6 Word Memoirs

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Six- word memoirs are a go-to quick writing idea. Do not be disillusioned by their small stature though. They can be difficult to write. Practicing making your language concise is a trying practice for some authors no matter if you are 5 or 50 or somewhere in between.

Here are a couple of examples:

Lost in places where I belong.

I’ve waited in the wrong line.

Lost my mind. Gave up looking.

I’m forcing the puzzle pieces together.

More examples can be found here: https://www.sixwordmemoirs.com/

Teaching Idea:

  1. Use 6-word summaries for text students have read or you have read aloud.

Examples from Stellaluna

Image result for stellaluna
  • Fruit bat misses mom and birds.
  • Stellaluna has lost identity and mother.
  • Friends are different and the same.

2. Have students use the 6 words for their check for understanding for the day or a specific lesson.

3. Use as a recap of the most important thought of the day. Track them over time.

4. At the end of each grading period have students write a 6-word memoir of the most memorable thing. Reflect at the end of the year.

5. Another variation is to write an 18-word memoir from last year (2018) – what sticks out to you?

To better serve my readers please fill out this brief survey so I can give you the content you want! Thanks so much for reading and following!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For survey click here!

Advertisements

#SOL19 Memory Lane + Survey

I blog every Tuesday and link with other teacher writers at Two Writing Teachers.org. In March, they host a daily blogging and comment challenge. Come over to the blog and sign up to join in the fun this year!

Saturday was a trip down memory lane for me when I returned to the town where I started my teaching career.

I remembered the days I met my students at the park and we went sledding.

I remembered the Sundays I went to the library to get books for our class for the week and students started showing up when I was there.

I remembered the festivals downtown where I would hear my name shouted.

I remembered all the training I received at this corporation. I am still using most of what I learned there in my teaching life.

I remembered the teacher field trips we took to Brown County basically to eat pie and the line dancing class we took where I couldn’t keep up and just laughed the whole time.

I remembered the trips to Treasure Mart with Stephanie my friend and art teacher as we scoured for items to experiment with in our crafty states!

The town looked different and familiar at the same as 10 years of absence will do to perception.

One place I was looking forward to was lunch at Mike’s Pizza. My mouth was watering thinking about eating the Italian Beef Sandwiches and breadsticks. Sadly, they had closed at the beginning of the month.

What are you remembering today?

In order to serve my readers better please take a moment and take this brief survey and tell me your thoughts!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Survey

Weekend Coffee Share

Photo by Gagan Cambow on Pexels.com

Today I am having my regular large mug of black coffee. What would you like? It has been a busy week over here and I am looking forward to talking to you about it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the work week felt odd. I was in charge of facilitating training for two full days. Tuesday ending up being an e-learning day due to weather so the schedule had to get all rearranged. Friday our literacy consultant was there who had been rescheduled at least twice. It was a crazy mixed up week where I kept forgetting what day of the week it was! Then I ran out of coffee at work on Friday morning! BOOOOOO!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had a marvelous dinner on Friday. We went to an old school steak place in a nearby town and it was an amazing meal. Creamy garlic dressing for the salad, cheesy potato soup, ribeye, baked potato and fresh bread with honey butter. The creme brulee was disappointing but I will focus on the main meal!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you Saturday was Adventure Day. We drove about 2 hours to Kokomo. When I started my teaching career it was in Howard County. I have loads of fond memories there. Saturday’s trip centered around the Seiberling Mansion. It was built in the 1880s for about $50,000. All the materials and labor were local. The mansion is three floors and the Sierberlings loved to entertain so the top floor is a ballroom. I really wish there were pictures from that time period. There is only one picture of a daughter in a bedroom at her desk. There have been several owners over the years and Thomas Edison is said to have attended a wedding there.

The Indiana University extension took over the building for a while. Then the historical society came in and renovated.

There were several idea sparks that came to me while I was enjoying the house. There are lots of architectural details to look at. Lots of people have enjoyed the house and many more still do.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the restaurant I was so looking forward to eating at was closed just last week. I was so sad. Mike’s Pizza had been a place I ate at often when I lived there. They had the best Italian beef sandwiches and breadsticks. We made do with another lunch place that was still delicious but not familiar.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the last stop for this trip was Treasure Mart. This is a most interesting place. If you ever have writers’ block and any type of BLOCK walk around this place and it will be gone. There are all types of artifacts and trinkets and memorabilia. There are old typewriters, Coleman picnic kits from the 60’s, furniture, old photographs, cast iron skillets, decorative and practical kitchenware, old books, knives, guns, and the Oscar Mayer Weiner Whistle…you name it it is probably in the building somewhere. Again, lots of story sparks for me here.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had my critique group call on Saturday night. I was a bit late to the call because of the drive from Adventure Saturday. I should have taken bullet point notes to talk about the stories I critiqued. It was a new format for me. I did get to hear about my story too and I clarified some questions about it. Overall, it was a great experience. Thanks to Julie Duffy at storyaday.org for facilitating!

If we were having coffee I would tell you the #write28days word for today is CREATE. If you would like to read more post in this series click here for the landing page. I have created a lot of writing lately including some letters! I have written and revised several stories too. I even submitted 2 stories yesterday. I also submitted 2 super short pieces on Friday as well. We will see what happens! I am excited about the possibilities!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I met with a new writing friend at a local restaurant and we talked blogging, writing, and teaching. It was wonderful! We made plans to get together soon to write.

It was a full week of great things! What great things filled your last 7 days? I would love to hear about them!

This post is inspired by Eclectic Alli and her Coffee share page

FMF: Confident

Welcome to Friday! I participate in the Five Minute Friday challenge every week. Kate selects a word and I write for 5 minutes. This also fulfills my #write28days challenge for today!

Timer set…and GO!

As an introvert, I have had to learn extroverted tendencies for my profession. I am required to be “on stage” for students and teachers every day. I am also a presenter. I have NO PROBLEM speaking in front of 250+ people. I do prefer the audience to be people I do not know.

In the professional setting, I am confident. I know my content and my expertise level. I am always learning something new from the people around me. I am a life long learner in the truest sense.

For some reason, I am not able to transfer this confidence into the social aspects of my life. I have to force myself to join in social situations. I do not do small talk well. I force myself into uncomfortable situations. It is a tricky predicament.

As a runner, I was able to place an action I excelled at in the forefront which buffered the social aspects. I can do this with writing in certain circles as well. The writing and running were my shields. This is part of my coping mechanisms.

When or where are you most confident?

What are your shields?

Where Do I Live? #SOL19

Where we live says something about us. When we ask this question it gives us insight into the person that is answering. There is a lot to talk about surrounding the answer and variations of this question.

This question was asked of me various ways last Saturday when I attended my writer retreat at a local Buddhist retreat and meditation center. I have lived in so many different places over the last couple of years I always hesitate before answering. I do not feel that the town I am currently living in reflects who I am. Which in many respects is silly. We did move here based on county affiliation and closeness to my work. I am in a temporary place and I know it. It is like we are stationed in this house and waiting for the next deployment and the emotions around this idea are complicated for me. So when I answered the question when asked by the wonderful people I was meeting, it sounded wrong when I said the name of my town in response. No one was judging one way or another but I felt like I needed to explain something that I could not quite place. I wondered if it sounded inauthentic when I spoke it. I felt the need to share the town I worked in too even though it wasn’t asked.

When one of my friends asked me how I was settling in a couple weeks after we moved to this house I answered, “I cannot walk around in the dark yet.” I still cannot most nights. It has been 5 months.

I positively frame the situation and am grateful for having a house to live in. We have a great backyard that we will enjoy in the spring. We will plant flowers and veggies to enjoy this spring and summer too. Everyone has space here and my car is warm in the winter because we have a garage.

In this town, there is a delightful coffee shop and a used bookstore that I will frequent as time passes. There are new restaurants to try that are not chains.

I grew up in Northwest Indiana and left to live in Central Indiana after high school. I came back to the north after my Oma died. I knew if I didn’t leave the state after college graduation I would stay here. I plan to change that status in a couple of years.

I have been asked when I moved from New York to live in Indiana. I have been told I don’t quite fit where I am.

Here is what I love about where I live – it is where I am. It is where my husband and four children are and that is what is important. (My books and writing are here too – also important!) The memories we have made in this area are important.

The physical space has come to not matter so much to me. I live inside my head a lot of time and circumstances have taught me to learn that many things I thought that were unshakeable are temporary. This is how life works and how I learn so I am not sad about it. I hope this post has not left you melancholy.

My inquiry to you is:

Where do you live?

What do you love about it?

Every Tuesday I write and comment at TWOWRITINGTEACHERS.ORG. Come and read other people’s slices of life and comment when one strikes you. This post was also inspired by the 10 Things to Tell You Podcast.

Melody writes about being where you are. You can find her site here: http://melodywarnick.com/?ct=t%28EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2_11_2019_13_6%29&mc_cid=ef5ebb0f05&mc_eid=c5a7f71a7b

Weekend Coffee Share – Feb 10

Come and sit and let’s chat! I have a large cup of dark roast black coffee this morning. It is chilly this morning and I am sleepy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the #write28days blogging challenge. Today’s word is SUPPOSE. This word causes me to formulate a list of questions.

Suppose I start the GATHERINGs – what would happen? Would I keep them going? Would it become a business? Would I foster friendships that would last forever?

Suppose I recognize my skills and be confident and just do it?

Suppose I don’t start the group? Would I regret it?

Suppose it would be more fun to plan the gatherings than actually deploy them?

I am still pondering and planning over here.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it is back to winter temps again here – I cannot resist talking about the weather at least a little. It was around 12 degrees F the last couple of days. It was sunny yesterday with a little bit of flurries in the morning which always makes me happy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I went to a Buddhist center yesterday which hosted my writer retreat. I sat in the library just off the meditation room all day. I learned a lot about my novel and my process. I have a plan now as to how to move forward. I made some strong connections with other writers as well. I was also reminded that I need to not make assumptions about anyone’s process. I was surprised several times yesterday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have a busy week at work. I am trying to positively frame it…

If we were having coffee I would tell you I enjoyed my training on Friday. You can read about the library of stories here.

Please share something wonderful with me from your week and the drink you have!

How to Develop a Library of Stories

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

The word belonging came up at the Jim Knight training I attended yesterday and several times this week. Belonging is a large component of engagement which is a buzzword in education right now, but applies to everyone. Everyone has the need to belong which can mean simply to have friends and to be part of a tribe. Sometimes we find these people in real life and sometimes they are online.

One practice of how we connect with another human is through stories.

Developing a library of stories is the biggest takeaway for me from yesterday’s training. A library of stories is basically a cheat sheet to jog your memory when you need a story to illustrate a point or for entertainment. It could be on a physical piece of paper, it could be a list in your phone or a mapped graphic organizer at the back of your planner. It is a tool. It is similar to how I use my Goodreads list. Whenever someone asks what me I have read lately, my mind immediately goes blank. I often will open Goodreads to jar my memory. A library of stories is a similar tool.

Telling stories is one of the most important things we can do as people. It is how our brains work and also connects us to people! Stories are part of why I am a writer and an educator.

Storytelling is an effective practice for engagement. They are quite effective for fostering hope.

A few components to keep in mind:

  1. The story needs a purpose to the story – a why to why you are telling it. In the classroom it is likely to demonstrate concept or key idea. It may be humor or just a show of a similar situation.
  2. Effective stories CANNOT BE LAME. They should be concise, vivid, surprising, and emotional – but maybe not all at the same time.
  3. You audience must identify with the story you have chosen.

Using stories can help you illustrate the ideas you are trying to teach or portray. Danny Bauer talks about core value stories. His story of tenacity is portrayed with a story about honeybadgers. Doing the most important thing first is illustrated with the BIG DOMINO story. I remember these concepts because of the stories he told. Check out his podcast to hear the stories for yourself.

How to:

To develop a library for stories create a timeline from birth until today. The beauty is you can keep this paper (larger size might be better) for you to capture story ideas with a few words so that when you need to pull a story for a lesson or situation they are gathered in one place. You scan and choose.

List people.

List events.

List the stories that go with each using a few words.

When I first did this activity I was shocked how difficult it was for me to come up with events and people. It might have been due to the fact Knight told us the exercise should take 90 minutes and we were doing it in 2 minutes.

BUT… when I woke up this morning this idea was still with me. On the commute to my writers retreat I decided I would go through each age and see if I could recall stories that corresponded. The ones that emerged on the paper yesterday were the ones that I often tell. Several of them I have even written about on the blog. There were a few that I had forgotten about like the story I shared in my small group about a surprisingly difficult exercise class that left me uncharacteristically sore for days! It even hurt to breathe. I am sure if I would have had more time and it wasn’t 20 minutes before the end of the workshop I would have had more things to write.

A couple months ago I had made a list of 25 life altering moments based on a business book I was reading so I am going to find that list in whatever notebook it is in and add it to my timeline.

Moving forward, one idea Knight shared was to roll this idea out to teachers and then have check ins to talk about the stories they were using with students. I would love to start this practice. It would not only help the students strengthen relationships with teachers but it would cement the bond between educators.

What do you think of a library of stories? Do you like the idea of a timeline? Do you like the idea of a list? Is there a story you tell over and over?

Goals and Self Care Podcast

BLBS Ep 183 Tammy Breitweiser Goals and Self Care

Have you listened to the Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast? If not, today is the day to hear my guest spot. It is my debut podcast interview so I am super excited.

Danny and I talk about coaching, goal setting meetings with teachers, and questions I ask myself every morning to get ready for the day. I even explain my bullet journal.

10 Things to Tell You

Every Tuesday (And every day in March!!!!) I blog and share it with teacher-writers on the Two Writing Teachers blog.

My Slice of Life today is inspired by the new podcast of the same title of the post. To listen you can find it here.

Image result for 10 things to tell you podcast
  1. Accept is my word today for today’s #Write28days. I need to accept some truths. I am contemplating and planning these GATHERINGS and I need to find the WHY. I think I have realized some truth after some journaling yesterday. One truth is I am an introvert so I need to carefully plan the execution of these events to not exhaust myself.
  2. I am super excited for my critique group video call this evening with Katherine and Marta. I am so honored to be writing friends with these ladies. I value their feedback and thoughts and they never steer me wrong.
  3. Storyaday.org’s Julie Duffy hosted a free writer Zoom call last night where 16 of us got together and wrote. It was wonderful to do 3 sprints together and I crafted a new short story! It took a surprising twist and direction. It is always fulfilling to talk story with other writers.
  4. The topic for the above podcast today is “Are you Lonely?” I love solitude but there are times I feel disconnected from people. On my commute this morning, I was thinking about being disconnected which is why I think I am pursuing the GATHERINGS idea. I want to have time to connect to other creatives for everyone’s creative well to be filled.
  5. Several years ago my life blew up and I was lonely because I was thrust into a situation where I knew NO ONE who had gone through the same thing. There was one person that had a small connection and I was rejected. Luckily, I found a group that supported me. I am forever grateful for this organization and they helped me from going into a spiral that would have not been recoverable.
  6. The #teachwrite Twitter chat was last night and super fun! The questions were amazing. I love that a teacher is part of this group that works in the corporation I used to. Seeing her name pop up in my feed makes me feel closer to teacher-writers locally! There is a chat every month – If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it. (I will put the questions at the end of this post.)
  7. I have a literacy/coach meeting this afternoon with a consultant I adore listening to and working with. I am looking forward to the word for are going to do today!
  8. This is a wonderful site to follow. There are daily writing tips, great words, great quotes and a prompt. https://writerswrite.co.za/
  9. Another person to follow is Nancy Stohlman. She is an amazing flash fiction author, editor, and overall fantastic person. Find her here: https://nancystohlman.com/
  10. Connection for students is important and creating a feeling of belonging. I once named a remediation group “Writing Club” because I wanted them to come and I wanted them to enjoy the writing not get down on themselves for being selected for writing remediation. I wanted to instill an abundance mindset. Everyone wants to be part of a club especially one that you have a special invitation to!

What do you want to tell me today?

Happy Writing!

Weekend Coffee Share

Come and sit and let’s chat! I have lots to share with you from last week!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the #write28days blogging challenge. Today’s word is GLOW. I want people to GLOW when they are inspired! I am working on some ideas on how to inspire people. I want to put some events together that have a purpose and for them to be fulfilling. I am taking the month to figure it out. What makes you GLOW with excitement – especially about learning?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I visited the American Writer Museum in Chicago. It is on the second floor of an old building on Michigan Ave. There was an amazing timeline with biographies of all types of writers, a Bob Dylan display, cool typewriters, and a whole section about the writer’s mind. The parking was really expensive being in the city but the actual admission was reasonable. The original plan was to take the train but they have been down for the past 3 days. I typed on the old typewriters and played with the displays. There was a wonderful display of first lines written by authors.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we then went to 57th Street bookstore which is at the bottom of another old building in Hyde Park. The little rooms keep adding on to each other snaking through the basement of this store. There are hot water pipes that made the air toasty on this February Sunday.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I broke down and purchased the Masterclass series because Neil Gaiman has a new class he is teaching about writing. I am giddy and super excited. I binge listened to several of the lessons on the way home from work on Friday. I will go back and listen several times to all the lessons. Margaret Atwood and Judy Blume are other authors who have masterclasses.

If we were having coffee I would tell you there are so many things Neil has said that I have written down. One big idea that resonated is you learn more by finishing a failing story than just writing many wonderful beginnings. You learn something from getting to the end.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I went to school for less than one day last week because of the weather and cold. We went to work Friday but it was a 2-hour delay. We have eLearning days and I worked from home. I also had several video calls with important people. It will be difficult I think to go back next week and actually drive to work!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I finished Slade House by David Mitchell and I really enjoyed it. It was weird and I love that. I started Letters from Skye which is immensely lovely and charming.

What exciting things happened to you this week?