Tag Archives: Where to begin

#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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#SOL17: The Story

The ball swishes through the net as the buzzer sounds.  A sigh of relief as the two points are recorded on the scoreboard.  The basket was a buzzer beater.

Final score 25 to 17.

The last second score was icing on the cake.  Another two points in the book for a seventh grade athlete.  Kids who had been running up and down the court chasing and being chased by the opposing team.

Proud Great Aunt.  My great nephew’s team wins again!

A never-ending third quarter that saw each team make only one basket.  So much energy expanded.  WAIT.  Delete that.  Wrong game. Memory mix up. Wrong details supporting the 8th grade B game. Three different games now in my memory bank.  Time to focus.

Visiting with my sister, my niece, my great niece. Receiving a hand-written note from Autumn. Enjoying the ambiance of a junior high gym, whistles blowing, athletes competing, and fans cheering.

Where do I start?  What is the heart of my story?


I ran through the events in my mind.  I collected ideas without a single keystroke or graphic organizer.  I began to sift the details with mental rehearsal.  Decision made.  The beginning point is the basket that ended the game.

And then doubt sets in . . . And the questioning . . . Do I really want to begin with the end of the game?  The final three seconds?  Then what will be next?

What is the important part of my story? 

The important part is that I write. I write at my keyboard while my coffee is brewing.  Intent on capturing the words that I rehearsed as I hit the snooze alarm.  It’s Tuesday. It’s “Slicer Day”. I need to write a story so I’m rehearsing a story.  Not across my fingers. Not across pages.  But in my head.  Cross-checking the most important facts.

BUT, what about that  note from Autumn?  She’s three.  It’s the first writing she’s given me.  Her name – carefully printed across a small piece of paper.  Written with love. Received with love.

Some days I just HAVE to write!  

The words come pouring out. The screen fills.  Then the doubt and worry arrive.  Delete, fix up, fancy up the piece.  But it all begins with the writing.

How can I teach writing without writing?

How do I understand that there isn’t one perfect prompt?  One perfect process?  One perfect story map?   . . . If I also don’t know the joy, the agony, and the freedom of writing?

Why am I writing?

I want to win the writing game.  I know it takes practice.  I know it takes time.  Writing.  Writing.  Writing. Slicing to continue to improve my narrative writing.  (But while I write I continue to think, to study and reflect on my process. I can’t turn off the teacher side.)

Today.  Flash drafting. Metacognitively reviewing my process. Recording my thinking. And yet sometimes, it’s all about “the doing” – Just writing!

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 


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