Teachers Write 7.9.18 Mini-Lesson Monday: Another Point of View

Hi there! Happy Summer! And welcome to writing camp! Jo Knowles starts our weeks off with a Monday Morning Warm-up, so please visit her blog to get your creative ideas flowing – and then come back here for today’s lesson! 

Teachers Write is a free virtual summer writing camp for teachers and librarians.  To get daily posts delivered to your in-box, please click here and fill out your name & email on the form on the right side of the page. 

A quick note about blogging your Teachers Write experience:  Our guest authors have given permission for their lessons & prompts to be shared on the Teachers Write blog only. Please do not copy and paste any mini-lessons or writing prompts to your own social media feeds or blogs – publish only your own writing there. If you’d like to reference the ideas shared here, providing a link is the best way to do that. Thanks!

Our weekly schedule will look like this:

Monday Mini-lesson, and a Monday Morning Warm-Up
Tuesday Quick-Write
Wednesday is Q and A day – authors will be here to answer your questions! 
Thursday Quick-Write
Friday Mini-lesson and Friday Feedback
Sunday Check-In  – a chance to check in with everyone, reflect on the week, and share encouragement.

I’ll be popping in to comment, and I know many of our guest authors will, too, but since this community has grown so much (we’re more than 3000 teacher-writers strong now!) you’ll also need to commit to supporting one another. When someone decides to be brave and share a bit of writing in the comments, or when someone asks for advice or feedback, please know that you are welcome (and encouraged!) to be mentors to one another as well. Watching this writing community grow is one of the best things about being part of Teachers Write.

The first time you comment, I will have to “approve” your comment before it appears. This is to prevent us all from being besieged by online trolls. So when you comment, it will not show up right away – sometimes, it may be later in the day when your comment appears. THIS IS OKAY. Please don’t post more than once. I’ll be traveling for conferences & research some of the summer  but promise to check in whenever I get wherever I’m going each night. Be patient with  me, okay? 🙂

Now…let’s get started!

Another Point of View

Breakout cover imageWhen I was working on my June 2018 novel, BREAKOUT, about a small-town prison break and manhunt that change the way three kids see their neighbors and the place they call home, I wrote the first draft in first person point of view, from the point of view of Nora Tucker, the prison superintendent’s daughter. I revised. And revised. And somewhere around my third draft, thanks to feedback from writer friends, I reconsidered that POV decision.

How might different elements of this story look different to different characters? How would their backgrounds and life experiences change the way they saw things? And how might different documents – letters, poems, text messages, emails, news articles, signs, etc. – be useful in sharing those different perspectives?

This exploration ultimately led me to rewrite the entire book with a different structure, as a novel-in-documents.

I loved working on this project with this challenging puzzle of a format. (And I really hope you’ll want to read BREAKOUT and share it with your students- you can pick it up from your favorite bookstore!)

My next book won’t be a novel-in-documents because every story is different, and this one (a mystery set on a cricket farm!) will be better served with a different structure. But I’ll still take some time to write letters and poems in my characters’ voices, even though those pages probably won’t end up in the final draft. Writing from different points of view is a helpful way for writers of all ages to explore character, whether or not the final story will be told in multiple points of view. Often, when I’m writing a novel with an antagonist who doesn’t feel fully fleshed out, I take a break from the manuscript to journal in the “bad guy’s” point of view. It always helps me to understand more about my villain’s motivation and the backstory that shaped them.

So for today’s mini-lesson, let’s spend a little time playing around with point of view and structure.

Your assignment: 

  1. Go read this article about a pet owner who lost his cobra in a Florida neighborhood a few years ago. While you read, brainstorm a list of different characters who might be part of a story inspired by this news article and think about how their perspectives on what happened might differ.
  2. Next, brainstorm a list of all the different kinds of documents that might be part of this story if you were to write it using that format. Would there be text messages sent? From whom? What would they say? Who might write letters or diary entries or emails? What might a poem from one of the characters in this story look like? Could there be a rap battle? Petitions? Related news stories or editorials? Cartoons?
  3. Choose one of the documents you brainstormed and write it. Keep in mind which character(s) created that document and what their perspectives might be.
  4. If you’d like, share a little of what you wrote by copying & pasting into the comments. (If you link to a blog or other website, most people won’t see it.) And feel free to read some of the other posts to see how different writers handled other points of view!
  5. If you’re not ready to share quite yet, you can also just introduce yourself in the comments & say hello! I’m excited to meet everyone!

And here’s a little extra incentive to participate in the comments today. If you share a snippet of your writing and/or an introduction, I’ll enter you in a drawing to win all four of these amazing MG novels by TW guest authors, past and present. And they’re ALL signed! Deadline: 11pm EST on July 9th.

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194 Comments

  1. Posted July 9, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Good Morning Campers! It’s good to be back and reading this TW blog. My name is Linda. I’m a Family Girl and Teacher Librarian. I love to write and have piles of “fits and start” drafts in various virtual and real drawers in my life. Because I like writing in verse “best” I participate in Poetry Fridays year round on my blog, A Word Edgewise (blogger). I really enjoy the writing encouragement from TW.
    This year, I have an actual wip that is taking up mega time. It involves a ton of research, primary and secondary source docs. So, I’ll be using prompts here to inspire writing there. I love learning how to be better at providing and taking feedback. This is one of the best places to learn that. I’ve found several of my very dear critique partners through TW.

    I have read Breakout and love it for my MG students. And, I have left a review on Amazon…and in a blog piece. It’s a great read AND mentor text. I’m grateful that Kate shared some of her writing of Breakout on this blog leading up to Breakout’s pub date. Those blog posts are also mini writing lessons. I recommend taking a peek at them.

    Happy cobra wrangling…er, writing (there’s a metaphor somewhere?)

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Hi, Linda! So happy to see you this morning & thrilled that you’ll be writing with us again this summer!

  2. Carolyn Clark
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Statler and Waldorf (balcony of garage)

    Statler Waldorf
    Hey! What is this act coming through the door? I think he is the Lost in Orlando star.

    Where does he think he is going? Headed for Dryer lands

    Do you think he will go without a fight? Not without a hiss.

    That was one heck of a show. It was a 9 out of 10 for being the best
    avoidance of paparazzi story (until today)

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Love this idea, Carolyn! Thanks for being brave enough to share on Day One. I’m so glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  3. Diana Murrell
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Hi everyone! My name is Diana and I’m a Teacher-Librarian from Mississauga in Canada. I am excited to participate this year. I love writing and enjoy working with teachers to help students develop their writing. I am so excited to try this writing prompt! How do you find these amazing ideas?!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Diana! So glad you’re excited by today’s prompt! This is actually one that I used with students at a writing camp when I was on book tour for Breakout in early June. They did such an amazing job imagining all the different points of view surrounding a news story like this that I knew it was one I’d want to share with teachers to try out in your own classrooms, too!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Hi Diana! Just wanted to say hello because I live in Mississauga too!

  4. Kate Kluegel
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Good morning! I’m headed to Nerd Camp in MI today, but I did start a list of characters, including 11 year old June who accidentally let her mom’s boyfriend’s King Cobra escape while she was home alone with the bf’s 3 year old son. I have thoughts swirling that I’ll not at some point today.

    I’m Kate, mom to 2 boys (10 and 13, both voracious readers), wife to John (also a reader), teacher to 5th graders (many voracious readers and writers) … lifetime-aspiring writer.

    Thanks for hosting, Kate.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Ohh….I love this story-behind-the-story idea – can’t wait to see what you do with it! Welcome to writing camp!

  5. Lacy Greco
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Good morning! I’m happy to be back for my second summer of writing camp! I am Lacy Greco and I am a 4th grade teacher from Texas!

    Snippet:

    Ahhhh, what a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the breeze is nice, and nothing beats the taste of freedom. I wonder how long it will take the ol’ guy to find me. Poor guy is gonna freak out when he finds out I’ve escaped. Hissshissshisss Well good thing this lady hasn’t cut her grass lately. Gives me a nice place to slither around without being seen. Maybe I’ll just hang here awhile….wait, what’s that sound?

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Oh dear…is it a lawnmower? (Now you have me WORRIED about this cobra!)

      Thanks for sharing today, Lacy! Glad you’ll be writing with us this summer!

      • Lacy Greco
        Posted July 9, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        Hahaha! Guess he should have stayed home!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Writing from the snake’s POV is a fun idea!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      This reminds me of the snake that Harry let loose in HP & the Sorcerer’s Stone… “Brazil Here I come!”

  6. Andy Starowicz
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Good morning, Kate! THANK YOU for another summer of Teachers Write.

    Funny story: During dinner last Tuesday night, I told my kids and their nephews about the time my roommate lost his pet python in an old house we were living in on Bellevue Avenue. The snake was missing for three days. We lived on the top floor, and somehow the python made it to the basement and was stretched out along a pipe near the furnace. The reaction of my kids (and nephews) helped this morning’s writing prompt flow.

    Characters:
    Preteens (10 years old and younger): making “Missing King Cobra” signs that have sayings like, “Cobra must be found – our lives depend on it.”

    Teens (13-17 year olds): Exaggerated and inaccurate Instagram and Snapchat posts about the missing cobra – King Cobra has almost taken the lives of two neighbors in vicious attacks AND/OR (after the teens do terrible research online) King Cobras usually target unarmed teenagers

    The neighbor that comes over to offer assistance (with a weapon): The guy will likely be wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and will “take care of the snake when he finds in.”

    The animal lover neighbor that wants to find it alive and well: He or she may say something like, “My dog will help find it and maybe they can have a play date next week.”

    This prompt was so fun. I found myself wanting to write most of the story through the eyes of the preteens, but I also found that each character (the owner of the cobra included) brought something different to the story (humor, seriousness, anger, sadness). Thank you for the mini-lesson and prompt.

    BTW – Loved Breakout! Already purchased copies for next year’s “Kate Messner” literature circles.:)
    Happy writing!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Andy! Love this take on the cobra story – thanks for sharing on the first day!

    • Linda Mitchell
      Posted July 9, 2018 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      So good to see you here Andy. I hope all is well and you have lots and lots more words since last time we were here.

  7. Lynne Richer
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Morning everyone. I’m a 7 & 8th grade English teacher in Syracuse, NY and thrilled to sharpen my writing skills at this camp. Here’s are some of my thoughts from today’s writing mini lesson. I didn’t include the actual announcement here, but more about the thought process on where I could take this story:

    Midday Announcements delivered by Mr. Tom Gunnerson, Principal at Oakwoods Elementary School, a K-4 building. PA system buzzes indicating that an announcement is forthcoming. Mr. Gunnerson’s voice booms across the building. How to share fear in the principal’s voice as he is afraid of snakes? Share a memory or story from his past that causes fear…older brother or cousin who tormented him? Former wrestler who was beat by a kid named The Snake? Harry Potter fan? Also include a conversation with the custodian/groundskeeper about diligently checking the school grounds for the snake.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Lynne! I love that you shared your thinking here – so much of my writing looks like this in early drafts, too – figuring things out and asking the questions I’ll need to think about.

  8. Georgia Parker
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Thrilled to be back at TW! I am Georgia Parker and I teach 8th grade English and an upper school YA Lit elective. Am looking forward to connecting with everyone here. My Twitter handle is @gksparker

    Here is my snippet –

    “Friends, we are going to lunch in a few minutes.” Scottie started for his cubby to grab his lunch box. “Hold on, not until I dismiss you.” Ms. Jones rolled her eyes. It was October but still not all the kids knew the drill. Her hands were clenched tightly at her sides. She was usually poised and relaxed but not today. Her students sensed something was off and the background whispering stopped.

    “After lunch in the cafeteria, we will not be going outside for recess. We’ll come back here for inside play.” She took a deep breath and a forced herself to plaster a smile that she didn’t feel on her face. She looked forward to recess as much, if not more, than the kids. It was the only break in her day.

    Several hands shot up, but Tiffany, the know-it-all, started to talk before Ms. Jones could call on anyone. “Is this because of the snake? My mama told me all about it and said it could swallow me with one bite. It’s a cobra!”

    The room erupted with questions – What? How big is it? Why do we have to stay inside? Did you see it?

    “Calm down,” Ms. Jones waved her hands up and down as if that would help. “There is no need to panic. It’s just a p-p-precaution.” She slumped against the doorframe thinking of the week ahead with no reprieve from the 30, needy, active students.

    “Damn snake,” she whispered under her breath.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Georgia! I love how you got inside this teacher’s head (and how you captured that deflated feeling of knowing there’s no break today!)

    • Kathryn H.
      Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      I loved it too! The teacher’s feelings were so clear!

      • Karyn Lewis
        Posted July 12, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        That is TOTALLY how I would have felt as a fifth grade teacher! I hope you include something about some boys asking to research about Cobras and make it a teachable moment. It would be fun if the teacher shared the Cobra’s tweets as they follow the story. Maybe they could actually help figure out where it is!

  9. Rose Cappelli
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Email from V. Kennedy (wife of cobra owner):
    Dear Orange County Animal Control Personnel,
    Thank you for bringing our beloved Elvis safely home! I hope he wasn’t too disssssagreeable. Now that he has returned, the rhythms of our lives can get back to normal. We can always count on Elvis to slither through the slots of his cage at the beginning of each month in search of food. That’s when we know it’s time to change the calendar. And when we notice that Elvis has shed his skin, our son is most likely due for new shoes. We couldn’t have managed much longer without him!
    We certainly appreciate all of your effortsssssss.
    Sincerely,
    V. Kennedy

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing this, Rose! I love the word “disssssagreeable” – and love that you had so much fun with this!

    • Matthew Bloome
      Posted July 10, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Very amusing, Rose! I love how the snake’s routine activities (like escaping) serve as reminders to perform monthly tasks, like changing the calendar or buying new shoes. It paints the snake’s role in the family in the most delightfully unexpected and absurd way.

  10. Cathy MacKechnie
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning,
    I’m Cathy, a Teacher-Librarian from Ottawa, Canada. This is the first time I am participating in a Writing Workshop and I consider myself a beginner writer. Just sitting in my cottage porch on a beautiful sunny morning, feeling the inspiration coming from all around me. Looking forward to this journey…I will explore the POV of the cobra of course…poor Cora she must be so scared…

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Cathy! I’m so glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  11. Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Thank you for spearheading this amazing project again this year, Kate! I’m excited to be learning with this generous and supportive community. I would have had a heart attack to find that snake in my home, but my sympathy is really with the poor snake! I’m playing with some ideas for a poem from his POV. Thank you again for all you do to support teachers and students!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Ohhhh….I have never read a poem from a cobra’s POV before and am very much looking forward to seeing that! Thanks for checking in!

  12. Becky Schneekloth
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Hi all,

    So excited to be part of Writer’s Camp this summer. This is my first time participating. I am hoping to develop writing strategies that help me help my students. Learning from all of these great authors is an amazing opportunity. I am a fifth grade Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher from Natick, MA.

    Becky

    911 Transcript – Orlando Florida
    October 8, 2015

    Operator: 911 – what’s your emergency?
    Caller: There’s a — there’s a— snake –big big snake.
    Operator: Ma’am, calm down, there is a snake somewhere?
    Caller: Yes. Help me please.
    Operator: Ma’am are you in a safe place?
    Caller: I was just doing laundry and I heard something. Please help – this thing is huge.
    Operator: I have dispatched animal control and the police. They should be there shortly. You
    are at 15 South Orlando Avenue correct?
    Caller: Yes. I am standing outside of my garage. The snake is in my garage behind my drier.
    I have never seen such a giant snake. Is it dangerous? When will they be here? How
    will they get it?
    Operator: Please ma’am, remain calm. I am going to talk to you until the officers arrive. Can
    you see the snake from where you are? Maybe you can describe it to me and we
    can identify it.
    Caller: Oh I can see it. I don’t want to lose that thing. Its brown and yellow, so big. Thick
    and long. How does a snake like that get in someone’s house?

    Sirens are heard in the background.

    Caller: They are here. Thank you thank you thank you. Hi… Yes it’s in the garage, its
    huge. It was behind the drier.
    Officer: I think we are doing to need a bigger boat.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Becky! I love your first-day sharing – and your creative take on this 911 conversation. You captured the stress in the caller’s voice so well!

    • Jamie Lanham
      Posted July 9, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      I spent the weekend binge watching the 9-1-1 on Hulu with my family, so this POV really struck me! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Kristin Johnson
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Good morning!
    Hi, all! I am Kristin from Enfield, CT. I am a high school media specialist off for the summer and making time to write! Thank you for this great program — I participated in Teachers Write last year but wasn’t brave enough to post as much as I wanted to. I’m excited to get started on the missing cobra lesson — right after I check behind my dryer!
    Have a good day everyone!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Kristin! Glad you’re joining us again – and we’d love to hear more from you this summer whenever you’re ready! (The dryer was unoccupied, right?)

  14. Jackie McClure
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Hello, everyone! My name is Jackie McClure and I’m a first grade teacher from Oxford, PA. I have a wonderful and supportive husband and a 10-year-old daughter. I also teach private singing lessons at my home. I love to read absolutely anything. I’m a member of a small but mighty book club in my little town. We meet once a month at a local coffee shop to discuss our latest book choice.
    This is my very first time participating in Teachers Write. It’s also the first time I will actually acknowledge the hidden desire that I’ve always had…to write. I’m both very excited and very nervous to explore this part of myself. Thank you for offering this opportunity!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Jackie! You’ll be in good company here, along with others who have always felt they had stories to tell but needed a little nudge to get started. I’m glad you’re writing with us!

  15. Colleen Flathers
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Hi, I am Colleen, I teach 10th grade ELA and also a 9th-grade struggling readers class. I keep signing up for this “camp” but then get off track and don’t participate. I believe that it is important for the students to see me writing also. The problem is I struggle with actually writing. I am hoping that I will get some motivation for my own writing and also some ideas of things to show my students to help them make their writing better.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Colleen! I hope this is the summer you stick with us a little longer – but part of the beauty of Teachers Write is that you can pop in and out as needed. Don’t be afraid to come back if you miss a few days!

  16. Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Good morning! My name is Vi Figueroa (short vowel, so pronounced like the letter V), and I’m a 4th grade teacher from Texas. I am about to start my 2nd year. I was a little nervous about camp when I didn’t have any ideas for the warm-up, since I’m not writing a draft or anything currently (though I loved the advice), but I love this prompt and think it’s a lot of fun! I think kids would love this assignment.

    Here is my exercise:
    https://twitter.com/teacherfig/status/1016322865367576576?s=19

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Vi! I’m so glad you’re writing with us this summer – and feeling brave enough to share already!

  17. Barb Jaindl
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Kate’s writing prompt today made me think about characters in settings we choose. Is the character familiar to the setting ? Brand new? How would a mix of experiences affect the interaction (or really provide a solid plotline for a story)? Just recently returned from a trip to Lousiana and Texas, where we were enjoying the temperature change by a grove of trees around a pond in the middle of a college campus we had been exploring. My sons and I were surprised to discover not only birds and squirrels but alligators. Mostly familiar with the climes of campuses in the Northeast, where we live, or the Midwest, where we once did, our experience was probably very different. I’m thinking about characters processing new encounters, ways of thinking, and possibilities in their environment and the experiences with other characters who bring other perspectives to the shared moment that create a change in at least one character. So many paths that a writer leads us down or we choose to take as a reader as we walk away from the story.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Barb! I love how this prompt got you thinking about settings and character and how they connect. Thanks for sharing these reflections!

    • Karyn Lewis
      Posted July 12, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Glad you were able to enjoy a bit of the Southern Summer this year! It is a hot and muggy experience! I love seeing the different seasons in different parts of our country! You had great reflections and connections that would surely make your writing more authentic.

  18. Karen Coutu
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Good day,

    This is my first time participating in Teachers Write. I am excited to learn from all of you and to come up with ideas for inspiring the 8th grade students I teach in New Hampshire. I love to read but have not done much writing lately, so I am excited to see where I will “go” over the next few weeks.

    The community I live in has an active Facebook page and I could only imagine the postings that would happen if a king cobra snake went missing. As it is, our school principal will post to the community page when we have reverse evacuations (meaning stay indoors) because a bear is near campus. Being from New England, this doesn’t startle us too much and we all end up laughing as kids race to the windows to see the bear. So, I played with the idea of the principal posting to the community page when he learned of the possibility of the snake slithering on campus.

    Principal Mattis of Ocoee Elementary School to the Orlando Community Facebook Page
    September 8th, 2:05 pm
    We just received word from the Ocoee Police Department that a king cobra snake escaped from a nearby residence. All students and staff of Ocoee Elementary School are safe indoors and will remain in a reverse evacuation until the 3:15 dismissal.

    PLEASE READ CAREFULLY FOR TODAY’S DISMISSAL PLAN:
    1. There will be no walkers today. Parents of walkers are asked to call us immediately to let us know how your child will go home. We will remain open until 6:00 pm in order to accommodate the late notice for parents who are still working.
    2. For students riding the bus, students will line up in the gymnasium and, when ready, will be escorted by bus through the back doors of the gym, away from the grass fields. Busses will be running late today to allow for bus by bus boarding.
    3. After the busses have loaded, the carpool line will be directed to pick up students from the back of the building. Only one student will be dismissed at a time, so please allow for extra time and move forward quickly once your child is securely within the vehicle.

    Administrators, as well as Officer Steel and Officer Coyle, will be on either side of the gym door exit during dismissal and we will be ensuring the safety of each child during the movement from the gym exit to the vehicles.

    We thank you for your patience and cooperation as we make your child’s safety our number one priority.

    We will send an update about the situation once we receive further information from Chief Armstrong.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Karen! I’m glad you’re here – and sharing on the very first day, too! I love how your teacher-brain immediately goes to the logistics of how to handle dismissal on a day like this. (“There will be no walkers today….”)

  19. Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Hi, I am Brandi from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I’m currently a learning coach (kindergarten to grade 9) but my past includes, Elementary teacher, Junior high teacher, Art teacher and Language Arts Consultant. I love writing nonfiction. Here is a persuasive essay from the point of view of the snake.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————

    Oh hi, you found me. Not what I planned for today but listen and then decide what happens next.

    Here’s the thing, I wanted a different life, that’s why I left the nest.

    Nest? Yessssss! Did you know that King Cobra’s are the only type of snakes to build nests? And don’t think of coming near my childhood nest. If you thought mama bears were protective, you have not met my mom. She’s capital A – Aggressive! That’s one of the reasons I left.

    But enough about her, back to me.

    I am in the usual situation, defending myself, trying to explain that, yes, while I can deliver enough neurotoxin to disable an elephant, I’m really rather shy.

    Shy. It’s true. And that yelling! Please stop. I can’t hear it. I only feel vibrations. That’s why I was behind the washing machine, it was calling to me and I just had to check it out.

    Listen, while I technically can harm humans, my favorite treats are of the lizard variety. Do you have any of those? Or another snake? eggs? You must have eggs.

    Ok! Just show me the door. I’ll leave. I don’t want trouble. Just don’t corner me. I growl like a dog but it’s mostly for show. The King has to protect his brand.

    So, can we just pretend you didn’t see me.

    Animal Control! You called animal control.

    Well, now it’s a party!

    You’ve got me rattled…(don’t have a rattle – jealous – can’t complain, I am King, right?)

    anyway…I didn’t want to do this.

    Ceiling tile it is…please don’t tell my mom…she’s right behind me…good thing you don’t speak snake…she’s unpleasant…a bad negotiator…good luck everyone. The King has left the building.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Brandi! I love the way you’ve blended science and voice here (a snake that delivers puns is my kind of snake!)

    • Karen Coutu
      Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Love it! I didn’t even think to research the snake. So many great ideas throughout everyone’s work.

  20. Posted July 9, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I’m Marcie Atkins, a writer and an elementary teacher-librarian (and was lucky enough to have Kate at my school a few weeks ago).

    The different points of view brainstorming could not be coming at a better time. I’m changing my WIP from one POV to multiple POVs. It’s overwhelming and liberating at the same time. Now I’m busy figuring out who can tell the different parts of this story. It’s a bit of a puzzle, but I’m excited about the way it will open things up.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Marcie! So glad the timing of this post is working out well for your work in progress. It’s such a puzzle working on stories with multiple points of view, isn’t it?

    • Linda Mitchell
      Posted July 9, 2018 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      So good to see you here Andy. I hope all is well and you have lots and lots more words since last time we were here.

    • Linda Mitchell
      Posted July 9, 2018 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      Yay, Marci! Good to see you here.

  21. Peter von Euler
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Hi. I am Peter von Euler, a full-time fifth grade teacher and part-time blogger. This is my first time as a virtual camper, though I used to work at an overnight camp very near where Breakout takes place. I love that area and read the story through that lens (among others). I loved the book.

    Here’s a note from a student to his principal, protesting the new “snake-driven” recess policy at his school.

    Dear Mr. Tate,
    I’m writing to let you know how I feel about your decision to keep us in from recess due to that snake escaping. I think it’s an unfair decision that is based on fear. My father has always told me that we make bad decisions when we let our fears drive us. He says that we should make decisions based on the best information that we have available. I have done some research on King Cobras, and I would like to share that information with you. The first thing that I think you should understand is that King Cobras are not aggressive. According to an article that I found online, “A cobra’s first instinct is to flee.” I know you have been out at recess at our school. I don’t need to tell you that it is noisy and very active. If a cobra happened to slither up to the fence at the border of our playground, I’m pretty sure he would make a u-slither and go the other way.

    Notice that in that last sentence I said “he.” In my research, I found that the only time a cobra is aggressive is when she is a nesting female. I don’t think Elvis the Escape Artist is a nesting female, so we don’t really have to worry about violent attacks from overprotective mothers.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Peter! Welcome – and thanks for the kind words about Breakout. I love the voice of this student writer you’ve chosen for your document – the confidence and the scientific facts to back up arguments!

  22. Beth
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Hello everyone! I’m Beth, a 3rd grade teacher from Wylie, Texas. I have “silently “ participated in writing camp before, but want to be a more active participant this year! I have written since I was in elementary e and have boxes of journals from years past. Can’t wait to really improve this summer with your guidance!!!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Beth! I’m glad you’re writing with us again!

  23. Posted July 9, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for all you do, Kate and Jo (and others I am soon to meet, no doubt). I’m an ELA teacher of 6th grade students, always looking for ways to improve my teaching and hone my craft. I have, not surprisingly, put too much on my plate to accomplish before the 1st bell rings again in my school (early August), but I am committed to being involved in the Teachers Write activities. Regarding Mr. Cobra, I am torn between two Ps OV: the owner, a reality star and the imagined animal rights activist who wants to return the snake to its natural habitat.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Michelle! I love your possible voices here – I’d have a tough time choosing just one of them, too!

    • Jennifer Hernandez
      Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Any way to include an exchange between the two voices? That might be fun to write — and read!

      • Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        I might give it a go…I will keep you posted. Thank you for the encouragement.

  24. Jane Weiland
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Greetings everyone! My name is Jane and I am heading back to the classroom this fall to teach fourth grade after teaching Reading Recovery for several years. I have to admit that creative writing is not my forte, but I want to develop a strong group of student writers and that begins with becoming a writer myself. So, I am eager (and somewhat anxious) about getting started, but I guess it’s never too late. I’m looking forward to this adventure and I know it will inspire me to start writing more. Thanks for putting together the writing camp, Kate!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Jane! If you want to get more comfortable as a writer and experience some of the things your students will experience, you’ve come to the right place. So glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  25. Kristin
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi. I’m a teacher-librarian at a high school in PA . I just found out about #TeachersWrite yesterday, and thought I’d give it a try. Here is: The First Letter Home

    Dear Parents,

    As you may be aware from the recent article in the Orlando Sun, an 8-foot King Cobra snake was reported missing in Lake Ocoee yesterday by a certain local reality television star/animal handler. Although the chances of the snake making its way to school property are exceedingly low, we have been advised by Animal Control and local Law Enforcement agencies that we should refrain from sending children outside to play until the snake has been captured.

    We have been assured by officials that these agencies are doing all they can to locate the snake and so we hope to allow children outside for recess and physical education once again by the end of the week. Our teachers are prepared with creative indoor activities to provide children with a sufficient amount of exercise while we are experiencing this unfortunate limitation. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, but remind you that the safety of our children is of course, our highest priority.

    Sincerely yours,

    Ms. Molly Molewinkle
    Elementary School Principal

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Kristin! You sure do have that letter-home voice down pat – this is perfect! (and I love Molly’s name, too!)

  26. Amanda Regan
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Good morning! My name is Amanda and I am a 3rd grade teacher outside Sacramento, CA. I am looking forward to another fabulous summer at writing camp!

    I really liked this lesson and plan on using it with my students. The article offers so many different characters that the story can be told through and allows for some real creativity. I actually had a hard time choosing one character and one format. I ended up writing a text conversation between Cynthia Mullvain and her husband. It was fun not only imagining their conversation but also playing with the format. I can see students being totally engaged with this activity.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Amanda! I love that you’re planning to take this activity back to your students. Let us know how it goes!

  27. Angie Arey
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Good morning! I’m excited about Teachers Write this summer (I’ve kind of dipped my toe in the last two years, but I’m diving in this time!). I am Angie Arey and I am a teacher librarian from Texas. I’m excited to get started!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Angie! Here’s to diving!

  28. Jill
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi, everyone! Happy summer! My name is Jill and I am a middle school librarian in Western New York. I’m really looking forward to writing this summer. I am such a procrastinator about writing! I’m hoping you all will give me the motivation I need to get something (anything!) written.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Jill! I hope you’ll find plenty of inspiration here – and we’re pretty good at nudging people to get writing, too! 🙂

  29. Jennifer Hernandez
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi all! Great to be back at TW! I teach middle school English Learners in Minnesota. Thanks for the prompt. Always fun to experiment. My snippet is a text exchange between two teachers.

    LN: Hey, did you see this post?

    OCOEE ELEMENTARY CARDINALS!! NO OUTDOOR RECESS TODAY. BRING READING MATERIALS AND BOARD GAMES!

    JH: What???? No!!!!

    LN: Apparently, there’s an 8 ft snake on the loose. It’s a pet, but… snake’s gotta eat.

    JH: Can’t we let the 6th graders out, at least? Maybe assign them as buddies to the smaller kids?

    LN: I’ve got a couple of 3rd grade boys I could send out as bait.

    LN: J/K

    LN: Sort of

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Jennifer! Love the humor in this imagined conversation!

  30. Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon! First and foremost, thanks to Kate and ALL the talented writers for doing this again. It is very much appreciated and just one of the countless examples of the generosity and support that makes the KidLit community so amazing!

    A quick blurb about me to introduce myself to the group. I am a 3rd grade teacher in Hingham, MA and always wanting/looking to devote more time and energy to my writing. I did self-publish a novel, The Sea Shack, about 14 years ago as a tribute to my grandfather but have not followed that path again, sticking with traditional writing and publishing efforts now. Aside from teaching and writing, I am Dad to an amazing five year old girl so obviously a lot of that time and energy is devoted to her, also! Yet she also inspires my writing in countless ways now. Hobbies? Hiking, scuba diving, travel, archery, and probably too much video game time, too. =)
    FYI – Twitter handle is (at)McNUlty927

    I love this topic starting us off, today, and the real-world example provided by Kate. I think it is so critical for writers, but especially young writers, to see what revision looks like… and that ALL writers do it. Teaching 3rd grade, the importance of revision and point-of-view are two topics I hammer away at constantly. In the student writing, obviously, but POV is also a critical part of my history lessons. I aim to dive into this specific writing exercise later tonight, maybe on my own blog or another online “nook”. I would love to keep any and all writing I do during Teachers Write in one spot where it can be saved and shared easily, so I will consider my options. And I also welcome any suggestions as the afternoon ticks away here.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Mark! I know some TW participants in the past have set up separate notebooks (either paper or virtual) for their collection of summer writing, so that’s one way to go – and a blog might be fun to look back at (and share with your students!) as well!

  31. Patti Kurtz
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi everyone. This is my first TW. I teach creative writing, composition and various assorted English classes at Minot State University. I just sent a revision of a novel off to my agent (who I’m sure will have tons of feedback) so I need motivation to write while I wait for her comments. I like this pov exercise– I imagined one of the elementary students might write a short story about the adventures of Sylvester the Snake.

  32. Better Boswell
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I teach elementary music and enjoy creating stories, songs, and music with my students.

    Text from owner- Hey King, where are you? I know you’re nearby. The locator on your microchip is working so it’s just a matter of time.
    King’s transmitter-enjoying my new warm hideout. Think I’ll stay awhile.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Love this imagined conversation! And I’m glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  33. Jill De Farno
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi. My name is Jill and I am an elementary library media director in the western suburbs of Chicago. I love to read and talk books with everyone and anyone. I recently have had a desire to write. I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and loved her message of just jumping in and create. I also read Colby Sharp’s The Creativity Project and have been using some of the prompts in there to get my ideas flowing. This is my first time as an active participant in Teacher’s Write. I’m excited to see where it takes my writing. I imagined the conversation in the animal control van after dispatch tells the officers to head over to Cynthia Mullvain’s house.

    Conversation in the animal control van….

    Billy: “Ok. You heard dispatch, we have a large snake to remove.”
    Animal officer 1: “Yes, so who is the lucky one to go and get it?”
    Animal officer 2: “Well, I went and got that alligator off of the golf course yesterday so I don’t think it should be me.”
    Animal officer 1: “And don’t forget about my unfortunate skunk incident last week. I still can’t get the spray off out of my coat. That’s got to count for a couple of retrievals.”
    Billy: “Believe me, none of us can forget about the skunk incident. There is no need to keep reminding us. I think the smell is still stuck in the cat carrier we used in the back. And this is the last time you get to play the skunk card”
    Billy: “Ok. Sounds like it’s my turn, but you both have to be ready to back me up.”

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Love the humor in this, Jill!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Jill! Love this snippet – a glimpse into the life of two animal control guys!

  34. Kristin Gallagher
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi everyone! My name is Kristin and I’m a 4th grade teacher in Winston-Salem, NC. I have raised 5 boys and now feel like I have time to devote to writing. This is my first time doing TW and I’m excited about the possibilities. I have many ideas percolating, but really need a push to develop my writing. Thank you for this opportunity! My POV writing about this article is a series of text messages between a 14 (or so) year old boy who starts a load of laundry while his mom is at work. After the snake is discovered, the boy has a difficult time convincing Mom he’s telling the truth. Mom thinks he may have brought the snake it and is angling to keep it as a pet…

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Kristin! What a fun idea for this scene! So glad you’ve decided to write with us this summer.

  35. Tracy
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon! I am excited to begin my first Teachers Write experience! I am a Special Education teacher in Charlottesville, VA. I am always looking for ways to get my students ‘into’ writing. Today’s exercise will definitely be used to help with that in the fall.

    Upon reading about the upcoming trial, I thought of a possible portion of the transcript:

    Prosecutor: So your husband doesn’t interact with Elvia daily?

    Mrs. Kennedy: Well, no, not every day. He feeds ‘em an’ cleans his cage real regular.

    Prosecutor: So it is actually possible that Mr. Kennedy wouldn’t notice that a deadly, eight-foot long predator had escaped your home and was free to terrorize the community, including a school full of small children? It is actually possible that he wouldn’t notice this for two days?

    Mrs. Kennedy: Sir, I moved out of the house for three months and Mike didn’t notice. I only came back ‘cause I missed the lifestyle and notoriety that goes with being the wife of a famous reality t.v. airplane repossession professional. I walked back in the door after three months and he accused me of eating his last ice cream sandwich the night before. I was gone for three months. Three months…. Does that answer your question, sir?

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      What great characters, Tracy! Glad you’re writing with us this summer – and thanks for being brave enough to share on Day One!

  36. Amy Bortnick
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I love this activity! This would be a great way for kids to explore an article that connects to a novel we are reading. I just was moved from high school English to seventh grade English, so I am currently reading a lot, trying to choose what I want to teach.

    I ordered 120 copies of Breakout for my new class! I am excited to teach it. We live about two hours from Dannemora. My son was camping in one of the areas the police were searching–freaky!!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Amy, that’s so great that you’re using Breakout with your classes next year. Where do you teach?

  37. Michelle
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Hello all! This is my first TW. I am an ELL teacher in Brooklyn. I just finished my fist year of teaching. My goal this summer is to develop my own writing craft to better help my students appreciate their writing and reading and to help them find their own voice. I definitely don’t consider myself a writer, but rather a writing enthusiast or an aspiring writer.

    Poem by 5th grader stuck inside for recess:
    Stuck
    Today is not a good day
    I can’t go outside to play
    A snake is on the loose
    So I’m inside on my caboose
    Watching the sun all day
    Because I can’t go out to play

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Michelle! I love this glum poetry perspective on the snake on the loose – such a great, quick way to show one person’s point of view!

  38. Kathryn H.
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Hello! I’m new to Teachers Write but am excited to participate! I’m a 4th grade teacher in Texas. I decided to write an email from a parent for this assignment:

    From: therogersfamily@yahoo.com
    To: Jaqueline.kennedy@pisd.org
    Subject: Recess
    Date: September 15, 2015

    Dear Principal Kennedy,
    As you are well aware, it has been SIX days since the snake has been missing. SIX DAYS. Six days that my son, Albie, has been unable to play at recess because you insist that students must stay inside during the search. Now, I understand a snake is loose and I understand that it might be around the school. What I don’t understand is why my son has to be punished for one man’s ineptitude to monitor his own pet. Can’t students play in the gym or be transported to another school’s playground during recess? Surely, how hard could this be? While you take the time to figure it out, my Albie is suffering in class, unable to maintain attention because he does not get his legally mandated time outside to play. It’s developmentally appropriate and necessary that he gets physical exercise! I’ve already talked to his teacher, Mrs. Milton but her solution is simply nonsense. How can walking up and down the hallways or doing jumping jacks diffuse his energy and meet his physical needs? I hope you take my concerns more seriously than she did. Otherwise, I may have to get more parents involved to change the situation.
    Graciously,
    Cindy Rogers

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      I love this! Such a different perspective on the problem, and so timely, with the need to make sure kids get physical activity.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Kathryn! I’m so glad you’re writing with us this summer -and I love this unique take on the cobra problem!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      Loved the “Graciously”
      I’ve been teaching for 26 years and I’ve seen very similar letters and emails from parents. Nice job.

  39. Georgeann
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Greetings All~
    I’m Georgeann from Virginia, just across the Potomac from our nation’s capital. Being a teacher/librarian has given me the chance to not only read and purchase phenomenal books for our middle schoolers, it has given me the opportunity to interact with many on their writing. This workshop is a new experience and am looking forward to learning from everyone.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Georgeann! So glad you’re joining us this summer!

      • Georgeann
        Posted July 10, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Have almost finished reading Breakout, perfect for our middle school book club. Also, plan to share with our student writers all the steps you went through to the completion of your book. Many of them attempt one edit of their work, then think they are done!

  40. Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Hello fellow writers, I teach 5th grade and love to write blogs and articles. I really like the idea of using an article from the newspaper and coming up with a story based on the facts and the people involved. In my mind the name of the snake stirred up images of Elvis Presley! This just adds another layer to an already fun story. I could imagine this slightly overweight snake slithering behind the dryer with gold flecks running through its skin. The idea of personification ran rampant in my mind as I thought about the snakes point of view of trying to get free from living the “suburban life”, because after all he is the king. I pictured the neighbor who found the snake screaming (like one of the actual Elvis’s fans would have) and the snake having a dialogue such as “Darling, I am all shook up too, but I promise if you let me slip on by, no one has to be the wiser.” News will get out that Elvis once again had left the building and was on the loose. Because the location of the home was so close to the local school, outdoor recess would be cancelled until Elvis was captured. The community become agitated as they worry about where Elvis might turn up next. This leads to a group of school children banding together like detectives to try to figure out Elvis’s next moves. They retrace Elivis’s steps (so to speak) and through text messages, slipped notes in the classroom, and the local news the children, led by two 10 year olds, Priscilla Gibson and Tom Parsons lead the group on an expedition in search of finding out Elvis’s hideout. When a mysterious text appears on Priscilla’s phone the real adventure begins. The POV will change throughout the story.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Kathleen! I have to tell you that this line – “I could imagine this slightly overweight snake slithering behind the dryer with gold flecks running through its skin.” – just made me laugh so hard I almost spit out my water. Such a fun approach!

      • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        A little humor that 10 year olds may not get, but adults may chuckle. Happy to know you got it!

  41. Stacey Corrigan
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Hello

    I’m a second-grade teacher in Saginaw, MI. I also write PBs.

    Snippet:

    Tony: Mom found the Cobra.

    Charlie: How did that happen?

    Tony: She was folding some socks and one fell back there. What should I do?

    Charlie: Don’t say anything. We’ll just pretend it slithered in.

    Tony: I hope she doesn’t find the python.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Ha! I love this, Stacey! Also, I’m working on a nonfiction project about invasive Burmese pythons right now, so I had an extra appreciation for Tony. 🙂

    • Tracy
      Posted July 11, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Stacey, this is hilarious. I appreciate your sense of humor. It’s a fantastic standalone, or as a basis for more story. I could see using it as a writing prompt for students. There is so much in these five lines.

  42. Leona Gregory
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad I decided to join this year’s TW! I’m a high school English (ELA) teacher, and I have my students write a lot, but it’s mostly been analysis. I want to branch out and expand their minds; I think a good way to help them is to help myself and start writing creatively again.
    Part of my district’s mission statement is about creating “life-long learners”; I can’t truthfully expect my students to buy in to that idea if I don’t myself. I am trying to branch out more this summer, so I was really happy to see Kate’s Twitter posts pop up into my feed!

    For the first writing lesson, I thought there should be some internal dialogue from the snake’s POV…or between him and another snake before the escape. If it was just Elvis talking, I thought he’d be trying to find his way to a safe place…all the houses are not safe, the cars are definitely not safe, and the concrete is not enjoyable to slither across.
    If it was between Elvis and another snake in the household, it would be able how Elvis is crazy to leave the comforts of his space. All the mice they can eat, the constant heat lamps, no eagles trying to snatch them up…but Elvis is sick of being treated like a “garter snake”.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Leona! Love your ideas on the internal dialogue or conversation between snakes. I’m so glad you took time to share your reflections!

  43. Stacey Corrigan
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Hi I’m Stacey. I teach second grade in Saginaw, MI and have two sons (13 and 11). They are always up to something.

    Snippet:

    (Text Messages between two brothers)

    Tony: Mom found the Cobra behind the dryer.

    Charlie: How did she do that?

    Tony: She was folding socks and one fell back there. What should I do?

    Charlie: Don’t say anything. They’ll just think it slithered in.

    Tony: I hope she doesn’t find the python.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Read it again and laughed again. 🙂

  44. Anne Melgaard
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Hi TW writers! I’ve been teaching for 20 + years at the primary level. I’ve been thinking about my legacy as a teacher and the impact that we as teachers have on our students, their families and the community. Writing was one arena that I mentioned to someone earlier this summer…and then TW showed up in a text just yesterday from an author friend of mine. So, I HAD to say YES despite the huge list of commitments I’ve made this summer. So, thanks for participating and motivating my ambition to write!
    -Anne Melgaard
    North Bend, Washington

    Woman who finds the snake texts her sister.

    Woman: Umm Tina??? There’s a HUGE snake behind my dryer! What do I do?

    Sister: Move back to New York? Everything seems to be bigger in Florida! Did you call Animal Control? They could come get it or tell you how to move it.

    Woman: There is NO way I’m going back out there. It’s hissing and it’s bigger than Florida big. It’s big enough to eat a small dog! I’d better call AC…

    Sister: K, good luck! Let me know what happens!

    W: Well, that was NOT a Florida snake. A dude a HALF MILE away “keeps” exotic animals. The thing was a COBRA. It took 3 guys to move the thing. I’m so mad! Why do people want animals like this? It’s dumb. AND DANGEROUS. Geez!

    S: OMG! That is freaking crazy! Are you okay now? Did you get your laundry done?
    S: Hello?
    W: Just dealing with reporters…should be in the paper tomorrow! Just when life was starting to feel “normal”. NOW I’m going to do laundry. I’ll be checking for snakes and mice and GORILLAS.
    S: Haha!
    W: I’ll send you a link to the news if you don’t see it on your own.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Anne! I’m glad you found us at just the right time – and I love your text message conversation here!

  45. Charles Richardson
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Hello my name is Charles V. Richardson and I am a college instructor in Business (go figure). I am looking to include more creative wring prompts in my course this year to get students to explain key concepts. Let me know what you think.

    Chad: Did you hear?
    Jordan: Hear what?
    Obi: If you’re talking about Principal Hoffman spilling his coffee on his shirt and shouting every bad word in the world, that’s old news.
    Chad: No not that, Mr. K’s snake is missing.
    Jordan: Kobe?
    Chad: Not the Black Mamba
    Ryan: Elvis?
    Chad: Yup.
    Obi: Oh snap. Not the King Cobra.
    Jordan: That snake scares me just thinking about it.
    Ryan: Did you know the King Cobra is a highly venomous snake and is native to Asia.
    Obi: That thing can slither back to the Great Wall of China for all I care.
    Chad: Are my fellow brave brutha’s up for an adventure?
    Jordan: No x 1,000,000
    Obi: No x Infinity
    Ryan: I don’t think looking for Elvis is a good idea Cuz.
    Chad: We can take my dad’s rakes and hoes as protection and we all can wear our football equipment for extra protection.
    Jordan: Ok, I’m in.
    Ryan: Me too
    Chad: How about you Obi?
    Obi: Ok. Let’s meet by the creek behind Ms. M’s house.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Charles! I’m loving your dialogue here – what a great conversation!

  46. Lynette Alidon
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi everyone! My name is Lynette and I’m a junior high school librarian in Texas. This is my first year participating in this workshop, and I’m looking forward to learning new ways to spruce up my writing skills and then share it with my students. Thanks for hosting this event!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Lynette! So glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  47. Posted July 9, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    What a great prompt! I don’t have time to tackle it today, but I’ll hang onto it. I love the idea of exploring different perspectives in different ways and now I’m eager to do this with a picture book idea that’s been bouncing around in my head.

    I’ve been looking forward to participating in Teacher’s Write again this summer. I really appreciate all the thought you all put into these prompts and posts.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Andrea! I’m glad you’re joining us this summer & your plan to save prompts for when you have time is totally fine. (It is summer, after all!)

  48. Posted July 9, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    This is my first Writing Camp, and I’m excited to participate! Thank you for having this at this point in the summer – it’s perfectly timed right before we start thinking of going back to school here in Georgia, so I’m enjoying the freedom of just being able to write. I’m an instructional coach in Gainesville, GA, and I dabble in writing on my blog (CoachingTeachingAlwaysLearning) and am attempting to write a bit for children as well.

    Here’s my contribution:

    911 transcript:

    911 operator: Orange County 911, what’s your emergency?
    (whispered): [unintelligible] …… and it’s…..get it out…
    911 operator: Ma’am? You’ll have to speak up clearly. What’s your emergency?
    Caller: [stage whisper] There’s a SNAKE in my laundry room! It’s black and yellow and 20 feet long and it’s (begins to cry)… it’s coiled behind the dryer, and I don’t know where my CAT is, and it HISSED at me —
    911 operator: Ma’am, we have someone on the way – is it a poisonous snake?
    Caller: Good God! Does that matter when it’s a 25 foot long snake? It’s got teeth and no legs, that’s all I know. What I DO know is I want that thing out of my laundry room! I … I think I’m going to be sick…
    911 operator: Now, ma’am, don’t worry, we’ve got someone on the way right now. Do you have the door closed to the laundry room?
    Caller: [moans]
    911 operator: Ma’am, put your head between your knees and breathe deeply – is there anyone else with you right now? Are you far away from the snake?
    Caller: [groans] I’m in the upstairs bathroom, inside the bathtub. Snakes can’t climb stairs, can they?

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Heather! I love the way you captured this caller’s angst so perfectly! Thanks for being willing to share on day one!

  49. Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Hello! My name is Jennifer and I’m a K-5 reading specialist in Virginia. This is my fourth year participating in Teachers Write and each year I find so many ideas and strategies as a teacher-writer.

    I needed the lesson on POV because I often struggle with selecting which POV to use. I thought about all of the POVs and decided to create a document from the owner’s perspective. My document is a missing pet flyer that I’ve attempted to recreate below. While nothing in the article mentioned the owner’s family, I thought about how the owner and a child might miss this “pet.” As a result I made a flyer that is similar to what you might see for another missing pet (e.g., cat, dog).

    Missing Pet!
    Please Bring Elvis Home!

    (picture of King Cobra here)

    Elvis is a King Cobra and a dear member of our family!
    8 feet long
    Yellow and Green
    Forked tongue-watch out if you see this!
    Loves mice
    Loves hiding behind furniture and other cozy spots

    If you spot Elvis, please contact
    M. Kennedy
    (555) 555-1209
    m.kennedy@freemail.com

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Jennifer! Love your choice of documents here – and like you, I spend a lot of time playing around with point of view before I settle on what works best. All part of the process, I think. 🙂

  50. Jennifer Howe
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Hello, Kate!
    Thanks for hosting Teachers Write again this summer. This is my fourth summer participating and I learn so much from all of you. I just finished and loved Breakout. I loved so many things about the book from how the time capsule told the story (along with the reflections) to how life quickly changed in the town to how several characters really had to evaluate themselves, their beliefs and their perspectives. I’ve recommended the book to our district Lit coach and hope to see some work done with it in our schools.

    Even though I loved how the book fit together like a puzzle (and learned some about poetry too), I never thought about how you could use the write as a character technique until this lesson. Thanks for the prompt!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Jennifer, and thanks for the kind words about Breakout – I’m so glad you’re finding it helpful for the classroom!

  51. Maureen
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi all after a busy bike riding day, all I can create is an intro. I’m a 9th and 10th grade English teacher in NJ. This is my 2nd summer here, and I’m happy to be back. I have a MG WIP and a few picture books I seem to be forever revising. Happy summer. Happy writing.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Maureen! I’m glad you’re writing with us this summer! (and I hope you had a great bike ride!)

  52. Kay
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kate! My name is Kay and I participated last year for the first time. I am a high school teacher, and I teach concurrent enrollment, 1010 and 2010 intro to writing and research. I also teach 11th grade English and AP LIT. During the school year, I am so busy correcting essay that my writing suffers. I wish I could be more of a writing for my students. Today my husband and I are traveling, and so I hope to jump in more at the end of the week. This lesson is great. Thanks for all the inspiration and providing this for us!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, Kay! As you know, we’re super flexible around here, so feel free to jump in whenever you’re ready.

  53. Julie
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I’m a public librarian with a teen writing group. I’m eager to write with you this summer! I drafted a letter from school students to Mike Kennedy. Excerpt:

    …We therefore request that you and Elvis make an appearance at our school. We would like to handle and feed the snake and learn more about the species as compensation for those miserable indoor recess days caused by Elvis’ escape…

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Julie! I love this snippet – looking ahead to reparations after the capture!

  54. Tiffany Dever
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Hello! My name is Tiffany, and I teach 7th grade ELA in Maine. This is my first time participating in Teachers Write.

    Diary Entry: It’s been 21 days since I escaped the glass prison. At first, I enjoyed my freedom. I was able to go anywhere. See anything. Do anything. However, it’s getting cold. I am starting to miss the warm lamp from my glass prison. But, I have come too far to go back now. Wait! Hmmm….there is an odd sound. I will investigate. The odd sound is coming from a large, white monster that eats clothes. More important though, the large, white monster is warm. So very warm. I will be able to sleep here a while. Time to sleep.

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Tiffany! I love the snake’s perspective on the dryer – so great!

  55. Jenna
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi all-

    A high school instructional coach from Maryland- I’m excited to join Teachers Write. What a great opportunity to learn and get into some of our own writing.

    Jenna

  56. Amy Maddox
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi, my name is Amy Maddox, and I am an elementary school librarian in Texas. When I taught junior high ELA, I wrote daily with my students but always had a desire to work on bigger projects on my own. I found it challenging to make time to write outside of school, but I feel like the time is finally right for me to start to sharpen my writing skills and get some ideas out of my head and onto paper. Thank you for this amazing opportunity and your willingness to help us grow!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Amy! I’m glad you found us!

  57. Sam
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Hello! I’m Sam and I will be starting my first position as an 8th grade ELA teacher this fall. I am excited to participate in Teachers Write as I start to plan for my classroom and for the upcoming year.

    I am particularly interested in the POV of the kids whose recess got cancelled! Little ones are quite stubborn sometimes, and I definitely see a fiery kid deciding to start up a petition to reinstate outside recess. The challenge was definitely figuring out what/how to misspell words, and trying to keep myself within a six-year old vocabulary. I had fun! “Strikethroughs” will be between dashes!

    (a letter written by first-grader Julie C., signed by her classmates, and edited by Mrs. Reimer, to their principal in regards to the cancellation of recess)
    Dear Mr. Weiss,
    We think that –reses– recess should start again –becus– because the snake has been missing for a very long time and we miss playing outside. We read in Times For Kids that –reses– recess is really important and it is also really fun. We have been –wating– waiting a long time to finish our soccer –tornament– tournament. Mrs. Reimer said that it might still be –dangerus– dangerous but we promise to get a teacher and run inside right away if we see a snake!

    May we please have –reses– recess outside again?
    Sincerely,
    Julie C
    (and classmates)

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Sam! I love this idea – persuasive writing from a first grader! So glad you’re joining us this summer.

  58. Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I am Lara Heine 4th grade teacher writer. Love writing. I loved the snake prompt for today’s mini lesson. I forget that little current events could spark great writing ideas.

    Transcript recorded October 7, 2015

    Dispatch: I need the next available unit on the scene at
    Reported wildlife activity behind Kenmore front open dryer. Snake is located and not retrievable by resident.

    Unit 7: Copy. Bringing in a Rottie from same neighborhood. Aggressive but contained. Thin. On my way to next assignment. ETA 15 minutes. Advise resident to avoid laundry room.

    Dispatch: Roger that. This sounds like a nasty one. Backup necessary.

    Unit 3: Copy. Can you repeat address? We have an empty bay. On my way.

    (This is my beginning. Could end here and transition to conversation withhomeowner, followed by officer report, texts between homeowner and family, HOA notice to residents about pet regulations) Fun!

    • Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Love this, Lara – thanks for being game to share on the very first day!

  59. Aubrey Jones
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Hey everyone, my name is Aubrey and I am super excited to be here. I am a high school special education teacher with a passion for writing and the power of writing.

    Every once in awhile,I get bored and I want to experience something new. This time, they tried to capture me before I was ready to go home and I got a little angry. I was enjoying my encampment behind the dryer, after the half a mile trek it took to get there. I wasn’t out to hurt anyone and that darn microchip always gets me home anyways. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great owner who treats me like a king. I mean my name is Elvis after all. Being in a cage gets boring and I need a little adventure in my life once in awhile. I am sorry that the children did not get recess while I was on my vacation. Please extend my sincerest apologies to the teachers.

  60. Nikki
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi!

    My name is Nikki, and I’m excited to be learning with you all this summer! I can really see this prompt as being an awesome springboard for students to write during the school year. I may even try it out! Thanks for the idea and looking forward to more fun!

  61. Jaime Mendelis
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Hi Everyone! I’m Jaime Mendelis, a literacy professional development specialist in Binghamton, NY. I write A LOT, and since supporting teachers as they work with writers is a central part of what I do, I decided it was time to start practicing what I preach and let others read my writing. So, I’m working up my gumption and hope to post some of my drafting soon Thank you for such an awesome supportive platform to kick start the next phase of my writing life!

  62. Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Perfect mini-lesson to kick off Teachers Write! Can’t imagine living it though. Yikes. Wrote about it here: https://makesharegive.blogspot.com/2018/07/write.html

  63. Traci
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I’m Traci and I’ve been teaching mostly 7th grade language arts for about 15 years. I love YA lit–I even teach a course in it–and stories in all forms. I write YA paranormal and I sent out my first query a couple of weeks ago. Great to see everyone here! I’m looking forward to some fabulous writing in the next several weeks.

    Here’s my excerpt:

    Some people might think I’m weird, but I’d rather call it unique. Interesting. Extraordinary. My dad works at the Discovery Channel as an animal handler, so we’ve had our share of beautiful beasties at our home, both inside and outside. As of yesterday, we had 62 exotic animals living on our ranch.

    Now it’s 61.

    The king cobra’s on the loose.

  64. Christina Reyer
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Hi everyone,
    My name is Christina and I am a third grade teacher from Roswell, NM. This will be my first time participating and I’m really looking forward to this.

    This just made me imagine Elvis writing his own twitter post…a picture of the snake racing out the door with the words To infinity and beyond. Behind him would be kids watching toy story on the tv and the mom calling out…has anyone seen Elvis?

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Christina! What a fun idea – Elvis definitely needs his own social media presence!

  65. Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I am Trina Haase. I am a high school English (12th graders) and reading teacher (9th and 10th graders) in North East Wisconsin. I write daily, but rarely share publicly. I followed all of the posts and often wrote with Teachers Write last year, but I don’t think that I shared any of it!

    So, here is what I thought today. I wrote from the perspective of Cynthia, the woman who found the snake. My seniors always tell me that anyone who is old uses Facebook for social media (HA), so I thought about Cynthia as writing a Facebook post. Here is what she would have written with a photo:
    “So this happened today. I thought I would only find missing socks behind the dryer, but instead this beast showed up. Guess what will be haunting my dreams for the next few decades?”

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Trina! A facebook post is such a fun way into this story – and I love the way you’ve thought about what she’d really be likely to share once she had time to compose it!

  66. Ericka Beth
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Friends! I’m a children’s librarian and copy editor from CT. Starting to get into some writing, too. Here’re my quick notes:

    To: BCC: Orlando Elementary
    From: preid@orlandoelementary.org

    Dear Families,

    I am writing today to inform you that starting next week students will be allowed to have outdoor access during recess. Earlier I informed you that students were being kept indoors until further notice as a cobra had escaped its owner’s possession in the neighborhood; while the cobra has yet to be found, local enforcement has given us the green light to allow outdoor recesses at this time. We have been working very closely with local authorities on this matter and have prepared a course of action for all teachers and monitors in case of any sightings. Rest assured we have your student’s safety as our number one priority.
    We will continue to monitor the situation and update you regularly.
    Thank you,
    Peter Reid, Principal, Orlando Elementary

    To: preid@orlandoelementary.org
    From: shakenbaken@aol.com

    Mr. Reid,
    I am both alarmed and outraged that you are clearing our children to go out and play while
    this dangerous creature is still on the loose. I find it irresponsible and am requesting that my
    child stay indoors until the snake is found. I know many other families feel the same and
    strongly encourage you to reconsider this decision.
    Carol Ann Meyers

    To: preid@orlandoelementary.org
    From: jimhemmi@hotmail.com

    Im glad to see your coming to your senses. Its ridiculous that kids are inside just cuz a snake
    is loose. My cousin on the force says its fine. These other parents are just getting upset over
    nothing. My kids will be real happy.
    Jim Lee

    To: preid@orlandoelementary.org
    From: momoffive@gmail.com

    Mr. Reid,
    With all that’s been happening regarding the snake on the loose, I think it would be a great
    idea if the teachers could incorporate information about cobras, the dangers of exotic pets,
    and animal control officers into their curriculum. Maybe even a field trip to the animal control
    facilities? We can take all this energy and speculation and turn it into a real teaching
    moment. Let me know if you’d like any help or a chaperone. I can provide useful links if
    you’d like.
    Best,
    Traci Carter

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Hi, Ericka! Thanks for sharing today – the different perspectives in the parents’ responses are so great!

  67. David Marsh
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Hello everyone. My name is David and I’m a 5th grade Reading teacher in Texas. Glad to be here and nervous about sharing my writing with anyone other than my computer. 🙂

    When I read the article I decided to see what it would be like from the POV of the dryer. I quickly wrote out an omniscient POV that focused on the dryer as one of the main characters. I threw in a washer too because who has just a dryer? Sooooooo. Here is a piece of what I wrote.

    “I can’t believe they didn’t check your lint trap before they left” Montgomery giggled, causing the remaining water in his drum to slosh back and forth.
    “They were in a hurry” Gene sighed. “I’ll never get these clothes dry before they get home though. I can barely breath.”
    Friday afternoons were Gene’s favorite. His owners would take the clean clothes from Montgomery, drop them into Gene’s drum, clean the trap, and start the cycle. The humans would usually go out for the evening, leaving Gene and Montgomery to chat. However, they left in a hurry this evening and forgot to clean the trap. Gene could dry clothes and talk with a clean trap, but tonight he could barely catch his breath.
    “I’m sorry Montgomery” Gene whispered “I guess you are on your own tonight. I’ve got to save my breath for these wet clothes.”
    “Awww, it’s okay” Montgomery tried to sound reassuring “I’ll let you choose the topic next week. Anyway…”
    Montgomery was cut short by a thud from the living room. Gene screeched to a halt and they both listened intently. They could barely hear the squeak of the mail slot in the front door swinging. Gene’s drum began to shake and Montgomery’s water sloshed with fear. There was a scratching sound on the tile floor and it was getting closer. Both machines took a deep breath and froze.
    “Hello?” Hissed a deep Burmese accent.
    Gene and Montgomery could barely control their shaking. The scratching was getting closer and closer to the laundry room door.
    “I heard you when I came in, I mean you no harm. I’m just a little lost.” Hissed the heavy accent
    Suddenly the head of a king cobra slid around the laundry door.
    “SNAKE!” Screamed Gene
    “MONSTER!” Yelled Montgomery
    Both machines began to tremble uncontrollably.
    “I assure you, I am no monster. Some things are afraid of me, but I am very gentle. Just misunderstood.” The snake hung it’s head. “I snuck out for a quick meal and managed to get lost. Could you two possibly help me out? I need a warm place to stay until my owner can pick me up.” The snake pleaded. “My name is Elvis.”
    Gene did his best to quiet his rattling drum, “I’m Gene.” He whispered.
    Montgomery waited for his water to stop sloshing, “My name is Montgomery.” He mumbled nervously.
    “Pleased to meet you both,” Elvis bowed his head.

    That’s a piece of the story. I hope you enjoyed it. The machines eventually trust Elvis and he ends up helping Gene by opening his door and pulling out the trap. Most of the lint rolls up nicely and Elvis puts the trap back. They have a great night, and Elvis comes back every night to sleep under Gene until his owner finally finds him.

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      Welcome, David! Of all the points of view I imagined people might try out, I will admit that I never considered the dryer, but this is great! (and I’m not sure I’ll ever look at my basement appliances the same way now!)

      • David Marsh
        Posted July 10, 2018 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        My first thought was why did Elvis hide behind a dryer? For warmth was my guess. Then I wondered how anything would feel if a cobra was hiding behind it. Most living things won’t just let a cobra hide behind them, unless it is a mutually beneficial relationship. The dryer is warm and the snake needs warmth, and there is a clogged lint trap which the dryer can’t take care of on his own. Which lead to Gene the dryer and his lint trap issue that is ultimately fixed by the cobra.
        There is a full paragraph of Montgomery and Gene trying to get Elvis (with his heavy accent) to say “uh thank you very much” like the real Elvis.

  68. Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    When thinking about the possible characters and points of view in the story of the escaped cobra, the kids who had to stay in for recess jumped out at me. I imagined them getting an assignment to research cobras and write about them. And maybe a snake-lover in the bunch wrote a poem:

    Cobras

    Cobras don’t belong in Florida houses
    Hiding behind dryers
    They should be free in Asian forests

    Cobras shouldn’t hiss at housewives
    Scaring them to death
    They should spread their hoods in front of prey

    Cobras shouldn’t be hunted by police officers
    In the city
    They should slither away from the enemy mongoose

    Cobras are not pets
    They are wild
    They are kings

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      I love this Diane – the contrasts between each stanza’s first and last lines are so great!

  69. Kate Baker
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kate & fellow campers!

    What a news story! I imagined the story as a comedy of errors: frantic text messages between Cynthia and her husband(?) or friends (I kept thinking abt how would she know what to do and who to call… I didn’t want her to be helpless and reliant on someone else to solve the problem for her, but there is certainly a recognition that thos “problem” was beyond her scope of expertise). I was thinking of wikipedia or Google Search results for what to do when a king cobra is hiding behind one’s fridge would be another supporting document for Cynthia’s perspective.

    I also imagined some text messages between Billy Ledford and the 3 animal control officers, maybe include some transcripts of walkie talkie (do they use those still??? Research!) as they realize they need a bigger carrier for the snake (reminds me of Jaws: “need a bigger boat”).

    I got a kick out of the fake Twitter account for the Kobra and the creative tweets for his #worldtour. I would write a Twitter thread for @KingKobraORL and do a fake Instagram account too… memes would be another way to capture the snake’s perspective. If I could attach images here, I would spend some time making memes w Google Draw.

    I really like this prompt and I could actually use this newsstory as a companion to Richard Peck’s “Priscilla and the Wimps”. I wish I could attach a picture of my notebook with the notes for thos prompt; it would look a NFL playbook (or at least my version of one as I am not that versed in what playbooks look like… circle here, arrows there… yada yada.)

    Thanks again, Kate!

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      What great ideas, Kate! Thanks for sharing your reflections on this one – and welcome to camp!

  70. Laura Tucker
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I’m Laura, and I’m a children’s librarian in Alabama.

    My documentation is a text message chain between a woman and her husband.

    Wife: The dryer is hissing.
    Husband: I think the hose is loose in the back. I’ll tighten it when I get home.
    Wife: The dryer isn’t on, but I still hear something. Maybe I’ll pull it out a little and look behind it.

    30 minutes later . . .

    Husband: I haven’t heard back about the dryer. Did you figure out what’s wrong with it?
    Wife: (sends picture of giant cobra being taken by Animal Control)
    Husband: Hahaha very funny! I’ll call the repairman tomorrow.
    Wife: (sends selfie with giant cobra in the background)
    Husband: We are officially moving!!!

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Ha! I love the humor in this, Laura – it’s totally the sort of text-and-photos exchange I’d have with my husband.

  71. Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Hello Everyone,

    I’m new to the group. My name is Tiffiny Federico and I’m the librarian at Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, CA. I also teach an 8th grade English class. I’m enjoying my summer break immensely. Finally catching up on rest as I just finished up my library services credential courses. It’s nice to not have homework.

    I decided to write from the POV of Cynthia’s daughter:

    Note left on the counter from Veronica to her mother Cynthia Mullvain.

    September 12th

    Mom,

    Thanks for letting me use your freezer. I’m not sure when we’ll get ours fixed—hopefully before the holidays. School this week has been hectic. They have us on limited outdoor time because some nut job’s king cobra got loose. Keeping 32 fifth graders indoors ALL day is not fun. Hopefully, they’ll find the snake soon before I lose my sanity.

    I knew I shouldn’t have moved to Florida. I don’t know how you and dad talked me into it. Between the sinkholes, the alligators, and the snakes I’m afraid to leave my house sometimes.

    —Veronica

    PS. What’s up with Mitzy? She spazzed out every time I went into the garage to put stuff in the freezer. She kept nipping at my ankles. Is that normal for her? I gave her a treat before I left, but she was still acting strange.

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Tiffiny – love that you’re diving right in by sharing on the first day – and what a fun note! (Dogs are always the first to know when something’s not quite right, aren’t they?!)

  72. Donna Williams
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m Donna Williams and I’m an art teacher at Yadkinville Elementary School. I see 800 students every 6 days for 40 min.
    Having an AIG certification and a young adult and High School English certification means I’ve taught and done a fair amount of writing though too. Here’s my entry for today.

    Bobby Dwayne Mullvain-assignment for 7th grade. Write a story about something that happened to you that was exciting.

    This is the most exciting thing that ever happened to me, well me and my mom anyway. See I’m the person who actually found Elvis. I hadn’t wanted my mom to find him so fast though. But when I got home, she had found him behind the dryer and there were police officers there, and three animal control officers, and the chief animal services officer, Billy Ledford. All of them , except mom, were trying to get Elvis into a cage and back to his owner Mike Kennedy. Elvis was scared and didn’t want to go. Why should he? He and I were friends. I kept trying to get them to let me help but they said I was too young at ten years old. They thought Elvis would turn on me, I knew better, but they wouldn’t listen. What was my Mom doing? She was standing way back in the kitchen and had her mouth covered with her hand and looked like she was going to cry. I was really sorry about that. I love my mom. But how did Elvis get behind that dryer? Well, that’s what the rest of this story is going to be about.

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Donna! I’m so glad you’re here & diving right in. I love Bobby’s voice here!

  73. Kristina
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m Kristina, an elementary library media specialist. This is my first year of Teachers Write. I have had stories in my head for years, and hope this will help me get some down on paper.
    I immediately thought of a text message between mother and daughter.

    Cyndi: OMG! THERE IS A SNAKE BEHIND THE DRYER!

    Shannon: What??? Mom, are you freaking kidding? What kind?

    Cyndi: IDK – I heard it hissing, then peeked behind and high-tailed it out of there! NO KIDDING!

    Shannon: OMG!! What are you going to do?

    Cyndi: I’m sitting on my table now – I may never touch the floor again. I’ve got the heebie geebies.

    Shannon: Did you call someone?

    Cyndi: Animal control is on their way now. I hope they get here quickly, or I might have a heart attack!

    Shannon: Just breathe and relax until they get there. Keep me updated!

    Cyndi: OMG! IT IS A KING COBRA!!!!!

    Shannon: What?? No way!! I am literally shaking over here. I don’t want to come home!

    Cyndi: It took 3 people, but they finally got it!

    Shannon: OMG! Are you OK?

    Cyndi: Thank goodness it’s gone. I’m going to take a nap! TTYL!!

    Shannon: Don’t dream about snakes.

    Cyndi: ☹

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Kristina! Thanks for writing with us – and sharing this fun text message exchange!

  74. Tai
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Hello!

    Tai here from Texas. I am so excited to be part of this writing camp (love the fact it is online). I look forward to trying out the assignments. I’m a Literacy Specialist and I work in Curriculum and Instruction. I’ve always had a desire to write but never knew where to start. I really hope to follow along every day as much as I can.

    Here is my excerpt after reading the article:

    [Jake and Ben are brothers. Jake is a middle schooler and his brother Ben is a senior in high school on the way to his summer job. They mostly communicate through text.]

    Jake: you at work yet?
    Ben: Just clocked in…why
    Jake: Did you lock up Cody last night after you were showing him off to your friends?!?!?!
    Ben: Of course, I always do. If anything you forget to lock the cage.
    Jake: Well…HE’S MISSING!!!!
    Ben: WTH….how?!? when?!?
    Jake: His feeding alarm went off. I got the food. Then noticed…EMPTY.GONE.NO WHERE.
    Ben: find him!!
    Jake: sure, because King Cobra’s are so easy to find – er catch.
    Ben: where’s mom?
    Jake: washing in the laundry room. I think.
    Ben: I’m coming home. If mom finds out – oh man!
    Jake: Mom? Dad will freak that we lost Cody. It belongs to work. It was only temporary.
    Ben: I told you not to name it!
    Jake: It already had a name.
    Ben: lol, oh yeah.
    Jake: no time for laughing. get here NOW!!!!
    Ben: leaving. C U soon.

    [Jake puts the phone in his pocket and ransacks the room looking for Cody. Seconds after getting off the phone with Ben, Jake hears a shrill scream from downstairs. Then she hears mom yelling their names so loud he knows she found Cody. Jake takes his phone out of his pocket.]

    Jake: too late. mom found it.
    Ben: :o(

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Tai! I love what you’ve written here & am so glad that you found us!

  75. Allison Soffer
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I am Allison. I have been excited to get started with Teachers Write this summer. Having a break from my classroom routine allows for time to be creative. This is part of what I love about having a teacher’s schedule. I need structure though, and a dedicated writing time each day. And I also need focus, and community. That’s why I love this online camp. I am going to dedicate two hours a day to sitting down and putting pen to paper. I’ll see what I come up with. I know that these prompts and other lessons will get my writing flowing. They already have, and I am ready.

    I am a picture book author, and I get all of my inspiration from the children in my class. I miss them a lot, but at the same time, I have time this summer to process and explore possible stories.

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Allison! Here’s to a summer full of inspiration & exploration!

  76. Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I’m Ona. I’m trying to write every day this summer (with mild success!) So excited for the inspiration of Teachers Write. Thank you thank you thank you for all you do!

    I think that my current story will need some different structure — right now I am thinking about sticky notes and text messages. I get myself a little caught up in the drafting though – in terms of how to format that! Any suggestions?

    🙂

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Hi, Ona! Here’s how I handled Post-It notes & text messages in Breakout (from a page with both)

      [POST IT] Friday, June 7 – Text messages between Elidee and her mom

      [text messages]

      Mama: You home yet?
      E: yes
      Mama: How was your first day?
      E: okay
      People were pretty friendly

  77. Jennifer Reis
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I’m Jennifer and I’m a public children’s librarian. I’ll try to keep up with the lessons, but I don’t get a summer break so my time can be limited some days. Here’s my excerpt… part of a text message exchange between the 5th grade son of the man who finds a snake behind the dryer and his best friend as they wait for animal control to arrive.

    T: how do you know its a cobra anyway. since when r u a snake expert?
    J: ive been to the zoo ok
    J: i learned some stuff
    J: i think cobras r from india or somewhere around there
    J: so how would it get here??? maybe through a wormhole?
    T: don’t know much about snakes but cobra is a lot bigger than a worm
    J: no like a hole in time and space
    J: like in dr who
    T: sure the snake is from same place missing socks go from dryer into another dimension
    J: EXACTLY!!!!
    T: no
    T: probably some idiot thought it would be good pet and it got loose

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Jennifer! I’m so glad you’re here – and don’t worry about keeping up if it’s an especially busy summer. It’s just fine to dip in and out as your schedule allows.

  78. Stacey Storm
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Hi, My name is Stacey Storm and I am so excited to be part of this summer camp. I am a Reading Recovery teacher & Literacy Accelerationist. I chose to write from the perspective of the Elvis the King Cobra snake inspired by the twitter post in the paper.

    I just wanted a little fun.
    Some time to myself, some time to “run.”

    “Your life is good,” so they say,
    but when you spend you life in a cage, you gotta make a break one day.

    To see the world, beyond the bars…
    It’s all I wanted but I didn’t make it that far.

    That silly woman had to scream…
    “Elvis, Elvis, let me be. Keep that Elvis far from me.

    I shook my tail, telling her not to tell,
    but she screamed anyway, all arms & legs– PELL-MELL.

    I tried to hide and slither away,
    to make my escape, to last another day.

    But vacation, I can see, is not for me.
    That animal control guy just won’t let me be.

    I wiggle and squirm and flip around
    but the gig is up; I have been found.

    Back to the cage and into the dark,
    carried away…so tragic…Why did she nark?

    I’ve been captured; my escape has been foiled.
    My adventure to Paris has now been spoiled.

    I just wanted a little fun.
    Some time to myself, some time to “run.”

    I should have known, not to start twitter.
    I should have known better, I should not have dithered.

    So for now, I will return…
    to the cage and four walls until I can learn….

    I will try again; watch for me.
    I hope next time, to make “Pair-ee.”

    I’ll send a Twitter, so you will know,
    I’ve finally make it and I’m on the go…

    to a fabulous journey beyond these walls,
    to the GREAT BEYOND where adventure calls.

    Signing off for now, to all my fans.
    Elivis-Cobra KIng…Awaiting my next adventure and spine-tingling fling.

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Welcome, Stacey! I love that you’re playing around with poetry in response to this prompt!

  79. Melissa Leahey
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi everyone,
    My name is Melissa L., and I’m a literacy coach at a school in Birmingham, Alabama. This is my first time participating in the online writing camp. I’m excited to work on my own writing skills and improve my craft of teaching writing. Two lofty goals in a short period of time.

    Here is a Haiku from Oscar:

    Nabbed at last – darn,
    Renegade for a month – cool,
    Escape again – soon.

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      Love this, Melissa! Thanks for being brave enough to share on our first day!

  80. Joy Olenick
    Posted July 9, 2018 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi! My name is Joy Olenick and I am a high school Special Education Reading Teacher. I am at #nErDcampMI so I am checking in a little late after a wonderful day of learning! I am looking forward to learning from all of the authors and teachers who will be sharing their thinking this summer!

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      Hug everone at nErDcampMI for me, please! And just jump in whenever you’re ready. 🙂

  81. sheryl forsman
    Posted July 10, 2018 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Hi! I’m Sheryl, librarian in k-5 school, Washington. I have been participating (mostly lurking and sometimes dipping in) for at least 5 years. I love looking back at some of the writing I did in previous years. Though I mostly keep my writing personal, I am planning on engaging more publicly this year. My first draft was a letter from the principal to families. However, what I want to play around with more is facebook group postings on the school’s parent booster club page. Thanks again for doing this every summer!

    • Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      Hi, Sheryl! So glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  82. Kathy
    Posted July 10, 2018 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Hi! I am Kathy, grade 3 from CT. Looking forward to learning with you all!

  83. Posted July 10, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Hi, Kate! Late to the party but happy to start. I’m Bekah, teacher of kindergarten in Michigan. What a great prompt! I went with a journal entry from a kid stuck indoors. I want to write this whole thing (à la Breakout!).

    September 12, 2015

    Miss Scholar said we had to write about the snake thing during what *would* be our recess. She’s all excited because she thinks things like this are fantastic…she says that it should give us such scope for our imagination (?????). Also she keeps singing about blue shoes and curling her lip. And saying thank you, thank you very much. She’s losing it. Probably because of indoor recess. Anyway, I chose a haiku. Cuz it’s short–haha. Here goes:

    As if King Cobra
    wants to be anywhere near
    a noisy playground.

    Dang. She said it doesn’t show enough of nature and that I should journal a bit more. As if I want to dig deeper when I could be playing basketball. Outside. In NATURE.

    Indoor recess stinks.
    I want fresh air and freedom.
    Let us go outside.

    She didn’t go for that one either. I quit.

  84. Cari Negri
    Posted July 10, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Cari Negri 4 th grade inclusion teacher, this is my first time….

    MISSING
    Orlando the king cobra
    Not slimy, narrow hood,10 feet long, olive with faded yellow belly…. will growl when scared.

    Highly venomous… if found don’t approach call 631-867-5309

  85. Neha Thakkar
    Posted July 10, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    It’sssssssss ssssso great to be back home. I think I’ll lay low for a while and then head off to Ssssssssydney. Ssssssspirit airlines will give me a sssssseat and I’ll find a ssssssnack. (Elvis)

    I’m a school librarian outside of Chicago and LOVED Breakout. I’m planning on using it for my 7th advisory, to read aloud and discuss with my students. So excited!

  86. Kristin E Kochheiser
    Posted July 10, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    This poem is better when I am able to make the last word bold in each sentence…but see if you can discover the “striking line” (last word in each line of the poem):

    Call to 911
    Poem from Elvis Spotter & Homeowner Cynthia Mullvain:
    A Nikki Grimes Inspired Poem

    Striking Line: Elvis’ “tweet” “I’m on the loose in Orlando. Keep Away.”

    Just about to put the clothes in the dryer and I’m
    Sure I saw its long, slimy, slithering body on
    The floor just behind the
    Dryer with its tongue loose
    Spitting and hissing in
    My house in Orlando.
    So I’m hoping you will be able to get some officers here quickly to keep
    Me from losing my mind and running far, far away.

    (Kristin Kochheiser/7-10-2018)

    • Posted July 11, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      This is great! Thank you for the inspiration. I will be using this Nikki Grimes inspired poem at camp tomorrow.

  87. Posted July 11, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for a great first prompt, Kate! I’m playing catchup so I won’t post, but just wanted to introduce myself and say hello.

    My name is Angela and I work as a school librarian at a 7-12 school in Vermont. Beyond my day job, I write picture books and am working my way up to a longer, novel-length piece. I also coordinate a summer group for young writers in my town.

    Looking forward to the next few weeks!

  88. Pamela Tallmadge
    Posted July 11, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Letter left behind in Elvis’s tank

    Dear Humans,
    I have been able to hear and understand you all this time and promised myself the next time your friend Jack laughed and said, “Elvis has left the buiilding,” that I would follow suit. I will be able to take care of myself and will look for a quiet warm place with lots of tasty mice. As for this letter, all those days and night you were on the computer, I learned a few things. Because I wasn’t expecting to leave so soon, you may be getting a package for me. Keep it sealed and take it down the street to my friend Dylan (898 Windmere). He’ll be quite pleased. Take care and let Jack know that Elvis has indeed left the building. Elvis

  89. Kevin Kuehn
    Posted July 11, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Allie’s Diary – TOP SECRET

    September 1st, 2015

    Hi. My name is Allie. But you knew that already because you are me. But wait. Let me start over.

    When school ended last year, my mom had this great idea to get me a diary. She said that writing over the summer would be “good for me.” Well, good for me or not, I didn’t write in it. I mean, honestly, summer is for sleepovers at Maddie and Emma’s and nightly walks to Custard Time for a double scoop of a cookie dough tornado. Summer is definitely NOT for writing.

    Before I knew it, summer had come to an end and this diary was still sitting on my dresser…unopened. Then, school started. And I didn’t mind, especially because I knew that I was going to be in Ms. Norbitt’s class. You see, Ms. Norbitt has a reputation as an awesome teacher. Kids always talk about how she makes you work SUPER hard but is also really cool about it. And that is what brought me to this entry. Well, that and the escape of my neighbor’s 8-foot cobra.

    But I’ll get to all of that tomorrow. I don’t want to waste all of my writing on my first entry!

    Until tomorrow,

    Allie (you, or I guess me…actually, I’m not sure how to end a letter to myself…I’ll ask Ms. Norbitt tomorrow)

  90. Lolly Salazar
    Posted July 11, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I am Lolly Salazar from San Antonio, Texas. I am behind by a few days as I was recovering from vacation! I am glad to be back for my second year with Teachers Write. Thanks for the opportunity!

  91. Kirsten
    Posted July 12, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Hello! I’m a few days behind, but I’m so glad to have heard about Teachers Write. Catching up today, if that’s okay! I’m Kirsten and I teach 2nd grade in Royal Oak, MI.

    My document is a text between Bunny R. and P.I. Rat. I took the point of view of the backyard animal prey that would not be happy to hear of their neighbor’s escape. This came from a time once, when my dog came nose-to-nose with a skunk in my yard and did not get sprayed. I was convinced she was part of an elaborate communication system. (ie: Don’t spray her, she’s far too cute) Or something like that. Here’s what I cam e up with, along with a PDF link, because I drew it like a text!

    file:///C:/Users/Kirsten/Downloads/IMG_20180712_101114.pdf

    Text from P.I. Rat to Bunny R.

    Rat: Code Fang. I repeat. Code Fang. Elvis has left the building.

    Bunny R: Copy that, P.I. Bunny Den 702 ready for action.

    Rat: Secure the perimeter. Place Air Hawk One in position.

    Bunny R: Roger that, Rat. Our BAT-tallion has given word to Air Hawk one and have ears in the sky.

    Rat: Excellent. Skunk bombs are at the ready if the time comes.

    Bunny R: Robin will send word if systems go down. Over and out.

    Rat: Over and Out.

  92. Karyn Lewis
    Posted July 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Hello! I am a middle school teacher-librarian in Katy, TX. I followed Teachers Write last year from afar, and decided to take the plunge and try to write some myself this summer! I find sharing stories connects us all, and telling your own stories is just as important as experiencing others’ stories!

    For my exercise I created a text message conversation between Mike and Valerie Kennedy (the cobra’s owners) using the EdTweet Chrome extension.It was fun to get into the heads of characters and think about how they would communicate about this via text message! You can see it here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dxbNubc-mHjpm_bXB-qgFWpVfQ24M2l_/view?usp=sharing

  93. Posted July 19, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I’m really late joining in and a going to play catch up all summer. I teach Teaching Language Arts and a university in PA. We spend a lot of time in Writing Workshop, and I desperately need a warm up before class begins in late August.

    I love this prompt. So many fun directions to take it. I especially love the opportunity to brainstorm both characters and types of documents prior to selecting one. Couldn’t help it. I did three! (A “MISSING” sign, text conversation between Valerie and Mike upon Mike realizing that the snake was missing, and a letter from the school principal to parents, alerting them that outdoor recess was canceled.)

    Excited to be here!

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