Transitions

When did you last contemplate the doors in your life? This week my students were concerned with revision of their rhetorical analysis essays and we used two poems to explore the transitions that our chosen stories have inspired in our lives and futures. I have always loved Doors opening, closing on us by Marge Piercy…

Read More

West Virginia

The second stop of Write Across America‘s first ever school year marathon was in West Virginia where writers explored four different themes prevalent in West Virginia history, identity, culture, and life: nature and environment, work and community, outmigration, and rebellion. The rich layers of West Virginia voices and texts and music and images provided infinite…

Read More

Ripples

Throughout this month my writing group has found our writing inspiration in photos (see Ripples and Perspective and Snapshots and Ingenuity and Ancestors) and I continue to be struck by not only the memories and knowledge of my past (and family) this journey has unlocked but also by the philosophical exploration our group undertaken. This image represents a formative…

Read More

What Lens Do You Use?

I’m really torn about the date to put on this post as the photo is one that I shared with my writing group as we continue to find our writing inspiration in photos (see Perspective and Snapshots and Ingenuity and Ancestors) on Sept. 14, but I shared with my students on Sept. 28 when we wrote in response to…

Read More

Perspective

As my writing group continues to find our writing inspiration in photos (see Snapshots and Ingenuity and Ancestors) I have moved away from ancestral photos to my own story and let me tell you that is a powerful exploration. Before choosing this photo I took a deep dive through my high school photo album and yearbooks. It is so curious that…

Read More

Layers

As my students and I continue our rhetorical analysis work and study well-known (often beloved) stories, I shared Let Them Not Say by Jane Hirshfield. I asked my students to write about what the Story they are exploring tells us about the time/forces of its making. One of the reasons I want my students to engage in…

Read More

What is your quest?

This week my students kicked off a new unit. In this unit we will learn about rhetorical analysis and study well-known (often beloved) stories. One of the reasons I love this work is that sharing stories we love with the community and peeling back the layers of meaning found in those stories brings us closer…

Read More

Cross Over

After four summers of criss-crossing the country, Write Across America is expanding our virtual writing marathons into the academic calendar. The first stop of the school year was a review of the 2023 summer stops and a preview of the upcoming 2023 Write Out. We opened our writing with the line learned from Richard Louth…

Read More
Man standing beside horse drawn wagon

Ancestors

While our writing group continues to find our writing inspiration in photos (see Snapshots and Ingenuity) I have been thinking a lot about Not My Ancestors by Bettina Judd. I know every time I look in the mirror or at my son that blood will tell. Certainly physical traits are passed on and so many…

Read More

Key Conversations

As my students dig deeper into the work of crafting their This I Believe essays I want them to think seriously about their audience and purpose. I never want their writing to simply be an academic exercise. I want it to matter, to connect with their real lives and real people who matter to them.…

Read More
empty classroom with rows of desks, white board and chalk boards and maps on the walls

Important Lessons

My first year writers are in the midst of drafting This I Believe essays and today I challenged them to think about the most important lesson they have learned. I used Brad Aaron Modlin’s What You Missed That Day You Were Absent From Fourth Grade to inspire their writing. I gave them this simple prompt:…

Read More

Ingenuity

As I noted in Snapshots, the Just Write group is finding inspiration in photographs. Our inspiration began with the poem mobile architecture by José Felipe Alvergue (and other related poems suggested on the same web page) and we picked photos of our families to inspire our writing. While some members of the group have dug deep into their…

Read More