SOL17 DoodleaDay Map Story


Writing.

If you’re a writer, you know it isn’t easy. If you’re not a writer, you know it’s hard.

Donald Murray assured us that “Writing is hard fun.”

In our classrooms, as students learn and read, and wherever students are, they listen, watch, play, work and learn. They gather ideas and facts; they imagine “what ifs.” And teachers have a responsibility to extend all that learning by providing time for students to think and write, and think and write together. And writing for their personal expression in fact and fiction to share their ideas.

Writing clarifies our ideas; it frees our thoughts, contains our thoughts, and connects our thoughts in new ways. We get better at writing by reading a lot and writing a lot. We get better at writing by sharing our pieces — what we like, what we wonder, what we are confused about– for feedback from others. 

Writers know this. Our students need to experience this, not in assignments, but in writing about what’s important to them, in fact or fiction. Journaling, blogging, writers workshop, genius hour: all are ways to incorporate choice in student writing.

We’ve got to let them develop their style, away from templates and outlines. Students need to experience using what they know– facts, experiences, imaginings– to form ideas into a story [fiction or not]. As students review their writing, they share with a friend and get feedback as they make a choice to abandon or to elaborate and revise. If they like their piece, they can edit and publish.  Without these experiences, the feeling of satisfaction and joy — that hard fun — is not attained. We want students to live as writers, as authors on their own.

And with that experience, their messages become clear, in both their own and in their assignments.

Yes, I want my students think like authors– to make the choices in words and organization, in flow and structure, to build their factual or imaginary story and feel the message understood by others when they share during writing and later in publication. 

I want them to learn through their process and publication that “Writing is hard fun.”

And just perhaps, they’ll compose such a story as…

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

Today’s doodling tune in honor of writers and writing, in all its forms.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Hiding in our minds

Ideas flow and connect;

Stories Awaken.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers
Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today: Maps

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Update: As I perused my Facebook feed, I discovered that Ralph Fletcher just made a similar plea, but, of course, he says it much better than I:

Greenbelt Writing: How Low-Stakes, Student-Centered Writing Supports Bold Learning

It’s a great read on Heinemann’s Medium blog.

sol17 DoodleaDay 5 DigiLit Sunday

FullSizeRender 45 doodleaday_nature.jpg

Today is Sunday. It’s great for two reasons: Margaret Gibson’s DigiLit Sunday and it’s the best day of the week for me. And today’s DigiLit Sunday is about Slice of Life, a March writing challenge by the The Two Writing Teachers that asks us to write every day in March about a slice of our lives, a moment in time.

So today I ask you to join in the writing, to write, because it is “hard fun,” as Donald Murray shares, and because writing clears and clarifies the mind. And in these challenging times, we need that. Won’t you join?

I love Sundays. For most of our Sundays together, my husband and I enjoy the light of day shining through the window as we sip our coffee, his black and mine with cream. We spend hours reading and conversing on any topic: news, politics, history, nature, discoveries old and new, how things work, philosophy. It’s relaxing and freeing to have no hurry pushing us.

morning-coffe

Not only does Scott brew the coffee, he also makes breakfast: eggs, many ways. So the day is extra special for me.

In years past, we had hopped in the car to visit grandkids two hours away — but they do grow up 🙂 so we do that less.

Many times, during the school year, I would spend the afternoon and evening on planning for my next week as middle school teacher. But now, I’m retired. Note to teachers: take the day off; your time is precious. [Not that I regret it– I loved it, but teachers shouldn’t have to work so many hours.]

Most of the time we take a walk or hike around town or around the hills of our little rural town.

deer_in_park

Mule Deer in the credit union field

coulee art.JPG

Coulee Art [and yes, we probably know who did this]

Many of my nature photos come from these walks [which we now take almost daily]. This Sunday, these fall leftovers still shared their colors:

oregon_grape_red.JPG

Oregon Grape

oak_leaf.JPG

Oak Leaf [not native to our area, but planted in the park]

Other times we hop in the car for that traditional pastime from both our childhoods: the Sunday drive. Today we drove along Banks Lake, which is still mostly frozen over from the cold winter.

lake_frozen.JPG

Banks Lake in the Grand Coulee [an irrigation reservoir with year round fishing]

steamboat_rock.JPG

Steamboat  Rock [history]

Banks Lake is surrounded by the Grand Coulee walls. [See Glacial Lake Missoula history]

img_3620-mood-over-coulee-walls

Moon over Coulee Wall

Following the highway we turned off at Dry Falls, the largest ever waterfall, but created during the Ice Ages.

IMG_3623_dry_falls.JPG

Dry Falls State Park [part of Glacial Lake Missoula history]

That lake is 350 ft below viewing area!

There we turned around and headed the long way home around through the plateau wheat fields around Hartline, Almira, and Wilbur. We detoured to Govan to take this picture of what’s left of a one-room school house:

school_house_govan.jpg

Govan School House at Sunset

Sundays are a Slice of Life each week. My walks are a Slice of Life each day. In these days of darkness with a totalitarian leaning president, be sure to take care of yourself. In everyone’s life, to celebrate and to reflect, write your moments, your Slice of Life. Be with your family; enjoy nature, whether you walk the cement jungle or the rural trail. And share your moments and their relief; let the doing, writing and sharing renew your spirit and connect you with others.

As a teacher, my students loved Slice of Life; I’ve written about it here and here. For strategies for writers to revise their slice moments, see the work of Ralph Fletcher and Steve Peha. They both provide for strategies for writers workshop and the six  traits of writing. Through Slice of Life and writing strategies, students learn what Donald Murray expressed, “Writing is hard fun.”  So often over the years, students have said during writing class after sharing, “You’re right, Ms Edwards, writing is hard fun.”

So, for reflection and learning, for hope in good and hard times, write for some hard fun.

~~~~~~~~~

Thunder rumbling

Angry words

Daily insults

Inhumane turmoil

Get up

Stand up

Walk out

Inhale

Breathe

Walk

Hug

People laughing

Welcomed smiles

Daily kindness

Community cares

Lift up

Stand up

Walk in

Shake hands

Smile

Share

Hug

Reflect inward

Connect thoughts

Write down moments

Humanity grows.

~~~~~~~~~

 

Coffee Photo: Sheri Edwards, AttributionNoncommercialShare AlikeFlickr

Deer Photo, by Scott Hunter, used with permission

Nature and Drive photos, Sheri Edwards [Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike

Doodle by Sheri Edwards

~~~~~~~~~

This post is:

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today:  Make a stain with a drink; Doodle it into something.

Doodling Song: It’s a Beautiful Morning by The Rascals

~~~~~~~~~

Part of Margaret Gibson’s DigiLit Sunday

digilitsunday