On a recent trip to Minnesota, a friend and I met for coffee and conversation. As part of the conversation we, as we often do, discussed our reading and writing. We shared suggestions for awesome reads, quick reads, reads to avoid, … Then we discussed writing.
To make a longer story shorter, we came to an agreement: In one year we will return to the same coffee shop, each one with a manuscript for the other to read. Yep, we’re gonna write some books!
Why am I telling you this? It keeps me honest and helps me with accountability- if I tell the world I am going to write a book then I will, most likely, write a book. Now, just so you know, there was no agreement as to length or quality; we did not discuss genre or publishing. One could write a 700 page fantasy or a 30 page poetry chap book. And, if for some reason we don’t write, we will still meet for coffee and conversation.
So, the game’s afoot! Pen to paper!
As we work to systematize the writing work we do in Middle School, we decided to start a new website: Middle School Writing Lab. It will be a constant work in progress (and it was only started last Thursday so, keep that in mind). I hope to include in each section:
- How-To/ Explanation
- Word Bank
I am looking for that sweet spot between “formula” and “stream of consciousness.” I want writers to use their personal voice while accomplishing the task at hand. If you have any amazing resources please send them my way. Let’s Write!
I pencil my schedule long-range
Knowing planners, the times, they’ll exchange
So I mix a new fix
Til’ the change gets the nix
Is the un-change of change still a change?
A bit of motivation for the NaNoWriMo writers (sung to the tune of Rawhide)
Writing, writing, writing,
With the page I’m fighting
Keep them pencils writing
Through problems and solutions
Pen to page all through the night
The dialogue they’re talkin’
From scene to scene they’re walkin’
Revising will help me get it right.
Think it up, write it down
write it down, think it up
think it up write it down
Read it out, editin’
Editin’, read it out
Read it out, editin’
Arguing with the television,
turning it down, loudly,
eating fresh rosquitas and offering them
Wanting to share in the wine
But too methodical to do so.
Keeping life’s rhythms and rhymes.
Patterns that matched his shirt.
Setting his watch by casino,
Punching the clock at the café as if going to work,
Paying without comment.
Community wherever he was.
Welcoming you, as you are,
Who you are,
Supporting your dreams,
Take a nap if you want to, fix the world if you want to…
But how about a sandwich at 8:40,
And could the doctor’s appointment be after breakfast and before the café?
What are your thoughts about self publishing? If I have a book ready to go should I invest the time to send it to publishers or use a service such as Create Space to make the text available now?
All thoughts are welcome.
A writer who wrote had a dream:
Tell stories to feel, think and scream.
“I’ll motivate reading,
Young minds I’ll be feeding,
With wonders that aren’t what they seem.”
I have known “writers” who don’t write and folks who say they are not writers but who, in fact, write. Me? I like to tell stories about kids who are similar to my students, typically 4th through 8th graders with dreams and worries, hopes and inhibitions. Soon I will join the legion of writers who take up an MFA program in writing. It is a low residency program at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota that focuses on writing for children- it is a perfect fit for me… and they accepted me.
In order to complete the program I will travel twice a year to Minnesota from my home in Lima to learn, write, reflect and revise. My previous studies in the last 20 years have been to find or keep work. I have enjoyed earning each of my teaching licenses and the learning that came with them. This one, though, is for me and my students… and I am really looking forward to it.
If you know of any sources to assist with funding please send them my way.
In the meantime it is almost November and that means NaNoWriMo. But who needs an excuse to write?
Is it unfair to learn?
As I teach my classes, four sections of the same grade level content, I become a better teacher- I notice the mistakes that the previous class made; I understand their misunderstandings; I see the gaps in my teaching. I learn. That being said, class #4 receives all of my learning from the previous three classes and produces higher quality work. They may even receive, on average, higher grades (I will check to see if this last item is true).
Is this unfair for class #1? Is it unfair that the teaching they receive, because they receive it first, will always be a little less complete and polished? Is this like asking if it is unfair for the first child in a family to have to train the parents?
Now, I return to weave the threads of learning for that first class, perhaps with colors not as bright but beautiful nonetheless.
On St. Rosa of Lima eve
Flowed the cabernet
Here is a list of resources that I have been compiling over the years. Most of them are links to texts and curriculum from all over Latin America. Enjoy!