Today I read a Facebook post from Nanci Steveson, one of my favorite middle-grade authors. She asks us to remember that we have so many important and wonderful things that happen outside of our “daily grind.” Like “skies to gaze at, ponies to pet, stories to write, children to hug…ice cream to savor, music to dance to…toasted marshmallow, letters from home, and dancing naked in the rain.”
Although this is part of Nanci’s personal list, I think we could all make a list of those important things. Today I wrote about buying a dress. I have not bought or worn a dress in many years, so buying one was a huge step for me. I worked hard this summer on taking care of me, and buying this dress was a little reward for my accomplishments and an act of bravery.
I invite you to take some time this weekend to explore those important things in your life. Or maybe something on Nanci’s list has sparked writing idea for you. Whatever you write, I hope you come back and share your thoughts with us.
Leigh Anne is about to start her 15th year of teaching, her 8th year as a middle school language arts teacher. As her summer winds down, she is looking forward to meeting and sharing books with her new students.
This week I spent some time rereading parts of Tom Romano’s book, Write What Matters. This book is an invitation. An invitation to seek advice about creating a writing habit, to find ways to build your confidence as a writer, and to find your voice through writing activites and examples.
I want to share a few thoughts from the chapter “Seek Surpise.” Tom suggests to “take note of surprise in your daily living.” He encourages us to “be alert to surprises, however subtle. Life, relationships, work, and writing itself increase in pleasure and purpose when we take note of surprises.”
Isn’t summer the perfect time to seek surprise? Maybe it is sitting on a porch or patio and watching nature. Maybe it is lauging at the antics of a young child or an elderly person. Maybe it the surprise in our thinking as we put words down on the page.
In the book, Tom states that his notebook has a place to record the surprises he encounters. I decided to create a similar space using some “creative journaling.”
Leigh Anne lives in hot and humid southern Indiana and teaches 6th grade language arts. She is looking forward to some beach time, and maybe…just maybe she will find a few surprises along the way.
And, that very night She danced, Like She had never danced before Like she knew She would never Dance Like that, again
Poem written by Athey Thompson
After reading this poem several times, I began to see a metaphor for life. When were the times I “danced” in my life? (Metaphorically because I don’t dance!) Danced like I had never danced before? Like I knew I never would?
This poem took me to how my parents divorce affected me and how my husband was a gift because marrying him was when I truly learned to dance again. The poem led to the notebook page, which led to the blog post – The BIG Dance.
Where does this poem, or any of the poems from the blog, take you? I would love for you to write with me any time this week and share your thoughts or your process. Happy Writing!
Leigh Anne teaches 6th grade ELA in southern Indiana and is trying to beat the heat by spending time in the pool and sipping sweet iced tea! You can find her on Twitter @Teachr4 or on her blog, A Day in the Life.
I struggle with finding balance in many areas of my life. It seems I overdo one thing and neglect others, whether that is a balance between work and home, time with family or by myself, or even a balance between time spent reading or writing. Does this sound familiar?
This week I ran across a blog post from Stephanie Affinito, A New Perspective: From Balance to Beats. She explains how there is no such thing as balance, and she shifts the thinking from balance to beats. (Before writing today, I encourage you to take some time to read her post.)
She further explains “If we think of teaching and learning as a melody played in our classroom, then we would naturally expect variation in the beats over the course of the song. The rhythm might shift from fast to slow, gain intensity and then dissipate and even have a repeating chorus. The point is that the variation is what makes the song a song and the varied practices in our teaching are what make a classroom a classroom.“
I have also included Stephanie’s sketchnote to get us going. There is so much to think about and unpack from this blog post, quote, and sketchnote.
Although this is designed for thinking in the classroom, I took some time to write questions about my life in my notebook. These questions led me to some answers and some goals, which I have chosen not to share.
What melody are you creating in your classroom? In your own life? Please take some time to think about this week’s prompt and share your your thoughts and where your writing took you. If this prompt inspired a blog post, then please share the link in the comments. As always…I look forward to writing with you this week.
Leigh Anne is a 6th grade ELA teacher in southern Indiana and is trying to find a new summer melody by focusing on and taking care of her. Follow Leigh Anne on Twitter @Teachr4 or on her blog, A Day in the Life. She would love to connect with you.
Welcome June! And welcome to Friday Night Quickwrite where I give a prompt each Friday and invite you to write along with us anytime this week.
Today’s prompt is a tweet from Alan J. Wright. Alan wrote this poem while in the middle of the pandemic, but I think we can still take his wise advise on any given day and at any time in our lives. Read his words and let them take you to a time, a place, or a moment in your life that was stormy. What jewelled fragment did you find? How did you resist the tempest? Where did you find the strength? You could even take a line or a word and write off of it. The important part is that you free your mind and let your words flow.
The line “resist the tempest” is what was speaking to me today. I have so many temptations that are keeping from doing things I need to be doing. I am trying to take care of ME this summer, and there are too many temptations. I am searching for that “jewelled fragment” that is being offered. As I wrote in my notebook, I realized that maybe I am searching for the whole jewel and not just a fragment. Maybe I am wanting too much, too soon.
Please share your writing or your process with us in the comments below, and please spread the word with your writing friends. We welcome all writers!
Leigh Anne jumped into summer today, as today was the first pool day of the season. When not teaching 6th grade ELA, she enjoys reading and writing poolside.
Although it is titled Friday Night Quickwrite, you can join us and share anytime during the week. I will provide a spark or prompt with some kind of inspiration to get your mind going, and when you are ready, just write and share.
This week I am sharing a text from Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This book is full of short entries organized from A to Z that captures moments, observations, and emotions from her life. This book is full of writing ideas and inspiration. The one I used tonight is filed under “Childhood Memories” and includes a table with the heading of “What My Childhood Tasted Like.”
In my notebook I made a table similar to AKR’s with food items and a little snippet of what they remind me about my childhood. It was fun to recall these special memories. I even texted my siblings and asked them about foods, and we share many of the same memories.
I am always intrigued how foods, smells, and songs attach themsleves to memories. Many of these food items on my list could be written as a memoir, a poem, or even a short story. Full of writing possibilities!
Please join me and writing about your childhood tastes and share it with us below. Happy writing and enjoy your long weekend!
Leigh Anne is currently on summer break and is waiting for the water temperature to warm up so she can read while relaxing with her sister and daughter (both teachers!) in the pool. When not on summer break, she teaches 6th grade ELA in southern Indiana.
I saw this post by Tera Jean Elness on Instagram last week and it got me thinking, and of course, it got me writing, too.
To honor is to revere and to revere is to regard with respect tinged with awe. (and big thanks to dictionary dot com cuz I really LOVE that definition) Yes. Tinged with awe. Pretty awesome, amen? Honor your brave Beloved. Hold it in high regard and give it the weight it deserves. Honor your brave. Your brave in staying. Your brave in going. Your brave in trying despite the risk. Your brave in holding on. Your brave in letting go. Your brave in finally – FINALLY – living fully and freely as YOU. Yes. Honor your brave Beloved. Your brave in the heartache. Your brave in the tears. Your brave you’ve been hiding all of these years because you believed that your voice was simply one of many and not one that needs to be heard. What a lie amen. Honor your brave Beloved. Honor it. It deserves it.
The words “honor your brave” really spoke to me, and I began to think about the times when I didn’t think of myself as brave. The brave in holding on and letting go and living fully.
I made a list in my notebook and was led by an item on that list. An item that is too private to share but one that needed to be written. I hope you find some inspiration in Tera’s words this weekend, and I would love to hear what path these words led you.
Leigh Anne finished up her 14th year of teaching today. It was a wild and wacky one but amazing nevertheless. She is looking forward to some summer reading and writing time by the pool.
This year I have been particpating in a Teacher Leader Bootcamp for Indiana teachers. Thursday was our wrap-up, and our former State Superintendent made a surprise visit. She talk about how important teacher leaders were right now and how as teacher leaders, “we never totally arrive.”
I took to my notebook to write about this quote. It lead me to begin thinking about my summer plans to grow as a teacher – I know I have not totally arrived!
What does this quote make you think about? Have you totally arrived as a teacher? As a parent? As a partner? Take a few minutes this weekend and jot in your notebook. Come back and let me know where this quote took you? I would love to have a conversation.
Leigh Anne is a mom to Megan, who is a third grade teacher and Ethan, who is a behavior coach for elementary children. She enjoys being a parent to “adult children” but knows she has not “totally arrived” in this area either.
One thing I have learned by being a teacher of writers, is that I must write myself if I am going to be an effective teacher. When I write, I understand what my students go through when they are stuck or can’t come up with an idea. I understand the importance of organizing my random thoughts into something coherent and the power of a just-right word or perfectly structured sentence. I feel the joy of having written and sitting down with my students – writer to writer.
Today is the first Friday Night Quickwrite, a chance for you to grab a notebook and a favorite pen or open to a blank document on your computer. I invite you to take a a few minutes out of your weekend and write with me. I will share a poem or a text that has inspired me to write beside it. Sometimes I may share my notebook pages while other times I may share where the text led me in my thinking and my writing.
I invite you to share your own writing, your writing process, or your writing path in the comments section below. The importance doesn’t lie in the sharing; rather, it lies in the joy of writing.
For National Poetry Month, I wrote poems about quilts and shared them on my blog, A Day in the Life. I guess I still have quilts on my mind as that is the topic for this first quickwrite.
Like a fading piece of cloth
I am a failure
No longer do I cover tables filled with food and laughter
My seams are frayed my hems falling my strength no longer able
To hold the hot and cold
I wish for those first days
When just woven I could keep water
From seeping through
Repelled stains with the tightness of my weave
Dazzled the sunlight with my
To read the rest of the poem, please visit Poets.org
What does this poem remind you of? Where does it lead you? Is there a line that stood out for you?
When I read this poem, I immediately thought about elderly people, people who sometimes don’t feel wanted or needed. I taped the poem inside my notebook and wrote beside it. I wrote about my mother-in-law during the time I returned to college to become a teacher. She had Parkinson’s disease and was confined to a wheelchair, but she would help me write my papers. It was a special time between us, and I am glad I captured these moments in my notebook.
I would love for you to join me in this first Friday Night Quickwrite! Write anything that Nikki’s words bring to mind for you and share it in the comments. I look forward to reading your words.
Leigh Anne Eck is a 6th grade English Language Arts teacher in southern Indiana, and she has been teaching face-to-face this school year. Although this has been a great class, she will be glad to see this year come to close in ten days!