BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Summer Job One is Done

Today was the last day of our writing camp. Each summer for the past several years I’ve been an instructor at a writing camp affiliated with our local university and the National Writing Project. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also work.

This time around we had ten kids in our section (there are three sites and several sections). Our group ranged from kids entering third grade to kids entering eighth grade. People always wonder how that works, but writing is a marvelous thing… we each approach it from where we are. A third grader and an eighth grader and an adult can all respond to writing challenges, albeit on different levels. Actually, we had an eighth grader whose writing is extremely mature and complex, so you can’t necessarily decide that age limits people.

Today we invited parents in to our end of the session showcase, and each young writer took the microphone and shared a piece they had written, revised, edited, and practiced. The kids were poised, confident, and proud of their writing. I was proud of them, too. Several parents commented that their kids loved the program and that it was helpful to them as writers. I couldn’t ask for higher praise than that.

Now I’m preparing for my next summer job tomorrow, proctoring a high-stakes professional exam. This one is only for a day, but what a LONG day it will be. Then next week I’m off to the east coast for a week-long professional conference on teaching – wait for it – writing. What a busy month June is. And that doesn’t include last week’s visit to Texas or the trip to my niece’s high school graduation at the end of the month. I need a vacation from my vacation!

People who say teachers have the summer off probably don’t know any real teachers. Just saying. Enjoy any time off you may have, I know I will.

teacher-wellness

It all sounds so simple.


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First Day of School Nerves

This happens every year. In fact I think I write about it every year, and I may even choose the same words. I’m not looking back, because I really don’t care if I repeat myself. It bears repeating. School is starting tomorrow and I’m a bundle of nerves.

I know it’s going to go well.keep-calm-and-act-like-you-know-what-youre-doing.jpg

I know the children are going to be terrific.

I know I’m planned and have my materials ready.

But what if…

What if everything that’s planned falls flat? What if the children won’t listen to me? What if they’re mean to each other? What if I forget how to teach? What if there’s a big storm tomorrow morning and it’s chaos? What if I mess up the schedule? What if I can’t remember any of their names? What if, what if, what if…

O.K. Big breath. Now that I’ve spewed out all of those highly unlikely scenarios (well, except for maybe mixing up the schedule a little and forgetting a name here or there) I actually feel better.

I won’t forget how to teach.

The children will be excited to be back in school and in the fourth grade for the first time.

They will be pleasant and work hard.

We’ll have a fun and productive day getting to know each other and learning how to be fourth graders.

It’s going to be a great year, I just know it. Still, I won’t sleep tonight, but that’s to be expected too.


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Online Summer Writing Camp for Teachers

I’ve written about summer writing camp for kids, and how much I love being involved with it, but today I’m talking about something different. This time I get to be the camper! This is summer writing camp for adults, specifically teachers of students in grades K-8.

There’s a Facebook group run by Jennifer Serravallo (of Reading Strategies and Writing Strategies fame) that invites you to write along. It’s still week one, so if you want to join in, you absolutely can, and really, I think you can jump in on any of the weeks, since each week explores a different type of writing.

This week we’ve been working on a fictional narrative piece. Each day Jennifer posts a short video introducing and teaching the strategy. She models its use, both in mentor texts and in her own writing, then she sets us off to try it out. The videos are in the 5-10 minute range, and the writing time is about 10 minutes too. For twenty minutes a day you’re learning new strategies, writing samples you can use with your students come next school year, and having fun doing it.

Many people are posting their work and comments, too, but I haven’t gotten into that part of it. I’m doing the “streamlined” version, short and sweet.

Have I mentioned how much I love summer camp? Even if it is in front of my phone or laptop.

Here’s the link in case you’re interested:

Writing Strategies Summer Camp