March 26, 2013
Today, a friend had left a handwritten note in my teacher mailbox. I recognized the author from the script of my name. Her handwriting is gracefully fluent with an artistic swirl. Her note is precious; the message uplifting. Her words will be cherished, reread I’m sure, and treasured in a special nook. It’s a memory I can relive over time. As much as she appreciated my kind act, her words mean so much to me.
Last week, I received a postcard from dear friend, Tammy. She’s delightful, thoughtful, and so special! Her words were encouraging and carried more meaning than just the literal. Tammy had taken the time to paint the delicate bird, thought of me and reflected on my writing. Her handwritten note encouraged me and made me smile. Her masterpiece is displayed near my desk to uplift me every time I notice it.
A month ago, another friend penned a simple thank you. The front of the note is simple, yet dynamic as well. Although we see each other regularly, her kind words of appreciation conjure up sentimental feelings. The note is a constant surprise present. I’m thrilled looking at it each time.
Two years ago, Ruth gave me a note. She scripted a beautiful quote on the front, personalized the decor, and wrote words of truth on the back. This note is displayed next to my desk. I don’t even have to read the words to know encouragement is there. The visual reminder provides added encouragement throughout each day.
Although blog comments aren’t handwritten, the time each of you take to form a response is special as well. Each are cherished, reread, and tucked away as a silent fan club of encouragement.
Handwritten notes are a treasure. Think about notes you write to students, friends, and family members. Your written word pens the power of encouragement. How awesome is that?!
March 3, 2013
Join in the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers
I love March! It’s renewal time. Most people make New Year’s resolutions. That day is March 1st for me. Renewal means to start new again – a fresh start. Green is springing, birds are chirping, and the sun is shining. It’s time to keep going!
My reflection began when I read Diana from One Literacy Coach. Her truth of “This post took me months to write” prompted a spontaneous nod of understanding from me. I’ve missed her voice, but I totally understand.
I’ve missed my voice too. It has not been there. Notes are in various notebooks. Books have been read. Thoughts have been tucked away in my mental file. Like Diana, I’ve attributed my job change as effecting my writing. Changing from a writing coach to a Title I Reading Interventionist and Coordinator supervising four assistants and monitoring numerous children’s reading progress shifted my focus. Data and RtI meetings bombard my life, replacing my first love of reading books to children. I love to hook kids. I love to connect great reads with aspiring minds and show them the possibilities of writing like the author. I love inspiring teachers to teach with quality, rich texts. This job shift has effected me and my writing life.
This reflection prompted five written slices yesterday. (I know. I’ll still be looking at each day, but when an idea or memory hits, I’m going to write.) I found seventeen books to blog (Can you believe it! Where have I been?) and wrote five more reviews. (Remember – I was sitting on wooden bleachers for seven hours at the wrestling match yesterday. I had to do something to keep my stomach from knotting.)
Renewal. March. SOLC. This is my time (and yours) to begin again capturing my mind-full-of-thoughts to play with words and create.
April 3, 2012
This is not the end. I have only just begun to learn from you. You, the community of writers who create slices that spark my interest, who share stories that touch my heart and make me smile.
I have only just begun to mold my words from your craft, to risk trying something new, to grow as a writer.
I have only just begun to meet you, recognize your style, and learn about your interests from your stories. I have only just begun to encourage you with my comments, to share how I connected and hope you will continue.
Wait… Tuesdays are here. The slicing can continue.
March 31, 2012
SOLSC has been a wonderful experience of learning with others. My notebook is filled with entry ideas gained from you and noted stories I want to remember. I have encouraged new slicers, formed connections, and strengthened ones I’ve known before.
My belief in myself as a writer has increased! I have taken risks in playing with words and have been pleasantly surprised with people’s comments. Thank you. My writing is developing and revising is becoming more of a delight rather than a challenge. It has been fun commenting, encouraging as I have been encouraged. Reading, commenting, and growing with you has been a joy!
As evidence of my growth, I played with words this morning, relaxing in the moment as I tried to do what was modeled for me. You see, your posts are modeled craft for me to savor, learn, and try. Today, I would like to honor Elsie at Elsie Tries Writing and the way her post yesterday inspired me to try something new. Elsie “squeezed a poem from a single word“, so I tried it with the word ‘Reflections’ on this last day of the SOLSC. Blessings to you all as you learn, connect, and grow as writers. Slice on!
Core of SOLSC
Reflect on letters seen
Lists of notes,
Fills inner tier!
March 29, 2012
I’ll let you in on a secret: I actually like numbers more than writing. Yep.
(At least I did as a kid.) I am good at math. I can add numbers quickly in my head and reason problems. Numbers come naturally. So, you may ask, how did you start writing? Good question.
I didn’t like writing as a kid. I definitely didn’t think of myself as a writer. I struggled with spelling, vocabulary, and reading. Three essentials for writing (and I was in the buzzard’s reading group.) So how did I evolve into a writer?
I am an only child (almost) and my cousins, grandma lived 600 miles away. I didn’t have email or a cell phone. Back in my day, phone calls cost enormous amounts for long distance, so I turned to the next best thing: letters.
I wrote 3,4,5 letters a week. Not just one pagers either. (I usually averaged 3 to 5.) To someone close, 7 pages was no problem. It was my voice, my release. My cousins and friends returned letters, but never as long as mine. I didn’t care. My thoughts were out and I was connected.
Now I have to grab my notebook and pen, my computer and blog. I have a passion to empower and to connect. I have thoughts to capture and moments to savor. I have a story to tell.
I. Am. A. Writer.
This is my back story.
March 27, 2012
I love this quote:
Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. — Isacc Asimov
Isn’t that what we do? We write and think and write and think. And then we think some more. I guess it is one reason why I like to use paper and pen. I can jot my thoughts and think, leaving the open page nearby as I go about my chores. On Sunday, my youngest did something that made me chuckle. I didn’t want to lose the memory, so I grabbed a pen from my purse and began writing on our bulletin. I was trying to capture the essence of the moment as quickly as I could.
Other times, like now, I stop and think. Palm under my chin, I reread and talk to myself. The computer awaits my tapping fingers to mold the words my audience will understand. With every tap, my fingers grasp my thinking.
What thinking are you doing through your fingers?
March 21, 2012
As the great writing group that we are, we sat on the sofas (yes, the Slices from the Sofa sofa) and listened to Tam share her delightful revised story of Neville.
Tam reading Neville to BONS.
Beginning with a wonderful prologue, Tam began:
“Have you ever seen or met a mouse? Can you imagine being friends with a mouse?” My mind begins wrapping around this adorable creature when I hear Ruth (Ayres)
“A mouse? Tam, I didn’t know you were writing horror.” You see, Ruth hates rodents. Because she loves the writing process, she has been generously learning to like Neville, to hear his story.
We laughed (okay, we belly laugh from the depths of our toes).
“Okay, I’ll be quiet, but I may have nightmares tonight.”
You see, the beauty of the BONS is that we listen, we laugh, we linger. Our little snippets of story, whether a hopeful-someday-I’ll-write-a-book to the possible posts we will share to the book that has a deadline – they all matter. Each person’s writing matters. We matter.
And that my friend, is why we BONS get together each month, no matter what.
(At this moment I am rereading this post, we have interrupted our thinking with a comment that has spurred laughter. You see the laughter is the best. It fuels our writing.)
***To hear the culmination of this wonderful evening, go to Ruth Ayres Writes.
March 9, 2012
This morning, I woke up early. Not on purpose; it’s just been happening (somehow, I think my brain knows I need some extra time to write). I wake up and begin thinking. I rolled out of bed and headed downstairs thinking, What to wear? It’s Friday. Good; it’s jeans day. I have a lot of working projects to do today. What will be comfortable? Got it: my favorite shirt.
I love wearing my brown, cafe’ cotton-knit shirt. It has different coffee motifs on it and fits perfectly. Three-quarter sleeves makes it the in-between shirt. The kind that’s not as hot as a sweater but warmer than short sleeves.
Coffee was brewing already (I love my programmable coffee pot!) and I grabbed a cup. Heading to my spot on the couch, I grabbed my notebook (strategically placed last night with pen inside) and began to think about my shirt. I wonder if I could write about a shirt? Ruth posted about finding the story in the ordinary things. Yes, shirts have stories. My shirt has a story.
And with that, I began to wonder how to explain how much my shirt means to me, describing the design, special occasions when I have worn it….
Then it happened. The story sparked.
I grabbed my notebook and began to write and write, and think, and write some more. Tears welled up in my eyes (that I was not expecting) as memories poured out. Emotions swelled. The shirt wasn’t much within this story; it was the link to the story.
Noticing the time, I had to get going with my morning routine. But I had the story. The story that will simmer in my notebook until I have more time to craft as a slice. The story that is powerful and meaningful and worth it.
November 3, 2011
The AllWrite!!! Consortium here in northern Indiana provides its members with ongoing professional development.
Today I was again blessed to learn from my writing mentor, Carl Anderson. Our school was the host site for the AllWrite!!! study group for grades 2 and 3. Watching Carl confer with each child, I was reminded of the privilege we have talking with our students. We teach each student individually, nurture their growth, and celebrate their risk taking.
Carl shared a lesson on revision with third graders. He compared revision to bedhead. He explained that all children revise in their lives. In the mornings when they look in the mirror, what do they see? Bedhead. Their hair is sticking up all over. What do they do? They comb it; they change the hair.
Writing is like bedhead. It’s messy in places and you have to do something to make it more presentable for your audience.
October 24, 2011
Punctuation skills are a necessity. the marks create voice and emotion. Punctuation Celebration brings some fun into your teaching. Twelve marks are introduced with a poetic definition and a frolic poem. Examples of the punctuation usage are shared. Each one can be a mentor text for your kids. Jenny Whitehead integrates the punctuation mark throughout her illustrations.
A class book idea: Using Magazines, have your students find examples of the punctuation in advertisements and articles. Create charts or books with the cut-out strips. What a great way for children to learn how punctuation is used.
A brief one minute YouTube video highlights the author and her working area.
Savoring for reading and in writing for Punctuation Celebration:
- Creating visuals of the conventions
- Punctuation usage