Steering My Craft: Short Sentences

This blog post is part of an effort to refine my own work as a writer, and to strengthen my practice as a writing teacher. For each exercise, I’ll provide the directions, my effort, and a short reflection. The Assignment: Craft a paragraph using short sentences (maximum 7 words each). No sentence fragments are allowed! FIRST ATTEMPTAmong itContinue reading “Steering My Craft: Short Sentences”

Steering My Craft: Am I Saramago

This blog post is part of an effort to refine my own work as a writer, and to strengthen my practice as a writing teacher. For each exercise, I’ll provide the directions, my effort, and a short reflection. The Assignment: Craft a passage using NO punctuation. Gulp. Here was my go: He tied his shoes yes allContinue reading “Steering My Craft: Am I Saramago”

Summer Dreams

This post is in response to a bookcampPD challenge, asking teachers to think about what they dream about for the summer. Here was my submission. I can’t wait to see what my online colleagues have to say as well! …and you…? I’d love to know what you dream of doing this summer. Leave a commentContinue reading “Summer Dreams”

When Poems Find Me

Sometimes a poem strikes me, and I’m able to write it in the moment. I get an idea for an image, a phrase or a metaphor, and I just can’t help myself. Other poems are more coy. They want me to write them, but maybe I have too much to say and don’t know howContinue reading “When Poems Find Me”

Troubleshooting: Questions Edition

It started out easy enough. My second graders were sharing the questions they had written with one another, and to promote supportive listening I had the kids nominate strong questions for a light-hearted “awards” ceremony. Our “Questies” consisted of 3 categories:*Questions we’re most curious to find the answer to*Big questions, that nobody really has theContinue reading “Troubleshooting: Questions Edition”

March: Blowing in Like a Poem

So many little miracles happened for me today. I got a hug from a reserved second grader. A tricky third grade class was beautifully behaved. And this morning the world brought me a seed for a poem, which I carried in my pocket and thought about through the morning. And when my fifth graders heldContinue reading “March: Blowing in Like a Poem”

Making Lemonade

Now is about the time of year when I give my fifth grade students an assessment on literary analysis. We have spent a fair amount of class time learning how to write proper claims and arguments, and we have also discussed the type of language that is best suited for the tone of academic writing.Continue reading “Making Lemonade”

Finding Trusted Readers

Sometimes, I don’t have all the answers. (Whaaaaatttt? Stop the presses! And don’t tell my children.) Naw, just kidding. But really. I know I’m not the only one who gets blind to my own writing, unable to either see or overcome the shortcomings of my craft. That’s when I need somebody else’s eyes on my work.Continue reading “Finding Trusted Readers”

Using Images to Establish Mood

A little while ago, my fourth graders and I began to pair poetry and art to show how words and images are powerful creators of emotional imagery. First, we talked about art. What mood do artists create, and what techniques do they use? Color? Light? Shade? Brush strokes? Position and treatment of the subjects? It wasContinue reading “Using Images to Establish Mood”