TeachWrite. It is mostly teachers (and the occasional odd principal) who encourage each other and push each other to be writers. It is hard to be a teacher of writing if one is not actually doing any writing. Some people in the group are writing books. Some people write in notebooks and journals. Some people write articles and blog posts. Some people write letters or fitness logs. The point is everyone is writing and encouraging writers.
This year, I started joining an online writing community where we actually meet virtually once or twice a week to talk about our writing and our writing goals, and then for most of the online meeting, we write. I love that I am now part of this writing support group. It keeps me accountable every week. Here is the website if you are interested in learning more: https://www.teachwriteacademy.com/
I am connected to people with the Two Writing Teachers website. In a conversation over the break, a literacy specialist shared that her uncle had passed away, but she had remembered that he wrote a memoir. Thanks to Amazon...where you can find everything!...she was able to find his memoir and purchase it. She shared with us this story verbally and then thankfully, she wrote about. You can read her message here: http://responsiveliteracy.blogspot.com/2020/02/chicago-kid.html. I love her ending: "Tell your story because your story matters." What an important message for us as adults. And an even more important message for all of our students. We have to help them find the writer inside of each of them. And if we are going to do that, we better make sure we are finding the writer inside of each of us.
I also have a good friend named Beth Houf who is an amazing middle school principal in Missouri. She shared this great story that just ran in the local paper about how some of her students are being empowered to use their writing to tell a story. Here's the article:
Our words matter. Our stories matter. We need to be writing. And we need to be teachers of writing. No one says you need to be writing published articles or novels. Each of us can be a writer in our own way. Maybe we don't share our writing with anyone, keeping it hidden in a journal or in a computer file or maybe we share it with lots of people to get feedback and grow. It's almost March and that means it's time for the Slice of Life Challenge again. You might remember that I shared about this last year:
The goal is to write a slice of life story every day during the month of March. That's 31 little snippets of your life. I have honestly surprised myself and written for 31 days straight during the last few March challenges. I did not think I could do it, but it has been so rewarding to be able to look back and read my writing and see my perseverance in action. During the challenge, you are also encouraged to read other people's posts and comment on their writing. I enjoyed going back and rereading many of my posts from last year. I love that I have these moments in time documented and can go back and enjoy them whenever I want.
So what do you say? Who wants to challenge themselves and try to write everyday during the month of March? You can either create a blog to post on everyday or you can simply write in a journal for yourself each day. Read more about the challenge here: https://twowritingteachers.org/challenges/. There is also a classroom slice of life challenge! Here is a new slicers survival guide post: https://twowritingteachers.org/2020/02/21/the-new-slicers-survival-guide-to-the-march-solsc/
And if you are ready to commit to writing everyday, sign up at this link as a participant:
https://twowritingteachers.org/2020/02/12/participant-info-form-sol20/ (The first year I signed up, I failed and did not write everyday. But I tried and I certainly wrote more than I had the previous month.)
You don't need to do the Slice of Life challenge, but you do need to make sure that you are finding time to write so that you can become a better teacher of writing. I started on this journey to become a better writing teacher about 17 years ago when I was a 2nd grade teacher. And I am still on the journey to better myself as a writing teacher. I work at it. I fail. I write junk. I write good stuff. I seek out feedback. I talk to other teachers of writing. I read about writing. I read like a writer. I write in notebooks. I write on sticky notes. I type on my laptop. I type on my phone. I read other people's writing. I share my writing with students. But most importantly, I write.
What will you write this week?
What will you teach your students about writing this week?
Vacation week meant more time and energy to read before bedtime, early in the morning, while the kids were playing...lots of reading! I finished reading a non-fiction story called My Survival: A Girl on Schindler's List which tells the story of Rena Finder and how she survived the Holocaust.
Monday - Welcome back! English classes for adults in the library 5:30-7:30 w/Liz Hilton
Tuesday - Grade 3 team meeting @ 8:00, Grade 5 team meeting @ 8:00
Wednesday - Girls Who Code 3:30-4:30 in the library, Computer Programming w/Scratch 3:30-5:00 in the green pod
Thursday - PTA Bagel Breakfast @ 7:45, Liz @ Leadership Meeting in the am, Dental program in K and Grade 1 9:30-11:00
Friday - Book Fair Teacher Preview in the afternoon
Great things I noticed last week:
- I had fun being a 1st grader all day on Monday, even though there was a delay and it was the 100th day!
- Loved seeing all of the K students marching through the school on the 100th day!
- Glad I had the chance to pop into 4B and listen in as they Skyped with an author from Washington state. The students had great questioned and the author shared lots of free resources on her website!
- I am enjoying spending some extra time on Wednesdays with some of our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade girls in the Girls Who Code club!
- 1L had a fun morning of math games with family members on Valentine's Day!
- It was great to see a surprised Mrs. Bercume Friday morning. I know Eli will now have so many great books and reading experiences with his mommy and daddy thanks to everyone's contributions.
Maybe you need a writing prompt to get you started? Check out this call for blog posts from teachers: https://writerswhocare.wordpress.com/authors/call-for-blog-posts/?fbclid=IwAR1XZVa6HDiGa-0E37Gs3FvXY8OSDoI0b6LIxnDMjX9SzLqO1t78qiMPU04