A Morning, a Midday, and an Evening #sol21 4/31

During the month of March I will be writing every day in the company of my fellow slicers in our writing community annual Slice of Life Story Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. This is Day #4.

A Morning, a Midday, and an Evening #sol21 4/31

March 4, 2021

I desperately want to start with the end of the story, but the anticipation will be so much sweeter if I start at the beginning.

I began my work day like most with a one on one meeting with another educator, planning, analyzing, and dreaming about what we might try, how we might collaborate, and all manner of what’s next. This ritual of a quiet morning meeting over coffee, the lights dimmed in the cozy literacy center, has been my ritual for over a decade. Just an half an hour of talk each morning with someone different, pencilled in the calendar and kept like the precious appointments they are, sparks my joy, my creativity, my compassion, my empathy, my practice, and the very kernel of who I am. Each one different, they teach me so much, polishing me like a smooth stone.

The next hours are usually spent with young writers of many ages. Before the pandemic, I could often be found in the company of a whole class or a few writers huddled in a corner, sometimes one student in a enlightening conferences. Now I have screen conferences with kindergarteners or write in their classrooms with them we they are present in school. We write about basketball and going to the movies, birthday parties and playing outside. The day slides into a progression of writers, third graders thinking about their theories about characters and what they are noticing about the characters in the books they read. First graders, expertly explaining to be the importance of card shuffling, the fine points of tag, or which important building I really must visit soon. Then dessert, a few minutes with my fourth grade writing partner polishing, revising, composing, and editing before my time with students is done for the day.

Today, I finished my work day with a gathering of my dear second grade educators talking about their students progress, the finer points of spelling, phonics, and handwriting. Glad to be together talking about this year with our eyes on next. Consider how to best bring out all the potential of our young readers and writers. Laughter is sprinkled through our talk as if we do this every day and not in rare moments since our situation has pushed us into our silos. I go out to the car filled with joy… and a large measure of hope.

Then after dinner, a gift, an hour listening to Kate DiCamillo discuss her craft, her process, her joy, her hopes. She talked about being patient with yourself and how writers are readers. To think that a writer like her fights her inner critic and gets up early in the morning to write before her critic gets up around 9 is so inspiring. She gently tells a fourth grader that she follows her characters around and sees who shows up. She says in an incredibly humbling way that she doesn’t know anything about character development. This women invented Raymie and Rob, Sistine, and Opal! In her soft voice, she says we have to make a deal with ourselves to show and do the work on a daily basis as writers. Write a couple of pages at a sit and come back to it. Wouldn’t we give anything to peek into that notebook she hugs close as she talked about how the sparks turn into embers turn into stories, about writing about who you see and … what you see.

So today… I saw a lot. My whole insides were filled to the brim, pouring over with hopefully plenty to share tomorrow.

10 thoughts on “A Morning, a Midday, and an Evening #sol21 4/31

  1. Sounds like an amazing day! And your morning ritual sounds so good for your soul! I would love to start my day like that. I feed off of engaging and collaborating with other educators (or now I add designers to that list). Glad you had a great day!

  2. Thanks for sharing even a little of Kate. The Supper Club was too much for me to say yes to, and I admit to a fair amount of Supper Club Wannabethereness. (New word!)
    Fun to picture you throughout the day, Susan.

  3. Oh, this is beautiful! I am a huge fan of morning routines, both at home and at work and I loved getting a glimpse into yours. As for Kate, I’ve seen her speak before and am always mesmerized. What a beautiful day!

  4. Your day sounds like the days I am dreaming of. What days can look like when I return to my role as literacy coach (more informed than ever after this year of teaching my first graders online). I too enjoyed Kate diCamillo last night. She is so honest and true, and the way she talks to children is beyond beautiful. The quote I’m hanging onto is this one: “Stories help us find the better part of ourselves and help us connect with others.” She is brilliant. It was a great way to end the day; listening to Kate and surrounded by amazing teachers and children (I saw your name pop up on the chat and wanted to say hi!).

  5. I also had Supper Club Wannabethereness. I love listening to Kate DiCamillo talk about writing and always feel like I hear something I needed to hear. I’m so glad you were able to attend her talk!

  6. I missed Kate, wasn’t even on my radar, but thank you for the pearl: I wake up early to write before the inner critic gets up. That’s a better plan than mine, where I wait for the inner critic to fall asleep and then try to write late at night…not as good, since I’m really tired then, too. Thanks for the window into your joyful day.

  7. What a gift indeed, this encounter with DiCamillo. I am fascinated by getting up to write before the critic does. She does strike me as very down-to-earth and humble.You certainly lived the writerly life today!

  8. Oh how your day hit me like a gut punch! It captures in such terrific detail all the joys one day can hold for an educator and it truly made me remember how much I miss teaching, my colleagues, the students and learning from authors we look up to. Thank you so much for this glimpse into your morning, midday, and evening. I can only guess that the lucky teachers who get your thirty minutes of coffee and morning meeting time appreciate and honor the ritual as as you do. Thanks for sharing this!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s