Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last year... At Teacher's Write...

Last year, at writing camp...

I'm really not trying to sound like one of "those" people, who talk about "last year."  Don't you love the kids who say, "Last year, in Mrs. So-in-so's class, we... (fill in the blank)."  It used to bug me as a new teacher, but now I thoughtfully listen, because there is always a peek inside a student's brain as they spout out those words.  I ask them questions, like, "Why do you think she did it like that?" and "What did you like about it?"  It helps me find out more about them as learners during those first few weeks of school, and I always pass along the compliment to last year's teacher.

So, as I was saying... Last year,

I began a young adult novel last summer, and I'm planning to finish a very rough draft by the end of this summer.  The great thing about Teacher's Write is that I get ideas and inspiration, especially through these Tuesday/ Thursday prompts and exercises.  They help me stretch.
I noticed on one of the Facebook wall posts yesterday that one of our members said that she was "late," getting started on Tuesday instead of Monday the 24th.  The post made me smile, because I often felt that way last year.  Like I had to "keep up" or stay on schedule.  Over the course of the summer, though, I found that I could save some excercises for later, or even <gasp!> skip those that didn't speak to me.  And it was ok.  I realized that this was my personal professional development and my own, and I did what worked for me.
I think we as teachers recieve our "assignments" and feel like we have to complete our "homework" in a timely manner.  We are very conscientious that way.  But, it's summer, and I am designing my own learning.  Endurance is important- consistent daily writing is key, but I do it on my own terms and in my own time.

I hope that helps new Teachers Writers who weren't here "Last Year" and it takes some of the pressure off...

So, here is Tuesday's quick write on a Wednesday!  I'm using it as a jump-start for my WIP (work in progress).  On Kate Messner's blog, she suggested that we start with the word "Sometimes" and use sensory details to describe a place or a memory.    I'm going to write using one of my character's voices.

To help, I am brainstorming some words to help me with sensory details.
See: tall trees, green leaves above, vines below, brown soil, tiny mushroom, grey squirrel jumping across two branches, flies, gnats, ant crawling across arm of chair, clearing through the woods, field plowed, my house, neighbors' house on each side, car driving down driveway, grey cloudy sky
Feel: hot, clothed by humidity, wet from rainfall earlier, tickly as ant climbs on me and fly buzzes by my face, relaxed sitting in chair, hidden
Hear: lawnmower, cars driving on road beyond field, kids screaming and splashing in neighbor's pool, mom yelling instructions to kids in yard, birds chirping loudly, branches and leaves swaying, car door slamming and car starting, crunch of my feet on mulch and branches below
Taste: gnat as it flies in my mouth
Smell:  soil, earthy and sweet, wet leaves, decay of old stump
Wonder: what everyone in their houses are thinking right now, what is beyond the clear field, is there another place beyond this one that is more magical


Sometimes I hide in my own special place. It is my Majestigrove.  Tall trees form my green leaf ceiling above, as a single grey squirrel jumps from branch to branch, unaware of my presence on the brown soil below.  Today I find a tiny mushroom peeking through the creeping vines.  I am hot, clothed in humidity as I sit on the ground wet from the early rain.  My leg tickles as a lonely ant climbs up, and I watch him until a fly buzzes by my face.  The bugs don't bother me though; I am relaxed sitting in my magic grove, hidden from the world.  I know that my house and my neighbors' are  just beyond.  I can hear their lawnmowers, moms yelling at screaming kids splashing in pools.  But the birds chirping in the branches above bring me back to the swaying wet leaves, back to the soil, earthy and sweet with decay.
Still I wonder sometimes, what are they thinking, those moms and lawnmowers and children?  Do they know what is beyond their backyards?  Do they know there another place beyond their world that is as magical as this?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hooray! It's FINALLY here! Teachers Write! 2013

Last summer, I dove headfirst into the very first Teachers Write! virtual summer writing camp.  It both took my breath away and energized me at the same time, feeling just like an early morning jump into the pool.  I have been anxiously waiting all year to dive in again, and here we are!
For those of you who aren't familiar with Teachers Write!, here is the link to Kate Messner's blog, where she runs through all of the basics.   It's a quick read- so come right back when you finish...

... So now that you're up to speed, I'm going to swim ahead to today's Mini-Lesson Monday, which is all about Writer's Notebooks.

I have a confession to make.  I LOVE office supply stores!  I was so tempted to buy a brand-new notebook for Teachers Write!, but I restrained myself.  Even though that Easy! button was calling me to browse all of the shiny-brand-new-beautiful-oh-so-cool (Look at Me!  I'm so awesome!) notebooks, I refrained.  Because, quite honestly, I have notebooks, and they are beat-up, but they have ME inside of them.  My thoughts, ideas, dreams, quotes, scribbles, drawings, maps, and everything.  Here are some pictures of my current raggedy notebook:
Not new, but it does have a pink glitter cover, despite the peeling edges...

My scribble-scrabble brain scratches inside.
It is not shiny.  It is not new.  But neither am I.  And that's OK.

If you got a shiny new one, though, I'd love to see it!  I'll live vicariously through you...