Saturday, March 31, 2012

Another March Wrap Up

“You will have to write and put away or burn a lot of material before you are comfortable in this medium. You might as well start now and get the necessary work done. For I believe that eventually quantity will make for quality. How so? Quantity gives experience. From experience alone can quality come."
Ray Bradbury

I place quotes on writing around my room throughout the year. Ray Bradbury is a favorite of mine as he often speaks on quantity. I want my students to understand that quantity is an important aspect of writing.

I do teach lessons on writing and we develop the craft of writing, but I need them to realize there is no magic lesson or secret to becoming a writer. Indeed it is practice and implementation of our lessons and the meaningful exchanges in our conferences, but underneath those important points is write, write, write.

While I believe those words, it the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge that gives me the opportunity to "practice what I preach". Through Stacey and Ruth's invitation on this site, I have a place to write. I also experience the challenges my students face. I am so grateful.

I enjoy and learn from each comment I have received, so thanks fellow slicers. I appreciate the opportunity to comment on posts and I delight in reading others' stories--oh, what great writing I have read this month!

I do hope to drop in and write on Tuesdays during the remainder of 2012. And this year I'm not experiencing exhaustion as March wraps up, but I'm already looking forward to March, 2013.

Yep, "quantity gives experience",

Friday, March 30, 2012

Going to Camp

When I listened to my voice mail, I was so surprised. "This is Lana," I heard, "and I wanted to let you know you will be sponsored by us to attend the Educator's Nature Week."
My heart soared. One week in July, on an island, off the coast of Main doing one of the things I love best...discussing ways to get students in nature. Time with naturalists and educators in nature ourselves and learning ways to incorporate the outdoors and all it has to offer in academic areas.
Today had already been a beautiful spring day. This made it even better.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adding Detail with Color Words

There are many lessons we can use to help our students add detail to their writing, but one quick way I, and the students, enjoy is color words in nature. There are probably more important details one could use in descriptive writing than color, but for some students noticing color and placing it in their writing gets them aware of the process of adding this type of detail.

We start by spending time outside on a bright spring day when there are scores of shades of green from tree top to the grass below. Or on a fall day when trees blaze with shades of red, brown and gold. Students list, sketch, or write descriptions about nature.

The next step sounds messy, but can be done somewhat easily. On reused foam trays I drop different tempera paint in nature's colors. Students dab the ends of paper towel tubes into this paint, blend the colors, then place the paper towel end on paper. This creates a circle of the shades of nature they observed outdoors.

Then we borrow the art teacher's collection of crayons. The huge boxes. Carefully, since they are borrowed, students comb through the crayons and hunt for the shades they saw in nature. They read the name of the crayon printed on it's paper label and write this inside the tempera paint circle they created earlier.

Outside we go again with their paint circles and color names. They can create poetry, describe nature before them, write a narrative piece but should look for a place to use these new found color words.

Sure, they initially have an overuse of these words. But they also get insight into adding descriptions.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Down the Home Stretch

After finishing today's and then three more posts this week...the 2012 March Slice of Life Writing Challenge is complete. Whew, it is wrapping up.

However, each time I participate it is amazing how much easier it is to produce a month of stories. The first year I was learning how to set up and work a blog which has become more routine (though I never did change out those pictures).

Cranking out writing pieces becomes easier with each passing year also. Which is a lesson I do want to share with my students. You must write.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Clicking of My Typewriter

This evening I had to go back to technology of the past. I had to pull out my electric typewriter, blow off the dust, plug it in and type. Back in time to complete a project.

I had a short application due Friday, and I was determined to get it delivered tomorrow. I wrote the piece, but despite my best efforts my printer would only print the top half of the letter. I have limited knowledge in fixing computer issues and even less when trying to get a printer to do it's job.

I worked on the problem some more then headed to a dinner meeting. No problem, I thought as I drove along. I'll just run into school tomorrow and print or email it off. But wait, what was that memo last week about the system being down for updates.

So my old secretarial days experience was put to use. I never realized just how loud the clickity-click of those keys was. Erasing is quite different with ribbon than the delete key.

Could I have come up with a more technologically advanced way to get the letter out, sure. But it was kind of fun going back in time.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Learning from SOL

Each year I participate in the Slice of Like Writing challenge, I am somewhat surprised at understanding I gain regarding about what my students must feel in a writing class.

Today I was feeling the old "I just don't want to write. I don't want to be bothered with it." How many time through the years have I heard this from students or watched it in their unspoken language?

As teachers we try to present interesting writing lessons to capture their attention and build a desire to give writing a try. We encourage them from beginning to end. We conference to help their writing grow.

But in the end, we require it. We know they may surprise themselves and create a piece they really like so time was not lost. They may begin something that is revised in the future. They may not particularly like their creation, but they did write.

That seems to be the best result. That they wrote on a day of "I just don't want to write."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Morning

I find it difficult getting up and heading out the door to church on Sundays. Some days I'd much rather pull the covers up and let my sluggish nature take over.
But fast forward to actually being in church and I wonder why I considered skipping out on something so meaningful to my life.
.....there is something so powerful in joining in voice with others to sing praise to God or ask for His aid in life,
.....God's presence has a different feel in this place in comparison to His presence when I am alone,
.....I gain knowledge to help me understand Him through His words (the Bible) and our preacher's interpretation and teaching of those words,
.....this is my encouragement that prepares me for the week ahead.
So glad I went.