- Set the timer and write for 10 minutes. Use the words “disappear”, “kumquat” and “stolen”. Let your brain go and see what comes. Handwrite if possible.
- Write a story in the form of a recipe — make the conflict something interesting with a play on cooking terms.
- Use the word CONNECTION.
- Use the title: The Open Door
I am always talking about books. As a former reading specialist and currently a coach, I am constantly referencing books and recommending titles to children and adults.
I often get asked for recommendations and have a few favorites I often suggest first.
A term I was introduced to the recently is:
the use of books as therapy in the treatment of mental or psychological disorders.
I use the definition of this word loosely since I am not a medical professional but do recognize certain issues that a particular book may assist with especially in the confines of a classroom. When conversations needed to happen I would pull a book to jump start the conversation. Sometimes it was about fighting with friends, different types of families, or being kind. Narrative texts help people become empathetic. As with many techniques early in my teaching career, I just knew it worked and kept doing it.
A pattern I have learned to recognize is books come into my life when I need them most. The one title that I read at the perfect time is The Alchemist. The advice and what I gleaned helped me keep my mind right. I always recommend this book to people who have not read it. Everyone gets something different from the tale but many morsels of advice ring true for me. Reading it was life-changing for my attitude and perception. There are so many ideas that strike me in this text.
3 Things to Read
Inside the Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg
…the majority of new, inventive, and successful products result from only five templates: subtraction, division, multiplication, task unification, and attribute dependency. These templates form the basis of the innovation method called Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT).
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
Making a book is a little like making a chair. Perhaps it ought to come with warnings, like the chair instructions. A folded piece of paper slipped into each copy, warning us: “Only for one person at a time.” “Do not use as a stool or a stepladder.” “Failure to follow these warnings can result in serious injury.”
1 Recipe to Try
Join me for a conversation and a cup of coffee!
I am so glad we are meeting for coffee today! I have been looking forward to chatting with you all week. I think we will walk and talk today. We can take the trail and walk among the trees.
My dark black coffee is what I am drinking today. What would you like? I will bring out the pitcher of ice water when we come back from our walk.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you I ran 13 miles on Friday! I cannot tell you how long it has been since I ran that far in one session — because I cannot remember! It felt great. I have logged a decent amount of miles this week. When I ran 5 miles on Tuesday and took my youngest with me on his bike it felt like 5 was not long enough. Two months ago 5 miles was a long run! How far I have come.
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How do you refill your well?
Stayed fueled as a creative person is an idea that has been on my mind for a while. I planned some ways to refuel back in February for a challenge and I have been reflecting about what is life-giving to me and what is depleting.
I am also trying to decipher between what is general depletion and what is just plain exhaustion. Some of my conclusions are:
I need replenishing and recharging, but I do not always know what these look like.
I need to read more which fuels me and my writing.
I need to be around children to talk and listen to how they think — this has always creatively fueled me.
I need to routinely walk and run in nature.
I need to analyze data. It is part of my day job but I also need to analyze personal data. This can be a dangerous practice however and can take me into a depression spiral. There are certain facts about my life that I do not want to look at because I cannot positively frame it. One example is I figured out my hourly rate at my current district and now I can not UNKNOW it.
I need to share stories with people in various forms of writing and storytelling.
I need to share creative experiences with other writers and creative people.
I need to research Ryan Williams 3 anchor stories which was a gem hidden in a notebook I was going through the other day.
The Three Anchor Stories:
The Tearjerker story
The Authority Story
The Pay my Bills Story
But what does this look like in my life right now? After a lot of contemplation and talking to readers I have decided to open a SLACK channel for people who create to be able to have discourse and fuel each other. Please sign up with this link if you would like to join.
The gatherings are creative spaces for writers and readers to connect to a tribe of people to inspire them and fill their creative well. It is to connect and bring out the best in you as a creative to provide a space for life-giving conversation and action. Hope to see you there!
Every Friday I set the timer for 5 minutes and write to the one word prompt from Kate.
Here is today’s essay.
Currently, I feel I am in the middle of a transition that is tearing me apart. I have been struggling and I made a mistake. I am trying to find my way from the middle of the forest to where I am supposed to be but somehow am a contestant on a bad game show or else stuck in someone else’s novel. In either case, I have a blindfold on I cannot rip off — my hands are tied. Things keep popping up from behind doors like it’s “Let’s Make a Deal” but all of them are whammies.
Writing advice is everywhere. If you search Medium you can find 1000’s of articles of quotes and tips about what works and what doesn’t work in the process. Education is no different. In education, a buzzword is “BEST PRACTICE”. Research-based strategies are long and studies happen constantly but the actions are not always followed through within the classroom. Knowing WHAT to do and then DOING it can be two different things.
Last week I was able to attend an amazing workshop taught by Cornelius Minor and his wife Kass. The focus was literacy through a lens of equity. It was deep work and I learned so much.
I used my 4 box method of evaluation by asking:
1. What I was expecting
2. What I received
3. What I am still wondering about
4. Additional comments
Every Tuesday I write and share a post with teachers across the country on Two Writing Teachers.