Today I write in isolation, but not alone. I write in the March Slice of Life Challenge, writing each day in March with my fellow writers under the guidance of Two Writing Teachers. You can still join us, writing is healing and communal. If you’re reading this, check out this blog about what to do right now. Today I’m inspired by the meeting I should be having right now, but am not…
Tuesday Morning Collaboration #sol20
March 17, 2020
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I hope you’re still sleeping, but I’m thinking of you. If we were together, I would have probably brought some soda bread and green napkins. We would have ‘coffee’. Well, A. would have had a yeti of tea and M. would have had a iced coffee from Dunkin’. A. would close the door and say good morning. She might be empty handed. Sometimes she waits for a good idea and then writes it on a stickie with a borrowed pen. M. would open her fancy notebook, 1/2 sized. Her flair color matching her mood or hoped-for mood. We’d huddle and we smile at each other. How are you doing?
I’d have a list in my notebook of things I wanted to talk over with you. Hopefully, I’d hesitate to see if you had something in mind. Most times you do. I’d have my units on the table, my phone, my notebook, my coffee. Sometimes I don’t write in my notebook until you go away. Sometimes I draw something in there or on a stickie to illustrate a thought or an idea. Today I have a few things I want to talk over in this virtual space. What I don’t want to talk over is the reality and uncertainty of our current situation. So I’m going to ignore it… for now.
First, I’m excited by the work A. has been doing with the ‘narrative task’ and creative writing in her room. She’s excited too. I’m sure she’s told you about it, but can we just talk about how it works and how we might expand it and will it work again next year. I do love these books we chose for the Book Madness… I want to get the other Boston Marathon title. Wait, back to the idea. She began with Girl Running, taking four scenes after she had read and loved it with her class and let them ‘blow up’ the scene. I wish I had some samples of her students’ writing, but I kept the photo copies of the spaces where she stopped. I would stop at those pages and talk about why they are good. Yes, they do illustrate the story arc. What a strong reinforcement! She chose the rising action where Bobbie was crouching behind the forsythia right before she joined the race. Then she chose the place where she revealed she was a woman runner. We probably look these over and talk about presenting them to the students. Would we ask them where this was on the story arc? Would we let everyone pick the place where they want to write? What guidance might we add to the narrative task? What if we paired this book again for the compare and contrast using Her Fearless Run or The Girl Who Ran. I’ll bring out Drawn Together. I hear that this book is a student favorite. This book requires some interpretation by the students. I want to hear what your students were thinking. A. used this book as well. I wasn’t there for this lesson. We might look through the book together and think about how to present it.
I’ll mention how the newer teachers are struggling with the MCAS unit I drafted. I will admit that some of it is my fault. It needs some revision between the calendar and the day-to-day. I’ll talk about some coaching I’ve done there and what I hope to do in the future.
Our time’s getting short but I want to share this idea that I saw on twitter. Did you see that retweet I posted about using the Snack Attack video for character change in the essay? Remember when we hoped that some videos might be used on the state tests? Even that year we did the PARCC.? We could show the video. Love it and then think about character change. What if we did that work in start-and-stops with table groups or two partnerships together?
Our time is past over as usual. There’s so much to share and talk about. I read City Spies yesterday, but don’t really want to promote a mystery in fourth. It did have a strong story arc with lots of attempts. It would be interesting to see how the students mapped it and what they thought the climax was. That’s always so tricky. I saw that M. read Coyote Sunrise. I love that book, great character change, but it’s so sad. What next? I am thinking about reading the historical fiction book, They Bicycle Spy. I know you have already read it, but I was wondering if I could create a mentor arc of another historical fiction for talking it over with the other teachers.
Have a great day! Glad we had this time together…