August 9, 2011

Back to Writing - Back to Strong Sentences with Kids

Oh My. Mea Culpa and all that.

I have written in my journal. I have composed long Facebook posts. I have calligraphed detailed cards to friends. I have, in stream-of-consciousness style, blown the air out of my lungs onto the page with friends and loved ones who I trust to hear my truths. I have compiled compassionate and sometimes contentious emails to people who have not stayed true to their word, and asked for forgiveness for judging them for doing so. It is the week of International Forgiveness Day, after all.

What is missing in that list is of course, my blog.
I have read many blogs, talked about my own blog, heard advice about where to link my blog, and considered shutting the whole thing down, but I have not written.

I led a Writing Camp for 5 days, 90 minutes each day, with 5th and 6th graders. I have coached summer tutoring students in writing. I have gotten accepted again this year to present on Writing for ADD kids, in the annual ADD Conference in October. I have searched endlessly on my new ipad (birthday gift from my 83 year old mom) for writing apps to use with my students. (have only chosen 2 so far!). I have looked up new curriculum on writing to use with unique students, and met with other professionals for coffee and talked for hours about how to teach writing to our tougher students. But I have not written in my own blog.

Summer students have an interesting array writing needs, and I am loving going slower than is my nature - I am going over and over what makes a good sentence, and reviewing the grammar pieces more than I usually do - I tend to give them a Mad Lib, and all my cheat sheets on parts of Speech, and a few grammar card games, and then a week later I tell them to add an adjective to a sentence, or switch to a stronger verb, and they forget what those are. Argghh. But in the face of them, I just ask, ask, ask questions and don't show my shock.

So a good lesson for me is to review more, teach less. Even though the clock seems to be ticking and they still can't write a paragraph that holds together, or that is not rambling or robotic, I have to conk myself on the head and remember to get their sentence-level writing SOLID as a rock. I love my job.

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