…from my notebook
…from my notebook
…to get writing juices flowing in class
Materials: Student writer’s notebooks; Happy Campers :0)
Quick: One sentence about yourself you think is true of everyone in this room
Quick: One sentence about yourself you strongly suspect is true for only you
QuickRead ReadAround: Around the room students read their first Quickwrite; around the room again, students read their second. (Following rules of ReadAround–just read, no response comments)
What likes What? is an observational writing strategy that I have done for years (see my scratch what likes what notes on my writer’s notebook page)…In the novel Cold Mountain, Ruby tells Ada, in trying to describe how she knows so much about plants, herbs, the natural world: Well, you just have to know what likes what…”...that line spoke to me. So, I have lists, still compiling them and some have become small works of art. This is a good observational suggestion for students–to notice what likes what throughout their day. If you have students do this exercise it will open their eyes to really noticing the world. The world is full of beauty–beauty in the simplest of sights and moments. Here are a few examples of my recent photo shots, to which I have added What likes What jots…Ask your students–What likes What when Autumn comes?
…a quote from a mentor who inspires me. Her book, A Trail Through Leaves (a gift to me from a treasured friend) is one I revisit from time to time, and upon each visit am startled by wonderings and images new to me, though I have held this book closely for so many years…
“A long-running journal is an invaluable document, because it records something other than the time-and-goal-dominated anxiety that drives us through our days. We can tease out of it evolving evidence of sub-lives, parallel existences, omens of shifts that won’t be realized for decades, recurrences of themes glimpsed periodically through the years….The trail of words and pictures that I am leaving is more complete than most people’s, but it is still a trail of tips and ice bergs, little slices of light and color that are all I can capture of the big masses moving underneath. But threading through are moments of the ordinary-made-extraordinary by the simple act of choosing and isolating them.”
A Trail Through Leaves: The Journal As a Path to Place
Came across a pptx for a workshop presentation I did in Virginia. As I view it today, I see I have really nothing to add–everything I said back in 2008 I am still saying today….and saying, and saying…Writing and Writers—Essentials for Teaching….
How many verbs can describe the journey of a thought…?
….certainly there are more!
Teachers…when your students page through their writer’s notebooks, have them consider…how did this entry begin—did it begin with a “verb”…an “action” in the mind that triggered that entry? Could be a fun and educative activity.
I posted this as a writer’s notebook suggestion awhile back (under wnb page), but can’t resist the urge to post here, as well. So many years ago when I attended my summer institute of the National Writing Project at Sunbelt Writing Project, Auburn University, I was introduced to the essays of Georgia Heard. One essay…Ten Observations a Day–has literally changed my daily and writing life. Such a simple concept–notice the world you are walking around in. Since that summer of ’99, I have become more wide awake as I go along through my days. Often my noticings end up in my sketchbooks (as in my bird on a limb haiku post yesterday morning)–other times they end up in writer’s notebook pages–sometimes they end up here on this blog; other times they do nothing more than tune me in to me and my reactions to what I see, hear, think, and feel about my day. I love photography, so my HaikuNorth blog is devoted to observations that result in snapshots and tiny words.
If you teach—I encourage you to suggest this to your students, especially if they keep writer’s notebooks and/or sketchbooks. Notice ten things today–intentionally, and see what comes of it–a poem, a narrative, a visual sketch, a musical sketch? A camera shot?
My visual and written notebook observations, and my HaikuNorth blog, are breadcrumbs into past paths and days, whether remarkable or mundane–they shaped and continue to shape me. Learning to look, notice, wonder simply makes life richer.
(“Ten Observations a Day”–an essay by Georgia Heard, from Writing toward home: Tales and lessons to find your way)
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