Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation Every Weekend

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Welcome back to the weekend. Thank you chatting with me today. What can I get you? Coffee? Cream? Sugar?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the week felt heavy. Many COVID cases are coming closer to me. Work is a high volume problem area. Places are starting to shut down again or modifying service. It seems we are right back to where we were in March. (Insert big sigh)

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? If you like the Weekend Coffee Share you will love the newsletter. I wrote about traditions, pain anniversaries, and Thanksgiving. You don’t want to miss the next edition of the Inner Circle Secrets Newsletter.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am working on my story for my final project in my Short Story Intensive. I still have to cut 1000 words… It is due to the group on November 30th. Then it goes into the first round of critique by the teacher and another member of the group.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my writing prompts are going strong. I have gotten so much pleasure out of this project. More than I suspected. You can receive daily emails of the new prompts and get access to all the previous posted prompts by signing up at my Patreon here. Each prompt comes with a reflection.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my friend Jenna is opening her coaching program connected to Human Design! I am so excited. She is amazing and insightful. You can find the info here about her offerings. You won’t be sorry you signed up for a session. My sessions with her have been incredible and I always leave energized with new information.

Here are some words from Jenna herself:

I created the Clarity + Connection Conversations offering to make it easier; to clearly identify the next steps that are best for you and to provide you with the encouragement and accountability to see them through.

No matter the session you select below, these Conversations are designed to focus in on an area of your life where you need guidance, reference the nuances of your unique design, help you gain clarity on the answers you seek, and solidify your next steps forward.

Do you need a warm up? Ice water perhaps?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was inspired by my students this week and our readings of The Three Little Pigs and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. I had one little that insisted everyday that was the FAKE version of the story. His version was the only REAL one with the pigs not getting eaten.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I enjoyed my walks this week. The sunset was part of all of them. I was able to listen to some good podcasts as well. Lately, I have been disappointed in the podcast feed.

If we were having coffee I would wish you a wonderful week and American Thanksgiving! The holiday will look different for many this year due to lockdowns and travel bans.

Thank you for joining me today! Thanks to https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ for being the host of this amazing gathering every weekend!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation Every Weekend

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Hello! Welcome back to the weekend. Thank you for joining me for a chat. Can I pour you a cup of coffee? Cream? Sugar?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I went to the dentist twice this week. Once for a cleaning and then for a filling and repair. It was supposed to be on the same day, but the dentist’s daughter had a high fever and they had to reschedule. For the first time in my life the numbing didn’t take. It was luckily a small amount of decay so I muscled through with three little electric shocks. I am happy that all the repairs are over and I just have cleanings to look forward to.

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? If you like the Weekend Coffee Share you will love the newsletter. I wrote about my perfectionism this past Friday. It got quite a response. You don’t want to miss the next edition of the Inner Circle Secrets Newsletter.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have a writing class on Saturday. I also have a writing call with my Intensive group on Sunday morning. I have been writing every day. I am doing a combo of Sarah Selecky daily prompts, the Nancy Stohlman Flash Nano prompts, and my own regular writing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we are in the last 50 days of 2020 now! You can receive daily emails of the new prompts and get access to all the previous posted prompts by signing up at my Patreon here. Each prompt comes with a reflection and more info as well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had a story published this week at Five on the Fifth! I was excited this story found a home. I love it so much. You can read that here. Another story I love is being published in February of 2021 in another fantastic publication. More info about that as we get closer.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I enjoy reading my horoscopes from Chani Nicholas. I have always been fascinated by astrology but find Chani’s work extra special. Even if this is something you don’t “believe” in they are great sources for writing inspiration as well. You can sign up for her emails here.

Do you need a warm up? Ice water perhaps?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I starting doing drawing videos with my students this week. It is super fun and takes 5 minutes. My students are fantastic writers and have come so far in 11 weeks. We drew a cartoon fox and turkey this week and they were so detailed and fun. I highly recommend this Youtube channel. Even if you just like to doodle yourself with no kids they are super fun! It is a great way to be playful.

Thank you for joining me today! Thanks to https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ for being the host of this amazing gathering every weekend!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation Every Weekend

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Welcome! I am so happy you joined me today. I am so ready for a casual sit down with some coffee with you today. I have regular black coffee with some espresso added for some extra kick. What would you like today?

This week has been one of not much sleep for me. With the time change and everything going on in the world I seemed to be thrown off in a major way. I also sunk right into a vivid dream each time I went back to sleep too which is highly unusual. How has your sleep been this week?

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? If you like the Weekend Coffee Share you will love the newsletter. I wrote about connection in these strange times last Friday. You don’t want to miss the next edition of the Inner Circle Secrets Newsletter.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you last Sunday we traveled to Chicago and went to the Museum of Science and Industry. Then we ate Giordano’s pizza. It was a fun day in the city. Quieter than normal due to Covid and less people everywhere.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I picked up many short story collections this week from the library that has been glorious. I read from the 2020 Best American Short Stories Friday night. T.C. Boyle has a story in there called The Apartment which was delightful. I have Emma Cline’s new collection and also Nicole Krauss’. I think Nicole has some of the most beautiful sentences in the world!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the last 100 days writing prompts is so much fun! You can receive daily emails of the new prompts and get access to all the previous posted prompts by signing up at my Patreon here. I post the prompt and writing process ideas and my personal experience as well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had a story published this week at Five on the Fifth! I was excited this story found a home. I love it so much. You can read that here.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you, “Do you know I have a podcast?” A close friend of mine has jokingly accused me of hiding it so here is the link! It is now available on six different platforms, including Google Podcasts.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that through logging my words I realized I write a lot more than I imagined. I have an established writing routine that works for me and am unsure a challenge of any sort will influence it at this point. I love the community of NANOWRIMO and believe every writer should participate in some aspect. You don’t HAVE to write a novel. You can be a rebel. But if you want to establish a writing routine then doing it with a worldwide support group is the time!

Do you need a warm up on your drink? Ice water perhaps?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been enjoying my journaling in a whole new way lately. Are there prompts you like to use? A resource or a person that I might not know? Please share with me! I am examining the writing process journal with a new lens too. There will be more about that coming soon.

Thank you for joining me today! Thanks to https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ for being the host of this amazing gathering every weekend!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation Every Weekend

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Thanks for joining me today! It is November this weekend. Do you know what that means?

NANOWRIMO!

For those who do not know that is National Novel Writing Month. The month where writers get together in all types of community and support each other to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I would love to hear about your writing goals for this month.

I have my black coffee today. What would you like to drink today? I have some pumpkin scones and cranberry too.

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? If you like the Weekend Coffee Share you will love the newsletter.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you November also means the time change. This is not my favorite time of year for sure. I have issues with sleeping and feeling tired anyway but the time change is jet lag without the trip.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you there are some major things happening this month for me. It is an emotionally charged month for sure. The writing community will help and I am motivated to achieve my goals as always. Work and writing will be good distractions.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the last 100 days writing prompts is going excellently! You can be part of the fun! Sign up at my Patreon here. Here is today’s prompt:

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I hosted a write in this week and it was creatively fueling and fun! We laughed a lot and got a lot of writing done in a short time. I am looking forward to the write ins for November!

If we were having coffee, I would ask you, “Do you know I have a podcast?” A close friend of mine has jokingly accused me of hiding it so here is the link! It is now available on six different platforms, including Google Podcasts.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you what you did for Halloween! It looked a lot different this year for us. We had a little party at the house since there was no trick or treating with a spooky table. The witch fingers and vampire teeth were a hit with the kids.

Do you need a warm up on your drink? Ice water perhaps? Another scone?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I always look forward to the new month. It feels like everything is full of possibility. What are your plans for November?

Thank you for joining me today! Thanks to https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ for being the host of this amazing challenge every weekend!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation Every Weekend

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Thanks for joining me for a quiet chat today. It has been a week of ups and downs for me. The last few days have been calm and I am thankful.

What would you like to talk about today?

I am back to my black coffee today. I tried a new brand and it is dark and rich and delicious. What would you like today?

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? If you like the Weekend Coffee Share you will love the newsletter.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been continuing to participate in OCTPOWRIMO and writing poetry all week but only in my notebook.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I read a story on a Zoom gathering with the Sarah Selecky Writing School earlier in the week. I assumed there would be more people, but it ended up only being 12. This fact burst my idea to just listen and not read. The comments were positive and the other writers shared amazing work.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am pleased how the 100 writing prompt project is progressing. You can be part of the fun! Sign up at my Patreon here. Here is today’s prompt:

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was asked a question about using Twitter as an author. I do not recommend any social media platform you do not like. Don’t use it because “it seemed like a good idea.” Your authentic person needs to shine through.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you, “Do you know I have a podcast?” A close friend of mine has jokingly accused me of hiding it so here is the link! It is now available on six different platforms, including Google Podcasts.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you, “Do you know it is November next weekend?” That seems crazy to me. It also means the time change which means the jet lag feeling. I am looking forward to reading In November with my class. It is a picture book I adore.

Do you need a warm up on your drink? Ice water perhaps?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I submitted two more stories this week. I am looking forward to hearing back from the editors!

Thank you for joining me today! Thanks to https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ for being the host of this amazing challenge every weekend!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation Every Weekend

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

I am so glad we can sit together and chat today. Thanks for joining me. What would you like to talk about today? What is the most important thing on your mind?

I am treating myself with a pumpkin spice latte today! I am going to celebrate the season with my beverage. What would you like today?

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? If you like the Weekend Coffee Share you will love the newsletter.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you if you have ever read Turn of the Screw? This novella has come up several times over the last week for me. Nina Lacour used it as an inspiration for her wonderful book Watch Over Me. I downloaded it on a reader on my phone and started it last night.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have been participating in OCTPOWRIMO and writing poetry all week. It has been a nice change from my regular writing routine.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I did not walk every day this week. At school, we had to stay late both Tuesday and Thursday to do virtual parent conferences. I missed the feeling and the routine of the walks. The weather is quite windy this weekend so I have to bundle up! Winter is coming.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am excited how the 100 writing prompt project is moving along. The responses to the prompts are good and everyone is making them their own. You can be part of the fun! Sign up at my Patreon here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you Nina Lacour was on the Marginally Podcast. It was a great interview. She also was on First Draft with Sarah Enni which was an amazing conversation to listen to as well.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you, “Do you know I have a podcast?” A close friend of mine has jokingly accused me of hiding it so here is the link!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I adore Ray Bradbury and his influence. So many of his quotes have had an impact on my writing life. I came across a new one.

Write a thousand words a day and in three years you will be a writer.

Ray Bradbury

My friend Amy has convinced me to do the million words in a year challenge. We are starting November 1. It is more than 1,000 words a day but doable. I am excited that I am taking on challenges that have expanded past the 30 challenge boundary I usually participate in.

Do you need a warm up on your drink? Ice water perhaps?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I heard an exercise taken from screenwriting called “List of 20”. When you need anything for your story, make a list of 20. If your characters need to get out a situation make a list of 20 ways they can get out it. Your brain will make you write down the obvious ones first. After you get past number 10 then you may get to something more unique.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my October workshop for my Patreon is impactful! I made it a self guided recording this month because the exercises are more personal. One participant, Jenna, said: The October Workshop was SO good! Thank you for sharing so many incredible insights and exercises. I’ve been feeling a little low and fuzzy-headed lately, and this workshop was really a breath of fresh air. You can have access to this workshop and the past ones by clicking here.

What are you most excited about from your week? I would love to hear in the comments. How are you getting ready for Halloween – if you do anything?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I ordered whiskey glasses that are created for Old Fashioneds because I saw this drink recipe. I cannot wait to make it!

Thank you for joining me today! Thanks to https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ for being the host of this amazing challenge every weekend!

Short Story Show and Tell

A Look at Craft Focusing on One Short Story

I have a list of stories I return to that I use as models for writing. One I love is Amber Spark’s Thirteen Ways to Destroy a Painting from her collection The Unfinished World. You can listen to the story here.

Amber is one of the short story writers I follow closely. In interviews she talks about how she takes old fairy tales and puts a modern spin on them which I admire.  Her most recent collection is magical and I highly recommend it. 

One of the many aspects I love about this story is that the title draws me in because of the use of the number. There is something seductive about numbers, especially thirteen. There is much debate about the luck of thirteen. The structure of the story also follows a numbered sequence. The story is told with a time traveler attempting to destroy a painting that stubbornly keeps reappearing in her own time. 

Another element that is a takeaway for my own writing is how she uses the repeated element of an object. In this case it is the painting. The painting is an anchor in the story and is referred to in each numbered section. Each iteration of the painting shows the title changes and the size depending on how the time travelers actions affected the painting. These are small details that contribute to the pacing of the story. You keep reading to find out what happens to the painting next. 

As you read, you wonder if she will succeed and destroy the painting eventually. Your brain also knows there are thirteen iterations and then some conclusion will occur.  There is also perseverance as a theme in this story. She doesn’t try to just destroy this painting three times (Magic 3 in fairy tales often) it is 13. There is a stubbornness there from the time traveler which we wonder about throughout the reading.

Time travel is always an element I am drawn to but I have seen it done well and done horribly in short stories and in novels. Satisfying time travel is hard to pull off. Time travel requires a relationship with magic for the author and the reader.

This story also reminds me of the connection between the writing practice we do and how that eventually emerges in a finished piece. Kathy Fish teaches an exercise in her flash fiction classes where you take a scene and write it three different ways. This story shows how an author can do this and make it a published story. This idea also reminds me of an earlier exercise in the course with the I don’t remember prompt and how a similar list shows up in Tobias Wolff’s Bullet to the Brain. I have learned to pick out some of these freewriting elements and how they show up in published pieces.

The characters are identified by their labels in this story, not by name. The names do not matter in this story and gives the reader a bit of distance. The painting itself falls into this category for me as well. The descriptions of the people are tight and pack a lot in a few sentences. For instance: 

He is so young, the artist, a white smooth face in the dark of his walk-up. She supposes this will be easy-from the empty, hungry tilt of his face, to the stooped posture from painting under this sloped attic roof.

The artist looks at her aghast but defiant. The artist knows his way around this kind of truth.

Another pacing technique I noticed is shown in section seven through ten. As the reader is moving through the destruction attempts, this section is written in two sentence bursts with repeated phrasing. This reiterates that the painting still exists and you can feel the frustration of the time traveler’s efforts.

Seven: The time traveler sets fire to the unfinished painting. The painting is still there.

Eight: The time traveler pours acid on the unfinished painting. The painting is still there.

Sparks is a short story writer that achieves a satisfying ending sometimes with unanswered questions which is a reason I read this type of story in the first place. Kelly Link is another author that does the same. Link is more blatant in her “unfinished” endings and has been unapologetic about it.

Thirteen Ways is a story I feel is satisfying but also has sticking power.  When I first read this story I kept coming back to it. I felt a connection to these characters and the frustration from both sides.

I appreciate the style Sparks writes in and underline many of her sentences.

Here is a sentence I love from section Thirteen:

She was more in love with life than with him-she’d never have believed how black and long the days could stretch over her, mean and empty, like shadows in the winter.

I would love to hear your impressions of this story and lines that popped out to you. This is a piece I have used to teach short story to my middle school students along with Neil Gaiman’s Click Clack Rattle Bag. 

I hope you enjoyed it and found something in it for your own writing.

Need a writing prompt today?

I am sending out a writing prompt for the last 100 days of 2020!

Here is today’s:

If you like this prompt come join my Patreon and have them delivered to your inbox every day!

Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

Welcome to the weekend! Since most people are still not traveling anywhere let’s pretend we are riding on a train to have an adventure together! We can order a fancy coffee beverage or just plain coffee. On this train, the coffee is amazing so you are free to order anything!

If we were sipping coffee I would ask you if you subscribe to my newsletter – if not, please click here!

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you wrote several posts for my BYOB challenge from Ninja Writers. If you missed them, you can read them here.

Life Experiments

Six Ways to Be a Better Writing Teacher

Do You Know How To Rest?

Can I Ask You A Question?

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I am still in my program from Caroline Donahue called Write Free. This week we talked more about the critic and I learned more about mine. I thought I had silenced her but she just got quiet. I wrote every day of course. I have been writing with my Sarah Selecky prompts but have not been posting many to the Centered space.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I subscribed again to The Letter Exchange (LEX). LEX connects snail mail pen pals through listings in the magazine and provides a confidential letter-forwarding service. I joined in the late 90’s but due to moving around so much the last couple of years it didn’t work. While I was doing a task from The Artist’s Way this week I reminded myself and did a search. I wrote three letters on Saturday!

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I walked every day. We have been using some new routes and have found a beautiful street to walk down.

Do you need another coffee? I am going to the barista and have him work his magic!

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I am launching a Patreon page. I have wrestled with the idea of this platform for a while and feel like it will encompass all the things I create and provide in a streamlined way. There will be exclusive posts, workshops, write in’s, a private Slack channel, and coaching opportunities. Stay tuned for more details.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I started reading Great House by Nicole Krauss. I am not sure how I missed this book. It is about a writing desk and I love the way she writes her sentences. I am savoring it and reading it slowly. The History of Love was a great read during this pandemic. I want to learn more about Nicole’s process but haven’t been able to find too much.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you I listened to two great calls with the author Amber Sparks. One was a small library event and she shared some stories that were new to me which was delightful. The second was an event hosted by Politics and Prose and you can watch that here. The other writers on this call are Laura van den Berg, Tania James and Rion Amilcar Scott.

If we were sipping coffee I would tell you this post was inspired by https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ and https://www.savvywordslinger.com/bloghome. Check them out.

If we were sipping coffee I would love to hear where you would like to travel once we are allowed again. I cannot wait to get over to Germany for Oktoberfest.

Can We Talk?

How Verbalization Can Help Us All Be Better Writers

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Last summer I was honored to attend a literacy conference where Cornelious Minor spoke. I took copious notes and was able to have many conversations with colleagues in the evening. That is the advantage of being at a multiple day conference – you can chat with your tribe about what you learned that day and move forward with plans for the schools.

Over the last 25 years as an educator and attendee of conferences, I have learned to synthesize my notes at the end of the day. I read back through them and fill in the gaps of half written sentences and ideas. I fill out more of the story that was shared I want to remember as an example for teaching later. I also make checklists of action items, things to further research, and people I need to talk to.

I learned Minor also takes notes in a real notebook and carries it around with him all the time when he does workshops. He is full of stories of living in New York and of students and teachers he has worked with. He had to scan all his old notebooks recently because the paper journals were taking too much room in their small NY apartment.

This conference was full of personal connections for me as well. Not only did I have the advantage of having great friends with me to confer with but also a consultant we had worked with for years. I also was able to meet someone in person from Twitter and a connection from a reading board we both had served on at different times. Overall it was three days of connection and learning.

I reflect on this experience this morning and wonder when this will happen again – if ever.

Another way I synthesize info is to skeleton plan a workshop before I even leave. I think about if I were teaching this material to others when I return to where ever I am going what would my spin on this look like. Since the beginning of my career I have paid attention to the nuts and bolts of how presentations are deployed. How did the presenter get everyone engaged? What questions did they ask? Did they do an ice breaker? How did they get people to talk? How did they build relationships? I compare these ideas to my own style and make notes about how it would look for me.

If I am taking a plane I always write and make action plans in my notebooks on the way home. There is something about being away that has a magic spell quality to it. When the wheels touch down at the home airport you have to return to the normal schedule. You fall back into natural tendencies and routine and don’t always use the new learning.

When I started teaching I also made a pact with myself that if I took time to be out of the classroom, I would make sure to use one thing the day I returned.

I do love to give presentations. I have had to move to a virtual world which bring its own complications, but I know how to pivot!

Writing matters.

It gives us tools to deal with struggle. Everyone has experiences and something to say. We have all been broken in some way or another. This applies to us (teachers, or friends of teachers) as writers and our students.

Writing gives us power over our struggle. A way to deal with it and reframe. To try out ways to tell it to other people. It is a powerful device of possibility.

As teachers we create what I call the “greenhouse effect”. We set up all the circumstances for students to have learning experiences with the most amount of obstacles out of the way. This is why we have huge classroom libraries, and over plan. Sometimes we do this too well. The goal is for students to have productive struggle in a balance as to not create frustration and shut down. A certain amount of struggle is needed for learning and retention.

Exercise:

Take out a notebook and a pen or your laptop. Set the timer for 7 minutes. Write whatever comes to mind on the topic of:

Possibility and Power – What do these words conjure up for you?

Do not censor yourself. Just write what comes. Keep your pen moving no matter what comes out.

Ok, the timer went off! You can stop. What did you notice about your thoughts are centered around these two ideas? How does that translate to your classroom?

Verbalization

When we are teaching, one of the most powerful questions we can ask is, “What do you think?” and then wait for the answer. When I have asked this question to students I get the blank stare and many times this statement: “No one has ever asked me that before.”

“What do you think?” is a question we need to be posing more often in order to give them writing practice. We ask students to write a genre after giving only one or two models many times. This is simply not fair. Verbalization can allow practice 9-10 times before writing which gives them a much better opportunity to write a higher quality piece with more confidence.

Talking before writing helps students know what they want to write down. It takes practice to figure out what we want to say. (How many drafts of that email to your principal did you write?)

The person who is doing the talking is the one that is doing the learning. Think about the last time you were in your real life classroom. (I know…go WAY back…) who was doing the talking? In my coaching experience, I would venture to guess you will say the teacher unless you teach a curriculum like EL education where student talk is built in. This is a by product of feeling like there is never enough time. Teachers need to “cover” material for students to be exposed. The worst feeling in the world is to not get to a concept which we know is tested on the high stakes exam and feeling like we didn’t even give our students an opportunity to answer even in a minimal way.

A strategy to get them talking is to use what interests them. This can range from Pokemon to zombie ants. Get them excited and engaged and use that talk to your advantage.

Exercise:

Look at your phone and find a picture that is meaningful to you. If you were to share with someone why it was meaningful, what is the story you would tell?

Storyboards

What is a Storyboard? | Storyboard Template | Storyboard Maker

Another way I have encouraged talk before writing in my classroom is to use an idea I learned from Linda Rief. A simple storyboard of 3-6 boxes is a powerful tool for talk. I have students think of an exciting or an embarrassing story to tell their classmates. I set the timer for 5 minutes and have them sketch and stick figure out the story within the 3-6 boxes. Minimal words are used here. There is a limit of 2 words per box.

Then the student tells the story, using their storyboard to a classmate. The listener gives feedback to what they enjoyed about the story and asks questions about where they are confused.

After three rounds of this practice with different partners the students write their story. The amount of detail and flow to the stories after this exercise works wonders.

How could you provide more opportunities for talk before writing in your classroom? I would love to hear about them in the comments!

August Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

Welcome to the first weekend of August! Summer is officially halfway completed. Have you signed up for my newsletter?

I am having black coffee today as usual. What would you like today? I think we should take a walk after we have a cup or two. The weather has been less humid here this week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am in a course hosted by Caroline Donahue called “Write Free”. It is about coming back to your creativity and getting through blocks. She uses the Mighty Network which works well for this project in my opinion. There is a great community and the content has been stellar in week one. I was able to persuade three writing friends to join so that has been a fun thing to share as well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I hosted Workshop Wednesday this past week. I prefer interactive classes and it was small enough in order for lots of conversation. The conversation centered around personality types and communication. Many people shared and we laughed a lot.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my kids tease me about doing Zoom calls in the closet. When I have to record anything audio or video it is a good spot with less noise. For workshops I go in there as well of course. A few people made comments afterwards about me teaching from the closet. Sounds like a title of a podcast. The new life we live!!

Do you need a refill? I always drink the first cup so fast!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my Back to Zero plan is still on track with fasting, hydration, and exercise. I ran/walked every day this past week. There were lots of interactions with animals this week. There are horses I pet on my way every day. There is also an attack mama turkey.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I learned about DMO this past Monday. It stands for Daily Method of Operation. It is the 3-5 things that if you do them means a successful day to you. I made a Keep note and have done my three every day. It is a nice tracking piece for me until it becomes engrained.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had a wonderful conversation with a friend on Tuesday and it lit my brain on fire. She made a comment to me that brought me back to what is, not what my perspective is. I have been thinking more and more about going back to coaching. I enjoy it so much. The Workshop Wednesday allowed me to use some of these skills as well as some other conversations this week. The lists have begun in the notebook!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am following the Ninja Writers BYOB (Blog Your Own Book) program this month. Last month was planning and this month is writing. I like the format that Shaunta talks about for articles and so far the community has been wonderful as well.

I would love to hear what delighted you this week!

I will see you in the comments or next week!