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…

getting unstuck; change gears

Christina Torres is an excellent writer. And like all excellent writers, know when she gets stuck, and seeks advice on how to get unstuck: Any tips for how to get my brain back in order to write? Mind feels foggy, keep mistyping, struggling to focus. Trying not to run/bike bc it historically doesn’t help and I’m really sore/physically burnt out. Would also take how to induce panic attack so this finally stops 🤣 — Christina Torres (@biblio_phile) August 2, 2020 One of the dispiriting aspects about the quarantine for me personally, and this is coming from a place of privilege….

Writing: Voice

A great question: gracious. ELA teachers: how do you teach voice? It is still super hard for me. I still feel like the basis of voice is word choice and I struggle to separate the two. Help! #ncte #nctevillage #engchat #whyisthissohardstill #ugh — Christina Torres (@biblio_phile) January 13, 2020 Some of the best educators on Twitter weighed in with their advice and insight, so if you’re on Twitter, I highly recommend reading some of the comments. And since this is my blog and personal pensieve, I choose to explore this a bit further. Rebecca is correct: the five of the…

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,…