Yesterday was day 2 of the SDAWP Advanced Institute that I wrote about in March. On this second day, we moved our work to focus on revision mindsets and building confidence as writers with the help of Chris Hall’s The Writer’s Mindset and Liz Prather’s The Confidence to Write. An identity as writer for a teacher has an important impact on writing instruction. Teachers teach qualitatively differently when they understand their subject matter from the inside out. Teacher-writers have experienced all that makes writing hard. They know how it feels to face a blank page–and then write through uncertainty and fear. And they can support students to develop a writerly identity too.
This morning I awoke to Jessica’s “found annotations” prompt for #verselove over at Ethical ELA. My first reaction was, “Oh no!” I’m not really much into annotating–and it’s not something I do with first graders. I do annotate their observations of weekly poems and encourage them to respond to text, but we frequently depend on oral language for those annotations.
But then I thought about some of the reading we did yesterday and I grabbed my copy of The Confidence to Write, picked a section in the chapter on the fear of the blank page called Breathe Through It, and started annotating. I then went back and let my poet brain wander through the annotations and my thinking. Here’s my poem:
The #verselove prompt at Ethical ELA today is All Things Cheese. But, although I like cheese…I don’t love cheese. So today I decided to write my poem about something I do love: ice cream. Just a Haiku to ease into the weekend.
Today’s poem emerged from a mishmash of prompts and experiences. Leilya over at #verselove and Ethical ELA shared her poem about a walk and then Mitch at our National Writing Project Connecting the Network call offered two other mentor poems about seeing ordinary things in new ways, and today’s lizard skittered right into my notebook.
Today I’m feeling the accumulation of too much to do and too little time–so when I read Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem Burning the Old Year as part of today’s #verselove prompt at Ethical ELA, the lines an absence shouts, leaves a space shouted at me about the need for space. It’s rough, but here’s the direction I headed.
Over at Ethical ELA, Maureen has challenged us to tell a succinct truth in the style of Lucille Clifton for today’s #verselove prompt. This seems scary–to tell a truth that maybe reveals an ugly underside rather than finding the beauty in something ordinary. But I had a truth to tell–so here it is.
Today’s #verseloveprompt was about choices…and I made a choice that was different from the intended direction (I think). So, today I decided to write a #smallpoem (close to Haiku) to go with a photograph–where I wrote with light.
Today for #verselove over at Ethical ELA, Anna invites us to pick a favorite day and write an acronym poem giving the reasons why. Indecisive seems to describe me today–I could think of so many reasons why each day of the week is my favorite. So, to solve that problem, I picked TODAY.
To decide was too much, concentrate instead on the moment, the now
Own each opportunity, observe carefully, orchestrate possibilities
Dance in the light, dust off the doldrums, decide to grab the joy within reach
Abandon burdens, anticipate with every sense, accept the now
Yank back the curtains, soak in the sun, seize this day: Today
Today’s #verselove prompt over at Ethical ELA gives explicit directions to break rules! Stacey introduced the idea of a Gogyohka poem–a liberated version of a Tanka–a 5 line poem without the restraint of syllable counts. Strangely enough, I had introduced Haiku to my young students yesterday, inviting them to write 3 line poems without strictly adhering to the traditional 5-7-5 format.
To inspire their writing, we headed outside again today, this time with iPads in hand in search of tiny perfect things. (We had read the book by the same name before heading out–looking for tiny treasures so often overlooked.) When you’re 6 or 7, nearly everything is a treasure. They love the poppies that grow along the fenceline, the spiral of the succulents with their variegated greens, and even the gas meter–a metal contraption–that they don’t recognize as having a particular function.
Today’s #verselove prompt over at Ethical ELA is the news. The news? I feel like there is so much I want to avoid about the news–especially for my writing. I considered all day just what take on the news I might embrace. And then the headline…out of our principal’s mouth during lunch today, “The queen bee has moved in…” That’s the news I am going with!
The queen bee has moved in
and her kingdom is swarming near the classroom door