Tag Archives: seeds

Planting Seeds: SOLC #29

We’ve been writing in 7 minute intervals. Every day. Sometimes several times a day. There’s something about the timer that seems to help my students focus intently on the writing. And when the timer sounds, someone always wants to share.

Of course, that 7 minutes is only the smallest part of what it means to write. That timer-influenced writing usually follows a stimulus of some kind (often a picture book or poem), conversation as a group and in partners, studying a mentor text and the moves that writers make, and sometimes drawing or some other kind of art.

Today we wrote about a place we love. But first, last week we read My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero. We noticed how she focused on places she loved in her community and on her dad and family. We studied her writing. We marked the action words she used: zigzagged, cruised, revs, and roars. We notice the way she uses senses, including sounds and smells and textures, in her descriptions. We paid attention to her comparison of the experience of riding the motorcycle to a comet in the sky. Then we started to name places we love: Tennessee, Legoland, grandma’s house, the kitchen… We sketched a map of this place. And finally, after a quick demonstration of how I might use the mentor text to get started with my writing, I set the timer.

A hush fell over the room. Pencils raced across the page. And when the timer rang, hands started going up. Unfortunately, there was no time to share today. We’ll have to start there tomorrow. I can’t wait to hear how these much-loved places will be transformed into words on the page.

Writing with students is all about planting seeds. I can’t wait to see what blossoms.

Planting Seeds

We planted seeds today…in the garden and in our writer’s notebooks.  There are many garden metaphors about learning and students–especially at the elementary level and as I watched my students today, I can understand why.

The beet seeds were small and for some of my students, hard to hang onto.  Some seeds slipped to the ground, blending in with the earth.  Those students needed another seed to plant in our garden bed.  Other students delighted in the tiny seeds and noticed every detail. They were able to keep track and carefully nestled the seed into the soil.


During our writing lesson a bit later, I noticed that some of my students took the lesson on similes and easily “planted” their ideas in their writer’s notebooks.  A few stretched even further and played with language and the technique of simile to create fresh and interesting images.  Others had dropped their “seeds” and needed some extra support to “plant” a seed or two in their notebooks.

In the garden, after planting our seeds, students carefully watered the soil to create an environment to support the seeds’ germination.  They managed the heavy watering cans and negotiated turn taking as fledgeling gardeners.


In the classroom, we left our writing seeds to germinate too after carefully sowing them in our notebooks.  Time was short and ideas were flowing…students can’t wait to come back to share their writing and extend their ideas.  This is an environment ripe for more writing tomorrow! Today we used Stubborn as a Mule and Other Silly Similes by Nancy Loewen to “prime the pump” and get us thinking about similes and how we might use them in our writing.

We planted beets, peas, arugula, spinach, beans, kale, and sunflowers today.  As our gardening teacher reminded the kids, we plant all the time because we want to eat all the time.  And as writers and learners, we need to write and play with language and writing so our ideas and stamina and capacity for writing and learning will also grow. We celebrate the National Day on Writing in October each year as a reminder of the importance of writing in our lives and learning.  But just as we don’t only plant our gardens in October, we can’t just plant our writing in October.  We have to write all year long, in lots of ways for lots of reasons to nurture our writing…and our writers so they too will grow strong and tall.


How do you nurture writers and learners?  What seeds did you plant today?