What’s Next?

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March has been FULL. But what is next on your creative list? There are many challenges in April you can take part in especially in the areas of poetry.

One thing I am participating in is Nicole Rivera’s Happy Camper Club. It even has a snappy happy name! You may know her name from her podcast, “Stop Writing Alone.”

The Happy Camper program is a community and support that will be focusing on a different writing aspect every day.

Here are Nicole’s Words about it:

On Mondays I PlotEach Monday I will host a live web call with attendees where we will discuss plots and plans. Mondays will be for goal setting, story structure, and other discussions related to the writing project(s) we are tackling during the month.
On Tuesdays I WriteTuesday will be all about getting words on the page.  I will host write-ins, writing sprints, and provide writing boosts (mini prompts to help writers get unstuck during the word mongering of the day).
On Wednesdays I DrinkWednesdays will be for support and chat. I will host a coffee hour live webinar for the attendees to check in with me and each other concerning how their week is going so far. We will decompress, celebrate our wins, and share our struggles.
On Thursdays I EditWhether the Happy Campers are drafting or working on rewriting during the month of April, all writers need to edit at some point. On Thursdays this April, I will be sharing tips with the group that they can either use immediately, or collect to use at the end of the month. Thursday will likely be the quietest day for me as host, but the resources will be plentiful.
On Fridays I DaydreamWhat a wonderful way to enter into each weekend — stretching out into our dreamer state. How does this translate into an offering from me? For one, Fridays are the day I always share my weekly writing prompts which I hope help writers to dream big and wonderful new creations, but I don’t want to end there. Writer daydreams also consist of thoughts of their writing career, so Fridays will include inspirations and pro tips on creating their dream writing career in addition to being a day of prompts.I had a plan. I have a plan. I laughed aloud as I realized this dream of a community project was inspired by pencils. The next step was to reveal it to the community and hope that others would be as excited as I was.The group of happy campers is growing, but as April grows nearer and the coronavirus has even more writers and creatives struggling to find their community connections, I thought I would extend the invitation a bit further, to you. If you are reading this, and you are intrigued by this month long project with fellow writers seeking to rise to some writing goal or challenge in the month of April — regardless of genre, regardless of whether you are looking to draft, rewrite, or revise — then this invitation is especially for you.The early bird pricing ended, but with all of the financial curve balls people are being thrown with this social distancing, I decided to cut the regular $49.99 price down to $30, basically one dollar per day for the month of April. You’ll have lifetime access to the group and the resources shared within. Any and all video calls that happen in the group will be recorded if you can not make the live event. It is my dream that you can make connections with the other happy campers to become your own writing tribe as you grow and write together. My mission is to get people to stop writing alone, this tight knit, highly accountable community is one of the best ways I can think of fostering that ideal in real time. If you think you’d like to join me for the experiment, here’s the link to join:

You can sign up here.

I will be there! Let’s have some fun and get some writing done with new friends. I will be writing fiction, but you can work on whatever tickles your fancy. I will probably do some planning for my May Storyaday as well.

Friendship Expectations

This month I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge. I will be posting slices from my life every day in March. This challenge is a part of the Two Writing Teachers blog. Click here to learn more information about the challenge.

Several years ago I learned about the 36 questions to become closer to someone. In the New York Times, the article was titled The 36 Questions that Lead to Love. I am always fascinated by questions. As an introvert, I learned to have a question ready when attending a social event in case the conversation lulled. I prefer to have deeper conversations as opposed to surface level ones. I like to be prepared.

As part of the challenge this year, I will be answering some of the questions and then you have the opportunity to journal about the question, ask a person you want to be closer to, or answer in the comments.

The trait I value most is integrity. I want people to do what they say they are going to do. I guess this goes hand in hand with trust. No one expects a friend to betray you.

I also believe in the emotional bank account as well. Deposits are made by both parties in a relationship and both can withdraw. Just like a regular bank account, it can become overdrawn. If you hurt me before we have established too many deposits then the relationship suffers.

Friendship has traditionally been difficult for me. I have been burned by more people than I can count which is I am sure why my introverted tendencies have showed themselves more over the last couple of years.

A Question of Childhood

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Several years ago I learned about the 36 questions to become closer to someone. In the New York Times, the article was titled The 36 Questions that Lead to Love. I am always fascinated by questions. As an introvert, I learned to have a question ready when attending a social event in case the conversation lulled. I prefer to have deeper conversations as opposed to surface level ones.

As part of the Twowritingteachers.org challenge this year, I will be answering some of the questions and then you have the opportunity to journal about the question, ask a person you want to be closer to, or answer in the comments.

My childhood was not full of trauma and I was privileged. My parents have stayed together which was unusual among my friends. When I was little I spent a lot of time at my maternal grandparents. Every vacation and weekend was spent with them til the summer of my 8th grade year in school.

I also spent the majority of my time from age 2.5 to 5 at my Oma’s house. That is my recollection anyway. I had friends in the neighborhood I played with outside every day. They all thought I lived there permanently. I did too. Whenever I went “home” it always felt like I was visiting my parents just waiting to go back to Oma’s.

When it came time for me to go to kindergarten I was upset that I had to go to school in my parent’s town, not my grandparents.

At this point in my life I wish I would have started and continued my school life in my grandparents town. My life would have turned out a lot differently if I had followed that path. When my friends found out I was coming to school with them, the relationship changed. There was a lot I missed out on being there on the weekends after school started.

I cannot go back to that time and the decision was not mine to make but it would have been interesting to see the trajectory if that was the path had been chosen for me.

Resource Share

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Yesterday a couple people asked me about the poems I read daily. Here are two resources I use:

Poem-a Day https://poets.org/poem-a-day

Paris Review Daily Poem https://theparisreview.us17.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=b6c161007733f0d4c084f3fde&id=35491ea532

Other input from yesterday:

I reread Hills Like White Elephants by Hemingway. and Bullet in the Brain by Wolff

Here is a link to the poetry challenge I do every month.

Podcasts I listened to:

10 Things to Tell You

Fierce Womxn Writing (Kim Krans Episode)

Hope this helps! What are you reading or listening to that you would share?

31 Things About Me

Thanks to Dawn who posted this as her first #SOLC post! Here is Dawn’s blog.

Here we go again…

  1.  I have lost count of how many times I have participated in the March Slice of Life Challenge.
  2. My favorite flavor of ice cream is vanilla with raspberries and whipped cream.
  3. I met my husband at work.
  4. I’m a morning person…now.
  5. I write every morning.
  6. I am published author.
  7. Birch trees are my favorite.
  8. I have run with an Olympian.
  9. It is a great joy to read aloud to my students and be able to tell them “I met this author” and then tell them something no one knows about their writing.
  10. I am a yoga teacher.
  11. I had scarlet fever when I was 4 and have been scared of doctors ever since.
  12. Orange is my favorite color.
  13. 13 is my favorite number.
  14. I love Jack, tequila, Sam Adam’s cold snap, Diet Coke, ice water, and wine.
  15. I hate me some kale.
  16. I have a scar on my right wrist from burning it taking corn muffins out of the oven in middle school Home Ec.
  17. I swam in high school and went to state.
  18. I didn’t start running til I was in my 30’s.
  19. I have run 10 marathons and several ultras (anything over 26.2) and one 50 miler.
  20. I have 4 children.
  21. When I was a toddler I used to hold my breath and make myself pass out when I was mad. I used to do this over trivial things like not wanting to eat my green beans. My parents took me to a sleep study to find out their daughter was just stubborn. They were not happy.
  22. I am a podcast junkie – I LOVE THEM!
  23. I used to play the violin and doubted my ability the entire time. I was third chair and was recruited to the college orchestra but haven’t played since I was 17.
  24. I adore my online writing community through Storyaday.org
  25. I adore my Mastermind book club hosted by Sam Kimberlie.
  26. I am reading Don’t Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller with the Mastermind group.
  27. I read tarot cards.
  28. I am reading Amber Spark’s collection And I Do Not Forgive You
  29. I used to teach bootcamp classes.
  30. I once started tomato plants from seeds and it worked!
  31. I love to teach workshops.

What is one thing I don’t know about you?

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FMF – RISK

You can read this 5 minute writing on Medium here: https://medium.com/the-partnered-pen/fmf-risk-3da8ce467eca

Reading on Medium helps support me as a writer!

Every Friday Kate chooses a word for her community to write on for 5 minutes and link. Please visit fiveminutefriday.com to read more essays on RISK!

Want to read it right now??? OK…. Here you are!

Risk is equated to danger for me. I do not consider myself a brave person. I do not want to injure myself. Taking risks has its perspective. When I drive too fast (most of the time) I run the risk of getting pulled over and possibly a ticket. If I neglect to prep for work I run the risk of it being a stressful day. If I do not risk asking and striving for what I want then I would never attain it.

Why do our brains go immediately to the most extreme example? Honestly, my first thought was jumping off a cliff — something I have never done. It is not on my bucket list.

Every day comes with risk. There is no predicting the future. Accidents happen, feelings get hurt, people get sick, hearts are broken.

If I risk sharing who I am then I run the risk of being rejected. That is the basis of my #100rejections project. I send out a piece of writing a day with the idea to collect 100 rejections. I also run the risk of being accepted. As an every day risk of rejection it makes the blow feel less. I think the more we put off certain things the more impact it actually has. For example, I do not like to talk on the phone. For a long time, I did not even order pizza. I am the person that loves online ordering because I do not have to talk to a person. I one time put off a 5 minute phone call for 3 hours worrying about it. Too much time wasted.

STOP!

Versatile Blogger Award!

Thank you to the fabulous Eilidh Horder for nominating me for this award! Check out her blog here.

She is a wonderful creative and a talented photographer!

Rules:

So here they are:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their website.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself.

3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.

7 Facts About Me

  1. I abhor left turns – I will sometimes drive around in a circle to avoid them.
  2. I drink way too much coffee.
  3. When I was a toddler I used to hold my breath and make myself pass out when I was mad. I used to do this over trivial things like not wanting to eat my green beans. My parents took me to a sleep study to find out their daughter was just stubborn. They were not happy.
  4. I have been homeless 3 times in the last 5 years.
  5. I used to play the violin and doubted my ability the entire time. I was third chair and was recruited to the college orchestra but haven’t played since I was 17.
  6. I have run with an Olympic athlete.
  7. I am contemplating a podcast!

Nominations:

  1. https://ashalvesblog.com/
  2. https://bedvyang.wordpress.com/
  3. https://perpetuallypastdue.com/
  4. https://thecoycaterpillarreads.blog/
  5. https://astijake.wordpress.com/
  6. https://ididnthavemyglasseson.com/
  7. https://travelwithigor.wordpress.com/

If you would like to read about some unexpected things about me you can do that here.

How to Increase Intentional Student Talk with Protocols

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Protocols are systems used to engage students in intentional talk. The person who is talking is the one who is learning. Using protocols also increases the levels of engagement for every student.

Join me in a workshop to learn how to use protocols with your students.

What is the book that you keep coming back to? What is the text you use in your classroom over and over again no matter what level you teach because it resonates with you and your students?

If you teach a class that isn’t reading or language arts based is there a text that you refer to because it’s just one you love?

I have a friend who loved a book in third grade so much she stole it from her library. She still has it — in fact she ran to her classroom excitedly to come show me the book after workshop at one time.

If you were attending my workshop in real life after you signed in and picked up your workshop point page you would write this text on an index card. We will be using it in just a few minutes.

The secret for some of these actions to work is you must do something with them. Students are more likely to participate and engage if they know their efforts are not wasted.

I’m just not having you arbitrarily write down a book because I want to add it to my Amazon list. We are going to talk about it and make connections.

Now let’s come to the back of the room and form a circle — it may be more of an oval because of how the class is arranged. Please bring your index card with you. We are going to do something called CrewWe are all crew, not passengers. Everyone has a job. We stand in a circle because everyone is equal, there are no sides, and everyone can see each other.

We will introduce ourselves and tell everyone where we teach and then the rest of the group will greet us by name. When you do this with students it is important to use names. There are several students I am sure you can think of that never hear their names in a positive tone throughout the day. Crew builds the culture and the shared accountability in the classroom. It’s important for them to hear their name in a loving supportive way from the teacher and from their fellow crew members..


Crew is made up of three parts — greeting, reading, and closing. Now we are ready for the reading part.

Can someone please give voice to the quote on the screen —

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” — Jim Rohn

Can someone else please give voice to the quote?

For our crew today everyone brought their index card with them which is your Admit Ticket. Now I’m going to have you combine your work from the Admit Ticket protocol with a protocol called Back-to-Back Face-to-Face.

You’re going to share what you wrote on your card and make a connection to the quote we just read about reading.

Back-to-Back Face-to-Face is a protocol where two students find a partner and stand back-to-back. This allows students to have thinking time for what they’re going to say when it is time to share with their partner. Teachers can have students put a thumb up on their chest when they are done thinking so the teacher has a visual clue that everyone is ready. Then the teacher says “face-to-face” and students turn and share. This can be a one-time share or you can have students find another partner and go back to back and face to face and share again to get another perspective.


Tea Party

The next protocol we’re going to move to is called Tea Party. This protocol was created by Kylene Beers. It takes a little more preparation than the protocols we have practiced so far.

I selected an article for you to read. It was cut apart in an intentional way.

Each student gets a piece of the article and independently reads it. On the back of their excerpt or on a separate piece of paper the student writes a prediction of what they think the article is about in a complete sentence.

Then students get in groups. Today I chose groups of three. Within the group share and compare text and predictions.

Then each student receives a copy of the article and reads it independently. Here annotation can be helpful.

Now each individual student finishes the sentence stem of

I used to think ….now I know….

using their first written predictions and their new information learned from the reading.

Back to the same groups and share these statement and formulate a group statement using the same sentence stem. Share out will be the group statement of predictions and new learning.

I particularly like the tea party protocol because it allows students to practice the idea of predicting and then changing their prediction based on new information.

It also allows for individual accountability for the reading and then a group accountability because the group works on writing their own statement


Boxing

The next protocol we’re going to use as one of my new favorites. You will receive a large poster paper for each group. Please draw the boxes to prepare.

You will read the first page only of the article you just received. As a group please log your thoughts about what you already know about the topic and what you want to learn.


Now as a group decide how you want to read the rest of the article — everyone reads it all, or you may chunk it up. After reading, log quotes and new learning in the middle box on your poster.


After your new learning then log a summary within the center box. It can be a picture, a phrase or just one word.

This protocol is one where there’s lots of room for variation for digging in deeper to a worthy text. You can use it for poetry analysis where each group does a chunk of the poetry and digs in deeper to each stanza.

A gallery walk can then be done where each group moves from poster to poster reading their classmates work to learn of everyone’s insights.

Closing

Let’s circle up again in the back of the room. We are going to go around one last time. I would like you to share one word from today that sums up how you are feeling, what you learned, or maybe what your next action is.

Thanks for attending the workshop today!

Tammy L. Breitweiser is a curriculum coach in Northwest Indiana where she is currently dedicated to impacting student achievement in grades 3–6. With more than 24 years of experience, she is a reading advocate who believes reading is the gateway. She is working on a collection of short stories. You can connect with Tammy on Twitter (@tlbreit)or You can sign up for her newsletter here.

Weekend Coffee Share

Join me for coffee and conversation!

It is Sunday again and the temps are a little cooler here. There is supposed to be a heat wave this week here in the Midwest later this week. I hope it stays away.

If we were having coffee I would tell you this weekend is the anniversary of me moving into the house I am living in now. It is not my forever home and I feel it. The birds do great us every morning as do the bunnies and the baby squirrels. There is lots of green which I adore.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it was a productive and busy week at work. Lots of conversation and planning which was positive.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am in week 5 of the Artist’s Way program. I am doing my morning pages every day which are three handwritten pages of whatever comes to mind. It clears the way for the creative juice to flow. On Thursday night the ideas kept coming for articles and stories and I really wish I could have taken a writing day ALL DAY Friday to massage and nurture those words into pieces but alas the day job and other responsibilities called.

If we were having coffee I would tell you Storyaday is going strong. I have been writing to the prompts everyday and it has been going well. I enjoy the challenge and use it to try different techniques to foster my writing skills. I tried a new genre this week — cyberpunk. It was out of my comfort zone but a fun experiment. I wrote a 100ish word story and still do not like them! hahaha I have met some new writers through the group as well and that has been interesting. The Zoom call was Tuesday night. We did a lot of writing sprints — where we set the time and write all together — but there was some talking. I write in the morning on my own so I show up more for the conversation then the word count. It does get me some extra words. This week I worked on nonfiction during the call.

You can read the whole post here.

Weekend Coffee Share

It has been a fast week! I almost forgot it was Sunday time rolling back around. I think today I will have caramel syrup in my cup. I feel like having some sweet. What would you like to drink today?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this week was full of meetings at work. There were after school meetings and lots of conversations with teachers about planning and ILearn our state mandated test. I did a lot of running around between the 3 buildings I go between as well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am excited Storyaday is starting next weekend. I do this challenge twice a year. In May and September I write a story a day. My online writing group came out of this challenge and I speak with at least one of the Superstars daily.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I took a writing class for 2 days. It pushed me out of my comfort zone a little. I had a hard time with the prompts which surprised me. They should have been within my wheelhouse. The prompts came later in the day and I was forced to write later in the evening after thinking about the prompt which is not my ideal time. I do have two new prompts to work with moving forward though. I will for sure use them again. It was fun to play. I did get two drafts done plus a third partial because of the class.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the idea of making space has been on my mind. There is space for community and interaction. I am the type of person who is quite solitary but I can build up ideas to a point where I want to share. Most of the time this is through writing, but sometimes I need people. I need to carve out space for things that energize me which I have not done well with since school started back.

Making space for writing, reading, and exercise is important as well. Honestly, sometimes just taking a moment of stillness too. I have so many priorities!

I am part of several communities but the interaction is not always at the level I crave at the moment. The 2 day class didn’t allow for the type of interaction among writers as a longer one allows so connections were not really formed sadly. I still haven’t quite figured out how to do that either which is part of the problem. Medium is a community as well and I interact with other writers through their pieces. I have my AW group also.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I got into a flash fiction class for the end of September which I am excited about.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I picked up some great books at the library this week including The Little Swedish Kitchen! If anything it will inspire a story. I also picked up There, There have you read it? I keep hearing wondering comments about it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you …this is your prompt! Finish the sentence for me. What have you been thinking about?

You can read the entire post here.