One Sunflower

Have you really tried….

on April 17, 2010

to write something everyday?  And I don’t just mean email or twitter or text… I mean really write something that has a beginning, middle and end – you know, substance….?  !   ?

I know that I’ve averaged 2 or 3 posts a week on my blog – and I enjoy it immensely or I wouldn’t do it.  But I also try to do 2 or 3 picture stories for my class as a part of our writer’s workshop time – and it is extremely challenging!  Of course part of the issue is that the pictures I draw for my kids should have a teaching point – and I try – but I don’t always succeed.  But even so, just thinking of a story to tell twice a week is more time consuming than I would have thought.  It isn’t that I can’t think of stories – but choosing a story that aligns with a teaching point and then deciding on the right elements of that story to draw in a simple way that makes sense to kids is more difficult than it seems.

I begin drawing my stories and the kids start guessing who is going to appear in my story:  “Is that Maestra?  your husband?  your son?”   I’ve told stories about Maestra and I going for walks last summer and making discoveries in the woods, about my husband becoming frustrated trying to put together a tricycle without reading the instructions, about my son riding his wheelchair around Children’s Hospital in a rainbow-colored wig.  My students have even been introduced to my upstairs neighbor, Lindsay.  They especially love stories about my dog, Sasha.  It really is amazing to witness a child’s interest in simple stories about ordinary events in my life.  

Sometimes the students reflect my stories in their own writing – adding a few different details – different characters, a rainy day instead of a sunny one.  And I’m not surprised at the duplications – after all, I have trouble coming up with original stories day after day too!

This picture writing is on my mind this weekend because I’ve got to be a studio classroom host again this week and the pressure is on to nail my lesson plan. I had kind of wanted David Matteson to do another demonstration in my classroom but instead, I’m feeling the pressure to do the demonstration myself – you know, “it’s the last time he’ll be here, it would be nice to have the teacher demo some more of the work….”

And it’s true, the pressure makes me think about and evaluate what it is I’ve learned, what do I still want to learn, etc.

What I’ve learned is that it’s extremely hard to think of stories week in and week out!   In order to practice – and gather ideas for stories – I’ve decided to take up the challenge put forward by Ali Edwards at http://www.aliedwards.com/2010/04/planning-for-week-in-the-life.html – trying to write/document something each day.   But I’m going to take one of her suggestions which was to pinpoint a focus.  My focus is going to be on my morning think-time – my favorite time of the day.  I sit in my chair, drinking coffee, sometimes knitting.  I’ve got a pad at my elbow and I jot thoughts.  Sometimes it’s lesson plan ideas, sometimes a sketch for a poem, sometimes a reference to look up later.  I started today. 

Thought for the day:  What the heck is your story going to be for the class on Wednesday? 

Answer so far:  Story about Lindsay needing help with her cat.  Purpose:  To connect to prior stories I’ve told this year, continue with our work around events and emotions.

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One response to “Have you really tried….

  1. Juliann says:

    I think you know how I feel about writing 🙂
    Glad you are taking this challenge. I thought about starting today but will hold off until tomorrow.

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