6 Word Memoirs

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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?

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Weekend Coffee Share

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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?

#IWSG February

This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

Today’s question – Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

Writing is my absolute main creative outlet and thinking tool but I do use some other creative outlets to keep my well filled.

1. Doodling

I love to draw spirals, coffee cups, ribbons, and fancy writing on my notes and in my bullet journal. To hear me talk about my bullet journal you can listen here.


2. Create cards

I used to rubber stamp and now I buy blank cards with envelopes and decorate them with stickers and doodles. I use cards mostly at work to thank people but am reviving my letter writing hobby.

3. Blogging

Blogging is writing but I can play with the format. I write lists, post pictures and ask questions.


4. Conversation

I love life-giving conversations with people. I love to ask unusual questions and really hear about people’s lives not just about the weather. This is also fuel for writing. Overheard conversations, especially in airports, are my favorite for short story writing.


5. Life Experiments

I like to give myself challenges and assignments. Lately, this has manifested in the form of blog and writing challenges. Everything on this list ties back to writing! It is ingrained! I have experimented with eating vegan, going blindfolded for a day, eating vegetarian, a shopping ban, reading only books I own, etc. Running was the experiment that became a lifestyle! Intermittent fasting is a regular system for me now as well.

I am always looking for new ideas so feel free to share in the comments!

What creative outlets so you have?

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!

#write28days Simmer

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I am participating in the #write28days Blogging challenge. If you would like to see the other posts in this series click here for the landing page.

Jenny Blake wrote a book called PIVOT. It is a fabulous book and she talks about pilots and making the next moves to be successful. She has an inspiring podcast as well. Here is her definition of PILOTS:

Pilots, in the career context, are small, low-risk experiments to dip your toe in the water of your new direction. Pilots help gather feedback, and build the bridge between where you are now and where you want to end up. 

Simply stated, it is an experiment that you can see if your idea works. I hope to have a pilot to try at the end of the month. The ideas and the details have to simmer a little bit. I want to make sure when I launch the pilot that I have enough in place to make a decision about what the next right thing is.

Some ideas from The Art of Gathering book I am marinating in and letting simmer are:

We are tempted to focus on the “stuff” of gatherings because we believe those are the only details we can control. pg. xi

My job [author Priya Parker] is to put the right people in a room and help them collectively think, dream, argue, heal, envision, trust, and connect for a specific larger purpose. pg. xi

I am endlessly intrigued by the small and important interventions we can all make to help groups gel.

The last quote is sticking with me and why I purchased my own copy of this book so I can write in it and fill it up with marginalia. I want to know the little things that make that gathering you go to so dynamic you don’t forget how you felt that night. I want to know the things that are in place so that that the next time that host wants to invite you to something – no matter what it is – you go because you know there is something different and fulfilling about their events.

I am also pondering and letting what I am grateful for simmer in my stew pot mind today! The list keeps growing and my heart keeps swelling!

What are you simmering in your mind today??

FMF Where

It is time for Five Minute Friday! This is the writing challenge where I write for 5 minutes about the assigned topic from Kate.

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Where – the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about this word is a list of questions:

Where am I going?

Where do I belong?

Where is my coffee cup?

Where is home?

Where are my comforts?

Where is a big question that didn’t seem that big when I started writing. Most ideas I have contemplated over the years have morphed and changed with my experience. I stopped conforming and thinking about what I really thought which can be a dangerous practice.

I belong right where I am. I am here in this place and space to learn and to inspire others. Sometimes this is on purpose and sometimes this seems accidental.

Home I have found is where the people are that I love. I have moved so many times that a physical space doesn’t really quantify home for me anymore. This can be trying at times but has cured me of any materialism I had before perpetuating my life.


10 Things I Have Learned About CONNECTion

#oneword

Connect is my one word for 2019


The question I asked myself was: How do I plan to intentional connect in January? I could just log activities randomly if they happen to fit the criteria, but I wanted to make this years’ word more of a goal. I did not want it to be an afterthought.

I want to live the word, partially because I NEED to.

Initially, the list held:

  1. Go to one Write on Hoosiers meeting – This is my in real life group that meets twice a month at a local library.
  2. Participate in my online writing group at least once a week – This is usually once a day honestly. We have a slack channel which makes it really easy.
  3. Participate in my editing class (amazing experience – I will sign up again.)
  4. Email another writer I connected with on Twitter – we talk about writing and check-ins.
  5. Blog once a week and make 10 comments/week to other writers
  6. Submit at least two pieces of writing
  7. Order business cards.

10 Things I Learned

  1. Being open to connections means I hear differently. At the Write On Hoosiers meeting, one of the other writers talked about a retreat she attended at a local Buddhist temple. I signed up the next day for the one in Feb. I have committed to work on the novel revision.
  2. I connect with writers on the Two Writing Teachers blog and the Five Minute Friday site link up and WordPress reader. Making an effort for new blogs works for Twitter too, but there are some games on there that I try not to take personally.
  3. Once I was in submission mode I sent quite a few pieces in. I also contributed to several blog based writing contests which was fun and got my writing out there. It helped make a connection with another writer as well who reached out and sent an email. That was AWESOME.
  4. With the idea of reflection already a part of the process, I felt tied into the concept of connecting with people more. I sent specific tweets to authors I admire and wanted to make sure I told them.
  5. I am more visual than I thought. Using my graphic I created for my #oneword is fun to use in blog posts and social media.

6. I participated on a TEACHWRITE Zoom call and was able to talk and see Jennifer and Amanda.

7. I supported a writer friend through Ko-Fi.

8. I was the book fairy at school and gifted stacks so teachers can get them into kids’ hands.

9. I reached out to another teacher writer about IF – Intermittent Fasting.

10. Be persistent- I got into Kathy Fish’s Fast Fiction Class. I am so excited for it – in July.

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Moving Forward to Feb:

+I need to connect to more books next month and then reach out to more authors of the books I love.

+Connect with my body more. Yoga, intermittent fasting, running outside, and walking with the incline is how I am doing this.

+Write real letters and participate in a letter writing challenge.

+ Interact with the new “10 things to tell you” podcast recommended by Emily Freeman

+ Continue to marinate on creating a magical gathering. My thoughts are hovering around my Workshop Wednesday concept. A reading literary society?

+ Every day Writing – of course!

How is your #oneword process going?

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Every Tuesday teachers gather at TWO WRITING TEACHERS to share slices of life. They link their blogs in the comments and then comment on at least 3 other sites. Come join us today!

Today’s Slice:

The text came through at 8:50 pm yesterday. Before that hour, there had been hours of speculation. We were not the first corporation in the area to call it. To my surprise there was no two-hour delay game, it was straight to cancellation. It was not just cancellation for today…IT IS FOR 3 days! I do not go back to work until Friday.

The weather reports keep saying the Midwest is colder than Antarctica with this winter storm. I woke up this morning thinking about updating my eLearning page and heard the wind. The new house doesn’t have a fireplace and we miss it. We have found how drafty the windows are.

Image result for antarctica weather

Earlier the actual temperature was 6 degrees with a – 13 windchill. Tomorrow the high is supposed to be -12 and a low of -22 (without the windchill). I cannot remember when it was that cold before now. I am sure it has been.

Last week I went to school two days. This week it will be only one.

We don’t celebrate winter here so most people will be hunkered down inside their house. To be fair, the weather is not consistent which makes it difficult to adjust. Yesterday afternoon it was 47 degrees before the temperature started to drop several degrees an hour again.

We kept warm in my house. We ate veggie soup with warm bread fresh from the oven.

I am thankful the snow makes everything bright.

I am thankful I do not have to commute many miles this week.

I am thankful for time to finish Slade House by David Mitchell.

I am thankful I will have time to go to the gym every day.

I am thankful I am able to work from home.

I am thankful my furnace works.

I am thankful I am with people I love.

What are your thoughts on winter? What are you thankful for today?