Not bad for a fat girl

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Writing Marathon


Yesterday we took our kid writers on a writing marathon, and it was so cool! Well, not literally. It was actually very hot, so we started early, sought shade, and ducked inside to air conditioned spaces a few times. Still, it was a great experience, and the kids came up with some interesting writing.

Our group toured the college campus where we meet, finding interesting spots to write. We looked around, found a spot, and got to work. The locations were used as inspiration, but didn’t dictate the writing. Our campus is pretty much a desert oasis, with scrubby brush, cactus, rocks, Palo Verde and Mesquite trees, and desert flowers. There are also grassy areas, and plenty of small animals. We spied white winged doves, quail, bees, ants, flies, sparrows, moths, butterflies, a hummingbird, and a jackrabbit. They’re always there, but sometimes we forget to look for them.

We found a hidden courtyard outside the library, and in the library a very cool collection of anatomy models. Heads, hearts, lungs, eyeballs, and more were available for us to explore. In summer the library isn’t very busy, and the librarians were happy to see us (and provide a band-aid for a skinned knee).

I’ve had the extreme pleasure of participating in a “real” writing marathon in New Orleans; one that took me around that remarkable city over the course of a few days. I learned that people are generous to writers. They give us space and time and sometimes wine and coffee. They are curious about our process and product. Rarely do we see writers up close, even though to a greater or lesser extent we’re all writers.

Taking these young writers on their first (or in some cases second) marathon was a way for me to share my love of writing and my fascination with our world with these young people. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.


These writers are from a previous marathon.

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Free Write!

So right now we’re in the middle of writing camp (almost, it’s day four of ten) and it’s free writing time, which means time to writ about whatever we want. We have lots of pieces started, and we can go back and flesh them out, or revise them, or begin again. Or… we can ignore them all together and work on something completely different. Something new, perhaps. Maybe a blog post, even? Why yes! Even a blog post.



These kids are hard at work on stories, character sketches, setting descriptions, responses to poems, and stories, stories, stories! They are going to town with their ideas, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness. Two of the three sisters are collaborating on a piece, sister number three is writing near, but not with, her new friend. The teen who we’re not quite sure we’re reaching, is scribbling away, and she doesn’t have her earbuds in! The boys have each staked out their own territories and are hard at work, and the one with the tiny attention span… well, she’s changed spots and decided that she HAS to have her bag of junk with her, but she’s writing too, at least a little.

Writing is hard work, so sometimes we need permission to just play. We did that today too, by writing all over the sidewalk. The kids brainstormed messages before we did it, so they had a plan in mind before they got the chalk in their hands. Once we got to our chosen spot they swarmed. I wish I had a hidden camera to record people’s faces as they read the quotes and words of encouragement our kids wrote. One of my favorites:


Wow. I hadn’t heard that quote before, and I can’t find where it originated, but I sure do like it. Listen to these kids, they have a lot to say.


Ten Days of Terrific Writing

images.jpgTomorrow writing camp begins again. Usually I have a few days off between school ending and camp starting, but not this time. I feel like it’s kind of rushed, but then again, it sure feels like summer, so let’s go for it!

I’m fortunate to work with another wonderful teacher, so these ten days aren’t entirely my own. It’s nice to share the responsibilities, and to have double the ideas and energy to bring to the camp, especially this time, since there are currently 18 kids signed up for our session.

Our particular group ranges in age from those entering third grade to those entering eighth. Now that’s a range! We’ve got some fun and creative ideas up our sleeves, so all of our young writers will leave with some intriguing new stories.

Now to get it all put together on the computer, and, hopefully, to get the technology working correctly in the classroom tomorrow morning. And if not? We’ll do it the old fashioned way! Happy summer writing to you!