measure learning.  All of these questions and more are evaluated in the UbD process!

2. Are the resources accurate, useful, efficient, and relevant?

Putting four criteria together is daunting because these can and should all be evaluated separately.  But here’s the deal, if they aren’t all present to a high degree, the resource is really useless.  Not needed.  Not wanted.  Not going to be in a “fixer-upper” pile as life is too short to be re-working resources that are not accurate, useful, efficient, and relevant.

3. Have the resources been written, taught, and vetted using a process/protocol to improve them?

How were the resources developed?  Were they written by persons who haven’t been in a classroom since they were students?  Or are they written and reviewed by teachers who are constantly striving to improve their teaching practices and who are willing to work collaboratively and diligently to appropriately give credit to original authors for their ideas?  Was a template or framework used so developed materials align vertically within the content area and horizontally across grade levels and content areas?  What information is available about the process?  What information is available about the review?

What resources meet this criteria?

One FREE source is found with the Massachusetts Department of Education.  You will need to create an account (good for 30 days) and agree to honor copyright – you can’t profit from the work!  Here’s the link – doe.mass.edu    

“Why these resources?”  

  1.  Massachusetts is getting results in literacy.
  2. This resource comes from their state department of education website and was the result of a collaborative process Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe and hundreds of teachers.
  3. You can begin by using a unit and adding or subtracting learning activities based on the needs of your students.
  4. There is a TRANSFER goal in every unit.
  5. FREE
  6. Outcomes, Assessment, Standards, and Instruction are aligned.  Resources are the last to be chosen.  That’s a part of the UbD model!
  7. The resources are accurate, useful, efficient, and relevant.
  8. FREE
  9. The materials reference sources and are not plagiarized intellectual property.
  10. The units only require a registration (and renewal after 30 days).

Check out the resources NOW! 

Access to multiple grade levels can help you with pre-requisite skills and learning expectations!

Grade 2 Example ELA Units:

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Grade 9-10 Example ELA Units:

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What are YOU waiting for? 

How could using these units as “mentor” units help you increase student learning? 

What process are you using when you search for learning resources?

#SOL17: Retrospect


Screenshot 2017-12-26 at 5.30.26 AMWhat a year!

There are so many ways to vies the data in WordPress that my head can spin  . . . or I can just look like a bobblehead.  After all, what’s in a number?

Looking back is something of a habit before the New Year begins.  Here were my reflective posts from 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.  It was fun to see where the emphasis has changed over time.

My Top 5 Most Viewed Blog Posts of all time are:

5. How do we know students are making progress in writing? (2014)

4.  #DigiLit Sunday:  Critical Thinking (2017)

3.  Generative Writing as a Formative Assessment (2015)

 2.  Lexile Level is NOT Text Complexity (2013)

1. #TCRWP and a Teacher’s Toolkit for Writinf (2014)

Data analysis is interesting.  At first glance it appears that my OLD writing is more popular than my newer writing. Or does the popularity mean that these posts are STILL topics/issues that present day literacy teachers are struggling with?

My data is skewed and incomplete.  Every other year I have reported the top 10 posts.  Narrowing the parameters of my list causes the comparison to fluctuate from previous years.  And even more disconcerting is changing the years . . . what is the difference between “all time” lists and just the “top ten” from this year?  What is the difference between “from” and “for”?

My Top 5 Posts from 2017 are:

5. #DigiLitSunday: “Possible Sentences”

4. #SOLSC17: #OLW Brave

3. Reading Goals: What Do You Measure?

2. #DigiLitSunday: Summer Slide

1. #DigiLitSunday: Critical Thinking

Subtle differences require a discerning reader.

Today “I cherish the oddities”. (Call for slices by Melanie here.)

 

What kind of reader will you be in the future?

What data do you use for valid comparisons?

What data do you wonder about? 

Is all data equal?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL17: Approximations


He kicks.

He moves his arms.

He kicks some more.

He sputters as he swallows some water.

Arms are present to lightly hold . . . a scaffold . . . for safety’s purpose!

He laughs.

He plays.

He talks.

He yells.

Not every swimming stroke is perfect.

He is two and a half years old.

Does he need floaties?

Will those make him more dependent or independent?

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When it comes to the spoken word

Not every word is perfect.

He is two and a half years old.

I have to listen closely to decipher some words.

And yet other words are crystal clear . . .

“Missippi River” and “quesadilla”!

Five and six sentence words are the average.

He is two and a half years old.

Why do we encourage approximation in

play,

language, and

many physical actions

but reject them in reading and writing?

Let me offer two scenarios:

Scenario 1:

A student is reading and says “kitten” for cat.

The teacher stops the child by tapping on the table, the error cue, and the child is to have another go, correct the error and continue on.  Kitten is more specific than “cat” so the child is positive that the utterance matches the picture of a small cat as a “kitten.” And the child repeats “kitten” and continues on.

If we were to focus on what the child can do, we might celebrate:

“He knows more than one name for cat.”

“He knows that a baby cat is a kitten.”

“He knows that he can check the picture for clues.”

“He has some knowledge of cats.”

“He is not changing his mind easily.”

“He is persistent.”

And most importantly, he REALLY is not saying this as a personal attack against the teacher who has been working on words like cat and dog for awhile.

The opportunity to find out what the child knows and why he is calling it a kitten instead of a cat exists.  The child just told us what he knows.  Now we need to explore his thinking instead of immediately moving to a “correcting” mentality.   Responding with a simple, “How do you know?” puts the student in the driver’s seat to explain their thinking and let the adults in on the big secrets of life. (It’s not really about US!) It’s really about what the child is showing us they are using.  Will someone really stand next to a reader correcting reading errors as they orally read?  What does that teach a child?  What is the role of self-correction?

Celebrate that the child was in the right animal family.  Precision in word use is often celebrated in writing but berated in reading.  Why is that so?  Over correction on the part of the listener, may lead to a student who patiently waits for someone to TELL them that word.  Is that the reader that we want?

Scenario 2:

A student is writing.

The teacher says, “Where are your sentences?  Your capital letters?  Your beginnings?  Your end punctuation?  This is all one sentence.  Please use everything you know about sentences in your writing.”

If we were to focus on what the child can do, we might celebrate:

“The child wrote without prompting.”

“The child had something to say.”

“The child wrote a lot.”

“The child told a story,”

“The child had a great beginning and middle to her story.”

“The child used mostly lower case letters.”

“The child had spaces between all words.”

“The child had a lot of details.”

“The child wrote most of the story that she had orally recounted.”

Instead of a belief that the child is out to torture you by leaving out all punctuation marks, what happens when you ask her to read it to you?  Does the child pause and or stop in the appropriate places?  That is more information for the teacher that doesn’t require a teacher led inquisition in a totally exasperated voice.  Less questioning and more listening seems to be one way for a teacher to “hack into” a child’s thinking.  A lack of punctuation by the child doesn’t mean that she knows absolutely nothing about punctuation.  On this day, it was probably less important to the author than it is to the teacher.  Considering when this child has previously used punctuation and capital letters in writing may lead to some important discoveries.  Is that a teacher process?  A student process?  Or should it be a shared process?  Maybe the expectation of perfect punctuation stops some students from writing.  What a sad unintended consequence that may be for children!

As we consider the quickly advancing winter break, do think about your own learning.  What’s new?  What’s still uncomfortable?  What are all the things you can do?  What are you still working on?  How much practice do you need in order to be confident? What’s one area that you might study about your own learning?  What wonders will you explore?

When do we celebrate the “can do” part of life at school? 

When do we celebrate approximations? 

When do we celebrate the habits of mind that keep a student working through struggles? 

When do we celebrate the MANY, MANY daily successes? 

What happens if the focus is truly on MANY “can do” moments and only one or two goals at a time?  




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL17: Brave


“Bravery is not always a roar; sometimes it’s the quiet strength that we possess when we need it most.” ~@OnStageKimberly

Are you brave?

It may depend on how you define brave.

I eagerly anticipated “Brave” in 2017 because my word had found me in mid-December.   I tried it out quietly, drafted some ideas, rechecked my understanding, watched this video of Kimberly Davis and finally announced it here.  I embraced, Brave, and changed the wallpaper on my blog.

I checked in often.

Here

Here

Here  and

Here in this post today.

Little did I know how BRAVE was going to test me in 2017.

Test me personally.  Test me professionally.

Test me mentally. Test me spiritually.

And it was a roller coaster because there were days that went by in a fog and days where time stood still . . . and minutes became months.  And then there were the days that seemed to barely last one hour.   What a strange construct time can be . . .

Pulled.Stretched.Elongated.

Shortened.Retracted.Truncated.

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And as the calendar pages have turned, I’ve embraced:

“courageous,

valiant,

 intrepid,

heroic,

 bold,

fearless,

gallant,

daring,

plucky, and

audacious.”

(Courtesy of Dictionary.com here)

Amid gnashing of teeth, crying, whimpering, screaming, and yelling . . .

I did not always go quietly into the night.

But as each night faded into daylight,

I welcomed the chance to begin each day anew.

And NOW, I celebrate!

We don’t have to be perfect!

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Watch for more wisdom from this source (Released January 16, 2018):

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Available January 16, 2018

 

What will my 2018 #OLW be?

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How are you preparing for your 2018 #OLW?




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

#SOL17: Stuck or in a Rut?


Two eyes, glowing in the reflection of my headlights, joined by another pair, and then another pair as I see the dreaded white flicker . . .

White-tailed deer

Not to be confused with those other deer, reindeer, also visible during this season, and recognizable by my two and a half year old grandson.

My foot has already hit the brake, my thumb on the horn, sounding out a staccato beat that matches the prayer on my lips,

Please don’t run across the road. Please don’t try to jump across my car. Please, NO!”




Great draft.

Great first words.

But what next?

I’m stuck.

Do I start something new?

Do I begin at a different point?

Is it time for a flashback?

What can I google?

Do any of those responses sound familiar? 

(And yes, you can Google what to do when you get stuck and you will get these types of links:  here, here and here for over 125 ways to get unstuck.)

What is the simple truth about getting unstuck?

You must keep writing.

Take a short break.

Observe something.

Walk around.

But return to your writing.  Recopy your last word, line, paragraph or — to get your writing flow moving.  Your writing does not need to be stellar.  Your writing needs to be WRITING!




I’m purposefully writing this “stream of consciousness” because of the #TeachWriting chat where we talked about writing. (Storify here)

Ruth Ayres, author of this amazing book,

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.23.49 PM

said this:

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.26.08 PM

So now I am off on a tangent,

not stuck,

but I have abandoned my story line for this:

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.31.32 PM.png

and I am so off track (excuse the pun)

but I feel productive because I continue to add words, lines and pictures to my blog post.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, 

What are those 3 sets of deer eyes doing? 

Have they moved? 

Where did my story go?




Has that ever happened to you?

Have you ever been lost, but found a totally different path?  and then realized that path was so different it was unconnected, so now you had to go back to the original story?

With work, revision, and some sharp scissors, this might become a circle story . . .

MIGHT,

But not today!




CCSS. CCRA.W.5. “Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.”

I wish I had a plan. This was truly the randomness of my thinking.  A variety of ideas floating through my head.

But I did not stop writing.

I looked for ideas

. . . and then I wrote

. . . and wrote

. . . and wrote.

It’s 321 words later and I’m still struggling to figure out where my story is going?

How stuck?

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.45.45 PMScreenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.46.39 PMScreenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.48.46 PMScreenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.52.42 PM

Ankle deep?  Knee deep?  Waist deep?  Up to my chin?

How stuck?

Or in a rut?

Screenshot 2017-12-04 at 9.58.05 PM.png

And just like that the glowing eyes decided not to fight tonight.  Not to risk life and limbs crossing the road.  They merely paused . . . and stared . . .

And I blinked, slowed, and cautiously continued on my way.




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016




Current status of my draft:

Two eyes, glowing in the reflection of my headlights, joined by another pair, and then another pair as I see the dreaded white flicker . . .

White-tailed deer

Not to be confused with those other deer, reindeer, also visible during this season, and recognizable by my two and a half year old grandson.

My foot has already hit the brake, my thumb on the horn, sounding out a staccato beat that matches the prayer on my lips,

Please don’t run across the road. Please don’t try to jump across my car. Please, NO!”

And just like that the glowing eyes decided not to fight tonight.  Not to risk life and limbs crossing the road.  They merely paused . . . and stared . . .

And I blinked, slowed, and cautiously continued on my way.




At this stage, what are you thinking?

. . . And why? 

How do you get unstuck?

Do you have tested-tried-and-true ways that work to get you unstuck? 

Or are you in a rut?

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