Phew! I can’t believe it has been 31 days already.
The research states that students should write everyday. Participating in this writing challenge has given me a first-hand perspective on what it means to write every day.
- it’s ok if student struggle with topics to write about
- it’s ok if students can’t “write”
- it’s ok if students don’t “finish” their writing
- it’s ok if students write in different formats
The best way to support students with their writing is to provide options, examples, and encouraging feedback within the framework of a community of learners.
Well, it is Day #18, and yesterday I hit the ceiling on my writing. My writing muscles are very weak, and I have reached the day in my writing routine when they are just plain spent. I cannot lift a hand to write (or a finger or two to type). Words are not forming in my mind. There is just nothing… blank space baby.
Because of this discomfort, I am regressing to my proverbial “safety blanket” — reading. I am reading up a storm. I don’t want to put a book down. I went to the library took out 6 books about gardening, went to Goodwill and grabbed two more books, and went to the MSL 5-for-5 program and grabbed 9 YA books. I am rationalizing my inability to write today by saying, “Hey, you are a great reader! It is ok. You just have writer’s block. Everyone gets it. You are just reading so much to get inspiration.”
Actually, I am just procrastinating because I don’t think I can be a writer today. Actually, it’s because I don’t think I am a writer. I am just trying to be one. And right now, I am not succeeding. To take an idea from the book I am reading (Switch by C. Heath & D. Heath): my elephant is stuck in the mud, my rider is exhausted, and I lost the path.
I am hoping that tomorrow will be a different day. That I will find my muse again. That the rest I get tonight will rejuvenate my tired muscles… so I can last (and be productive) the 13 more days of SOL Challenge.
Teachers always use writing prompts… I admit that I have used them several times and got some amazing writing out of kids. To get kids to be able to write from a prompt, I start it with my writing. I look at the prompt, brainstorm a list of ideas, and then I start to write off the cuff. I also take ideas from the captive audience (but not too many… this is my story after all). Then, I just end on a cliff hanger… the students want me to write more, but I turn the pen over to them. This allows students to start writing from where I left off, they can choose one of the ideas from the brainstorm list, or use one of their own ideas. Students love this process for a number of reasons- they see me taking risks and writing (if the teacher can do it, I can), they get a list of ideas (most kids just don’t know where to start), and they actually own the process rather than feeling like they are being controlled by it. There are some great books and resources online to use. Today I have decided to use prompts from the book 642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.
The greatness of sandwiches…
I love eating sandwiches for lunch, sometimes for breakfast. There is just something about a well-designed sandwich that can make your day. A great sandwich starts with its foundation–the bread. It is important to decide what you are actually going to do to the bread before you make your sandwich… are you going to grill it, toast it, or use it right out of the bag? The kind and type of “bread” is also important, because it can make or break a great sandwich. Plus, it depends how much “stuff” you can stuff on (or in) it. Is it regular sandwich size or thickly sliced? Maybe you want a wrap or an english muffin. Maybe rosemary or garlic is your flavor of the month? One thing I don’t like on my sandwich is condiments. I use other items like cheese and veggies to add the moisture and flavor. My favorite sandwich creation is the CEBACLT- rotisserie chicken, boiled egg, bacon, avocado, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. I personally like to use Havarti cheese; however, in a pinch I use cheddar. Of course, given my dietary requirements, I use gluten-free 7 ancient grain bread, toasted with the cheese on it. It has lots of protein and lots of flavor… and it is pretty huge, so good luck eating it without making a mess or embarrassing yourself. In the end, people won’t remember that part… they will just want your sandwich.