Writing as a way of life

I was everything in those stories that I thought I couldn’t be in real life: a sassy smart aleck with an uncanny ability to insult and/or shame all those who wronged me in any way. I also wrote letters to my mom (my frequent antagonist) and then tore them into tiny undetectable pieces and threw them away. I suppose it was always about the process of writing for me, about how I felt after writing, not about publishing my end products.

What writers do: Obsess, recall, wonder, question, and record (an example)

I once lost a journal, left it behind at a breakfast diner in the heart of Boston… I didn’t sleep for two full days worrying about it. …Had it been noticed or unwittingly swept into the trash? …did anyone read it? Did they laugh? In the good way? Or cry? Did they see any potential? Did they like it? Boston is a literary city, after all, so there was a lot at stake for me.

One way of looking at 13 cardinals 

On the third anniversary of my mom’s death, I was visited by more than a dozen red cardinals in five days. I otherwise hadn’t seen one since Christmas, a full six months earlier. I looked up the meaning of cardinal sightings, though I had a vague memory that my mom had told me once thatContinue reading “One way of looking at 13 cardinals “

A Unit of Study in Poetry

Get a step-by-step tour of how you might teach a poetry unit. Sample mini-lessons, noticing charts, conferring videos, conferring notes and more are included. Also includes “Teacher Try-Its” to help you fill your own writer’s notebook with material that you can teach from!

Notebook strategies to help generate and revise poems

Here are five notebook strategies that can support your poetry unit. They also fit or could be adapted to other units of study. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to teach the same notebook strategy in multiple units—that demonstrates how valuable the strategy is across genres, subject matter, audiences, purposes, etc.