I often use Todd Henry’s questions when I am coaching and when I am reflecting with fellow writers. Here are my answers for today.
What are you working on?
I am working on my novel in progress for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month). I am 45, 000 words in. I can see the finish line of 50,000 by Friday. It has been so much easier this year with the support of my Storyaday group of writers.
What is inspiring me?
I have been reading Kathy Fish’s flash fiction. I really would like to get into one of her flash fiction workshops. I will try when she offers it again. It fills up quickly.
My husband and I watched a documentary about Bill Murray and how he starts random acts of fun. It was inspiring to keep myself open and available.
My Storyaday writer group is inspiring me.
Two Writing Teachers is always inspiring for teacher blogs and prose.
Where do I need prodding?
Right now, I don’t need any external motivation. I am internally motivated for the moment.
DOK (Depth of Knowledge) is a scale for questioning I utilize with teachers and students.
Level 3: Strategic Thinking Characteristics
Requires deep knowledge
Students encouraged to go beyond text
Students asked to explain, generalize, or connect ideas
Students must be able to support their thinking, citing references from the text or other sources
Items may involve abstract theme identification, inferences between or across passages, application of prior knowledge, or text support for analytical judgment about a text
2 Strategies for increasing the rigor and use of questioning
Have students write their own questions relevant to the content of the class using DOK question stems.
Not only is this a great creation exercise for students but it also hyper focuses their attention on the content and what is important to know. The students find out quickly that higher level questions are not always the easiest item to write!
DOK 3 Sentence Stems
How is ____ related to ____?
What conclusions can you draw _____?
How would you adapt____to create a different____?
How would you test____?
Can you predict the outcome if____?
What is the best answer? Why?
What conclusion can be drawn from these three texts?
What is your interpretation of this text? Support your rationale.
How would you describe the sequence of____?
What facts would you select to support____?
Can you elaborate on the reason____?
What would happen if___?
Can you formulate a theory for___?
How would you test___?
Can you elaborate on the reason___?
Questions and ideas should be the ax that breaks open the frozen sea within us.
2. Plan your questions ahead of time and WRITE THEM DOWN
No matter how many years you have been teaching this is a strategy worth trying. If you formulate several questions before the lesson using the higher levels then your mindset is changed and you will move forward from the higher level questioning rather than go back to more knowledge or surface level questioning. When we meet students where they are we sometimes rely too heavily on the knowledge-based questions or DOK 1 that only have one answer.
My teachers are working on this concept today! I hope that you find it helpful or at least a reminder of a practice you haven’t thought about in a while! As a coach, I have offered to visit classrooms and script just the questions the teachers are asking so we can analyze them later. We often don’t realize the questions we are actually asking!
I was supposed to be moving to a new house this weekend.
Now I am not.
The circumstances are out of my control, BUT I cannot get past the fact that THIS move was supposed to be smooth. It was supposed to be an easy transition with little strife and stress.
I have moved too many times in the last 4 years. With those moves and life changes comes reflection. I love freewriting and use it as a technique often when I am stuck or just don’t know what I want to write for that day’s writing session.
Two the freewrites I keep coming back to are:
“What do I value in my life?”
“What are the critical attributes of a good life?”
Coupled with those questions are the ideas of what I value in a place to live. The thought that occurred to me is: Why do I keep coming back to this topic of life and home?
I keep writing about living and what I value but why? Do I keep revisiting this topic because I think my answers or beliefs are in a state of flux and the answers will be different than last time? Do I deep down think that my ideas are somehow wrong?
I think the real culprit is I keep hoping there is an attribute I am missing. That there is something on the edge of my understanding that I cannot see yet and will be revealed to me when my mind is racing and the ink is flowing from my pen. There are many things that I do not understand about life. This fact has become abundantly clear especially the last few years.
Now I must find a new place to live. What do I want? The list seems simple enough:
This was the statement repeated over and over at my writer’s group last Thursday. It reminded me writers are writers whether they are 5 or 50 and some of the rules apply no matter the age.
I tell students all the time the writing is theirs and they can listen to the advice in the form of GLOWS and GROWS from their peers and teachers or they can choose not to. They are the author and have the choice whether they want to change the story.
Connecting with other writers is the most important factor of this group for me. The connections are part of the story and the critique is secondary. These fellow adult writers have become part of my life story now.
As I start to think about the new school year and my coaching I am keenly aware of the connection piece. I think that we can foster a much stronger community if we focus on the connectors that are not obvious. We are all part of each other’s School Story at least but the personal factors we find most important are the way we can become a tighter knit community. This is the theory I am working with right now anyway.
In order to gather some data I sent out a goal sheet for my teachers last week. Some of my people have longer processing times and I wanted to give them the opportunity to marinate on their answers if they so wished. (We don’t officially start til the 13th). Instead of just the academic goals and conversation about how we can work together to strengthen their teaching I also included a self care question. I want to be able to facilitate some nourishment so my fellow teachers do not burn out. The profession is hard and I want to nurture the teachers in the way they feel renewed. This document is also only between the teacher and I – no one else.
So my question to you is: What is the biggest influencer of your story right now?
There are few books I reread. The book Essentialism by Greg McKeown comes back onto my radar usually after I have listened to Tsh Oxenreider from THE ART OF SIMPLE talk about it.
This book requires me to think about my actions and why I make the decisions I do especially when it comes to how I spend my time. There is often a gap between what my responsibilities are and what I want to do. There is also a category of the things I should do because someone expects me to. This is the area I am really looking at for the upcoming school year. I have made a big decision about doing what I deem essential and also managing my schedule and time differently.
I have a choice about how I spend my time. At school, I want to spend my time on the actions that I can get the most bang for my buck and make the most impact with my teachers. I cannot do everything even though my TYPE A personality whispers to me in quiet moments that I can.
I stopped celebrating just being busy for busy sake and my stress levels went down.
Over the next couple of days these questions from the book will be on my mind:
What do I feel deeply inspired by?
What am I particularly talented at?
What meets a significant need in the world?
The next right thing for me and my time is on my mind. What are you thinking about for the fall?
Hi everyone! I am so honored to have been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Books, Life, and Everything Nice! She’s an amazing blogger! Please check out her blog. A great big thank you for the nomination!
The award was created by Okoto Enigma. The explanation on her blog is as follows:
The “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma
Put the award logo/image on your blog
List the rules.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
Share a link to your best post(s)
3 Things About Myself:
I want to retire in Minnesota.
I cannot play the piano but can play the violin.
I love ultra running but have no desire to do a triathlon.
What’s the funniest experience you’ve had on vacation? When in Hawaii, I went to a ranch and learned to lasso!
What’s your favorite reading snack? Coffee and bread!
How do other people describe you? Intense and passionate
Of which accomplishment from last year are you most proud? Writing 31 stories for STORYADAY MAY
What 3 things would you tell your younger self? Don’t follow the status quo. Follow all the white rabbits you want to and don’t be afraid.