Monthly Archives: October 2013

Why I’m Excited for Tonight

Tonight is the night that I will share with my class the knowledge that Penny Kittle passed on to me through her book “Write Beside Them”.  I’m super excited because even though most of my classmates have read this book, I have some very important points to share about the writer’s workshop.  For the longest time I wasn’t sure how I was going to share what I learned, but a couple of weeks ago the ideas invaded my thought processes.  Not only will I share my thoughts and knowledge of the writer’s workshop, I have a surprise for my classmates as well.  =]

Advertisements

Wise Words From a Loving Father

Today as I was filling the truck with gas, I was talking to my parents on the phone.  I was talking to Mom about my classes and how stressed I was with life.  My dad took the phone from my mother and said,

“First of all, don’t every interrupt me as I’m catching up on my Sunday Morning Funnies.  Second, don’t let everything get to your head.  Shut down the part of your brain that wants to worry about everything and just listen to the part of your brain that will actually get stuff done. Sit down, focus on one thing at a time, don’t worry about everything else you have to do, just focus on one task at a time.  Quit trying to make the world to stop turning, because if it does we are all screwed.  The world won’t stop turning, you just need to turn with it and don’t let everything else slow you down.  Take a deep breath, everything is ok.”

My father is the kind of person who doesn’t say anything unless it has importance.  I just wanted to say how much better I felt after he told me this.  I love you Dad, thanks for being you.

Student Choice

            Penny Kittle’s book “Write Beside Them” has been a great inspiration to me.  As a writer I realized I thought all of my students would lover writing as much as I do.  After a few weeks of education courses and a quick flashback to my own peers in high school, I found that I was severely wrong in my thinking.  Many students hate writing, they usually tell their teacher’s this on the very first day of school.  Other students may simply refuse to write, like my youngest brother.  I think Penny Kittle’s philosophy can explain why many students hate writing.  She believes that students should have choice in what they write about.  As I look back on my grade school years I realize that many of my teachers didn’t give me choice.  It wasn’t until fifth grade that I started to really love writing and it was because my favorite teacher of all time had given me choice to write what I wanted to write.  I grew strong in fiction writing because that was what I loved.  My youngest brother doesn’t get a choice in his writing.  He is expected to write what everyone else is writing.  Not only does this make a student dislike writing, it takes away the chance for a student to find their voice.  In my classroom, my goal will be to help each and every student to find their voice and be able to utilize it.

            When I looked back to my high school years I remembered how structured it was.  The Douglas High School English Department had a repetitive schedule.  They had all of their lesson plans built because the department agreed on them and because they teach the same thing every year.  I can only remember writing in my speech and composition classes my senior year.  The other years were dedicated to vocabulary, most of which I don’t remember, and reading The Great Gatsby, MacBeth, Romeo and Juliet, and The Odyssey. 

What if I get hired at a school like this?  How am I supposed to introduce Writer’s Workshop into a department that already has the years lesson plans made and expects me to follow them?

Writer’s Workshop

            Penny Kittle’s book “Write Beside Them” has been a great inspiration to me.  As a writer I realized I thought all of my students would lover writing as much as I do.  After a few weeks of education courses and a quick flashback to my own peers in high school, I found that I was severely wrong in my thinking.  Many students hate writing, they usually tell their teacher’s this on the very first day of school.  Other students may simply refuse to write, like my youngest brother.  I think Penny Kittle’s philosophy can explain why many students hate writing.  She believes that students should have choice in what they write about.  As I look back on my grade school years I realize that many of my teachers didn’t give me choice.  It wasn’t until fifth grade that I started to really love writing and it was because my favorite teacher of all time had given me choice to write what I wanted to write.  I grew strong in fiction writing because that was what I loved.  My youngest brother doesn’t get a choice in his writing.  He is expected to write what everyone else is writing.  Not only does this make a student dislike writing, it takes away the chance for a student to find their voice.  In my classroom, my goal will be to help each and every student to find their voice and be able to utilize it.

            When I looked back to my high school years I remembered how structured it was.  The Douglas High School English Department had a repetitive schedule.  They had all of their lesson plans built because the department agreed on them and because they teach the same thing every year.  I can only remember writing in my speech and composition classes my senior year.  The other years were dedicated to vocabulary, most of which I don’t remember, and reading The Great Gatsby, MacBeth, Romeo and Juliet, and The Odyssey. 

What if I get hired at a school like this?  How am I supposed to integrate Writer’s Workshop into a department that already has the years lesson plans made and expects me to follow them?

Procrastination, I Will Defeat You!!!!

 

        As this semester is coming closer and closer to its end, I can’t help but wonder if bad habits can be broken. You see, last year as a freshman and all through my high school years, I developed the habit of procrastination.  It is a horrible habit.  Can habits be changed by pure will?

            I have been working my tail off this semester.  I have never had a part-time job, a house that I have to pay for, and classes to study for all at the same time.  It’s hard, a lot harder than my 18 year old self thought it would be.  Procrastination is not an option for me anymore, in fact it should never have been an option for me to begin with.  Yet I still find myself putting huge assignments off until the last minute.  I realize that this behavior is unacceptable, and that I need to change it.  Thus I have completed stage one, acceptance.

            Now I just have to complete all the other stages.  I love learning; I have always been great at school, well until now.  Why did I develop this sense of absolute security in myself that I can get the job done tomorrow instead of today?  I need to change my perspective in order to be a better student and a good teacher.  I think I may have to walk this long and curvy road alone, and I know I can do it…It is just a matter of finding the strength and motivation to.  I know I can do this, I am just afraid to do it alone.

NaNoWriMo

As November is approaching I find my heart racing with anticipation for National Novel Writing Month.  I tried for my very first time last year, when I was introduced to it by my British Lit professor.  I thought that it was a very interesting challenge and thought that I would be able to defeat it…I was wrong.  Despite my best efforts, as soon as I hit a block in my writing I ran out of motivation to finish it.  This year, however, I am determined to do better than last year.  I am determined to win!

I’m trying to decide if I want to start my novel from scratch or if I want to continue on with my last attempt.  I really liked the idea of the story I started to write last year and am hoping that I can find a way past that road block that stopped me last time.  If not, I suppose I had better start fresh with a completely new idea and go from there.

I am also finding myself dreading November because of NaNoWriMo.  How am I going to find time?! Last year all I had to worry about was school, which is stressful enough, but this year I also have a job.  I know that plenty of writers have completed NaNoWriMo with more stressers than I have but I can’t understand how they find the time.  How do they do it?

Does anyone have any advice for me this year?

Novel Writing…Easy?

I have been writing what I hope becomes a novel for about six (eh!) years.  I remember the day I started writing this story very well.  It was winter, I was in the downstairs family room where Dad installed a coal stove to keep the house warm during the cold months in Wyoming.  Since Dad works at the coal mines, we get our fuel for free.  Anyway, I was sitting at the family desktop computer, burning up because coal fire gets hot very fast, and decided to open a Word document.  I had no idea what I was going to write, I just started typing. The sentence I typed was full of details and imagery that I found my brain pulling ideas out of thin air and my fingers began typing away until I had eleven pages!  I showed my writing to my mom and Grandma and they loved it.  They encouraged me to continue, so I have been.

I was searching on Youtube, my favorite site to resign to when I get bored, and found a video titled ‘Novel Writing Made Easy’.  I was intrigued because I have such a hard time continuing with my writing right now.  I watched it and thought maybe I could show this video to my future students in my English classroom.  The link is here, if you want to check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LxqmHQFyR8