Good writing/Great writing–a visual

Well, I’m a strong visual learner so this recent post on the Brain Pickings blog kind of fascinated me. See if you don’t agree that visuals can help explain complexities.



Back to School with Teachers And Writers Magazine!

My email newsletter came today from Teachers & Writers Magazine–the online zine of Teachers & Writers Collaborative. It is loaded with wonderful and imaginative ideas for teaching your writers. You can subscribe to this wonderful magazine (I think I have mentioned it somewhere before on this blog) for free–however, T&W Collaborative is sustained by donations.

T&W publishes Teachers & Writers Magazine as a resource for teaching the art of writing in kindergarten through college and also in non-classroom settings. The online magazine presents a wide range of ideas and approaches, as well as lively explorations of T&W’s mission: “educating the imagination.”

Here’s a taste of what they offer you in the Back to School edition. Visit to sign up for this great magazine, and share with your colleagues!

From the Aug 2016 edition (but also check out the archives for great ideas and lesson plans):
Travel Poetry
Just Write—a daily ritual in a middle school classroom…Also loaded with good writing tip starters.




Teacher? Writer? Then check out this resource…

Teacher & Writers Collaborative supports creative writing programs at community sites and schools in NYC and surrounding communities. They rely upon funding from individuals, corporations, foundations and government to continue their amazing work. They also–which really brings me to this post–publish a wonderful digital newsmag, Teachers & Writers Magazine which is free to you and an amazing resource. Subscription to their digital mag is free (through they would love your contributions).

Follow the link above and see what the January issue offers, and while you are there, explore the archives. You will not be disappointed!

Wonderful evening with great folks

Had the honor of leading a writing workshop with a Mother-Daughter book club last evening. So inspiring for me to listen in to all the wonderful words written and shared. If you follow this blog you know who you are and thanks so much for the gifts of hearing your words. Write On!!

Dear Poet…..

Dear Poet is a Academy of American Poets invitational challenge to students in grades 5-12 to write a letter in response to poems written and read by some of the award-winning poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors. The multimedia project (LOVE that it is multimedia) extends through the month of April, National Poetry Month.

Instructions for students may be found on the Dear Poet link above.

Teachers—if you are interested in using Dear Poet in the classroom, has worked with a curriculum specialist to design a series of activities, aligned with the Common Core, especially for you. Here is the link to Lesson Plans. The lesson plans are intended for middle and high school students, but can be adapted for a younger group.

LOVING this!!! Hope you will, too, and challenge your students!

…how do we know what we know? (HDWKWWK)

What kinds of information can we have–the “stuff” that primes the pump for a writing piece? How do we know what we know?

Well, we can know “stuff” first-hand…from active involvement through our senses–we can experience it–see it, taste it, touch it, hear it, do it…

We can get the information from others–through someone showing us, telling us…info direct from another person…

Or, we can embark on personal journeys to discover “stuff,” to come to know through investigation.

These are ways we come to “know what we know.”  These are ways we use to know our world enough to want to write about it.

Just random thoughts this morning…have a great day, full of discoveries!

From a distance…collaboration

It began, quite unintentionally, with the picture below. I took it on a road trip Friday and posted it to my facebook page with just one tag line …The orchard sleeps…

My distant writing group friend added two more lines….in winter’s gloom under a crescent moon…And, said, keep it going. The resulting conversation:

me: trees whisper tales of Spring

of blossoms snuggled in a winter wrap

of deep roots tangled in Summer’s dreams

she: one small bird perches at dawn

me: threads her way through forks of trees

through thickets of sticks

weaving her own tales

against the landscape of winter


Writing off of photos is one of my writing invitations on my writer’s notebook page on this blog. Photos inspire. Digital devices and social media allow us to virtually sit beside friends to collaborate visions and words, to create shared works.

Teachers–had the digital world of today existed back when I shared daily existence with sixth graders, you bet I would have encouraged this kind of collaboration.

You see two images here: the first is the photo that started it all; the second is a quickly-sketched notebook entry of the resulting poem.IMG_1007 IMG_1345