Posts Tagged ‘Write your Way writing camp’

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

computer lab

This week I coached a writing camp. Usually space is important to me. The space we met in and wrote in was an art space, open and inviting, with pieces of folk art all around. The space felt comfortable and inspiring, not the case with the computer lab.

The computer lab was like a cave, long and dark. The AC didn’t work well, so it was warm. However, none of this mattered because once the kids got online and logged into our kidblog site, the space became as quiet as a bee hive, everyone buzzing and busy writing and commenting. When I asked the students about their favorite part of camp, the blog was high on the list. Online space is important, too.

I have not focused this week on the Clmooc make #4. The instructions were: “For this make cycle, we invite you to document, analyze and reflect on the variety of systems that influence your life personally and/or professionally. Use your creativity to document an existing system, access your ingenuity to improve an existing system or use your imagination to develop a unique new system and design a novel way to explain it.”

I decided to go back to my inquiry question, “How can I create an environment for student writing that encourages individual expression while covering necessary benchmarks?” I realized that the very act of content standards and testing is a system. So I am essentially asking about how I can hack the system. But I have to begin with research. Look at this Piktochart created by Christy Ball.

passion projects

I am only on step three, doing the research. There is no rush here. Inquiry is like that. By its nature it’s slow and should be. If I rush into it, I risk losing focus and not valuing the question.

I started a padlet. Not much there yet. So far I am focusing on creativity. That is what I feel is most missing from standards and from testing. We are creating little boxes for students to fit in to. In reality, creativity is the thing that will lead to innovation and problem solving. How can I create a creative environment for my students? How can I value creativity and project-based learning while adhering to standards? Please inquire with me. You can add comments, write your own blog post, and/or add to the padlet.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Hayden reads his story to Jack, the lemur.

Hayden reads his story to Jack, the lemur.

This week I am celebrating some great new writers. They attended Write Your Way writing camp with me. Above you see Hayden reading to Jack, the lemur. Jack took a tour of Main Street with us and especially enjoyed frolicking in the Bayou Teche Museum. He sat still long enough to listen to Hayden’s story about Al Hirt and Blue Dog.

Al Hirt and Blue Dog were getting ready for a wedding. Al was wearing a tuxedo and Blue Dog combed his fur. They were about to leave Al’s apartment .But before they could they heard a trumpet. They wanted to know where it came from. They looked and looked until they found it. A trumpet rested there. “Blow me and I’ll take you to the wedding,” it said. They were confused. But Hirt blew it anyway. They were then at the wedding. The End. –Hayden

Inspiration in Books along the Teche

Inspiration in Books along the Teche

Inspiration for writing was waiting all along Main Street. We stopped in at the independent book store, Books along the Teche. Emery found a line in The Book Thief that jumpstarted a whole new story for her. I hope she will keep writing it. That’s the thing about writing camp. It’s always too short. We set up a blog on kidblog that I hope the kids will use, but I know how summer activities take over and then school will start again. It’s hard to keep their focus once you release them.

Yesterday, I asked my writers to tell me their favorite part of writing camp, what surprised them, and how they will continue to practice their writing. The blog, writing in different places, and meeting new friends were top favorites. The surprises included “I didn’t think I was a poet,” and “I usually plan out my writing before doing it, but I was able to write a story and I don’t know where it’s going.”

We ate lunch yesterday at Victor’s cafateria, a favorite place for Dave Robicheaux (James Lee Burke’s MC). The clerk who checked us out asked me, “Are you a writer?”
I answered, “Yes.” I asked her to ask the students that question. Each of them said, “Yes, I am a writer.” I celebrate young writers today.

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Poetry Friday is here!

Poetry Friday is here!

Today, I am hosting the Poetry Friday blog roundup. Please post your link in the comments. I thought when I signed up for this date that it would be a quiet summer Friday, but it is actually the last day of a writing camp for students. I will check in periodically and post links as they come in.

Writing in the gallery

Writing in the gallery

Leading a writing camp is one of the highlights of my summer. This year we have 9 students ranging from entering 4th through 10th grade. Each of them is in a different place in their writing, yet each has a unique voice. My partner teacher, Stephanie Judice, and I also come from different places. I teach elementary, and she teaches high school. I write poetry. She writes fiction. A perfect match. Every morning, I led the poetry writing, and she led the fiction. Worked out well.

Our favorite day is always Wednesday, the writing marathon. The writing marathon was invented by Richard Louth of the Southeastern Writing Project. He was inspired by Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones in which she talks about writing in restaurants. She encourages writers to find a space and write continuously for a period of time. So on a writing marathon, the rules are 1) declare yourself a writer; 2) travel from place to place, write in that place, and if appropriate, order something; and 3) share and thank each other. (No criticism or comment, just thank you.)

One of our stops on the writing marathon was the A&E Gallery, a collaborative gallery of a variety of artists owned by Paul Schexnayder. We did two writing periods at the gallery. During the first one, I asked the students to walk all around the space and to collect words that came into their minds as they walked. After collecting words, we found a spot to sit and write. The second prompt was an ekphrastic poem about one particular piece of art. I am sharing the poem I wrote from the gallery walk and a student’s poem from a group of metal faces.

Mermaids float above her majesty, the sea
swirling waves as a potter’s wheel
forming a lily-lined path
to the land of mortals.

On the shore, rusted beauty emerges
from layers of water–a mint for the gatherers of things.

Look with your soul,
feel the release of imagination.
Find your buried hope.
The music in you awaits!

–All rights reserved, Margaret Simon


Metal Faces
Their open metal mouths,
staring into me,
looking past my casual writer’s appearance.
Can they see my conscience?
They read me as if
I were the art on display.
Their wide eyes,
penetrating my heart,
are full of distaste.
Like judges,
and I have earned myself
a low score.
Their scraps
that they call facial features
bore into me,
like they know everything.
And, perhaps they do,
but it doesn’t show.
All they can do
is watch me,
beg for me to stay
when I’m passing by,
so they can look into my soul.

–Kaylie, 12 years old

Go nuts with Charles at Father Goose with a tribute to Jama Rattigan.

At Random Noodling, a Robert Frost poem “Questioning Face.”

Kurious Kitty has some Flag Day poetry.

At KK Kwotes, find Albert Camus.

At NC Teacher Stuff, find a short poem about fathers by William Hamilton Hayne.

Keri is discovering a children’s bookstore in Vancouver, BC.

Matt Forrest has a poem for his daughter.

Jama is featuring a bilingual poetry collection called Laughing Tomatoes and other Spring Poems/Jitomates Risuenos y ostros poemas de primavera by Francisco X. Alarcón and Maya Christina Gonzalez.

Laura Salas has a rodeo poem by Nancy Bo Flood.

Mary Lee is here with a feast of verse novels.

Ruth has a turtle-y post.

Tabatha is thinking about plagiarism.

The Teaching Authors share online resources and April has a poem about giving up privacy in exchange for a free app.

Renee at No Water River has another wonderful video featuring Margarita Engle sharing her verse picture book When you Wander: A Search and Rescue Dog Story.

Linda at Teacher Dance has a poem she heard at a teaching workshop.

Today at The Poem Farm, Amy has a little goodbye poem from a teacher’s point of view along with a Poetry Peek from kindergarten teacher Erin Jarnot and her students from Elma Primary.

Julie is back this week with an original poem called “Anniversary” and some musings about translation and mistranslation.

Bridget Magee is here with an original poem, “Summer Hazard” about one of the perils of living in the desert.

Over at Today’s Little Ditty, Michelle has a dream poem written by her dad in honor of Father’s Day.

Robyn Hood Black is here with Full Hearts, Empty Nests, and Emily Dickinson.

MM Socks has an original poem today Woodrow’s Shadow.

Doraine Bennett has Winslow Homer and J.G. Whittier.

Irene Latham has a menagerie of Valerie Worth poems.

A traveling poem over at The Florian Cafe this Friday morning.

Author Amok is celebrating with a picnic-full of third graders’ food poems. Chocolate pie, anyone? We can’t end school without some teacherly wisdom. I’m also featuring a portion of poet Joseph Ross’s beautiful post “The Gifts of Teaching.”

Karen Edmisten has a Billy Collins poem to share.

Cathy has an original cat poem.

Lorie Ann Grover offers a haiku today, Whispered through Steam.

Joy at Poems for Kids Joy has an original poem about her flag for Flag Day.

Here’s Becky with Math Poetry.

All About Books with Janet has a doggy poem “I Didn’t Do It” written by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest and illustrated by Katy Schneider.

For some hippity-hoppity froggy fun, go to Reading to the Core.

Little Willow posted Afterthoughts by Edwin Arlington Robinson at her blog Bildungsroman.

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