Write. Every. Day.

The school day moves quickly. If you are a teacher, you live that life daily. At the beginning of my sixth-grade classes, we spend a few minutes every day writing in our notebooks. We call it Sacred Writing Time. (In my notebook entries, you’ll see my abbreviation, SWT.) It truly is a precious time to me and my students. Here are some blurbs from my entries on Tuesday. Judge for yourself. Do you spend any time writing with your students on a daily basis? If not, I urge you to try it…it’s life changing… 

Here’s why I wrote, “I love Jessica”…

Spending the beginning moments of a class, writing together has so many benefits.

  1. We live like writers. We show up to the page every single day.
  2. Routine breaks down the resistance to writing.
  3. We build ourselves as writers…word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page.
  4. There’s calm and quiet in the middle of chaos and pressure.
  5. We learn to have faith that the words will come to us and the page will always be there.

I Am a Writer. Right?

What is a writer? Are you a writer? Am I? So many teachers struggle with declaring themselves writers…struggle with saying, “I am a writer.” Here’s my idea of a writer…

A writer shows up to the page regularly.

A writer uses words to express and communicate.

A writer uses words to create new worlds or to make sense of this one.

A writer struggles through revision.

A writer jots.

A writer creates lists and copies quotes.

A writer takes risks and shares words with others.

A writer carries a notebook and uses it.

I believe a writer is someone who writes.

I believe a writer is someone who struggles with words and ideas.

I believe a writer must write to communicate.

I believe a writer shares some writing with an audience outside of themselves.

I believe a writer reflects and thinks through their words.

I believe a writer practices the craft regularly. 

You do not have to be published to call yourself a writer.

You do not have to be writing a book to call yourself a writer.

You need to show up.

Get words on paper.

You need to do this regularly.

Writing is thinking. The more you write, the more you think.

Writing helps me clarify my thoughts before I share them out.

Writing is reflection.

Writing creates empathy.

Your students need you to write.

Are you a writer? Yes.

Say it out loud.

Repeat after me, “I am a writer.”

 

From Grumpy to Grateful

Do you ever have a day when you are grumpy and you can’t put your finger on a specific reason? Yesterday started out like that for me. I felt annoyed at things that normally don’t bother me and I couldn’t seem to shake it. Days like that frustrate me. What do I do? Fight it, sink into it, accept it, ignore it? I tried to control the grumpies the best I could and go on with the business of the day.

Yesterday was a day when classes were working on projects. I was moving from group to group, offering guidance and support, but the students were doing the work. My students in communications are busily filming and editing commercials. The sixth graders are beginning their picture book group projects.

 

As I walked around the room and listened in on conversations, I felt lighter. The picture books must include researched information from the students’ own culture and because they are working in groups, they are figuring out how to incorporate diverse cultures into one story. The conversations are powerful and inspiring and passionate and amazing. I’m watching these students learn more about their culture and the culture of others. I’m watching them create a picture book. They want to make this good. I felt the grumpies going away.

 

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door and another sixth grade English teacher was there. She announced that her students had performed a random act of kindness for us.

The entire class walked into our room and each of them made bookmarks, personalized bookmarks, for each of us.

And that did it, the grumpies were defeated! From grumpy to grateful…that was my Friday!

You Can Blog About It!

Today in class something funny happened. Students had been working in groups and creating planning sheets for a new project. The work time was winding down and I was struggling to get the class to clean up and transition into independent reading.

After a few minutes of organizing, the students were settling down and I began summarizing what we just completed and where we will take the project tomorrow. That’s when it happened. I started to hear giggles. One student. Then another. Finally, all of them were laughing. I had no idea what they were laughing about until one student pointed out the pile of papers I was holding in my left hand.

She said, “Look, Ms. Haseltine.” One student had sketched on the back of her sheet and I was holding the sketch next to the face. When I saw it, I had to laugh too. Someone yelled out, “It kind of looks like you!” I had to agree.

 

 

The BEST part is what I heard next…”There’s your blog post for tomorrow.” They are paying attention to these moments and noticing them. They are looking for those slices during the day and writing about them. We are writers!

We Are Writers

We write every day in sixth grade. Each class begins with writing time in our notebooks. During the month of March, the slicers may blog during that time. Showing up and writing every day has created habits for us. We are living as writers. On rare occasions when the schedule changes, we feel it. We miss our writing time. Writing isn’t the only important part of this…sharing our writing is vital. I wish we shared daily, but time seems to get away from us. My goal is for writers to have the opportunity to share every two or three days. This week, our sharing time got pushed til Friday.

Sharing gives writers an audience.
Sharing inspires new ideas and techniques.
Sharing teaches us.
Sharing makes us all better writers.
Sharing is fun!

 
Here are some sixth-grade writers sharing. Notice the confidence? Notice the joy?

Slice of Your Life

Classroom Slice of Life

Today we will mine our notebooks for our stories. We are looking for stories of our lives. When someone writes a book with lots of stories of their lives, it’s called a memoir. 

We are going to work on a mini-memoir. It’s called a slice of life. It’s a story you want to share from your life. It’s about a moment. We will start reading slices like writers. We will be looking for what makes a good slice of life as we embark on a journey to create our own individual slices of life.  What kind of stories do you have to tell? 

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