Sunday, June 3, 2012

Teachers Write!

If you’ve been reading this blog since my first post (found HERE) you will know I haven’t been doing this very long. As I write in that first post, I went to NCTE this past November and came back with the notion that I needed to write. Ruth, Colby, Kate, Donalyn, and more gave me motivation. So even though I was in the last year of grad school and had zero free time, I began a blog.

So far, it has gone well. I love blogging my books I’ve read on Mondays. Blogging a slice of my life on Tuesdays. I’ve met wonderful people through it these last seven months. I participated in the slice of life challenge during March and loved it. I’ve gotten feedback on my writing, put it out there for others to see, and I’ve grown.

I think this has transferred over to my teaching. I’ve been able to talk to my students more about writing under a deadline (slice of life), coming up with ideas when staring at a blank page, taking feedback – both positive and negative. All great lessons. And without being a writer myself I don’t know that I would have been able to relate as well to my students as writers.

As Colby Sharp wrote this morning, (HERE), I think that being a voracious reader influences my students and my teaching. I am a better teacher because I read. I cannot imagine trying to help students love to read without actually reading myself. The same holds true for writing. And as I’ve known all year, this summer was the time I was going to give myself to dive deeper into writing.

You see I’ve really wanted to try writing more deeply. A blog post would be, for me, what I consider first draft writing. It usually takes me no more than 20 minutes. I think of an idea, open up word, and start typing. Skim over, publish, done. I know I need to do more, but what?

I truly want to write a book. Not for kids, although that would be awesome, but for teachers. I’ve wanted to write one ever since reading Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer. (And if you haven’t read it yet, stop, go order it, come back. You need this book.) When I read The Book Whisperer, it was like everything I was doing was confirmed for me. I was on the right track. But other teachers I shared it with that weren’t teaching like Donalyn loved it too. They said they loved it because you could tell a “real teacher” wrote it. That someone that understood them. I liken it to Kate Messner’s dialogue in her books between kids. A student in my class said Kate knew how to write kids as they truly are. I think that is because she was a teacher herself and saw kids daily. Donalyn is a teacher, she isn’t suggesting we do things that really won’t work in a regular classroom. So her book inspired me, but I didn’t know where to go from there.

Teachers Write!
So my goal this summer, to try and start sorting out the ideas I have in my head. And now, Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, and Jen Vincent have come along with this virtual writing camp for educators. It’s like they read my mind and found exactly what I’ve needed. I’ve signed up and can’t wait to begin. How about you? Click below the button to learn more about Teachers Write!