Monthly Archives: July 2009

250 Words

Recently I was invited to blog on Schoolwide Blog. http://www.schoolwideblog.com So far, I’ve posted three blogs on parent involvement in their children’s learning. I’ve enjoyed the process of writing and the responses I’ve received to my entries. I am limited to approximately 250 words and, needless to say, this has been a challenge. It’s not easy saying something of worth in 250 words. I’ve learned that it’s important to be concise and to the point. It’s not necessary to say everything there is to say in the world about a topic. In fact, it’s better to say just enough to get others thinking. This will help me as I design mini lessons for reading and writing. I tend to want to say and teach too much rather than just enough. Like with this post.

Oh, one last thing. 🙂 Dick Allington will be the newest blogger on Schoolwide Blog. So, tune in if you can.

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Writing and Me

I’ve always considered myself a good teacher of writing and I love to write. My students leave my classroom at the end of each year loving to write, as well. Nevertheless, I haven’t always seen myself as a writer. I do write a lot but most of it has been for my own consumption. I think of writers as people who share some of their writing with others by publishing it – with a capital P. Yet, this summer I’ve begun to rethink this image I have of myself and what a writer looks like. This despite all of my intellectual rationalizations about writers and writing. Go figure!

This summer I’ve been doing a lot of writing while simultaneously reflecting on myself as a writer. I already think of myself as an avid reader. I have no trouble with this label. Could it be because most of the reading I do is solitary except for the occasional book study or book club I’ve been involved in?

Here’s a list of the writing I’ve been doing this summer:
–papers for my doctoral course.
–an entry for an educational blog I’ve been invited to participate in.
–an essay that I’ve submitted for publication.
–online book reviews.
–social networking such as on Facebook, Twitter, listservs, etc.
–my journal.
–an entry for a friend’s 50th birthday celebration book.

Case closed: I do a lot of writing and I do publish my writing even if it’s not in the traditional sense of publishing with a capital P.

In the past, I have tried sharing some of my writing with my students. Truth be told, I can probably count the number of times I’ve done this in one hand! Hmmm… This coming school year I plan to share more often. I want to use my writing to share about my life with my students as well as for teaching purposes. I’m excited about doing this at the same time that it makes me a bit nervous.

So how do you see yourself as a writer? Do you like to write? What kinds of things do you write? Who do you write for? Does it matter?

I’m hoping blogging about this issue will give me courage to post something on the National Gallery of Writing.

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End of the school year

Well, I am officially on vacation. The children and I barely got through the last week of school without a major mishap as they were at each other’s throat from the first day of the week. There were a lot of conflicting feelings for many of them and although we talked about this they are after all six and seven year olds. They are just beginning to understand the permanence and meaning of farewells. I loved this year’s class as I always do and wished I could keep them for one more year. But, I sent them on with, I hope, lots of strategies for how to learn and live well.

So, I packed my old room for a new grade 2 teacher and I moved all of my things into my new room. I feel like a little kid with a new toy: my new room! It’s smaller than my old room but it has a beautiful window with a great big window seat. The teacher that lived in this classroom a few years ago used the window area for her desk crowding that beautiful space with her stuff. I plan to use it as the primary reading area in my classroom. I will put pillows on the window seat for the kids to read, write, and draw, or to simply contemplate the change in the (2) seasons – spring/summer and fall/winter. (This is Calgary, after all.) My desk will go in a corner of the room because I have come to terms with the fact that I need a desk to contain myself otherwise I end up containing the classroom. I seem to overflow everywhere. Recently, a teacher gave me a large kidney shaped table for a corner of my room in exchange for a small round table. Mistake! I overflowed onto that table although I tried not to.

Summer is the time when I think about what went well this year and what I can improve on for next year. I have lots of new and old books to read and lots of new ideas I want to try out. I hope I remember that summer doesn’t last forever and that if I’m going to be productive in my planning/thinking that I need to prioritize. In two months I’ll be on the third or fourth day of school and this summer will seem like a long time away. But, for now, I am excited about getting another fresh start at getting it right even as I know that “getting it right” is just a matter of approximations that keep improving over the years. I still look forward to another try. After all, that’s what beginnings and endings are all about.

Happy summer!

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