Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Off We Go

It's Slice of Life Tuesday. Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for hosting this wonderful writing community each and every Tuesday!



Last week I was fortunate enough to hear Lucy Calkins speak at a conference titled: “Leading Implementation of Units of Study in Writing and Reading K-8.”  Anytime I hear Lucy speak I come away feeling inspired, and this time was no different. Her words gave me just the right nudge I needed to move forward with the balanced literacy initiative we started in our district 5 years ago.  
Lucy Calkins began the conference discussing the need to reform our teaching of literacy.  She reminded us that in the past it was the teacher’s job to bring knowledge to the uninformed. Times have certainly changed as she reminded us that almost any tidbit of information can easily accessed through a swipe on our watch.  With all this information at our fingertips our job as a teacher, the purveyor of information has changed.  We now need to teach students how to access, how to evaluate, how to organize, how to synthesize and how to apply that knowledge.  The problem with all of this is unfortunately many of us were not taught to teach this way.  Before we can teach this to our students we need to learn how to do this ourselves, as a team and never alone.  In order to move forward we need to rally around a shared vision and work towards that goal as a team.  Lucy made this point very real by sharing a very emotional story with the message: “we don’t want to be alone in the hard parts of life.”  She charged us to become a community with a shared vision and dream and to lead by influence, inspiring our colleagues to prioritize what is important and to focus on what matters.
If I sit too long with these thoughts I could easily get overwhelmed with the arduous tasks ahead. As we move ahead in our district with the next steps in literacy instruction, I need to keep my thoughts positive and my spirits high. I know that this is hard work, but I feel fortunate that I am not alone in this effort.  I work with fabulous colleagues that believe in the same dream and vision and therefore judge that together we can maintain the focus and keep the passion high even when the work gets hard. Lucy said it best:  This work is NOT for the weak of heart.  It is a lot of work, but it works.  
I am ready.  Are you?  Well then...off we go!



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sadness

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting Slice of Life Tuesdays. This space helps me learn what it takes to be a writer so I can be a better teacher of writing.


Today my writing was easy to write, but difficult to post. I am considering the following question today:
How does taking a risk to be vulnerable impact our writing?

Sadness

Sometimes it hits
like a ton of bricks 
but more often it
creeps up on me 
so quickly and 
so quietly
Like when I 
glance at that card
Meant for us
An anniversary greeting 
or possibly
Seeing that couple 
Enjoying a Sunday afternoon
Holding hands and smiling
The warm tear slowly
falls down the cheek
Knowing that it will 
never be that way again
For love was deep and
love was lost.

It hurts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Time for a Walk

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing a community of writers to guide us on our writing journey.

Time for a Walk
I took a walk yesterday on the Columbus Day holiday.  It was a chance to get outside for a change of scenery with my daughters and my new little grandson.  I spent the morning prepping for a day of professional development and I needed a break.  The weather was sunny and chilly and the colors around the lake were just beginning to show their glory.  I couldn’t help but stop at every bend to capture the beauty of the lake, trees and sunshine.  As I walked through the woods I was so inspired by the natural beauty of the day that I wanted to write, write, write.  Poems were popping out of no where and stories of walks when our kids were little were quickly coming into my mind.  The exercise had cleared the cobwebs and I was bursting with writing enthusiasm.



Once home I started to think about the creative juices that flowed due to my walk.  Without that walk I would have been stuck at my laptop regurgitating the same old ideas.  The fresh air cleared my brain and allowed for many new ideas to surface.  What might happen if I take my walking break to my students?  Would allowing for walking breaks get the creative juices flowing?  Would changes in setting and routine bring about fresh ideas?  Would traveling to the nature trail encourage poems and other creative words?  I can only guess that the answer would be yes.  I am excited to try it out and see what might blossom. After all what have I got to lose?  I think I’ll only have much to gain.


Time for a Walk

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing me and so many others with a community of writers to guide us on our writing journey.

Time for a Walk
I took a walk yesterday on the Columbus Day holiday.  It was a chance to get outside for a change of scenery with my daughters and my new little grandson.  I spent the morning prepping for a day of professional development and I needed a break.  The weather was sunny and chilly and the colors around the lake were just beginning to show their glory.  I couldn’t help but stop at every bend to capture the beauty of the lake, trees and sunshine.  As I walked through the woods I was so inspired by the natural beauty of the day that I wanted to write, write, write.  Poems were popping out of no where and stories of walks when our kids were little were quickly coming into my mind.  The exercise had cleared the cobwebs and I was bursting with writing enthusiasm.



Once home I started to think about the creative juices that flowed due to my walk.  Without that walk I would have been stuck at my laptop regurgitating the same old ideas.  The fresh air cleared my brain and allowed for many new ideas to surface.  What might happen if I take my walking break to my students?  Would allowing for walking breaks get the creative juices flowing?  Would changes in setting and routine bring about fresh ideas?  Would traveling to the nature trail encourage poems and other creative words?  I can only guess that the answer would be yes.  I am excited to try it out and see what might blossom. After all what have I got to lose?  I think I’ll only have much to gain.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Writing Time

Writing takes time.
I know because every Tuesday morning I wake up and realize that once again I don't have a post for the Tuesday Slice of Life completely written.  My ideas are drafted out with the promise of refining over the weekend but Tuesday morning arrives quickly and I wake up early to pull it together.  It is not a good use of my time, nor do I judge that it is my best writing, but I post regardless.  

So why do I continue to write?  I write on this Tuesday Slice post because I truly believe that to be a good writing teacher I need to live a writerly life.  I have learned so much about the writing process since starting this “slice” journey and I am determined to continue.  And today I am once again growing in my knowledge of what it takes to be a writer: time, and lots of it!


Thanks to my Tuesday Slice posts and the community that supports this writing habit, I see the importance and the value of the time devoted to daily writing workshop. There is urgency in the daily writing habit.  There is value in the traditions of the workshop routines established in the earliest of grades.  There is importance in camaraderie of partners and peers to listen to their words.   In our writing workshop we are planting the deep seeds necessary to produce great authors.  We are developing lifelong habits for writers. We are creating writers that long to put pen to paper! 

Boy do I wish I had writing workshop when I was 7 years old!  Maybe then I wouldn't be panicking every Tuesday morning!   



Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for providing the space to help guide me in my writing journey!