Squirrel Guardian, of the House of Procrastination and Random Mischief

A huge shout-out of gratitude to Angela Stockman: read this first: Ah, the synergy and serendipity of collaboration and conversation. I’m sitting in my writing shed, something I wanted forever, am very grateful to have, and am still paying off. And the barn-style door does not stay propped open on its own (does anything?). Returning from a walk, I go back to the shed to see what kinds of inspiration can be gleaned from a sunny, anxious depressing, cortisol-filled day. Now, mind you, the garden statuary of the squirrel has a long story, and not sure I’m going to write…

Starstruck

I am not sure how or why, but am completely starstruck: Larry Ferlazzo asked me to be on one of his BAM! podcasts, and that was so cool! The panel consisted of me, Katherine Schultan @KSchulten and Tatiana Esteban @tmce0419, and it was a pleasure to hear their advice and insight on our topic, authentic writing. The TL:DR version: be explicit when you tell students they are not writing just ‘for the teacher.’ Their audience is secondary to their voice, passions, burning questions, and their own author’s purpose. Use mentor texts and make the invisible visible. Frame what ‘writers do’…

Hugo House and Writing Communities

This summer I read Why They Can’t Write by John Warner and attended a Hugo House event called Write-O-Rama. Often the most valuable professional development include those we do for ourselves, not necessarily as teachers but for our identities and passions that sustain us outside of the classroom, too. I have been wanted to dismantle/disrupt the five-paragraph essay for some time now–look for other formats/mediums for students to consider instead of the strict, unresponsive format of the five paragraph essay. As Warner states: The worst of those training wheels is the five-paragraph essay. If you do not know the form,…

Writers’ Workshop

A quick overview and resources from writing workshop via @writingproject and my work with the Puget Sound Writing Project. I attended the PSWP in 2009 and 2015, and have taken these methods and practices to my classroom and helped others, too. After reading Why They Can’t Write by John Warner this summer, and attending a Hugo House workshop (more to follow on this), I am more convinced and determined that writing will be at the core of my ELL instruction next year. Everything I’ve done here I’ve done with adults in a learning space, and then with students, side by…

…the truth is

This week I am on a rare trip: my in-laws took me and my husband to Hawaii. My husband and I went on our honeymoon 26+ years ago to Maui, and haven’t had a trip since. We’ve been to visit relatives in California and Texas, but for big, magical trips, this is it. I have more to say about this trip, and I know I wrote a poem in my sleep about monk seals, and hope I can capture it from the ethereal realms. I am worried about my students this week. My husband told me not to, but I…

Sturdy Structures and Tapestries

Every time I feel I have my Professor McGonagall-mojo in place, inevitably realize I am only a Trelawney. I want to be firm, peering over the edge of my spectacles, jumping in and of animal bodies with ease and precision (aka going from my awkward projector on the cart to the tiny weird screen, to the tiny space for the doc camera, etc.: the tech in my room is…uncomfortable). If I could shout out with my confident Scottish brogue, “TWENTY POINTS FOR FIRST PERIOD!” with a flick of my wand, oh what wouldn’t I give? But alas, every day my…

Summer Series of Saves: Magic

Did you ever want to be a character from a book? Tomi Adeyemi wrote Children of Blood and Bone (which I just finished and REALLY WANT SOME TO TALK ABOUT THE ENDING WITH!) and she posted this beautiful photo: call me Zélie pic.twitter.com/lDlSG6tAbZ — Tomi Adeyemi (@tomi_adeyemi) July 20, 2018 Now: ideas for discussing books and characters with students: what elements of characters do you recognize in yourself? What powers or weaknesses do they have you see in yourself? And wow: when you don’t see a character that matches or represents you: WRITE IT.

New Writing North

#NationalWritingDay @writeday South Shields: I feel most free when….. A fantastic group poem on this year’s theme. pic.twitter.com/vZ1f0zEv1R — New Writing North Young Writers (@NWNyoungwriters) June 23, 2018 @NWNyoungwriters @NewWritingNorth http://www.cuckoowriters.com/features/detail/young-writers-talent-fund-call-applicants/ This post is half-done: curating a list of resources for writers of every age. This stood out. Insomnia is different when it’s summer break: I am determined to carve out care and creativity and try to be patient with myself. If you come across resources for writers and ways to publish works, please link them in the comments section or send them to: karen.kelly.love@gmail.com