A Beginning? Part 2

 

 

 

Darius Rucker, formally of Hootie and the Blowfish, has a new song out title When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?  The song is all about taking risks and embracing new learning, new experiences.

“Megan and I went for a bike ride last night” my husband reported to me when I came home. “She rides a bike for real now!  She was actually pedaling and going fast!  We played I’m First, You’re Last!”  “I know!”  I said, something has clicked in her eleven year old self and she is just taking things on.”

Her confidence and positive self talk are have been in action all summer.  I’ve seen it in various situations.  I saw it at The Adventure Park when she tackled both blue courses where she faced some physically and mentally tough obstacles.  I saw her on the verge of panic mode as she stood on a skateboard suspended in mid air knowing she had to dismount onto a cargo net. I also saw and heard her literally talk herself out off the edge “I can do this.  Megan, you can do this.  OK, 1, 2, 3.”  I watched her sail through the air and with almost perfect timing launch herself onto the cargo net.  Most recently, I saw it as she tried and embraced riding horses.  Five days of learning about horses by riding taking care of and riding horses.

I’ve been admiring her willingness to take risks. work through tough situations and simply let her self learn and grow.

This week, we had our second meeting of Joy Writers. At this meeting, we spent two hours exploring our own writing through observation, art, books, and play.  Our meeting was set up for three experiences that would engage writers in what I call “idea finding”.

Experience 1

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We read a book When I was Five by Arthur Howard.  So often, we use picture books as mentor text to model craft moves.   We also need to nurture the use of picture books to find ideas.  Mandy Robek wrote about that also this week on Choice Literacy.

https://www.choiceliteracy.com/articles-detail-view.php?id=2019&utm_content=buffered7e8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

After this experience, teachers reflected on the experience and shared their work:

  • Erika “I appreciated the freedom to explore my ideas and thoughts I don’t do enough of that”
  • Amy “book made me think of change – moving to a new house makes me feel like a plant moving to a bigger pot – I’ve been on the same street for 45 years.  roots are dangling in mid air – selling one house but not being in the new house yet”
  • Lauren was taken back to when she was five.  She captured that image in a sketch and wrote. (see below)

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Experience 2

We found objects and observed and wrote what we were thinking, feeling, what memories came to mind.

After this experience, teachers reflected on the experience and shared their work:

  • Jess “sketching freed my mind”
  • Megan “I started with the umbrellas but it was terrible then I went to the simple lines of the chimney – I had to let go”  We’ve all watched a child try to write their idea, get frustrated, and give up.  By using observation and sketching, Megan experienced letting go on her own terms and was able to move on.  All writers should have that habit.
  • Erika trying to draw it accurately but it was hard which made her wonder “maybe we need more time for this because after my struggle, I feel ready to learn, I feel open”
  • Elena “I really struggled with this, I’m not an artist (changing fixed mindset through experience) I’m seeing an object but I fighting the drawing”  She is taking on new work, just like we ask children to do every day.  Elena’s empathy is alive.

 

 

 

Experience 3

Copying an Art Card – an opportunity to honor copying as a means of learning and discovery

After this experience, teachers shared:

  • Erika “forces you to look closely I didn’t notice the little baby duck until 2/3 of the way through my picture.  Made me wonder “is this how we read too?”  This was hard but I kept working.”
  • Elena “I had more success copying the art card than observing.” (growth mindset) “I used the colors and not pencil.”It came out pretty good.” (pride and confidence)”

 

 

 

Last week, Lanny Ball posted on Two Writing Teachers, Risk Taking in the Writer’s Notebook. In it, he invited teachers to “consider being a stand and a model for experimenting and risk-taking in the notebook.”  This meeting of Joy Writers was filled with experimenting and risk taking.  All eight of us took on something new as we delved into our each experience in search of hidden thoughts and ideas.

It is through this risk taking and sudden discovery of ideas that we, teachers as writers, will develop a deeper understanding of what it feels like to be a writer.  This in turn will impact the work we do with young writers.  I admire these teachers, my colleagues, for their willingness to take risks and explore new ways to harness ideas and develop habits of writers.  They are building a collection of work and experiences that will support their modeling their own writing and risk-taking for children in the upcoming school year.  I can only hope that we can continue to meet and stay together long enough to explore developing pieces of writing to bring to partner share, because I have ideas about how we can continue to grow and experience habits of writers.

To my Joy Writers – Thank You!

 

7 thoughts on “A Beginning? Part 2”

  1. They are building a collection of work and experiences that will support their modeling their own writing and risk-taking for children in the upcoming school year.

    This holds so much power. I can’t wait to see what happens. You created a safe environment for this growing to occur and the joy was clear. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for taking the first risk and inviting people to read a professional book about writing and then write (all over the summer)! It was certainly a risk worth taking. As I mentioned to you, it was one of the highlights of my summer (and my summer has been fantastic)!

    Like

  3. I wish I had been there. It looks like amazing things were happening. I had copied the same line that Jessica copied: They are building a collection of work and experiences that will support their modeling their own writing and risk-taking for children in the upcoming school year. I can only hope that we can continue to meet and stay together long enough to explore developing pieces of writing to bring to partner share, because I have ideas about how we can continue to grow and experience habits of writers.
    I hope we can keep going with this as our time gets more precious.
    I also liked your focus on the mindset. Today I was grumbling to myself about how I had fallen off my “500 words a day” goal, but then, like your Megan, I had a little chat with myself. “It’s not as though you’re bad for not keeping to your goal. You just need to do a little problem-solving. What’s getting in the way? How can you make the writing a higher priority?” I worked out a new plan. I’m going back to a paper journal, since I think it’s more inviting than my computer or my iPad. It’ll mean I do more transcribing to get things on the blog, but I think it will work better for my routine.
    Thanks for doing all of this planning and encouraging. You’re what they mean when they talk about “change agents,”

    Liked by 1 person

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