Simply Tuesday Thoughts…on Thursday

Simply Tuesday 3D

I am reading Simply Tuesday by Emily P Freeman. I love her podcast the Next right thing which is what brought me to her books. I read and I hear her voice in my head which is a very good thing. There is a soothing and calming effect of her voice which is wonderful. Many of the ideas she talks about hit home for me. She is a Christian writer and so some of the “God speak” I gloss over. It is a bit much for me in spots.

In the chapter titled Community and Competition, she has a delightful story about her reaching out for some fellow creatives to meet with. She was feeling lonely and wanted some connection with real people. She formed a small group of 3 and they are called  The Artists Circle. They get together monthly at coffee shops or their houses and answer three questions:

What are you working on?

What is inspiring you?

Where do you need prodding?

This is appealing to me as such a delightful notion and I love the simplicity of the questions. These questions can also translate to so many areas. They immediately were written down into my notebook. The questions come from Todd Henry who wrote The Accidental Creative. They really hone into the springboards of a deep creative conversation.

I love when books and authors I love,  recommend books and authors they love. I have a new rabbit hole to go down now and I couldn’t be happier. Plus I have new questions which always makes me happy!

 

Come back tomorrow! I will be reflecting on my 31 Story A Day challenge and what I learned.

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Which Road to Take? #SOL18

sols_64 more days left until summer break.

I pulled 4 7th-graders to record a small group lesson for some PD for this summer. I chose the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. This was the first experience the 4 students had with the poem which surprised me. Initially, it did not seem familiar to any of the 4 until 3 readings in one girl said she remembered it from our individualized computer program iReady.

We began with a vocabulary QHT chart –

Q is for questions about words

H is for heard of it but do not know the meaning

T is for “I know this word so well I could teach it to someone else”.

I allowed them to read and record words that seemed important to them in some way. Diverged is a word I needed on the chart and they all chose it right away.

We talked about choices and the path that the narrator was trying to decide upon. Then the girls spoke up about the connection to life in general and which paths people choose to take. The students said they thought a lot of people chose the wrong path. Some thought that certain paths were thrust upon people.

The writing the students did was quick but thoughtful after our brief discussion. It is much easier to make an extended response when a list of details about your big idea is either annotated on the poem in front of you or on a list you have created. We did both.

The students all said the narrator wanted to not be a follower and make his own choice which is why he took the road less traveled.

I offered them two poems to take with them: Mary Oliver’s Every Morning and Billy Collins’ Days. Several took the poems for later. That is definitely a smile moment for the writer and reader in me.

 

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We are all confronted with choices every day. Some are trivial and some are life changing.

Do I stop and fill up my tire with air since the sensor went off and be late to work or wait and chance a flat? 

Do I eat now or wait till I have more time?

How do I decide what town to move to next?

Some choices we make and some seem to be thrust upon us. As humans, as teachers, as mothers, as spouses we have to make decisions all the time. There are sometimes I need to hear and listen to the inner voices and other times I need to shut them out for my own good and peace of mind. I have been known to overthink situations.

There are times it seems this is more difficult then it should be. Some people are plagued with the fear of making the wrong decision. I always wonder “wrong” according to whom? Cultural norms have more of an influence than I think most of us realize. The trajectory of my life took the path of a whole list of “shoulds” before I changed it.

I heard all my life: I should graduate and I should go to college and I should get married and I should have kids and I should buy the biggest house I can afford and I should, I should , I should…until you reach a point in your life that you have achieved all the goals you thought that you should and it doesn’t match who you are as a person inside. Then huge choices have to be made. Some just stick to the status quo and some make a leap. I made a leap. Although it came with consequences, I have no regrets.

So which road do you take? I guess the answer depends on the day.

Fun Friday List

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Photo by Jakob on Pexels.com

Jobs I Have Held that Aren’t On my Current Resume

In no particular order:

Lifeguard

Hotel desk clerk

Residence hall desk clerk

Babysitter

Gas station cashier

Yoga instructor

Running coach

Fun Run leader

Event/Program  planner

Professional development coordinator

Bootcamp instructor

Pampered Chef consultant

Making this list was an amusing trip down memory lane! Are there jobs you have held, NOT on your resume?

Share in the comments!

Deliberate Writing Practice

pen writing notes studying
Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

With the month of May devoted to writing daily short stories, I am also reflecting on my process daily trying to hone the practice. I always write with the purpose of becoming a better writer. I try to learn from the reading that I do and from the writing gurus I listen to. Most of this practice is one-sided as most of my writing resources are not real-life connections. I do have the benefit of Twitter and some writers group meetings this month which I am eternally grateful for.

I usually use feedback or an exercise in mind when I am writing. I have the advantage of podcasts at my fingertips, interaction with writers on Twitter, and special May video prompts and directions for writing.

My free writing exercises are never just pointless rambling anymore. I take the writing time seriously and the practice has become much more to me than just getting words on the page. I want the word count but also desire the content on the page to be worth reading. It is not always usable at that moment but can be saved away for another day, another story.

At this point in the month, I feel like my creative well is drying up slightly. I am still writing but it takes me longer and longer throughout the day. I also am aware that the craziness of the end of the school year looms in the shadows as well. There are some other frustrations in my life in regards to transitions that are wearing on me which is draining. Waiting for answers is never a fun place to be in, but one I find myself in often.

I am looking forward to summer when I can focus on some books that will lead me through some writing exercises so I can become a better writer for me, my audience, and my students.

Happy writing and reading everyone!

 

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10 Questions On Tuesday #SOL18

  1. Have you read Click Clack Rattle Bag by Neil Gaiman? Today I offered this story to an 8th grade reading class and was so excited about it more than half the students picked it for their independent reading.
  2. Have you ever asked someone “Have you ever cried in public?” Throw someone off – do it.
  3. Have you ever asked “What do you usually get from the ice cream truck?” This question got quite a laugh from my friend! Her answer was the strawberry shortcake.
  4. What is my next right thing? This is the question I am pondering myself.
  5. Have you seen the new extreme Post – it notes? They are my new toy. I am sticking them to everything.
  6. Have you written a short story today? This month? I have written a short story every day the month of May for STORYADAY by Julie Duffy.
  7.  Are you ready for summer?
  8. What are you reading? I am still finishing Tangerine. I started Let Your Mind Run A memoir of Thinking my Way to Victory by Deena Kastor.
  9. What have you learned this winter?
  10. What is your favorite part of today? I had a great morning!

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7 Writing Ideas #SOL18

Twitter Chat Blog Header 5I am the guest blogger at TeachWrite today! Check it out here!

sols_6Most of these ideas I use with picture books, but short stories and longer text can work!

  1. Quickwrite: For a predetermined set of time (use a timer) use what the book reminds you of in your own life. The rule is to continue writing NO MATTER WHAT!
  2. Stop reading in the middle of the book and have students write their ending. Finish the book the next day and do a compare and contrast!
  3. Use the title to write your own story.
  4. Write a letter to the author.
  5. Tweet to the author.
  6. Create an anchor chart “Phrases We Wish We Had Written”
  7. Use great vocabulary for a reading inspired word wall – Favorite names for these I have seen over the years:
    1. Dynamic Words
    2. Vivid Vocabulary
    3. Purple Words
    4. Fancy Nancy Words

When you are stuck with your own writing these ideas work for the adults too!

Happy writing!!

Favorite Writing Advice

pexels-photo-891674.jpegMy writing group met twice this week over Zoom. I have participated in several group meetings now with this App. As long as everyone’s sound works,  it is quite effective for getting together with people, especially for introverts. I don’t have to leave the house.

The question of writing advice was part of the homework for the second meeting. My piece of go-to writing advice is you cannot edit a blank page. I tell this to my students all the time. Reading is also important especially the genre or type of writing you are trying to create.  This quote is one I have heard from many authors but if you Google it, Jodi Picoult gets the credit.

Another piece of advice is from one of our favorite writers, Ray Bradbury:

“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.”

― Ray BradburyZen in the Art of Writing

 

This advice was another brought up.

Another favorite quote and piece of advice is:

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

― Ray Bradbury

I continue to write everyday. Knowing I am writing a short story everyday has me constantly thinking about ideas for stories. It is a great creative place to be in!

 

I will use these quotes as springboards for writing in my journal to explore it a bit more.

My New #1 Quick Dinner

Have you been to the Food Charlatan website? Oh my goodness! If you love great food and easy to follow recipes with great photos then you need to click here.

I have made several of her recipes,  but last night I tried the Pesto Penne Pasta with Chicken. It was simple to make with great taste! The picture below is the Food Charlatan’s from her blog post with the recipe.

 

penne pesto

A new technique I learned was to boil the pasta for 5 minutes and then add the frozen green beans to cook with the pasta for the last 4 minutes or so. It turned out perfectly.

The seasoning combo for the chicken I was a little leery of but it is delicious. It is served warm. It is all on the stove top too so it is great for a warmer day. I did use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. It is just the preferred cut in my household.

Next time I think I will add mushrooms for sure. I also thought about asparagus and peas.

I have leftovers for lunch and am looking forward to eating it again!

I am wanting to cook some more over the summer break when I have a little more time. I have several recipes from the site in the queue to try next!

Happy cooking!

9 Read Aloud Guidelines for Parents and Teachers

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  1. The story needs to be read at different speeds depending on the content. Sometimes a book needs to be read slowly or very fast! Pay attention to the punctuation and word placement on the page especially for picture books.
  2. If you are reading to a class it is usually a good practice to read the book to yourself first. Don’t just grab one off the shelf.
  3. A cold read can be valuable to have some teachable moments when you encounter unknown words, misread sentences and then teach the students how to deal with it.
  4. Children are never too old, or to young, to read aloud to.
  5. You can always come back to a book. There are many reasons to read. The brain loves pattern and many children enjoy hearing the same story over and over and over…even though we don’t always like to read that many times!
  6. Find spaces to read where you are less likely to be distracted.
  7. Having a set read aloud time establishes a pattern.
  8. Books can go with you anywhere – especially if you are reading to your children you can read in the car while waiting, or in line.
  9. Choice is important! Let your child, or the class, choose what to read. Modeling the choice will help when you want them to choose books to read independently.