Category Archives: Writing

#SOL20: Gifting


My purchase made, I was ready to exit the store. I sat on the bench at the front of the store and reflected on my purchases of yardage and fat quarters.

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere. I studied the wall hanging with 35 different pumpkins. And then I spotted this piece.

After six months of sewing, this piece is my sister. Green is her favorite and is seen in the color of her house. But the fall colors ARE my sister’s frequent choices.

The next fabric that caught my eye was this panel of pumpkins. The pattern matched in basic colors and themes.

With a possible front and back for a project, I was ready to commit to a hand-crafted gift. I had an idea about a possible fabric already in my stash but I did need one more piece. A quick survey of the store turned up this interesting stripe.

This rich stripe was the ultimate coup d’grace. And like that I was back in the checkout lane for a second purchase.

Process:  A second look, a “re-read” of the initial fabric display.                                               A purpose.                                                                                                                       A targeted audience.                                                                                                     A generated idea.                                                                                                           Background knowledge.                                                                                               Clear intentions/expectations.                                                                                     Time.

Just a few of the precursors of a craft endeavor.  Similar to the writing process. Also existing in many creative processes.                 

And last night I gifted my sister with this completed quilted table runner. You may note that the gold was not in my purchase as it was an earlier find for other similar projects.

And the reversible back side looks like this.

 

The design and construction went fairly quickly as I have completed over a dozen table runners.

The gift was completed three days early. On her birthday this Thursday, my sister and her daughter will celebrate. I appreciate that I could complete the construction of this gift on Sunday and Monday. In advance. And in a timely manner.

What processes do you honor? 

When do you attempt idea generation? 

How do you continue to learn? 

How do you “name” your work?

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

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#SOL20: Idea Generation


Where do ideas come from?

Today they began with the headlines:

13 middle school teachers in quarantine.

Phased-in hybrid model

Haze over Iowa is smoke from California wildfires.

Normal average temperature is 83 degrees. Current high 90s are well above the average.

Two cooling centers open because of the heat.

167 homes in Cedar Rapids still without electricity two weeks after the derecho.

What process?

Rehearsal. Monday night thinking of topics as the evening wears down.

Last night it was cheers of personal success as I considered the next seasonal six items completed and ready for quilting.  With a September first deadline in my head, I feel “ahead” of the game. Timelines matter in a process that involves design, execution (doing the work) cutting-sewing-trimming-ironing, redesign, assembling the layers, quilting, binding, and celebrating.

An idea not fully completed was discarded because

these images from last week linger in my mind . . .

As they stare directly at me

Daring me to move

Even a muscle

Will make that tail flip up

Exposing its whiteness

Then disappearing

Into the timber.

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A buck and a doe near the driveway

INTENTLY OBSERVING ME.

Paying attention to their surroundings

Observant. Responsive. Ever vigilant.

What will you pay attention to today?

What ideas or images will linger in your mind? 

How will you honor a variety of “processes”?




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

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#TCRWP 2020 August Writing Institute


We began with Lucy Calkin’s, “We come from . . .” but it wasn’t the countries and states typically heard in Riverside Church. It was about the difficulties and the joys from the past year. It’s easy to focus on March to the end as we prepare for the 2020-21 school year, but let us not forget that August to March was ours. Ours to teach. Ours to plan. Ours to build community. Ours for face to face instruction. And ours to celebrate.

We ended with a celebration. Music greeted us as we entered. These brave authors read their work. They read from their boxes . . . not from the stage in Cowin Auditorium.

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And then Hareem Atif Khan had the closing. So many tears as she shared stories from several stages in her life.

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To bookend the you come from beginning, Hareem said, “You go to your communities, schools, classrooms, children, children whose voices need amplifying. Let’s leave vowing to be the teachers that this world needs.”

I wrote about this summer’s reading virtual institute here. I still missed some of the same things this week during the writing week.  I wanted to sit and chat with my small groups F2F. I wanted the fun of exploring new restaurants and the closing book sales at Bank Street Book. I wanted at least one Broadway show. Not in 2020.

My Writing about Reading from notebook to literary essay daily sessions with Katy Wischow who was the Institute guide for the week, announcing all the keynotes, was beyond my expectations. And our sessions with Alicia Luick . . . ended with singing.  More about both of those later.

My Tips for a 30+ hour long Virtual Institute

  1. Study the Trail Guide and organize your days.
  2. Figure out a format to organize your links.  Quick access is the key.  This simple table works for my links page.    Screenshot 2020-08-08 at 12.18.39 PM
  3. Consider how you like to organize your notes. Organization matters. How will you access the information? Do you like every session on a single page? Do you like all sessions together by the day?  Or together by the session so all five days of Writing about Reading are together?  WHY?  Set up at least your Monday, Day 1. The 10 minutes between sessions goes so quickly!
  4. Plan your backup for device failure. What is your plan if your device goes wonky during Zoom streaming?
  5. Plan your backup for WiFi failure. What is your plan if WiFi decides to take a break?
  6. Headphones and mic are not really optional if there are other beings in your house. Seriously, conversations are fun and funny with other 2 legged and 4 legged critters  interrupting and dark screens and mics off work, but sometimes your patience gives out first!
  7. Break out rooms – If you have used them, awesome. What did you like?  What did not work so smoothly?  If there was a slide with directions, I took a quick pic on my phone so I would have it. (Borrowing from my friend Lynn, “I am old and my brain leaks.”)  Jot a note. Think about how you focus on remembering and doing the task in small groups.  (Ignore if you are not obsessive about remembering the task; someone in your group will capture it for everyone else!)
  8. Plan to participate as fully as possible. I personally felt the learning was MORE intense than in an “in-person” institute, and I have always felt those were like drinking from a fire hydrant. I didn’t have a plan for evening “think” and “work” sessions.  That work space instead of canning 14 pints of salsa might have helped me to feel less stressed.
  9. Make plans to connect with folks beyond the institute. Your small group? A partner?
  10. Plan to learn AND have FUN! It’s a transformative week! You will be amazed at the tech tips and tools that you use and learn as well!

What tips would you add?

 

 

 

#SOL20: Patriotism


Basic Theme:  Red, White and Blue

Secondary Theme:  Stars

Thirty six squares beginning at 2.5 inches each form the basis.  Thirty six different designs with and without stars as well as a sashing of white on white stars and even starts stitched as a part of the quilting. Thousands of stars.

More importantly, my first patchwork design. Hours selecting. Hours laying out. Hours sewing and then the picture in my head did not match the final design. And then rinse and repeat times three.

A noble goal. A gift times three. Completed. Mailed. Ready for the holiday.  The red, white and blue of liberation.

Table runner – left half

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Table runner – right half

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Which was emphasized:  process or product?

Had you guessed from this post? Link     

How was this process like instruction?  Education?

How will you share your patriotism on July 4th?




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

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#SOL20: #BookLove


 

Are you ready?

What is one of the best books in the world?  What is a book that will surprise you with each reread?  What book will nurture your soul?  What book will allow you to write beside the poems and unwrap your own stories . . . your own life?

I believe the answer is found in this book that is the initial book for elementary teachers participating in the Summer Book Love Book Club!

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Franki Sibberson wrote about this book by Irene Latham and illustrated by Charles Waters in her blog post here. As I read Franki’s post, I was nodding my head to every statement. And like Franki said, this week’s discussion in Book Love Foundation’s Summer Book Club is already underway. (Seriously, go read what Franki said!)

You could still see these amazing speakers.

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And interact with the almost 1,000 folks in the Book Club.

You might write or see examples . . .

Like  my first draft poem for the beginning of #BookLove.

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Week 1 has begun.

We wrote poetry Monday.

#BookLove learning has begun.

What is on your learning agenda? 

What is your favorite poetry book? 

Is there a book club in your summer plans?




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

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Addendum:  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater Resources  bit.ly/2YU6Ifi

#SOL20: What If?


What If?

What does it look like if/when students resume classes in school buildings?

China Link

Denmark Link

Maybe this?

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Or this?

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Or this?

What will school look like?

What will students look like?

How will everyone be safe? secure? and ready to learn?

Who makes those determinations?

From Sarah Gross and a superintendent in New Jersey: Link 91 questions.

What If?

It’s hard to plan for the future

So many uncertainties

So many possibilities

So many paths

Too early to choose

So many uncertainties.

Rest.

Rejuvenate.

Dream of “best case” solutions.

What is your plan?

What will you do in the interim while waiting for decisions?

What questions are swirling in your brain?

What if students, communities, and school staff planned collaboratively?

What do you envision?




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

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How many devices?


Daily writing withdrawals are real after 31 straight days of posting with #SOLSC20.  This morning I thought I would return to my pre-March schedule of early morning reading and writing. But my brain has been puzzled by an “off kilter feeling.” The last two days have felt disconcerting and uncomfortable as I navigated Zoom links, a Trail Guide and learning via distance media.

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WHY was it so difficult?

My standard process is to listen and absorb with my chromebook as my note taking device and my phone as a snapshot archivist and a tool for tweeting.  During this institute, my chromebook is my source of information – auditory and visual – as well as the navigation to move from session to session.

That moved my phone to note taking duties. Simple enough as my google doc was all set up with time frames,  speakers, and links.  Yet I was not prepared to enter all my notes on that teeny, tiny keyboard. Not. prepared. at. all. No tweeting during learning. Still in new learning management mode. Off kilter. Stressed.

What I missed most?

Saving seats for friends. Sitting in the front row. Checking in with a friend to make sure my notes were accurate.

Learning

Distance learning

Is not just a change in location

It’s a change in processing

It’s a change in responding

The new reality . . .

Safe learning is hard!

Change is hard!

How many devices do I need for a remote learning institute?

One for viewing that allows me to participate in break out rooms and see all the visuals.  A second device is needed for recording notes and thoughts as I process the information.  And the surprising third device in order to connect with attendees, tweet out words of wisdom, and look up additional resources. Bandwidth limitations that cause Zoom to freeze rule out the practicality of having three simultaneously connected devices, but that’s my dream. Learning. Sharing. Thinking. All from a Virtual Literacy Institute!

How has a virtual world impacted your learning as a facilitator or as a learner?  What words of wisdom can you share?

 

#SOLSC20: Day 31


The last day of March heralds the last day of required consecutive blogging. for my seventh year of slicing.  Blogging is a comfortable habit. Most days my blog posts are efficiently and effectively drafted, revised and posted. Most. days.  But then there are those days when technology reminds me who is really in charge.

So for the last day, an old but comfortable format.

Link 1 from 2017

Link 2 from 2016

Link 3 from 2015

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Currently,

Waiting impatiently for my coffee to brew.

Rejoicing in the silence.

Peering into the zero dark thirty for an indication of the weather today.

Checking my links for today’s Zoom meetings.

Wondering how I lost the link to yesterday’s 5 pm Zoom session.

Mentally checking to see if my google doc is set up for my notes.

Counting off the number of Zoom sessions for today as well as my list to see if I REALLY have all my links.

Reviewing the  pages of photo album “scrap booked” for the great niece graduate.

Reading the next stack of “sorted” pictures to see if they are all alike.

Wishing I had the Trail Guide printed out so I didn’t have to jump from tab to tab (says the Queen of 101+ open tabs)!

Absorbing the heat from my coffee cup with both hands.

Checking my Flair pens to see what other colors work well on my blue paper.

Sifting mentally through ideas for today’s slice.

Bouncing from task to task to task.

Previewing my 801st blog post.

Rereading to see if the post makes sense!

Pushing the publish button for today.

What are you doing, currently? 




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

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#SOLSC20: Day 30


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So many ways to learn online . . .

This notice pops up on my FB timeline:

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These three notices were on Twitter.

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And I can read professional books.

These are just a few of the books that I am currently re-reading as I plan for this #G2Great learning opportunity this week.

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What is your learning plan for today? 

What is your learning plan for the week? 

Where do your ideas/information come from?




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

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#SOLSC20: Day 27


BUT . . .

I don’t know how to make a quilt. I have seen them in various stages.  I remember my hair being sewn into a quilt when I was five and playing under the quilt as the aunts and cousins quilted.  I know some of the processes and skills, but I lack the practical knowledge that comes from making a quilt. I can’t . . .  I don’t . . .

But do I have the requisite skills and knowledge?

But can I really do this _____?

Last week I sewed my first quilt top. I bought a piece of fabric that just absolutely screamed my grandson’s name. I consulted to see what form it might take. And then I took that hard first step. I bought more fabric and committed to a pattern. Luckily I turned to an expert for the cutting. Constantly checking the two pages of directions. . . Reading, rereading, re-calculating where I changed the pattern. (Gasp!) Was it brave or foolish to modify a pattern that I had never used?

BUT . . .  Such a little word, but so important as it often adds a caution and perhaps stops further study or action.

BUT . . . Maybe it will remove doubt. Or free your mind. Maybe it will be the source of inspiration, perspiration, or innovation . . .

Here is one example from page 15 of the free chapter.

Entry into Writing Workshop

Do I need to teach the steps of the writing process before beginning writing workshop?

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Not if it adds major stress to your current life.

BUT, what if writing workshop actually reduced screen time for you, your students, and/or your students’ families?  Support students with WHAT they need.  Don’t second guess. Have them show their writing. Begin where they are.

The style and format of this book puts authors Katherine Bomer and Corinne Arens by your side as your virtual teaching assistants to help you think about Time, Choice, and Response!

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Check out this free chapter from Heinemann here.

Check out the Wakelet from the #G2Great chat on 3/26/2020 here.

How can you use “But…?” to answer questions, clarify, and move to action? 

How can “But…?” become a source of power in your life?

Watch and listen to how you use “But…” in your life!




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

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