Teachers Write 7/6/15: Mini-Lesson Monday – An Invitation to Wonder

Hi there! Happy Summer! And welcome to writing camp!

Teachers Write! is a free virtual summer writing camp for teachers and librarians. Please click here to sign up if you’d like to join us and haven’t already registered. If you’re on Facebook & want to also join our group there – here’s the link. Then click “Join Group.” And please click here to sign up for my email newsletter so that you’ll get updates throughout the year.

A quick note about blogging your Teachers Write experience: There will be daily opportunities for you to share and interact with one another in the comments section of each post. Often, our guest authors will stop by to be part of the conversation, too (though not always – some will be on deadline or traveling for research).  In addition to commenting, it’s great if you also want to set up a blog where you share all of your writing from this summer. One important request: 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 – publish only your own writing on your blog. If you’d like to reference the ideas shared here, providing a link is the best way to do that. Thanks!

Four quick things before we get started…

1. Teachers Write is an online summer writing camp with published author-mentors who donate their time to work with us. It’s free. There’s no charge to participate, but we do ask that you buy a few books over the summer as a way to support the authors who are supporting you. Our request: choose one book from each of our three main “all summer long” authors – Kate, Gae, and Jo – and at least one book from one of our daily guest authors. If you truly aren’t able to do this financially, we understand that and still want you to write with us. We’d love it if you requested these books at your local libraries & signed them out.

2. Our weekly schedule will look like this:

Monday Mini-lesson, and a Monday Morning Warm-Up on Jo’s blog
Tuesday Quick-Write
Wednesday is Q and A day – authors will be here to answer your questions! We’ll have some other Wednesday features, too.
Thursday Quick-Write
Friday Feedback on Gae’s blog, and an occasional Friday feature here, too
Sunday Check-In on Jen Vincent’s blog as well as an occasional weekend essay here.

3. 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 1400 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.

4. 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 unpleasant rogue comments. 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.

Now…let’s get started!

new teachers write 2015

Today, I’m inviting you to wonder. Because that’s where authentic writing starts – at least for me. I’ve written books because I wondered what goes on under the snow in winter, because I wondered what it would be like to have a magic pencil that answers questions, because when a rainforest guide told me that a thousand different organisms depend on one species of tree that grows in Costa Rica, I wondered what those animals were and how they needed it. You get the idea. Wonder is essential for writers, but sometimes, we don’t leave time for it in our daily task-finishing, dinner-making, laundry-sorting lives.

So today, your assignment is to wonder for a while. Take 15 or 20 minutes and make a list of things you wonder about. Here’s mine for today:


I wonder what would happen if a kid stole his mom’s notebook & changed stuff.

I wonder what role women and girls played in Viking Iceland.

I wonder how the California earthquake of 1906 affected Chinatown and the people who lived there.

   (Those last two are questions I’ll be researching soon for future books in my Ranger in Time series.)

I wonder about water bears.

I wonder about women mathematicians in history – how come we usually hear about men?

I wonder how we can channel anger for good.

I wonder how much we can control what we dream.


There are a dozen story possibilities here, but I won’t know for sure if any of them can grow until I take some time to explore those wonderings. I’m going to start with the women mathematicians and do a little reading tonight…

What about you?

Your assignment: Spend some time daydreaming. Think about the things that fascinate you, the things that scare you, the things that are important to you. Make a list of things you wonder. And choose one or two of those that you’d like to explore a little more in the days and weeks to come.  If you’d like to share some of your list in the comments, please feel free to do that and please feel free to leave a short introduction today, too. We’re all going to be writing buddies this summer, and it will be nice to get to know people.

Also, remember that Jo Knowles always kicks off our week with a Monday Morning Warm-Up, so you can drop by her blog for another writing prompt.

More for our historical fiction study folks…

If you’re reading the Ranger in Time books & want to participate in my focus on historical fiction this summer, you may be interested to know how that idea of “wonder” plays out in author research once a topic has been selected (or assigned!). When I first sold the Ranger in Time series to Scholastic, I’d given the team there a list of possible stories. They responded with a list of suggestions for the first four books — two that came from my list and another two they added based on teacher and library requests for those topics. One of those titles – RANGER IN TIME: RESCUE ON THE OREGON TRAIL – ended up being our very first book in the series. When Scholastic asked for this topic, I had to ask myself, “Are you interested enough in the Oregon Trail to spend months researching and writing about it?” The answer was yes – I wondered about a lot of things during that time period!

I read stacks of books and visited websites, but the best part of my research came during a field trip to the National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence, Missouri, which was one of the jumping off points for the Oregon Trail. There’s a whole library here, filled entirely with books about the Oregon Trail (research geek heaven!!), and I was excited to spend time there, reading and researching.

I knew there were many diaries here – some of them never published, so they were original manuscripts, scrawled in dusty leather journals. And I wondered if any of those diaries had belonged to children, since I hoped for a glimpse into the mind of a kid my character’s age who made that journey. When I asked the library director about this, he said, “No, we don’t really have any from kids.”

“None?” I said.

“No,” he answered. Then he paused. “I mean, there’s Lizzie, but…” I could hear the dismissal in his voice, even over the phone. He did not care for Lizzie. When I pressed him, he explained more. “We have Lizzie Charleton. She was a teenager, but her diary’s terrible.”

“Terrible how?” I asked..

“She just complained the whole time. Lizzie didn’t want to go.”

Think about that for a minute. Lizzie didn’t want to go. If you’ve ever taken a long car ride with a kid, you understand why this diary is a perfect source. I knew I needed to see it.


Here are some excerpts from Lizzie’s diary, shared with permission from the museum library:

April the 19th last night it rained & made the roads so muddy that we did not start until noon we travailed 14 miles to day & it rained all day & is so cold we like to freeze to death

April the 20th This morning it is still cold enough for winter we travailed until 2 o clock today & it was so disagreeable & cold we had to stop the rest of the day

May the 14th Camped for to night on the bank of Platte River it looks verry much like we might have a storm to night came 18 miles to day through sand & mud holes till there is no name for it & I am vary tired a walking

May the 16th Camped again this eavening on Platte came over bad roads to day & are verry tired came up too Hills half mile long & sand there was no end to it & was so warm we could hardly get up

 May the 27th Camped this eavening on Labonte creek came 24 miles to day it rained & snowed a bout 4 hours it was 3 inches deep.

Monday May the 28th Camped this eavening out on a hill & cold enough to freeze us came 20 m

 Tuesday May the 29th Camped again this eavening out on a hill & still cold enough for winter came 32 miles today & killed one Antelope

 Tuesday June 5th Camped this eavening out in the Bluffs our stock stampeded last night we did not get started till 10 oclock we came 15 miles in the fore noon we Started at noon took the rong road travailed a bout 5 miles out of our road then started a cross the Bluffs came a bout 4 miles a cross came to the road a bout 7 oclock in the eavening went back a bout a mile after water so we did not get but 18 miles to day Charley Killed an Antelope we will have a mess of Antelope for supper then we will be all right again if we dont freeze to death the snow was a bout 2 inches deep this morning.

When I read Lizzie’s diary, I have to confess that I fell in love with this grumpy teenager right away. I appreciate the much more detailed and descriptive diaries that other women travelers left behind, but Lizzie’s voice rang true to me. She’s cold, she’s tired, and she probably didn’t want to come in the first place. The whole time I was reading, I half expected the next line to be “Aren’t we there yet?” To those of us reading Lizzie’s diary more than a century later, it’s easy to appreciate the overland journey as a grand adventure. But to Lizzie, it was long, cold, and kind of boring, too. Stepping into her shoes, it’s easy to see why she’d use the same lines over and over and complain about the cold. Her voice struck a chord with me because it felt real. I ended up using Lizzie Charleton as the model for Sam Abbott’s older sister.

If you have the first Ranger in Time book, take a look at Chapter 5 (pp. 34-45) and you’ll get a sense for how that initial “wondering,” followed by some research and note taking, ended up developing into one of my favorite characters in the book. We’ll talk more this summer about how to incorporate historical details into a project without losing the sense of story, but this should give you some ideas to start.

I’ll be around today to chat more about our first historical post, as well as to greet people and say hi, so if you have questions, please feel free to fire away in the comments!


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  1. Sarah Wendorf
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    I’m excited for the historical fiction study this summer. I enjoyed comparing the historical Lizzie’s diary with the dialogue of Lizzie in Rescue on the Oregon Trail. I had a question about writing historical fiction: how do you decide how much to have character dialogue reflect the language of the day?

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      In my opinion, character dialogue needs to reflect the language of the day to the extent that it needs to be plausible and not include anachronisms. That means no only technology (no iPhones on the Oregon Trail) but also trickier things like words that haven’t entered the lexicon yet. I just deleted a dessert from a bakery in my 3rd Ranger book, which is set in 1850, because “brown betty” wasn’t documented as a dessert until just after that. I ask myself a lot of questions about attitudes toward family, gender roles, characters’ views, etc. I need for those things to be true, even if I’m keeping to simpler language for an early chapter book.

      • Sarah Wendorf
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        Thank you!

  2. Posted July 6, 2015 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Years ago, when my Grandmother told me that she’d been raised in a Catholic orphanage in Buffalo, NY, I wondered what her life had been like. She answered my questions, but because she was a private person, she never elaborated on anything. I was a kid at the time, and I didn’t know how to dig deeper for the details and the real heart of her story. So, many years later, while researching her family line, I decided to write a book based on her life in that orphanage and set out to discover one possible answer to my initial wonder.

    I’ve had many other “wonders” along my research journey, everything from clothing and hair styles, to meals prepared during World War I, to ethnic groups, to weather. I’ve enlisted the help of a local priest to answer my Catholic history questions, and an interview with a national expert on the history of the School Garden Army gave me more information than I ever could have imagined.

    I still have many unanswered questions, and it seems that every answer brings with in more “wonders” to fuel my research. I’ve yet to discover letters or a great diary like you found, Kate. But I keep plugging away, making notes as I go.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Love this, Wendy – especially the phrase “one possible answer to my initial wonder.” So many of our wonders lead in more than one direction, don’t they?

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Wendy. Your wonder about your grandmother led to a wonder for me about mine. One that I have played around with here and there, but have never pursued. Thanks for helping me make it more “officially” a seed idea.

  3. Sally Wilkins
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    My current WIP set in Anglo-Saxon England also grew out of an “I wonder” – a very simple “I wonder who that was” triggered by driving by a stone marker twice a day while on holiday. Turns out “who that was” was a fascinating young woman!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      I love stories like this, Sally – Will you be including more detail on this background spark in your author’s note for that book?

  4. Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Kate, I am so excited-THRILLED- that you are researching women mathematicians. I am, too! I LOVE writing about math. Thank you for doing this camp. How fun and motivating!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      So glad you’re writing with us this summer, Ann! I’m looking forward to hearing more about your interest in women & math.

  5. Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I just finished research on the Santa Fe railroad and love the West. I need to pick up a Ranger in Time book!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Kathy! Given your interest in the West, the first Ranger book, set on the Oregon Trail, is probably your best bet. Glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  6. Maureen Riordan
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I wonder if the reason I couldn’t sleep past 5 am this morning was because Teachers Write Camp was starting! 😉 I figured if I couldn’t sleep, I could write and I FINALLY started writing about something that I have been wondering about and wanting to write about for over a year. I have had two students in the past one with selective mutism and the other with Rett Syndrome and I have wondered what it would feel like to have normal thoughts but the inability to speak or to speak in public.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      What great wonderings, Maureen – so glad you\’re writing with us this summer!

    • Debra Solomon Baker
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      One of my closest friends has a daughter with Rett Syndrome. If you want to be in touch, let me know. Debrasbaker@gmail.com

  7. Sue Zueger
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I teach sixth grade ELA in South Dakota, and in the summer, I co-facilitate a writing workshop on Wednesday mornings for kids in our school library. A few years ago I became involved with the Dakota Writing Project, our local National Writing Project chapter. My involvement with the month-long workshop for teachers reawakened my love for writing poetry. I am hoping Teachers Write! helps me structure time for writing every day as I tend to let other things interrupt my writing life.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Hi Sue! Your summer program with kids sounds great – I bet you’ll find prompts that you’ll want to share with your student writers as well.

  8. Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I’m so excited to start. This is my first year participating in Teacher’s Write, and I can’t wait to get to know everyone and learn about your teaching and writing.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Great to meet you, Rose – I’m glad you decided to join us this summer!

  9. Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    HI Kate & everyone,
    I’m so excited to explore historical fiction writing. I’ve been teaching 9th grade English for 16 years, and I wonder how I can use the literature I’ve taught as inspiration for my own historical fiction writing. I wonder, was Helen really self-centered and truly in love with Paris or was she simply looking for a way out of Sparta? I wonder about other George & Lennie escapades before they “bought the farm” near Salinas. And I wonder about non-literary things: what would it be like to be a peregrin falcon living atop a building in a city? What do red tail hawks do all day? Thank for this first prompt!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Happy to have you writing with us, Kate – your wonderings made me smile. I love birds, too.

  10. Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I have been wondering about a lot of things…women rights…social norms…equality…justice…my biggest wonder is why does the Nobel Committee do not go back and give Nobel to the deceased after they find out that the person has done something remarkable? I wonder how can I start a petition to change that.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      That is such a great wonder about the Nobel committee – I hope you’ll share your wonderings with students in the fall, so they can see all the different writing directions these kinds of questions can take.

  11. Sherrye Ginn
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Good morning! I teach 3rd grade English Language Arts in Denham Springs, Louisiana. I teach writing, and soooooo many of my students have a very difficult time putting ideas into words. I decided to learn a bit about writing in an attempt to help them become better writers. I’m old so my wondering seems limited. Maybe this camp will send a shock wave through my brain and recharge my imagination! One thing I do wonder is, “Why is this comment box so small?” I can’t edit my writing in this tiny box! Thanks for letting me take a stab at this project this summer. I am looking forward to it.

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Bravo to you, Sherrye, for learning new tricks. Here’s a tiny game-changer: The Comment box on this site can be re-sized by dragging the lower right corner.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Sorry about the small comment box (WordPress’s idea – not mine.) While we on that topic, I wonder why I have to do math every time I reply to your comments. 🙂 Glad you’re writing with us!

  12. Andy Starowicz
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Good Morning, Kate!

    Wondering – A great way to start Teachers Write! This was easy for me because sometimes I feel like I do it too much.

    I wonder if there will ever be a time again (like the past) when social media did not control our lives.
    I wonder if year-round schooling would impact public education in New York State.
    I wonder how art would be today if the Renaissance era did not happen.
    I wonder what life was like for a twelve-year-old during the early days of the salt industry in Syracuse.
    I wonder what the world would be like if dads were in charge. Truly, I never want to find out.:)

    Lizzie sounds just like my kids whenever they have to do something they don’t want to do, which is quite a bit. I am always fascinated (and a little jealous) of all of your research experiences and stories. I believe that a solid historical fiction novel is driven by the accurate historical facts within the story plot.

    Thank you for Teachers Write!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      So good to see you back, Andy! I love the diversity of your “I wonder” list and the way these ideas could grow into so many different kinds of writing. You’ll share this with your student writers later on, yes?

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I too have wondered about life during the Salt Industry days. You should go with that!


  13. Valerie Stein
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I am so excited for year 4 of TW! I thought I’d have to take a break this year, but with Kate’s addition of the historical fiction piece I had to join! I retired last year from 10 years in my school library (and many years before that in schools), but I’m working with writing and kids more than ever – I start my science/poetry summer camp with elementary students this morning! I wonder if we’ll find that magical place together where the words flow…
    The timing of this assignment is fabulous- as we traveled home yesterday, I filled my notebook with “wonders,” not knowing how perfect it was for the first day of camp! My current work for kids is a historical resource I’m building with other MG writers about our own region’s history. My first article and story are about kids and work in the early 1900s. I’ve discovered so far that child labor laws were changing around that time, so young people weren’t allowed to work in the same jobs as adults, and their hours were shorter. I wonder what it was like for an 10-year old boy to work in a box factory or a shipyard. Did he work on Saturdays? How long were the shifts in actuality? Did he get to eat lunch? Go to the bathroom? How dangerous was his work? What about school and playing with friends? There is a fantastic State History collection at one of our local libraries where I’ll ask for help, and I’m betting the Museum of History and Industry will likely become a favorite hangout of mine while I answer these questions. Kate’s description of Lizzie’s diary is so inspiring – I’m often sucked into a story by a photograph or a snippet of a letter or diary, and my current wonder began with a photograph in a book that showed the riveting gangs in a shipyard – including these boys who were no older than my 4th grade students, holding hammers taller than they were in some cases.

    • Jennifer Choate
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Hi Valerie, I love having my gifted students write poetry about environmental science. I teach on the Navajo Nation. So much science and history happens (ed) all around us!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      What a great list of wonders! I love that you made it before you even saw the prompt. 🙂 That’s what notebooks are for!

  14. Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    You know, as I read, I realized that somewhere along the line I stopped letting myself wonder and then wander with it! Just went and did some and oh my there were many, including, I wonder what it is like in the abandoned house in the lot next to ours. Old old house, white, black trim…one of these days I will get brave and go have a peek! Thanks for sharing Liz’s journal…wow.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      It’s interesting that we wonder so naturally as kids but need to reminder ourselves – even give ourselves permission – as adults. Glad you’re writing & wondering with us this summer!

    • Krystal Oh
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      I think your old abandoned house would make for a great MG mystery novel!

  15. Jessica Evans
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    This list was difficult for me to write and made me realize how little time I leave for wonderings in my day-to-day life. I got down a few things, but I think I’m going to make this a running list that I continue to add to.

    I’ll share two of the wonderings I came up with:

    – I wonder how to grow a vegetable garden.
    – I wonder what holds friendships together.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Love these – and I especially love that you plan to add to your list!

  16. Darlene Stewart
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Hello, I am very excited about the writing workshop this summer. First I have learned about it. My friend and I are both participating in it this year. I am a drama teacher and playwright, but also love writing children’s stories. I look forward to writing with you.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Great to meet you, Darlene – I’m glad you decided to join us!

  17. Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    My name is David and I teach 6th grade ELA and now will be adding social studies. I’ve hear about TW for a few years but have been reluctant to join in. But this year… I’m going to give it a go. Thanks for the encouragement from Gae, Holly M, and Greg A. I may have even encouraged a colleague to join in with me.

    I was shocked with how many ideas I came up with for today’s writing activity. I can already envision them as picture books. I think. Thanks for the push.

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Bravo to you, David, for taking the bait and pushing your colleague, too.

    • LeAnne Wyatt
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Hi David. I taught ELA and SS to 6th graders for several years. I now teach 8th grade American History. I, too a, new this year. Looking forward to working with you.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      So happy to see you diving in, David!!

    • Posted July 8, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      I’m just now getting a chance to look over Monday and Tuesday on Teachers Write since I was at Nerd Camp. Love that you’re here!!

  18. Tammy Petty Conrad
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Fun to wonder about things. I came up with several personal things, but also several story ideas. I wonder what cats think about all day and do they remember from day to day. And I wonder if there are any children’s stories about our local history. I loved the HF info and really appreciate the diary entries. I teach mostly 3rd and 4th Gifted and Talented students and I always enjoy watching them grow as readers!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Great wonderings, Tammy- my first novel was based on a similar wonder about local history. There’s so much to discover!

  19. Tina M. Shepardson
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Good Morning, Thank you so much for holding Teachers Write again. I learned so much last year!
    I wonder:
    – are kids today enjoying their childhood as much as we did when there were no cell phones and computers?
    -will there ever be an end to the state testing that has consumed NYS schools?
    -what my next step will be when my 2 PB manuscripts are finished this summer?
    -where the time has gone as my daughter enters 8th grade this fall?????

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Tina! Thanks for being brave enough to share on the first day – I think all the parents here can empathize with your last wonder.

  20. Rhonda Deighton
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Kate, for a great start to TeachersWrite. Today’s assignment has me focused on the heart of my story. While I wonder about a million things, the list of questions in my journal focus on the deeper questions that prompt the writing I’m working on now. I wonder: Why we are often oblivious to how we affect others in our world? Why loss and grief are almost always a prompt for guilt? Can we learn empathy? Can we triumph over regret? How do we become resilient? How do we let go, let ourselves be?

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      What big questions – these are so great, and I’m glad they got you thinking about the undercurrents of your work in progress.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      How nice to connect with you again friend!

    • Krystal Oh
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I love your wonder about grief and loss resulting in guilt, only because it is so true. Although personally, I wish it weren’t, it’s an important thing to remember when writing about loss and grief in a character’s life.

  21. Kim
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the historical fiction focus this year! In terms of wonders:
    – I wonder how to help students who can’t think of anything they wonder about.
    – I also wonder if ticks (yes, the bugs) do anything beneficial.
    I’ll be thinking of more “wonders” today. Thanks again for Teachers Write!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      I wonder…if seeing how other people wonder might be a spark for kids who think they don’t wonder about anything. (See what I just did there?)

  22. Brian Rozinsky
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    As I started my list of wonderings, a quotation bubbled up from memory that likened the making of laws and sausages. (I wonder where *that* connection came from…) Anyway, that thought led to me to a quick foray into research, which turned up this version: “Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.” These words are often wrongly attributed to Otto Von Bismarck and more accurately originated with a 19th-century lawyer and poet, John Godfrey Saxe. (Thanks, quoteinvestigator.com). In any case, I think I thought of this quote because it’s so antithetical to the spirit of wondering expressed by Kate’s kick-off post. As a teacher, I want curiosity to be an essential ingredient in my classrooms, and I’m grateful that Teachers Write and its participants have embraced and embodied that idea for four years running. I’m excited to continue exploring with all of you the sausage making that is, in my view, the writing process.
    P.S. In case you don’t know or don’t remember, the Comment box on this site can be re-sized by dragging the lower right corner. That tip, a year or two ago, from another TW participant, changed my life.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      thank you for the tip about the comment box–I’ve been a part of TW since the beginning, but somehow missed that comment! You are correct! It is a total game-changer!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Should i admit that I didn’t know about resizing the comment box? Thanks!! Also, I love your extension of the laws/sausages comparison.

  23. Andrea Lorenz
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Good morning! My name is Andrea, I am a high school English teacher in CT. I teach grades 10, 11, and senior level Film and Creative Writing. I also work with students on their student-produced art and literary magazine. I recently went back to school for a second masters in Writing and Oral Tradition, so I’ve been doing quite a bit of wondering and writing lately. It’s been a while, I haven’t written for myself in about 10 years (insert two little ones and a dog). My current project involves the myths and fears of the insect world (I know, an English teacher with an obsession about bugs? You can thank my four year old son for that). I’ve been wondering about the insect world and how much we don’t know about the creepy crawlies that lurk around our homes. This is all leading to a children’s lit project (picture book) that I am working on for my masters program. So i’ll be doing some of my wondering outdoors today! Thanks all!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Andrea! We share a fascination with insects – and you’re also going to love Teachers Write guest author Sarah Albee. Bugs are one of her specialties!

      • Andrea Lorenz
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Yes! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Sarah Albee through a mutual friend not too long ago. My son loves her Poop Happened! book. I look forward to her author appearance at camp! Thanks!

    • Christi
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      I too love insects and spiders too. I taught kindergarten for 10 years and spiders and insects was one of their science units. I LOVED it! I now teach 4th grade and that unit is one of the things I miss!

  24. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I am so excited to be joining Teachers Write for the first time! I am a K-5 Literacy Instructional Coach in CT. For the 2015-2016 school year, I am going to be focusing on supporting teachers in writing. Writing seems like a black abyss people are so reluctant to learn more about. Writing is scary! I wonder, how can I get teachers excited about teaching writing? I wonder, how can the teachers and I get kids excited about writing? I wonder, as teachers, are we too constraining with our students by assigning topics? I remember as a child be so excited to free write in class. I feel like I don’t see that happening in classrooms as much and that makes me sad. So, I have been wondering, how can I become better as a writing teacher? As I thought about this question, I realized what a better way than actually get back into writing myself. I took create writing classes in college and would also constantly journal. But as life happens, writing fell off the radar for me. I dabbled in blogging, but haven’t written since January. Ack!! I miss writing!
    Standing on the beach yesterday in Maine, I couldn’t help but thing about how important Old Orchard Beach is to me. I grew up on this beach. OOB represents so much more to me than just a vacation spot. I wondered, are there places that kids feel the same way about a particular place? If I can have such an emotional reaction being back on the beach with my two boys- the beach that we have been coming to for 26 years, there has to be places kids connect to and want to write about!
    I know I have written a lot, and I am thrilled I have found a place to take risks as a writer to not only benefit myself, but for my teachers and students as well. Looking forward to this journey!!

    Thank you!

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      I agree, Kara. Nothing generates excitement about writing like actually writing. (Of course, the same process can also generate uncertainty, fear, and just about any other emotion we can imagine.) Welcome to this summer-time writing party!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      So glad you’re writing with us, Kara – I loved your Old Orchard Beach post. 🙂

    • Christi
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      When teachers love writing, the kids fall in love with writing. They can sense when teachers are uncomfortable with writing. I participated in the National Writing Project program over 10 years ago, and that changed how I felt about writing. It is great that you are embracing writing; it will have a positive impact on your students and fellow teachers.

  25. Anna puryear
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this! This is my first year to participate and I’m forcing myself to be brave and share!
    I wonder what it was like for my Grandmommy leaving Germany for Venezuela – This one I am beginning to research about. Growing up I always heard short snippets of when she and her family left Germany. The lived in Caracas, she met an American and married him. I’ve heard about when my mom moved here to the States and didn’t know English, nor really did her mom and the stigma that presented in the mid 50’s. My grandparents were trilingual and that wasn’t valued. How did all of this shape my grandma? How did this shape my aunts and my mom. When all you’ve known is Caracas and Spanish and you move to Ft. Worth, TX and can’t speak the language and looked down upon because of this. It is something that fascinates me and has spurred my master’s in Dual Language Leadership, my teaching in a Dual Language program and having my own children learning through these programs, to be bilingual.
    I wonder what will happen when all the land is developed and there are no more open spaces
    I wonder what it will be like to move my family next year
    I wonder what I’ll learn from TW
    I wonder what teaching 4th grade will be like
    I wonder what tech dependance will do to our society
    I wonder what my youngest’s life will be like? She is named after a very special person who died so early – I’m scared she will have the same fate.
    Thanks again and can’t wait to read the Ranger books. I love historical fiction!

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Way to be brave, Anna! Thanks for sharing your wonderings about your grandmommy & her story.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      What great questions to ask about your grandmother’s life – I can’t wait to see how this plays out in your writing this summer!

    • Carolina Christianse
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:09 am | Permalink

      Hi Anna,
      What a pleasant surprise to find you here!
      I didn’t know your family was from Venezuela. I cannot wait to hear your stories…

    • Dalila Eckstein
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      Anna, thank you for sharing your unique voice and experience. Your words connected for me in so many ways. Your wonders got me wondering more wonders. I am also participating in TW for the first time. I’m glad we are sharing this journey!

  26. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I wonder about the native people who lived in my area before the Spanish arrived.
    I wonder what happened to them.
    I wonder where their artifacts are and who took them.
    I wonder what their fresh water source was.
    I wonder what their origin story was.
    I wonder what it was like to look up and see the stars in the Los Angeles basin.

    I wonder what it takes to be a (female) comedy writer.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      These are such great wonderings, Dawn – I was especially intrigued by this one: “I wonder where their artifacts are and who took them.” It feels like there are stories there…

  27. Meghann Donohue
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Hi! I vaguely participated last year in TW, but am more determined to make an effort this year. I am an 8th grade ELA teacher, an avid reader, a developing writers, and a mother to two young kids.

    I LOVE the idea of having students do an “I wonder” list at the beginning of the year. I’ve tried Nancie Atwell’s territories list, but this seems like a different angle and something that could really help them be creative and think out of the box.

    Some of my wonderings included my own children and who they are going to turn out to be. I also thought about this shoe salesman I once met, who was really into his job, and I wonder how people are driven into these niche careers. I wonder what would happen if the bees all died. I wonder how butter is made in a factory.

    Looking forward to a fun summer!

    • LeAnne Wyatt
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi Meghann. I, too, teach 8th grade…American History. This is my first year to participate and hope we might be able to collaborate at some point. I work very closely with the English department and have my students write extensively.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I’ve seen the “territories” idea, too – but I feel like it’s a different concept – starting with what you know rather than what you want to know. Probably a combination of those two prompts for kids would be powerful.

    • Carla Larsen
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      I love the idea of students coming up with an “I Wonder” list at the start of the year. I’m an elementary school librarian, and last year one of my fourth grade teachers took this idea and ran with it. Each student came up with a list and then chose the “wonder” they wanted to focus on. I helped find a number of web sites (including the terrific Wonderopolis site) where students could research their idea, and then eventually students presented their “wonder” to their classmates – since they were now experts! Students were SO excited to be self-directed in their learning, and everybody enjoyed all that fresh knowledge!

  28. David Cassidy
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I wonder if I\’ll ever finish this first draft!

    I wonder . . .
    if there is any way I could have stopped him from doing what he did?
    what it\’s like to grow up in the witness protection program.
    how we will make first contact with other intelligent life in the universe?
    it it is possible to just drop out of life?
    what it\’s like to be mega-famous.
    if there is a god, and if there is, why did she allow Autism?
    how soldiers can be so brave.
    if life expectancy can be substantially increased.

    • Krystal Oh
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Your God “wondering” comment made me think of another…with so many different religions, how can they all be right?

      • Tessa Healy
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

        …or how can they all be wrong?

        • Krystal Oh
          Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          good point!

    • Mary Helen Bend
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      The witness protection program is great. It’s fascinating to think how something like this would impact a child.

      • David Cassidy
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        I have the first several chapters of this one sitting in a drawer, waiting for me to finish the current project. 🙂

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Such interesting questions! And now I’m wondering if the first two wonders on your list are somehow related in a story…

  29. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to this challenge and writing project for this summer. Fiction writing has always been a challenge, especially when it comes to being creative. I do have some ideas as to topics I want to drive my fiction writing.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      That sounds great, Troy – and don\\\’t worry. We\\\’re not ALL about fiction here – you\\\’ll find some nonfiction, memoir, & poetry mixed in, too.

  30. Krystal Oh
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I am a MG ELA teacher at the moment, looking to get back to the high school setting. I love YA lit and poetry, so I have been playing with writing in verse vs prose in my WIP, wondering if it works that way or if it should be all verse. I wonder a lot about the religions of the world and what it’s like growing up as a kid within families that follow these various world religions. There are so many books out there for young Christians, but what about the little Buddhist boy or the young Wiccan girl, etc…? I wonder what an actual Book of Shadows looks like. (My WIP is a YA novel about a girl who discovers she is a witch after finding her real mom’s Book of Shadows.) I am trying to find a balance between the magic and fantasy of Harry Potter and the more realistic side of modern day “witches” and what they believe. The research has been fascinating, but sometimes I get too wrapped up in that side and don’t write as much as I should. Looking forward to spending this month getting back to it and hopefully establishing more of a routine that lends itself to getting words on the page.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      So glad you’re writing with us this summer, Krystal! The how-much-research-is-too-much question is one that I know haunts a lot of us, myself included. We’ll have to chat about that later on when we talk more in depth about research & writing.

      • Krystal Oh
        Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink


  31. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    so, so, SO thrilled TW time is here! Very excited about the historical fiction addition, as well.

    I wonder what effect our ancestors have on us–not only in where they chose to move, live, etc. but even in personality, etc. What influence do all those that came before us have on us still?
    What would it be like to time travel?
    Past lives? possible? real? some imagined thing?
    What causes folks who have head injuries or amnesia to suddenly only speak in French or have “memories” of living in Australia—when that wasn’t the case before?
    What causes instant dislike or instantly hitting it off with someone?

    What would it be like to really have superpowers?

    by the way, I LOVE Lizzy’s diary snippets that were posted.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      We are similar wonderers 🙂

      • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        fantastic! we might even say we are “wonder” twins! 🙂
        nice to “meet” like-minded wonderers!

    • David Cassidy
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I’ve always wondered how great it would be to tie travel; my current project (25,000 words and counting) is a time travel story.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Sonja! I love how your wonderings could be spun into so many different ideas for writing!

    • Krystal Oh
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      sounds like some good stories there…ones I’d love to read! 🙂

  32. Christina Alexander
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I am very excited and inspired to be a part of this! I have filled a page of wonders in my book this morning – my favorite one is: I wonder if the world will eventually be swallowed up by machines… Also, I have read the first Ranger in Time and loved hearing about the research process. Especially about Lizzie’s journal and your field trip.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Christina! That question about the world being swallowed by machines sounds like the perfect spark for a work of science fiction!

  33. Sapna
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Some of My wonders:
    1. I wonder how my garage door opener knows how to open just MY garage door.
    2. I wonder what would happen if ALL stores and businesses closed down for the day (gas, restaurants, shopping, hotels, entertainment…everything!”
    3. I wonder who controls the traffic lights.

    4. I wonder when iPhones will become obsolete and if people will still text in 20 plus years.
    5. I wonder if there are conversations/language in babies’ dreams or just images? Are there storylines? If so, do the babies understand them?
    6. I wonder if I am weird for wondering all of this stuff as well as all the other things on my list.

    • David Cassidy
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      #1 – I know, I know!
      The remote is a radio transmitter; the thing in your garage is a radio receiver. They are a set to the same frequency. Your neighbor’s is set to a slightly different frequency. (It’s just like your portable phone at home.)

      • Sapna
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Thanks David, I know there is some technical explanation, but it is still so magical! Glad someone figured all that so I can drive into my house on the rainiest of florida afternoons.

        • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          Your “how do they work” wonders remind me of the site Wonderopolis. Anybody else familiar with it? We use it as mentor text when we tackle the kind of writing that explains.

          • DianeSer
            Posted July 7, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            I love wonderopolis and mental floss.

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      #1 – Ha! Now, I’m eyeing my own opener with suspicion… and enjoying other wonders you inspired. Thanks for sharing, Sapna.

    • Pat Powers
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Great wonderings Sapna.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      I understand and appreciate David’s scientific explanation of your garage door, but personally, I prefer to think of mine as being excited to see me. “Oh, good! Kate’s home…time to open!” This is why we wonder… 🙂

      • Sapna
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Kate! That’s a lovely way of looking at it!

      • David Cassidy
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        That was my second choice.

  34. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Trying again since the captcha didn’t work on my first response (Apologies if this is a duplicate post!) I’m a technology integrator from Virginia and I am excited to connect with you through our writing this summer! Feel free to connect with me on Twitter (@HCPSTinyTech) and tag me in your blog posts for sharing. Here is a link to my Wonder List for today’s challenge: http://bit.ly/1LSuiOz Thanks to Kate, Gae, Jo, and Jen for all your support and encouragement to be brave with our writing!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      So glad you’re joining us this summer, Tamara!

      • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Me too! Tamara is one of the writers who kept encouraging and inspiring me all year long!

  35. Marion Bageant
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    My favorite genres are mysteries and historical fiction. The settings of stories always fascinate me. The delicious details of that time. I immigrated from Germany when I was a child, so I have a lot of wonderings about Germany. When I visited the Rhine valley, since half my family is from Cologne, I wondered: How was life for a woman in the middle ages in Burg Eltz, a castle I visited on the Mosel River? Also, the castle, of St. Goar, Burg Rheinfels, a small city in itself, where villagers spent their entire lives, what was life like there as a “peasant” or serf? I wonder what my relatives were doing when that was bustling in the middle ages? I wonder what “school” was like then. I teach 3rd Grade and have taught for 25 years. This I know: if you lift the level of writing for your students, everything else is lifted as well. Writing is the most important curriculum in the classroom. I also teach a Teacher’s Writer’s Lab, my second year. I am very interested in stretching my own writing this summer. Thank-you for having this!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      It’s great getting to know you, Marion – and now I’m wondering if you’ll be combining your love of those two genres to write a history-mystery set in Germany. So much to think about!

    • Christi
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      I’m glad to see someone with an interest in mysteries. I love to read them…but have yet to write one. Have you tried writing one?

      • Krystal Oh
        Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Me too! Used to love Nancy Drew mysteries when I was a kid and still love a good mystery. Just can’t seem to really write one. I wonder why that is…

  36. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    The internet does make us more distractible and for some of us, pine for the days when things moved a little slower. But, what the internet does so well is to connect people together. Take this project for instance. Without the internet, without its connectiveness, this project would not exist. So, even though I can look at the past through the pink tint of nostalgia, I embrace the future and wonder what an experience like this might look like in ten years?

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      This is my favorite thing about the Internet, too, David – the way it makes my circle of friends & colleagues bigger.

  37. Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I am middle school librarian and a first time participant in TW. I just joined up this morning, rather impulsively.

    This is what I wondered about this morning:

    I wonder about the new wave of Puerto Rican immigrants to Florida & Texas and the struggles of being of a place and not.

    I wonder about the Corsicans who came to Puerto Rico at the end of the 19th century and searched for little hillside towns to move to.

    I wonder who invited them to come, and why come then?

    I wonder about what things you need to have to make you feel at home.

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Bravo impulsivity, Ana! Thanks for sharing your wonderings about multiculturalism and the complications of ‘home.’

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      I love your list – and the last one, wondering what we need to have to feel at home, is a great writing prompt on its own!

      • Krystal Oh
        Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        I agree! Love that last one…I would think it would depend on the age of the person too.

  38. Brianne O'Sullivan
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    My first summer with Teachers Write and I’m feeling somewhat intimidated. This year was my first year teaching reading and writing after six years of just math and science. I know that I will be better able to teach it if I am also writing, so here goes. This first assignment was a perfect introduction, as I am always wondering about so many things. A few wonders that made my list this morning:
    I wonder how the Greek referendum will impact the country and its citizens.
    I wonder what would happen if there were no bees. I wonder how they can be saved and who will save them.
    I wonder what school would look like if students could direct their learning and follow their passions.
    I wonder how some organisms, like the flamingo, evolved and survived natural selection.
    I wonder about grandparent-grandchild relationships and how they might shape individuals and families.
    I wonder about the beliefs held by children in different cultures. I wonder what it would be like if children held onto those beliefs into adulthood.
    I wonder who lives in that house across the street.

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Transitioning from teaching math & science to reading? You may have less to feel intimidated about than you think, Brianne, as you clearly aren’t one to shrink from a challenge. Thanks for writing and sharing!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      These are such great ideas, Brianne – and don\’t worry about feeling intimidated. I think writing intimidates most of us, on some levels at least (and that includes your students, so you are going to have great empathy for them in the fall!)

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to TW! These are great “wonderings” – each with many jumping off points to explore! I look forward to seeing where your writing takes you (and thee rest of us)!

    • Brianne O'Sullivan
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the encouraging words! I am now teaching grade 6 as a generalist so math, science, language arts and social studies. It was something that I very much wanted to try. It was a challenging year but I’ve learned so much and am excited to keep learning! Kate – having more understanding of the process and empathy for my students is exactly why I’m here. Thanks for having me 🙂

    • Krystal Oh
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      I like your second to last wondering (about holding onto beliefs from different cultures into adulthood). I had a somewhat similar wondering. 🙂

  39. Mary Helen Bend
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I’m a high school librarian and really excited about Teachers Write. I met Gae a little over a year ago when she conducted a wonderful Writing Workshop for students at my library.

    I come from an anthracite mining family of NE Pennsylvania. I wonder what it was like for a boy with a sensitive disposition to start working in the mine. That’s the story I hope to focus on this month.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Glad you’re writing with us, Mary – I can’t wait to hear more about your story!

  40. Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    This is so exciting! Thank you for providing this opportunity.

    My list of wonderings:

    I wonder if I am addicted to social media.
    I wonder what my cat, Seamus, is thinking.
    I wonder what Seamus does while I\\\’m gone.
    I wonder how authors find the discipline to write daily.
    I wonder what life was like for Mexican-Americans in West Texas during the 1930\\\’s-1970\\\’s.
    I wonder how my mother-in-law found hope despite her oppression.
    I wonder if I could use my mother-in-law as a springboard for a historical novel.
    I wonder if I\\\’ll be able to write anything during this time period.
    I wonder if this is what my students feel like, or worse.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Love your list, Katrina – especially the last wondering!

  41. Julianne Batelli
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Good Morning, Writers!

    I am Julianne. I am 24 and just finished up my first year of teaching. I teach middle school in an urbarn charter school Rochester, NY. I’ve never spent time creative writing, so time to start now!

    I wonder how much past experiences and opportunities affect our present choices.
    I wonder about first choices and leaps of faith.
    I wonder why we often mask emotion.
    I wonder about stereotypes of the past.
    I wonder about Norse Mythology.
    I wonder what key experience in a person’s life helped them decide to enlist.
    I wonder who first thought up the childhood fears (i.e. monsters under the bed, the boogeyman, etc.) and how they’ve evolved into the common tales of today.

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations x2, Julianne — on finishing your first year teaching and on stealing time to write creatively this summer!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Julianne! I’m glad you decided to write with us this summer. And congratulations on your new teaching position!

      • Julianne Batelli
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, I’m so excited to be here! I can’t wait to grow in my own writing so I can help my students grow just as much 😀

  42. Shyrl Cone
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I am thrilled to be a part of this again! With the rigid nature of almost all of my third grade curriculum, I have lost much of the ability and time to wonder, or to let my kids wonder. The ideas here are easy to integrate into lessons. I am particularly excited for the series book ideas, as we have a unit on series books, and I am able to choose the series. I think I will be able to use Ranger and still teach the important concepts of character development and change over time. Kate, you’ve done a superb job of giving him human thoughts and a personality without really making it animal fantasy. It works! Thank you for doing this camp again!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      It’s interesting that you mention the rigidity of the curriculum – I so worry that’s having an impact on our students’ opportunities to wonder, too. Glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  43. Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this opportunity. This is the first time I’ve joined you in this writing challenge. I’m very excited.
    My Wonderings List:
    I wonder what happened to the monarch butterflies that I use to see.
    I wonder about the chipmunk family living under our pool. How many babies? When do they leave their nest? Are they here all winter?
    I wonder about my tomato plants. Will they survive the dreaded leaf mulch I mistakingly used?
    I wonder about my daughter and what it’s like living in Miami.
    I wonder what she will do when a hurricane comes.
    I wonder about hurricanes!
    I wonder about the robins we now have. There seem to be 2 generations and yet more nests are being built.
    I wonder how long they stay as a family unit.
    I wonder about the children who go to school in Unst Scotland. What is their summer like? What is their typical school day like?
    I wonder what I’ll have for lunch.

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your wonderings about the natural world, Mary. And now that you mention it, I’m about ready for lunch too.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing today, Mary! What struck me as interesting here is how many of our “wonders” are also “worries,” especially when it comes to our kids. I’m the same way – interesting to think about.

      • Posted July 7, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Thanks Kate. That’s true. I hadn’t even noticed that. I was just in a worrying kind of way. I’ll have to think about that.

      • Posted July 8, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Interestingly enough, the first thing on my paper was, “Is wondering the same thing as worrying? For me, the answer is often, ‘yes!’ ” Maybe my wonder needs to be, “Why do I worry so much!!?”

  44. Christi Mitman
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    This is my first year participating in Teachers Write and I’m excited. Last year, I got as far as signing up, but failed to follow through. I’m already ahead of that this year, yeah!
    I wonder…
    I wonder about spiders
    *Do they realize that what they create is beautiful or is it just a practical chore?
    *Why do we fear them?
    *What can we humans learn from them? Perseverance for sure! The ability to blend & hide too.

    Is there any way to show math strategies through a story?
    Have the characters using them, doing mental math.
    Have a character overcome math fears
    What strategies would make sense?
    What types of math are the source of our greatest fears…fractions for sure.
    Is it possible to weave in that type of problem-solving thinking without it being obvious.

    I wonder what type of crime I could have Andrew’s father supposedly commit.
    What is a crime that is heinous enough that adults of the community would punish (with neglect,
    disdain & blame) the child of the criminal?
    Yet a crime that is not so gruesome that the whole focus of the book becomes that crime…or should
    it become the focus?

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Bravo for taking the next step, Christi. Thanks for sharing this array of questions.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Fascinated by these three big ideas, Christi! I hope you end up writing more about them!

    • Krystal Oh
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      interesting ideas and wonderings for your story about Andrew and his father.

  45. Beth Anderson
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    This sounds like fun! Looking forward to this historical fiction venture!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! Glad you decided to join us!

  46. Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I am excited about the whole process. I am doing some lessons on Abraham Lincoln and how he imposed martial law during the civil war. I would be curious to read a diary from a teenager or pre adolescent.
    I wonder why martial law was necessary.
    I wonder how he worked with all of those generals.
    I wonder why Gen Grant is only remembered as a drunk.
    I wonder how m Mom felt about the war.
    I wonder about the animals.
    I wonder how the animals reacted.
    Anyway, I did the morning warm up on my blog. So many seemingly unrelated things that all connect.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Lincoln’s decision to impose martial law is such an interesting thing to explore during this time – so many writing possibilities there. I hope you find some primary sources that excite you!

  47. Rose Cappelli
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I love to wonder but don’t always record my wonderings, so this was a good exercise for me. Here is part of my list:
    I wonder about the rhythm of fireflies.
    I wonder if the music of nature inspired our great composers? Which ones?
    I wonder how many current or past orchestra conductors are women?
    Thanks! I’m looking forward to energizing my writing.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      “The Rhythm of Fireflies” is lovely to say – if you wonder this into a book, I’d say you have your title all set, Rose!

      • Krystal Oh
        Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        ooohhh…I like that! makes me think of a poem…

  48. Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    This is my first time participating in TW. I’ve lurked in the past and have used 59 Reasons to Write to get me writing in a way I didn’t know I could write. Before I start with my wonderings, I want to say I love the Ranger in Time series. Historical fiction is a challenging genre so it’s great to see on that is very accessible and well written. I know my kids will love them. Thank you, Kate!

    I’m wondering how to hold on to all of my wonderings in my hyper connected world.
    Which makes me wonder about students growing up with electronic reading and writing.
    I’m wondering about children of migrant farm workers, are they like Lizzy?
    I’m wondering when and why natural curiosity in children starts to disappear or does it?
    I wonder what my cat does at night, especially when he comes home with a few wounds.
    I wonder why people populate desert communities.
    I’m wondering about homeless families.
    I’m wondering about milk.
    I’m wondering if some types communities are more kind and humane than others.

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Hmmm. Now, you’ve got me wondering about milk too, Jullieanne. Thanks for sharing!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the kind words about Ranger! Have you read Cynthia Lord’s A HANDFUL OF STARS? I haven’t yet but have heard great things & know that one of the characters is a migrant worker’s child.

      • Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        YES! I’m reading A Handful of Stars right now! Loving it!

  49. Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m excited to be a part of Teachers Write this summer. I live in sunny Spring Hill, Florida, and teach English Comp I & II at Weeki Wachee High School. (Near Weeki Wachee – the City of live Mermaids http://www.weekiwachee.com ). My students earn high school and college credits for completing my classes. Although I may appear to be “just lurking,” I’ve decided to resurrect my old Blogspot to use as a place to work on the assignments and to do some writing. In between, I’m working on some home improvements over the summer since I never get a chance to do them while the school year is in full swing. Here’s the link to my blog. http://ruttergabby.blogspot.com I’ll have to check my settings to see whether it is accessible for public view, but I think I have it set right.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Totally fine to just lurk, Shirley, or to write & share wherever you like. We’re happy you’re here!

  50. Laurie Finkenkeller
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I am excited and nervous because this I am a first time participant in TW. My first thought as I read today’s assignment was I wonder if I will ever feel comfortable writing. It is hard for me to look at white space and try to fill it. I can usually squeak out a paragraph, maybe two if I’m lucky. I feel like Stella in Sharon Draper’s STELLA BY STARLIGHT when she says, “I try to write it down sometimes, but I’m not very good at it. It’s like my brains are dumplings in somebody else’s soup.”(p. 98) I want to thank Kate, Jo, Gae and Jen for giving me the opportunity to work on getting the dumplings in my own soup, not somebody else’s.

    Here is the rest of my wonderings list:
    1. I wonder if I will have enough money to retire. I wonder why I keep wondering this.
    2. I wonder what it would be like to be a champion of something.
    3. I wonder what my life would be like if I wasn’t a teacher.
    4. I wonder if I will get to travel to all the places in the world I want to see.
    5. I wonder about blogs and podcasts. Will people really want to read and hear what I have to say?
    6. I wonder what my cat thinks about all day.
    7. I wonder how people figured out what ingredients to put together to make delicious foods like cake and ice cream.
    8. I wonder how I can be an inspiration to my colleagues.
    9. I wonder about the ways TW will help me teach writing to my 5th and 6th graders.

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing Sharon Draper’s simile, Laurie, and letting us taste a few of your own dumpling wonderings.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      I love your wonderings…and your connection to Stella. 🙂 So glad you were brave enough to share today!

    • Krystal Oh
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Love Sharon Draper, but haven’t read that. That quote made me smile though because it’s such a neat and true simile!

  51. Debbie Shaw
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    My students and I always wonder about things as we begin our inquiries. The students also write personal wonderings in their journals.
    I wonder why I’ve never felt comfortable sharing my writing. I wonder if everyone feels like the child they once were…that they’ve never really grown up. I wonder about death and destiny. I wonder about fate. I wonder why I feel so angry with myself when I express my anger at others. I wonder whether I would have made the choices I’ve made if I could turn back time.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Glad you’re writing with us, Debbie! I wonder if you’ll decide to share some of your summer writing with your students. 🙂

  52. Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m a long-time teacher turned librarian, working in an inner city school where there’s no actual library. I dream about working in an actual library. I’ve started Teachers Write before, but I’ve never stuck with it. I think I’ll do better this time because I just finished my library degree, and there are chunks of time I’m used to using for school work.
    I filled a whole page with “I wonders,” but I obviously won’t put up all of them! A few of them were inspired by the comments, & a lot are personal.

    I wonder what it would be like if a client stalked a therapist.
    I wonder if someone grows out of selective mutism, and if so, how.
    I wonder what my children will grow up to be like.
    I wonder what it would be like to have a published book.
    I wonder what it would be like to go on a mission trip to a poor country.
    I wonder what it would be like to have a real yoga practice.
    I wonder what it would be like if I just ran away for a while.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      What a great list, Lisa! I am wondering now about being a librarian in a school with no library – I’m so glad the kids have you to share books with them, even if they don’t have the library itself.

    • Krystal Oh
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      that first “wonder” makes me think of one of my guilty pleasures – Pretty Little Liars. 🙂

  53. Kim
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Right this very minute I’m wondering if the window fan I just bought will drown out the noise of the whippoorwill that wakes me up every single morning at 3:00am. Its call is beautiful, but so loud that I can’t fall back asleep. I’ve had lots of early mornings this summer!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Nature vs. sleep…that’s a tough one. Hope it works out!

  54. Christine Robbins
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Morning! I am from Norman OK but spent many years up north in MI. I have my MLIS but I am a library assistant at an elementary school and middle school in Norman OK. Both of the librarians I work with live to have me but believe I need to have my own library and allow me to work with the kids. I have always loved writing and I took part in the OK Writing Project last year. I am excited for this worship and looking forward to learning a lot. My dream is to one day be a writer!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      So glad you’ve decided to write with us this summer, Christine!

  55. LeAnne Wyatt
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I’m LeAnne. I teach middle school history (8th grade) at St. John’s Episcopal in Dallas, TX. A couple of things I wonder are: I wonder why the purple martins in the field in front of my house swarm in a circular pattern every afternoon in late summer. I also wonder what it would be like if I didn’t have to give actual grades to my students.
    I’m excited to be a participant his year!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Interesting questions, LeAnne – thanks for sharing these!

  56. Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I love it that you used a real girl’s journal for a character in your book. You must have been so excited that you found this… research heaven! Thanks for your great comments about wondering and how this ignites writing…

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Susan! Glad you’re writing with us this summer!

  57. Deb Reidy
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Hello from Indiana! I am a third grade teacher at a private school for academically gifted students. I wonder what I will write about in the coming weeks. Right now, my piece of paper is still blank…clean, crisp, and white. But I am just about ready to dive in! I think I will use my favorite pen…the one with delicate, pink flowers on the outside and soft, green ink within.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Deb! it’s always lovely to meet a fellow pen-and-paper junkie. 🙂 I can tell we share a passion for office products.

  58. Carrie
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    This is my first time doing this and I am very excited. Here is a bit of my list:

    How my daughter can go from laughing to throwing a temper tantrum in 1 second flat
    Why I am afraid to ask questions
    What would happen if we woke up at night and went to sleep in the morning
    Where does the red road in the Wizard of Oz film lead
    Where does hate come from
    When I stopped wondering
    Why mosquitoes love me so much
    What is in the neighbors shed
    What it is like to be secure
    What my daughter’s dreams are
    What I will be when I grow up
    What my deceased ancestors think of the world today
    How flowers become different colors
    Who got the idea to mix milk and sugar and make ice cream
    If birds think
    How one flower gets in a forest of trees
    What would happen if I stopped using all technology for a week
    What the world will be like when my son is my age

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      For someone potentially afraid to ask questions, Carrie, you ask a lot of great questions. Thanks for sharing!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Carrie, I also am afraid sometimes to ask questions. I think keeping up with TW will help us to become braver!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Two thoughts…

      1. I love your list – so many varied ideas!
      2. There’s a RED road in Oz???! How did I miss that?

      • Krystal Oh
        Posted July 7, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        I was wondering the same thing! I am going to have to go watch that movie again now!

    • Krystal Oh
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Love your 1st wondering. I wonder the same thing about my 4 year old daughter…

  59. Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    This topic is such a gift for me, as I am working on a middle grades historical fiction novel. Right now I’m wondering about all things 1910s. (My novel grew out of an old family story of my grandmother’s uncle and his unfortunate end.) Since I have a list of wonderings, I’m off to Barnes & Noble to buy a 1910 Sear & Roebuck catalog for details. Thanks for the historical fiction focus. Happy writing, all!

    • Posted July 7, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Can’t wait to hear what you find in that catalog!

  60. Susan MacKay-Logue
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    My name is Susan. I have taught ELA/SS to 5th graders for nearly 20 years. I feel too old to start this writing, but the need to do it is overwhelming. My wonderings are about loss, loss of parents, loss of a spouse, loss of children to adulthood and marriage and families of their own. Where does that leave me? What is left of who I am if all that shaped me is gone? Heavy stuff, but on my mind this morning. Thank you to all of the writing community for putting together this forum. I stalked last year, but I intend to write this year. Let’s go!

    • Brian Rozinsky
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Bravo, Susan, for taking the leap from lurking to sharing, and sharing such provocative wonderings. Your post reminded me of many of my influences — some still here, others gone.

      • Susan MacKay-Logue
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Brian for your encouraging words. 🙂

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Susan, thanks for being brave and jumping in! Your voice is never too old to be heard! In fact, so many of us CRAVE the insights of those who may be a few steps further ahead of us on this journey. I can’t wait to see what you share! Bravo!

      • Susan MacKay-Logue
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Greg. Getting a Word Press Blog up today was a positive step forward!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for being so brave on our first day, Susan. I feel like your wonderings about loss are important ones to explore – not just for yourself but for others who may have the same questions. I’m glad you’re writing with us.

      • Susan MacKay-Logue
        Posted July 9, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Kate.

    • Krystal Oh
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      My husband and I actually seem to be struggling with that same thought on loss. He lost his mom just over a year ago, and in the process seems to have lost himself, or at least a big chunk of who he is or was…Deep thoughts for this rainy day…

  61. Nicole Schuette
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    As I spent my time wondering this morning, I came up with quite a list. However the one that really stuck was when I started wondering about my great-grandparents. They had pretty amazing lives. It was sparked by the snippets from the diary you shared. My grandpa’s mom traveled across the country to Oklahoma in a covered wagon when she was only two. I can’t imagine what that must have been like for her family. It’s hard enough traveling in a car with a toddler. I can’t imagine a covered wagon. On my mom’s side, my great grandma’s family lived in the wilds of Wyoming. Her parents drove the stage and the town was often under attack from Indians. On my dad’s side, my grandma’s dad’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Germany when he was a toddler. I wonder what brought them here and how hard it was to adjust. Then the one that amazes me the most is my grandma’s mom. She immigrated from Germany by herself at the age of 17 as a nanny. I wonder what the journey was like and how she adjusted to life in America without her parents. I have so many questions, so I made a second list of questions for my grandma. I’m hoping she can answer them for me. I’m thinking my great-grandma’s story could be inspiration for a historical fiction piece.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Nicole, I often think it would be fun write a story about my great grandparents or long ago relatives too.It would be so interesting!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing today, Nicole! Family stories can be such great sparks for research – and it’s always interesting to see where history and family mythology come into conflict, too. One of the things I learned researching the Ranger in Time Oregon Trail story was that many of the conflicts with Native American tribes were overplayed in diaries, particularly in the early days of the trail. It was actually later, after treaties had been broken, that the conflicts became more regular.

  62. Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m Andrea and I live near Toronto in Canada. I teach kindergarten and write picture books and middle grade fiction.

    I love this exercise of wondering and writing! I don’t think I spend nearly enough time just stopping to notice the wonders and questions I have — they get ignored as I rush through all the things I seem to need to do every day. Yet, it seems to me that feeding the mind and taking notice of those random thoughts and ideas is such an important thing, especially for a creative. Today I’m wondering:

    – what it would be like to have a superpower
    – whether I could survive alone in the woods
    – how it feels to be losing your memory
    – what would happen if my daughter’s pet bunny decided to explore the rest of our house
    – what the bird is that I heard calling in my backyard
    – why it’s always so hard to begin a writing session

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Love your wonderings, Andrea – and I’m so happy that this prompt today made you slow down long enough to capture them.

  63. Posted July 6, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Hi all! I\’m an ELA 9, Reading Intervention, and German teacher in Michigan. I\’m really excited about Teachers Write this summer.

    I set a timer and spent 20 minutes wondering. Here are some highlights:

    I wonder what my children are doing down the street at my neighbor\’s right now? Are they being nice and having fun?

    I wonder what my children will remember about this summer.

    I wonder how much writing I will do this summer.

    I wonder who will be sitting in my classroom in September.

    I wonder if I ever stop wondering about my kids–at home and at school.

    I\’ve posted my whole piece at http://iwritetofindmyvoice.blogspot.com/2015/07/i-wonder.html

    Thanks, Kate, for making us wonder! Thanks, also, to all who have shared!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing, Jennifer. I love that you set a timer – it makes me want to set aside 20 minutes just for wondering every day.

  64. Janet
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I have been an elementary/middle school teacher, mostly 6th grade, for over 20 years and feel an increasing urge to bring voice to my creative side. I have a few ideas but feel taking this leap with support this summer is what I need to push me. It’s a bit unnerving, but the timing feels right as my children will be in first and fifth grades this fall and are increasingly less dependent on me. It feels time to spread my own wings a bit, take a little time for me. I’ve jumped in today with journal notes, wonder lists, and even researched some articles for inspiration. In these more flexible summer days that go too quickly, I hope to gain more focused direction for my writing in what seems to be the perfect starting point. I am excited for the journey with all of you.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Janet! Glad you’re joining us this summer. It’s okay to feel a little unnerved, I think – that’s what makes writing real.

  65. Sheila Mustard
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Hi – I am Sheila from CO, substitute for all elementary levels, and very excited to be participating in Teacher’s Write for the second season. I, like some of the rest of you, wondered what I would write but soon the ink started to flow. Just a very few of my wonders are:
    1. What an exhilarating/ panicking feeling it would be to set all fear aside and accomplish your lifelong dream of publishing your first story.
    2. What it would be like to grow up in the culinary world? Live on the dinner, smell the aromas, and produce tasty goodness for each patron.
    3. What it would be like to someone’s Guardian Angel?

    The other piece that I am thrilled you are including is your insight to your Ranger series, thank you! Reading the Oregon Trail book I found myself wanting to see a map of the trail they were taking. I feel this would be an excellent “teach able moment” because maps have definitely changed over the years. As you were researching, what did you find for maps, and would there be a resource you would recommend showing to students?

  66. Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    What a lively discussion! I’m so glad I discovered this page. I’ve been doing a lot of wondering myself but haven’t written it in my notebook yet. I can hardly wait to get started. Love your post on HF, Kate!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      So glad you’ve decided to write with us this summer, Sue!

  67. Tammy Green
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I am a first grade teacher with a million ideas swirling in my head but when I try to grab on they swirl away. I invite my kiddos to wonder everyday, but do not really take the time to practice it myself. What a wonderful way to begin!
    I wonder why sometimes people cannot see both sides of an issue. What would it be like if everyone could?
    I wonder why we love what we love.
    I wonder why it is so hard to speak up.
    I wonder why we can’t let go.
    I wonder what it would be like to live more simply. Could I do it?
    I wonder so many things about animals, their intricate designs and unique ways to survive.
    I wonder about weather patterns.
    I wonder what would happen if I wrote down a wonder everyday….

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Tammy! I love your description of wondering and trying to hold on to those ideas as they swirl away. That feels like a poem…

    • Diane Fight
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I really like your last wonder!

  68. Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I’m Greg from Chicago area, and I teacher 3rd/4th grade. When I’m not at school, or home with my family, I love to read, write, and run. This is my 2nd year in TW – the best pd ever! I posted my wonders (as well as my response to Jo Knowles warm-up) on my blog. I look forward to working with all the fantastic colleagues at camp!


    • Kristen Kravecs
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Greg! I’m excited to see your post on TW. I happened upon and now follow you on Twitter for pieces of teaching and running motivation each week. The teaching/running community is a powerful force, and I glad to be a part of it.

      Looking forward to writing camp!

      • Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Kristin! I look forward to learning along side of you!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      So glad you’re writing with us again, Greg! I loved both of your writings on the blog – and you reminded me that I still need to do Jo’s warm-up for my own project!

    • Gina Strauss
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      LOVE the poem that you wrote on your blog. I can totally connect with the theme.

      • Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Gina! Competition & comparisons vex me when I get on the wrong side of that coin. I look forward to seeing your insights and ideas here at TW!

  69. Kristen Kravecs
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Hi! Jumping on a little later in the afternoon, but I am already excited to start this journey based on the first blog posting and the comments that followed. I’m currently wondering about young women’s experiences in New England in the early 1920s, specifically in factory towns. I appreciated Kate’s response to Sarah W. about accurate and plausible dialogue and details, because I worry about staying true to time period when creating voices for my characters.

    Besides researching my particular event and time period, I need to delve into gender roles, family and cultural values, attitudes towards education and working during the 1920s in order to begin shaping my characters. Characters are obviously complex (maybe except for static or stock characters) since they represent real people, but I’m finding the task of creating a real person daunting.

    How do you all begin when starting to shape and craft your characters, especially in historical fiction writing? Do you find yourself focusing on attitude, interactions with others, the values of the time period, or do you focus on letting them tell their story and then incorporate the historical accuracies? It seems like it should all happen at once, but it doesn’t flow as a natural part of my writing yet.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Writing historical fiction, for me at least, is really a matter of writing two stories with a common timeline. There’s the historical record, which is set and which we discover via research, and then there’s the character’s personal journey, which has to be plausible within the context of that already-set historical framework. So in a way, things do happen all at once. I tend to develop the story (character’s problem & longings, etc.) as I’m researching the time period, and most often, the issues grow out of the history, if that makes sense.

  70. Jennifer Kraar
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    What a delight to be a part of Teacher’s Write – 3rd time will be a charm. I’m a librarian who reads a ton and writes less than I would like.
    I wonder:
    What would happen if everyone could pick one superpower at puberty
    If there was no formal school – everyone could take charge offs or her learning and find experts to teach you

    What will happen in the Cemetary in Singapore where we used to ride horses, when it becomes dismantled
    If everyone was brought up bilingual
    If food that was bad tasted bad

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Jennifer! So happy to have you back. I’m fascinated by your first wondering – I’ll be there are more stories to be told about that cemetery.

  71. Gina Strauss
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Hi Everyone,

    My name is Gina Strauss and I am a Lower Elementary (grades 1-3) Montessori teacher near Baltimore, Maryland. I am excited to be a part of the program this year. I love to read and have loved to write but sometimes I get too caught up in writing the “right thing” or having my writing go somewhere that I stop doing it. Even though I like to have fun, I am a pretty intense and deep thinker. I am not surprised that my wonderings are similarly deep and intense. 🙂

    Thanks for the opportunity to explore my writing!

    I wonder….

    * why humans have found it easier to hate than love?
    * how long we will need to experience acts of racial violence before the shift to true equality happens?
    * how I can help?
    * why I find it hard to not have a project to work on?
    * will my daughters always be as happy as they are now?
    * if backcountry camping in Glacier National Park next year is a good idea like my husband says it is? Grizzly bears freak me out!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      So many of our students worry about writing “the right thing,” too, and it can be truly paralyzing, I think. I hope your summer of writing with us helps you to help them discover the freedom to just write!

  72. Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Lizzie and I could have been traveling companions! Sometimes traveling brings out my grumpy side. I tend to be a homebody, cozied up with a good book. I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in Teacher’s Write! Thanks to all the authors who have made this possible.
    As for wondering, I can’t help wondering why the ducks in the creek behind our house have been so feisty lately. Usually, they lounge around on the creek bank or waddle under the shade of the huge bush that grows in the back yard. For the past two days, thought, they’ve been splashing and dunking and diving toward one another in the water. They’ve been making quite a scene. I wonder what they’re up to! When I’m not wondering about those rowdy ducks, I’ve been working on a novel. Although I’ve been reading and writing with middle school students for 21 years now, this is my first attempt to craft a story in novel form. I’m nervous; but I’m so excited. Thanks again for this chance to read and write with other teachers, readers, and writers.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      I love that you’re both nervous and excited about your novel. That’s how I feel, every single time.

  73. Heather Ward
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    This is exciting! I joined the group last year but had difficulty committing to writing and participating regularly. I live in MA, teach in NH, and travel to ME in the summer where cell service and wi-fi around the lake is sketchy at best. Putting my best foot forward this year to do better! I teach writing to fourth and fifth graders and I always share my writing with them and model how this craft is done. Love the idea of the wonderings….can’t wait to write them down. (Note to self: do this before dinner and my daughter’s basketball game:) Also, I am very excited about the historical fiction piece. I just finished Ranger On the Oregon Trail and thought it was great. In the middle of my own HF piece about one of my ancestors stories of coming to this country. Started out as a genealogy project and I wonder where it will land.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      So glad you’re writing with us this summer, Heather! Your HF project sounds interesting – I love that it started with family history!

  74. Diane Fight
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I am a teacher librarian and ELP teacher in Bettendorf, IA. This is my first time with TW and am really hoping to turbo charge my writing habit this summer. Here were some of the “I wonders” from my list:
    I wonder what the next major invention will be that totally changes the world
    I wonder if we’ll ever see a world without hunger
    I wonder what the next influential art form will be
    I wonder how our culture will be remembered 500 years from now
    I wonder what would happen if all the US states became separate countries

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Such interesting questions, Diane – these would be so great to explore with more writing. I’m glad you’re joining us this summer!

  75. Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi, everyone! I’m a 9th/10th grade English teacher from South Bend, IN. I’m originally from New Jersey. Excited to commit to Teachers Write this year, after only aspiring to join last year. Recently I’ve wondered…
    I wonder what it’s like to be a mom of more than one child and how it’s possible to juggle all the responsibility

    I wonder what it would be like to be a high school student today, if I could just trade places with one of my students and she could do my job while I went to her classes

    I wonder what it’s like to see the earth vibrate and shake during an earthquake (I just don’t want to find out for myself)

    I wonder what it’s like to live in a monastery in the French Alps; could I survive the discipline and the silence???

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Leslie! Your wonderings reminded me how much of writing is about imagining ourselves in someone else’s shoes, whether that’s a high school student’s sneakers or the shoes of someone standing on not-so-steady ground during an earthquake. That could be a writing prompt in itself!

  76. Melissa Branigan
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    My name is Melissa Branigan and I am switching over to teaching Reading and Language Arts again in a 1st grade classroom after 3 years of teaching Math and Science. I am super excited to be taking part in this writing camp as a way to learn and grow!
    I have two children (one is 7 years old and one just turned 1) who tend to be a huge source of my wonderings on a daily basis. 🙂
    I often wonder what my one year old dreams about. He makes the silliest and strangest noises and faces when he sleeps.
    I wonder what my 7 year old truly thinks about when he thinks about me.
    I wonder if they will be friends when they are adults, like my brother and myself, or if they will lose contact as they live their lives as adults.
    Finally, I often wonder how in the world I am going to get through the teenage years of driving, etc. with them.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      I love that you take so much inspiration from your kids, Melissa – those of us who write for children spend so much time in their worlds, trying to think like a seven-year-old. It’s a fun way to imagine!

  77. Debra Solomon Baker
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I wonder why I felt so emotion-less while I walked through the Nazi Propaganda exhibit at the Missouri History Museum today. I wonder if most people also felt emotion-less. I wonder how many children owned the children’s book with the empty space for practicing how to make a swastika, and how many owned the game called Juden Raus! whose object was to force Germany’s Jews to leave the country. I wonder if anyone secretly plays that game today. I wonder if anyone waved to my great aunts and uncles when they were marched off to I-don’t-know-where. I wonder if I can find that letter that I wrote home from Italy, the afternoon that I visited Dachau because I didn’t have cousins in Europe, the afternoon that I thought about what might-have-been. I wonder why I decided to argue with my fifteen-year-old son while walking through the exhibit, why I thought it was a good idea to point out that he wasn’t reading the placards on the walls.

    • Debra Solomon Baker
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      I am an eighth grade English teacher from Saint Louis, MO. I just returned from a week-long writing retreat at Kenyon College. I am trying to hold onto some of that creative space.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing this today, Debra. It’s so interesting to me that you’ve written about feeling emotionless and yet your writing now seems to be overflowing. I wonder if it’s because such powerful emotions take time to process?

  78. Joy Becker
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Hi there! I\’m a literacy coach in a K-6 building. I just heard about Teachers Write when I attended the All Write Conference earlier this summer. I was super excited because I have always loved to write but as we all know, life happened and started pushing out my writing time. I am ready to rediscover and grow that part of me again!

    I wonder what will happen if I start writing more.
    I wonder if I have stories anyone will care to read.
    I wonder what details I can cut back on in my life in order to find time for what is most important.
    I wonder what I can offer those around me and how I can be intentional in doing so.

    These are the wonderings that were on my heart today. Guess it’s more of self reflection day that desire for research.

    On a different note, as part of my commitment to start writing again, I am starting a blog. The information I have gathered seems to be clear that WordPress is the best option, although it can be rather tricky to navigate from a tech end. Do you find this to be true? Do you have thoughts regarding Blogger vs. WordPress? Thanks!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      I think wondering about ourselves and our goals is a great way to reflect. I use WordPress & like it, but I have a web guy who deals with questions & issues. Blogger might be simpler – perhaps someone else will chime in here?

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Hi there. I have both a free WordPress and a Blogger blog. I think I prefer Blogger for its ease in embedding YouTube and other Google-based artifacts (like slideshows) in my blogs. To do this in WordPress, you have to pay, which I am not willing to do. Hope this helps.

    • Posted July 7, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      I just started my own blog as well using WordPress. Why? Not really sure. Just liked the looks of it compared to when I used Blogger a LONG time ago…lol.

  79. Kate Weber
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Happy summer! Glad to be back for a second year with Teachers Write. I’m a school librarian/techie from Pittsburgh. I need to be more disciplined in my writing, and this program helps me do just that! Here are some of my wonders for the day:

    -I wonder about being an extra in a movie–what does it entail? Could something go horribly wrong? (I’m going to be an unpaid extra for the first time tomorrow…yikes!)
    -I wonder about the Internet and the effect it has on all of us: our relationships, our minds, our ability to get along with each other. How do things online spiral so quickly out of control?
    -I wonder…will social media will ever completely disappear?
    -I wonder about fears–the fears of humans, or animals. What if the thing we fear the most is actually more afraid of us? (Dogs and fireworks spurred this thought on…)

    I would love to come up with more historical queries, but maybe I need to study my history a bit more this summer. Can’t wait to get started!

    • Mary Buchholz
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi,Kate! I recommend taking your favorite writing notebook and jotting what you see/feel/think as you participate as an extra. My scout troop and I were extras and there was so much to see but it took a looooonnnnng time to film what happened to be two or three minutes of the film. Have a great time and write, write, write! You won\’t regret it. M

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Kate! So great to see you here – I still have such fond memories of my visit with your readers. And I love your wonderings…especially the one about fear.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Your wonder about social media is helping me to see my post-apocalyptic character in a different light. How long would it be before the teenagers would quit missing their newsfeed? I guess it depends on what was occupying their time. Hmmm.

  80. Ginger Akason
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Hello everyone! I’m very excited to be joining Teachers Write for the first time. I am especially looking forward to digging into the historical fiction which is my favorite genre (well, that and mystery). My wonderings today include

    I wonder how my grandfather felt leaving his family for 16 years while he went to Alaska to work
    I wonder if I would have survived child birth, an infected tooth, or a gall bladder attack in pioneer times
    I wonder how my ancestors felt getting on a boat in Ireland and heading to America

    Just these simple wonderings and the ideas of others has really ignited the spark to get me going again. Thanks!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Love your wonder-questions, Ginger! Every time I’m researching a period in history, I end up being thankful to be alive when I am. I wouldn’t have made the best pioneer either…

      • Ginger Akason
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        I just finished the first Ranger book about the Oregon Trail. Once I started I couldn’t put it down. I loved how you included so many facts, but made it simple enough for students to easily understand. What struck me the most was the vast number of resources you used to create this story. This will be something I will definitely point out to my students and keep as a reminder for myself! Thanks!

  81. Heather
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    This is my first TW camp. I am very excited, and more than a little nervous. I live in MA in a ruralish town. I teach 5th grade in an urban public school. I have two hilarious sons, one slightly crazy husband, a schnauzer, a ball python and 10 chickens. That’s my intro, for now.
    I wonder why I can’t always make time to read or write for me.
    I wonder what life in my town was like in my town when it became my town in 1768.
    I wonder what my grandfathers life was like growing up on an Iowa farm in the 20’s and 30’s.
    I wonder what my other grandfathers life was like being smuggled out of Syria to avoid becoming a child soldier.
    I wonder what this post is going to look like outside this tiny box.
    I wonder why people are so mean to one another.
    I wonder what it was like to carve Mount Rushmore.
    I wonder what it would be like to dive with Jaques Cousteau.
    I wonder about the children who worked in mills all over my state.
    I wonder if I’ll stick with this every day.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Reading through these comments today, I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to read EVERY SINGLE STORY you people write about these wonderings – such interesting things to think about! I’m fascinated by the story of your grandfather in Syria.

  82. Deb Carlson
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon! I am excited to get started with my first year at Teachers Write. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres so as soon as I finish with my post, I am going to delve into Ranger in Time and meet your interpretation of Lizzie. I loved her diary excerpts! That period in history is so interesting, and being from Nebraska, we have lots of research material at our fingertips.
    I wonder what make us stop wondering? I love throwing that prompt out to my 5th graders to see what is milling around in their brains, but I am having a tough time on my list. I think it is because we fill our days with busyness and don’t take the time to just sit and let our brains think!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      It’s funny, isn’t it? We wonder all over the place when we’re kids but somehow seem to lose that skill. I love that we’re trying to get it back this summer.

  83. Franci Henderson
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m so thrilled to be joining all of you this summer. I’m a Special Education teacher from northern IL. I currently teach 2nd-5th graders in a resource setting. I also spent 5 years teaching reading and writing to college students who aren’t prepared for college. Teaching them to write was a challenge! Kate – I met you a few months ago when you spoke at Anderson’s in Naperville, IL. I read what you wrote about wondering about the lives of women in Viking Iceland and wanted to tell you that there’s a wonderful exhibit about the Vikings at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. There’s a lot of space devoted to the lives of women.

    When I started writing about what I wonder, I wasn’t sure I could come up with anything. I now have a list of 18 wonderings. I’d like to share 2 of them.

    I wonder why it’s so hard to come up with a story. When I was taking classes for my Master’s degree and was given an assignment, I could easily write whatever was asked of me. I know that I’m a good writer….but I don’t have a story to tell. That’s what’s stopped me from writing until now. I have a young friend who has written and self-published at least 10 books in the past year. She has 10 more planned. I can’t even come up with one story.

    I was reading a post from Kara DiBartolo, who spoke of a very special place that she visits. I wonder if there is a place like that for me. I’ll have to think about that for a while. As Kara mentioned, that might be something to help students write. Is there a place that they can connect to and write about?
    a. The first place that comes to mind for me is my backyard. I love to read out there in my hanging chair or sitting in the shade on the patio. It will also be a place for me to write. It holds so many memories – of watching my girls grow up, of parties and celebrations held there throughout the years.
    b. Another place that is special for me is the Badlands. The first time I was there, I felt at home. Is there a story there?
    c. I also loved England. I want to go back. I want to go to Scotland even more.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      I heard about that exhibit in Chicago, Franci – am so hoping to get there this fall. I’ll be doing research in Iceland this summer. I loved Kara’s post, too, and shared this poem with her. It’s one that I use with students as a mentor text when they’re writing about a place they love. http://www.katemessner.com/sometimes-on-a-mountain-in-april-a-poem-in-photos/

      • Franci Henderson
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Kate! What a beautiful tribute that poem is. Have fun in Iceland. It’s on my bucket list of places to go. It will be fun to read your finished book.

  84. NG
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I am an Elementary Literacy Specialist from outside Boston. I am very excited about your focus on Historical Fiction…and the chance to improve my own writing. Thank you for this opportunity. My wonderings included:

    1. I wonder what happens to the abandoned blogs and websites? Does their existence take up space? Are they clogging up the waves? Should we delete them?

    2. I wonder why people deny the existence of specific historical events and say it did not happened?

    3. I wonder if I could survive in an earlier time in history?

    4. I wonder what it would be like to meet thinkers, inventors, artists from earlier times? Who acted on and brought their dreams to life?

    5. I wonder how to have students equate joy with reading? And how to effectively meet the needs of those students who find reading so challenging.

    6. I wonder if you can spend too much time reading?

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Loved reading your wonderings today -thanks for sharing! Where outside Boston are you? My son goes to school at Northeastern, so I’m there quite a bit.

    • Franci Henderson
      Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Hi NG,

      I enjoyed reading your wonderings. I have wondered many of the same things; especially #2, 5 & 6. Some people have denied that the Holocaust didn’t happen. #2 – I know that it did because my father lived through the early years of it. He and his family were hidden by their neighbors. He was lucky to escape! #5 – I ask that same question all the time. I’ve worked with students from preschool through college, and tried to help them discover that joy. It can be discouraging, but oh so worth it when the lightbulb goes on! #6 – No, you can never spend too much time reading!

  85. Larnette Snow
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Just received Rescue on the Oregon Trail and the 2nd is on the way! Looking forward to reading them and possibly “picking” your brain with questions…

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Larnette! Happy you’ll be writing with us this summer!

  86. Posted July 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what I would change if I could rewrite history?

    I wonder if we would know joy without sorrow?

    I wonder what I would do with the money if I won a billion dollar lottery

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing these ideas – rewriting history is such an interesting concept. I always wonder what would happen to everything else – all the other strands – if I changed just one thing…

  87. Susan Chase
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I wonder where my wonderings went? Hmm! Oh, well. Thanks for having me.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Hoping you find them again this summer, Susan! 🙂

  88. Posted July 6, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking about writing a picture book about a dancing family, so I let myself wonder about it:

    I wonder if someone in my dancing family got hurt and couldn’t dance anymore. Would it stop the others from dancing? Would the hurt person complain and make the others feel bad?

    I wonder if we were so good that we planned to put on a show, but one person wasn’t any good. How would they feel, how would the others feel?

    I wonder if our family remarried into a family that thought dancing was silly and frivolous. I wonder if the other family, on the other hand, was uptight, or studious or bookworms? I wonder if the family characters were completely different animals, like dancing squirrels and quiet owls?

    I wonder if it wasn’t about a family at all but about two kids that were becoming best friends in all ways until they discovered this major difference–one loves dancing more than anything, the other hates it.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Please write this dancing family picture book. I am kind of in love with it already. 🙂 So glad you’re joining us this summer!

  89. Kathy Edmonds
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I am Kathy Edmonds. During my teaching career, I have taught English Language Arts for fourteen years. I am a career switcher who taught myself how to teach. My undergraduate degree is inJournalism. I just had to place my mom in a nursing home because she had a stroke and cannot talk. I wonder why my mom got sick. I wonder when I go home at night if she is being cared for properly. She lived with me before she had the stroke. I wonder why I have no husband and no children. I wonder why life knocks you down so often it seems. Sometimes, I wonder as a single school teacher and only child how I will manage to pay the bills. I wonder if I will be able to keep up in Teachers Write 2015. I wonder if I will complete the assignments correctly.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      We have similar backgrounds, Kathy – my undergrad was in journalism, too, and I went back for a masters in teaching. I love that you’re writing so bravely and sharing on the first day. Thank you for that!

  90. Monique Smith
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi! My name is Monique and this is my first year participating in the writing camp. I had been hoping for an authentic way to take back a writer’s notebook to my third grade students as well as become a better writer and then my sister told me about this!!

    Here are a few of my wonderings:
    I wonder what happened to the pets of families taken away during the Jewish Holocaust?
    I wonder what would happen if a group of women from different backgrounds and places in life came together to create a church cookbook?

    I wonder who else is buried in the French cemetery where Jim Morrison was laid to rest and what would happen if their ghosts spoke at night?

    I wonder what it would be like if butterflies got to pick their own colors?

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Love these questions, Monique. I really want to know about those pets, too, now, though I bet it’s a sad story.

  91. Jennifer Hernandez
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if this will be the last year we buy a family pool pass.

    I wonder if it’s time to get rid of the swing set and plant lilacs in its place.

    I wonder if next summer, my youngest son will still sneak up on me every morning and “scare” me as I drink my coffee.

    I wonder if he’ll still climb up on my lap — or if he’ll even fit.

    I wonder if he’ll reach for my hand now nad again when we’re walking.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Love these thoughts, Jennifer. Like you, I spend a lot of my wondering time thinking about how fast our kids grow. That’s such great, fertile ground for writing!

  92. Mary Buchholz
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Greetings camp directors and fellow campers,
    This is my fourth foray with Teachers Write and I am so very excited to wander with you all. Many thanks to the camp directors and guest authors for making this adventure possible again this year.
    I’m Mary, a third grade teacher, who wonders each year at the bravery and resilience of the young minds in our class. I also use them as inspiration for poetry I compose for each of them. I wonder a lot.
    For today, I have wandered and wondered in these ways:
    -how would our camp directors’ lives have been different if they hadn’t decided to create Teachers Write?
    -what did my great grandmother experience as she traveled to Iowa by wagon and saw a meteorite strike the Earth? (We still have that chunk somewhere.)
    -how does one remember for someone who doesn’t?
    -who are the unknown women who have contributed to the history of my state?
    -what was it like to grow up in the USA speaking German during WWII?
    -what can writing teach me about loss?
    -what humor and pathos can be found in stories about a veterinary practice?
    -what lessons can a memoir of a three-legged dog teach me?
    -what does it feel like to write and publish a book?
    -how could a devastating fire change the life of a girl in the Northwoods of early Wisconsin?
    -what does a poem think about its readers?
    -what would a child who is learning to read on the south side of Chicago think about our president? (Dear Mr. President,,,)
    -where will writing take me at camp this summer?
    I wonder.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing this, Mary! I can answer this one: “-how would our camp directors’ lives have been different if they hadn’t decided to create Teachers Write?” We’d have more free time but would miss the rich friendships that develop here. 🙂

  93. Tracy Scaglione
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m a library media specialist in Georgia. I just completed my 13 years in the media center after a decade long career in television. I’m also working on two picture books so I am especially grateful for this opportunity to practice writing and learn from this group.

    I wonder…
    who wrote the book of love. Seriously, I wonder…
    how some of my students are doing this summer…are they reading? Did they have enough to eat today?
    I wonder how long some cultural traditions will survive. I wonder how many women were key figures in civil rights movements, working hard behind the scenes without little attention in history.

    Thank you!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      So happy you’re writing & wondering with us this summer, Tracy. I love the way your question about women in the civil rights movement might be a spark for research. I wonder what you’ll find!

  94. Posted July 6, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Hey, my name is Sam and I am from Green Bay Wisconsin. I teach middle school reading and language arts. I have been a writer since my teens, but have not had the time or the perserverence to see this writing hting through. I have a novel started… I am inspired everyday by my students and how brave they are to share what they write in class. I am honored to have past students share their work with me from their high school classes. That’s when I know I made an impact. See my “wonders” here: http://samanthaparker212.blogspot.com/2015/07/wondering-teachers-write.html

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for being brave enough to share on the first day, Sam – I’ll bet your students would be proud!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi Samantha! Greetings to our friendly rivals in Cheeseland! 😉

      so awesome to know the impact you have had on students. Best wishes with your writing goals in TW!

  95. Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Hello, everybody. I’m Elisa and I teach at an international school in Quito, Ecuador. The last three years I taught in the middle school (ESOL and 6th/7th grades ELA/SS), but in the fall I will be going to grade 5. Super excited about this!

    This is a great post to start Teachers Write Camp. I found that it wasn\’t easy for me to spend some time just \”wondering\” even though I encourage my students to do this all the time. I kept censoring my wonderings as to whether or not they were interesting or creative. I realized I was stopping myself from doing this exercise freely because I didn\’t think that anything I wondered about could possibly be of any interest to anyone, myself included! In any case, I persevered and I came up with a list of wonderings. These are the ones that resonated with me:

    –I wonder how and why people are easily influenced.
    –I wonder what my life would have been like if I\’d never left Cuba for the US.
    –I wonder if I had any strong women ancestors in my past.
    –I wonder what it was like for my maternal grandmother to arrive in Cuba by ship from Turkey in the late 1800\’s.

    I think I\’m interested in pursuing the one about my grandmother. She died before I was born and I am named after her. I have always wondered what she was like and what she felt as a young woman destined for an arranged marriage. Sometimes I think that she was either very strong or very weak. At first, I was thinking non-fiction or biography but maybe historical or realistic fiction would work just as well. Now, I’m starting to get really interested in this! Thanks for this opportunity!

    Looking forward to this month!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Haha, I did the same thing! I was faced with my blog post page and was nervous about what might come out. I decided to start a Teachers Write folder in my Google Drive and put it all there, then pick and choose for my blog post. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one! 🙂 Your wonderings prompted me to think about my ancestors from Mexico. I am reaching out to family members for more information. Thank you!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Your grandmother’s story really does sound fascinating – and historical fiction could be a way to explore that while making room for creativity and filling in details where you might have gaps in her biography.

  96. Heather Johnson
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Hello Everyone! I am a busy homeschooling mama of 4. I will be teaching/guiding grades 8th, 7th, 4th, 1st. I’ve always liked to write, constantly write thoughts in my head. But with little ones I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing those thoughts down. I’m hoping participating in teachers write as a newbe will help me get back into writing my thoughts more than just listening to them.

    I wonder what will happen when my thoughts become words.
    I wonder how often dreams really do come true.
    I wonder if our dreams are really our reality.
    I wonder what my dog thinks.
    I wonder about how to actually write a novel.
    I wonder what my grandmother’s life was like as a entertainer for the soldiers during WWII.
    I wonder what would happen if someone traveled from the year 1900 to now and how they would survive/cope.
    I wonder what our Gecko thinks about us as we pass it’s cage all day…is it only hoping for crickets to munch?

    I wonder about a lot of things and that is wonderful to remember!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Writing in the point of view of your gecko sounds like fun! So glad you decided to join us this summer!

  97. Sarah
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Apologies if I post twice, I see I’m not the only one having capcha problems.

    I’m wondering if I’m the only public librarian in the group! But that came only after I read all of the other wonderful wondering comments. this is my first year, I\’m jumping right in. Like many others, I realize that I do not wonder nearly as much as I should. I am enjoying the feeling of letting my mind wonder and wander.

    I wonder how my children would be different without the influence of the other.
    I wonder if people in the past were really as easily shocked as we think they were.
    I wonder what it would be like to think in a different language.
    I wonder if I should be worrying more or worrying less, about so many things.

    Most of all, I wonder where this wondering and writing will lead, and I look forward to sharing the next few weeks with all of you!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      Love these interesting wonderings, Sarah! Thanks for sharing (and sorry about the captcha stresses!)

  98. Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi! My name is Jessica Walsh, and I have been teaching 7th grade ELA for 10 years. Thank you for hosting Teachers Write again!

    Here are my wonderings:

    I wonder if I could eat my way through the Panera menu.
    I wonder if I will ever get enough sleep again.
    I wonder how one becomes a songwriter.
    I wonder what it would be like to be the kid of a songwriter.
    I wonder what it would be like to be the kid of a celebrity.
    I wonder what would happen if music didn’t exist.
    I wonder what why music brings back memories.
    I wonder what would happen if all of your exes were in the same room.
    I wonder what would happen if the songs that reminded you of your exes were compiled.
    I wonder if you could catalog happy and sad songs.
    I wonder if someone’s happy song could be someone else’s sad song and why.
    I wonder why people have an internal reaction/pull to certain songs.
    I wonder why some songs just make you want to dance.
    I wonder why some songs just make you want to cry.
    I wonder what would happen if you were sent on a trip to relive favorite songs from movies, people, places.
    I wonder if I could remember specific people, places, memories that songs bring back.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      I love the mix of humor & thoughtfulness in these wonderings, Jessica – so happy you’re writing with us this summer!

  99. Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for hosting Teachers Write! I love that you found this teenager’s diary. That is so awesome! I love this post about wondering. I’ll try to compose a list. For now, I wonder what teaching at an international school will be like. (Next month I’m teaching 1st gr here in S.Korea.)

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      Wow – what an adventure you have ahead! Can’t wait to hear more about it.

    • Posted July 7, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      My husband is Korean. 🙂

  100. Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kate!
    I am very excited to be a part of this group! I have wondered things all of my life, nearly driving my teachers crazy! I can really get caught up with my students too. 🙂
    Right now, I am wondering:
    How do geese know when it is time to fly south?
    Can ants smell? How do they know where the picnic is?
    Why are some people motion sick and others are not?
    How did we get where we are with medications? Did people suffer horribly when the first pharmacists began experimenting?
    Who thought to perform brain surgery?
    How did doctors get where they are now with brain surgery?
    I could seriously go on and on…

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Happy to have you writing with us, Deb. And I love your ideas – I wonder about a lot of science & nature things, too.

  101. Posted July 6, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I am a school librarian in NYC. I am moving from elem/middle to high school next year….I have some stories I am writing about birds….different species interacting learning from each other and noticing things they never have before. I want my stories to help children connect to nature and to others that are different, to discover points of joy they just have always overlooked or never taken the time to see. I like the idea of making the visible truly visible.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Sara! I’m fascinated by your ideas about birds interacting – I’m a wannabe bird watcher and always wonder about them, too.

  102. Kristin Colpetzer
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    This is my first time with TW and I’m very excited to give it a try! Below are a few of my wonderings.
    I wonder what my cat Roxie would say if she could talk.
    I wonder I what it would be like to be magic.
    I wonder what it would be like to have money grow on the trees in my backyard.
    I wonder what kids would be like today if there were no social media influences.
    I wonder what it would be like to time travel.
    I wonder what it would be like to talk to deceased relatives.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      So glad you decided to write with us this summer, Kristin. You have a lot of story ideas in this list of wonders already!

  103. Christine Robbins
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    i wonder why we have to wonder and why my painting at a recent workshop ended up with the title Wonder.
    I wonder if my health will every be a 100%.
    I wonder how my life can be made into a book to help others deal with the challenges I grew up with?
    I wonder if I will ever be a published author?
    I wonder if I will ever have a lighthouse writing studio?
    I wonder when I will make it back to MI?
    I wonder how this online workshop is going to work?

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Great to meet you, Christine! (Though I have to admit…I’m suddenly feeling like my cubby of a writing area is insufficient & want a lighthouse, too!)

  104. Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi there! I teach in Colorado and this is my third start to TW; hoping it is my first year to finish! There is rarely a wonder that goes un”Googled” in our house. I scrolled through my history and here were the most recent few queries. (And no, I haven’t yet asked Siri what zero divided by zero is.)
    I wonder
    –If the guy on Covert Affairs is really blind. (The answer is no, which leads to the next wonder…)
    –If you’re not really blind, how do you play a convincing part as a blind guy. And also, how do you write a convincing un-“you” character?
    –How you sugar coat a marshmallow. (We could have used water, but instead used frosting. Sickeningly sweet, I know!)
    I also have a few enduring wonderings that lead me in my WIPs:
    –I wonder what would happen if the world slowed its rotation.
    –I wonder how others use writing as a tool for thinking.
    And just like every writing exercise, the wonders above–and those in the comments on Kate’s blog–led to even more wonders. Here are a few:
    –I wonder what breeds of dogs do better with longer separations. Or, if I’m a wishing-wonderer, how to change my schedule so that I can be home for longer stretches at a time
    –I wonder if the weeds growing in my yard are good for the bees once they flower.
    –I wonder what it was like for my grandmother to come to the United States as an English war bride.

    And – Kate – I wonder if I saw somewhere a guideline about posting links to our own blogs in the comments. And, if like the Slice of Life Challenge, we can use the TeachersWrite logo picture on our blogs that link back to yours.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      It’s fine to post links to blogs, but quite often, a guest author won’t have time to click on them all and will only read the snippets shared here. It’s also fine to use the logo – Jen Vincent designed that for us and I think it looks great.

  105. Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m a middle school teacher in Chicago Public Schools and this is my second summer attempting to do Teachers Write! Loved it last year, and hope I can overcome any nerves in order to post regularly!

    I wonder…
    -how do people overcome the influence of controlling parents?
    -about female scientists’ contributions and challenges throughout the years (especially in light of recent comments women in labs).
    -about my neighborhood– the history, neighbors now and in my childhood, and current gentrification
    -how people turn a disability into an advantage?
    -about the path of the margarita… how did it get to be what it is today? How has it evolved?

    I have many more on my list but these were the ones I’m still wondering about hours later! Quite the range of topics I was able to tap into thanks to inspiration from others 🙂

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      What great questions! (If you end up doing research on that margarita idea, I volunteer to help. 🙂

      • Posted July 7, 2015 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

        Thanks so much, Kate! I’ve started doing a bit of research today about that one especially, I’m just so curious! Always welcome any help or collaboration 😀

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi Eliza! I’m a product of CPS schools, so thanks for devoting yourself to the kids! I love your wonders, but especially the one about overcoming disabilities. I really enjoyed the insights Malcolm Gladwell shared in his book “David and Goliath” that dealt with the same topic. Best wishes in TW!

      • Posted July 7, 2015 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Greg! Yes, I started following you on Twitter last year because of your wonderful thoughts and feedback! Perhaps it was Gladwell’s book that put that thought in my head, actually! Thanks for your encouragement; it means a lot!

  106. Paul W. Hankins
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Hello, Paul W. Hankins here. I wanted to jump in on the first day. The first day finds me at Nerd Camp Michigan where I am seeing a lot of friends. I LOVE being in Michigan again and we will be here all week when we finally end up at Mackinaw Island for MRA on Wednesday and Thursday.
    Returning to this area makes me think about local “lore.” Stories that have a local feel and a local following. I wonder if these could be worked out a little longer for something that might be of interest to the Middle Grade or YA audience as a non-fiction piece, perhaps even a novel-in-verse.
    One of these wonder pieces involves the subject of Smeltania, an ice fishing “village” that appeared in Boyne City Michigan that even had its own post office before the ice had melted. We studied this in the 8th grade, but I just wasn’t ready to appreciate this story on a deeper level at that time. I am thinking about exploring this idea further.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      Love that you’re posting from Nerd Camp, Mr. Hankins! Also…please write about the ice fishing village. I love that story so much – a post office!!

  107. Susan Dillon
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    I have spent so many happy minutes reading about our wonders, I wondered if I would share! Here are some of mine: I wonder if my pets know how much they mean to me; I wonder if the man I saw in the market, doubled over with a hunch on his back imagined himself standing tall once again; and I wonder what goes through the mind of a doctor when one of her/his patients suddenly dies.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      Susan, I love the way your wonders show your empathy for people around you. Looking forward to writing with you this summer!

      • Susan Dillon
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for your kind and positive response! You are providing such a energizing opportunity for so many. Thanks for a “wonder”ful start.

  108. Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I am very excited to join this group. I stumbled upon it yesterday and it fits my needs so well….growth as a teacher, and a writer. My wonderings:
    What if my walls could talk, what have they seen and witnessed? (many other buildings as well)
    What was it like to be an immigrant when they left home?
    Why aren’t there many books written with children living through a divorce (so relevant but hard to find)

  109. Posted July 6, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I have been a lurker for the past few years, but I finally have time to participate fully! I am a former librarian, teacher (media literacy, advanced research, theory of knowledge), and IB Diploma Programme Coordinator. Next school year I will be substituting part time in order to concentrate on raising my 18 mo son. My wonderings:

    What was life like for the child of a fur trapper in Quebec?
    What was life like for Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female medical school graduate?
    How does loneliness impact creativity?
    How does groupthink impact creativity?
    What is deja vu?
    If I was reincarnated, who did I use to be?

    P.S. The first time I felt like a writer I was a 7th grade student with a passionate and brilliant teacher named Kate Messner. I am so thrilled to be sitting in her classroom once again.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      I love your questions – and the one about loneliness and creativity has me thinking.

      Also, you just made me cry. Darn you… 🙂 xo

  110. Laurel O'Boyle
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Hello. I’m Laurel. This is my first Teachers Write! experience. I will be teaching a Creative Writing elective this year and am attempting to sharpen my pencil again and do some creative writing myself, and get some great lesson plan ideas. =)
    I wonder:
    I wonder what it was like to grow up as a twin.
    I wonder if we will ever be able to break away from our technology dependance.
    I wonder if it will be warm enough to swim in Lake Michigan this weekend.
    I wonder wwhat my dog would sound like if she could talk, may be like Martha Speaks?
    I wonder what people scowling in the grocery store are so angry about.
    I wonder…

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Happy to have you wondering & writing with us this summer, Laurel. I went for a swim in Lake Champlain today – I bet Lake Michigan is warm enough, too – go for it!

      • Laurel O'Boyle
        Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        I hope so! It will be warm enough for the 10 and under crew, but it’s still just below 60! Who needs to dip dough nuts in coffee when you can wake up with a dip in a cold lake.

  111. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    My name is Heather. I’m a full-time zookeeper and part-time teacher. I led my students grades 2-8 through NaNoWriMo last year, and five of them finished. It was an amazing experience, and we’re doing it again this year.

    I wonder what catalyst would lead me to give up the activities I love and built my life around.

    I wonder what I would do with my time if I did give up all that I hold dear.

    I wonder what creates attraction.

    If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I wonder what part holds the ugly.

    I wonder what would happen if human genes were spliced with those of seahorses so men carried and birthed the babies.

    I wonder if my library books feel sad if I have to return them without ever reading them. That’s silly. Of course they do.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      Love your wonderings and your way with words, Heather! We’re happy to have a zookeeper-teacher on board!

      • Posted July 8, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        Thank you! I’m so happy to be here!

  112. Joanne Strongin
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    I am a first grade teacher in Long Island. I am very happy to participate with allof these wonderful thinkers, writers, wonderers!
    A few late wonderings:
    What’s it like to be a butterfly?
    Do dogs think?
    Why do so many kids have food allergies/sensitivities?
    Might I be better off pondering my wonderings in the morning when I am not as tired as I am right now?

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Welcome, Joanne! Your last wondering is a great one – sometimes, it takes a few tries to figure out the best time to write, but you’ll find that you get your brain programmed to be creative then. See you in the morning!

  113. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Glad to join in! Here is a little introduction and my wonderings:


    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

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

  114. Carol Owen
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Every year at this time I help work at a town-wide rummage sale in a rather affluent town in Vermont. And, every year I wonder the same things about items we receive –
    I wonder if this figurine/teacup/Christmas ornament/chair (etc.) could talk what kind of history we would hear.

    I wonder how we became a nation of so much stuff!

    I wonder if there are items we are pricing at a dollar, five dollars, or a quarter that are really worth thousands.

    I wonder how families can send in photos of family members, and not miss them.

    I wonder whether someone will really buy these nasty sneakers

    I wonder if the money made by the churches will help children overseas have better lives

    I wonder if there is a story to tell here.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      I am kind of addicted to garage sales and find them full of stories. My favorite, recently, happened during the recent prison break here. I heard about a lady from Mooers, NY who was out-of-her-mind excited that one of the CNN producers in town covering the story came to her yard sale. I hear she bought curtains.

  115. Cindy Melcher
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    I wonder…..
    Why pizzas are round?
    Who is buried in the unmark grave at the edge of the churchyard?
    I wonder about secret places…
    What makes the perfect writing area….

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Such great wonderings, Cindy! Now I want to know about that unmarked grave, too…

  116. ari zeiger
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how my grandpa got so good at bowling.
    I wonder if I will ever lost the four pounds I’m after.
    I wonder what the vacation in PDX will be like.
    I wonder why I feel the need to tell my sister about someone who died that we both knew . . . but don’t keep in touch with.
    I wonder if there’s red champagne (I doubt it, but why?).
    I wonder when I’ll start jogging again.
    I wonder how the salmon burgers, coleslaw, and tomato-tomato-watermellon salsa will turn out.
    I wonder what Erik’s play is about.
    I wonder what this class I’m taking at IUe will be like.
    I wonder if the teacher will be good.
    I wonder if I’ll like Magic Mike XXL as much as I liked the first film.
    I wonder how the school year will go in the fall.
    I wonder if I’ll start with daily edits or fast writes.
    I wonder how well I can build the culture I want.
    I wonder what the month of July hold for me.
    I wonder how many vignettes I will produce.
    I wonder.

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      Such a wonderful list of wonderings! I’m glad you’ll be writing with us this summer, Ari!

  117. Dave Cirone
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what it would be like to be raised in a family of thieves?
    I wonder what it would be like if an outcast won the lottery? Would his life in high school be different? Better? Worse?
    I wonder what it would be like to stop a presidential assassination?
    What would you do if you thought your teacher was a spy?
    What if you joined an a cappella group, but you couldn’t sing?
    What if the girl of your dreams was really into Civil War reenactments, scrap book conventions, and taxidermy?
    What if your teacher framed you for murder?

    Hmm. This is a varied list of wonderings. And I loved reading other people’s wonderings. Thanks for sharing!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Wow! Any one of these could be such a great spark to a story (though I must admit I’m a little partial to the family of thieves!) Thanks for sharing today.

  118. Stacey Pollock
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    This is my 3rd summer with Teacher’s Write and I am excited to jump into writing and spending some time thinking about writing each day! I can’t wait to see what each day brings!

  119. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Greetings to all,
    I am thankful to participate once again with the Teachers Write Challenge. As an educator/writer I enjoy instilling the love of literacy into the hearts and minds of my students, kids and grandkids. Sharing read alouds with kids of all ages is the best.

    I wonder about . . .
    Why more families do not consider the joys of gardening? I wonder if our world could be greener if more people would compost? I wonder about people from the past: Maria Montessori, Casimir Pulaski, and Binney & Smith who invented crayons. I wonder about Victory Gardens during WWII, and I wonder about the National Park to Park Highway during the 1910 to 1920s that was plotted by A.L.Westgard. Finally, I wonder why more kids do not read, write & create everyday.

  120. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I am Diana and I am a 5th grade teacher in midcoast Maine. I just finished my 19th year of teaching! Last year I was off the grid for the first few days of Teachers Write. When I returned I felt so behind I became a lurker. At the end of this school year, I did some reflection and realized that I need to work on my writing life so I can be a better teacher of writing to my students. So here I am back again and planning to stay in civilization for the first few weeks of TW!

    A few of my wonderings…

    *Aside from improving my teaching, I wonder what other benefits I will experience from developing a writing life…
    *I wonder how my students are doing two weeks into summer… Are they reading? Getting outside? Getting enough to eat?
    *There is an old one room schoolhouse in the town where I teach… I wonder what stories I can find there…
    *I wonder where my son (heading off to college as a freshman) and my daughter (going to be a high school junior) will be in five years… (it feels like parenting children into adulthood is far more complicated than I thought)…

    So day #1 is a success as I make the first entry in my neglected notebook since last August!

    (This is a second attempt… I posted six hours ago and I don’t see my comment and it seemed the captcha was glitchy. It just blanked out.)

  121. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I am Diana and I am a 5th grade teacher in midcoast Maine. I just finished my 19th year of teaching! Last year I was off the grid for the first few days of Teachers Write. When I returned I felt so behind I became a lurker. At the end of this school year, I did some reflection and realized that I need to work on my writing life so I can be a better teacher of writing to my students. So here I am back again and planning to stay in civilization for the first few weeks of TW!

    A few of my wonderings…

    *Aside from improving my teaching, I wonder what other benefits I will experience from developing a writing life…
    *I wonder how my students are doing two weeks into summer… Are they reading? Getting outside? Getting enough to eat?
    *There is an old one room schoolhouse in the town where I teach… I wonder what stories I can find there…
    *I wonder where my son (heading off to college as a freshman) and my daughter (going to be a high school junior) will be in five years… (it feels like parenting children into adulthood is far more complicated than I thought)…

    So day #1 is a success as I make the first entry in my neglected notebook since last August!

    (My third attempt because I don’t think the second one went through either. I tried to post my first 6 hours ago and it didn’t appear)

  122. Jaymie
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    I JUST wrote this question down today. I was reading about students and wondering and how we should model wondering. In the margin I wrote “What do I wonder?” I think it is a sign to follow Teachers Write this summer, no matter how busy I think I will be. Thanks for the thought provoking question. I have to go wonder now….

  123. Rita DiCarne
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I teach 7th grade ELA. I signed up last year but mostly just lurked. This year I intend to write and share! I am working on some poems about some life changing situations. I am intrigued by the thought of writing historical fiction poems.
    As for my wonderings…it was difficult because I don’t give myself that time too often.
    I wonder what really goes on in the mind of a person suffering with dementia.
    I wonder what my toddler grand babies are telling me when they are jabbering with such serious expressions and hand motions.
    I wonder how many shades if green there are in the forest.

  124. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kate,
    This online writing camp is an incredible idea and I am excited to participate for the first time.
    I found that I needed to get myself moving before any thoughts would come so I took a walk and let my daily to-do list fade from center stage. I let my even steps and forward momentum direct my mind’s wanderings. It wasn’t difficult because there was so much to see once I got outside and started paying attention. The rhythm of my steps helped to pace me.
    I have been wondering about the many colors of flowers. But why is there so little blue?
    I am taken with trees and wonder how far their roots extend beneath the earth. Do they reach as far as their branches above?
    I wonder what it was like for my father to be in an orphanage in 1931 when he was just two and how profoundly that effected his sense of self in relation to others throughout his life.
    I wonder what it’s like to be my cat.
    I wonder what happened to my cat before she ended up at the shelter where we adopted her. She displays such a strong and intense need for nurturing.
    It is nice to get started wondering. Thanks for the permission. It feels so good to think this way. So freeing.


  125. Kathy Gibbs
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    My name is Kathy Gibbs and I teach 5th grade in Middle Georgia. This is my first summer doing TW. I joined so I would have a wonderful writing experience to share with my students. I have always dreamed of writing a book for children.

    I wonder why she never told us about her first marriage.
    I wonder why it was so hard for her to communicate.
    I wonder why she could never say she was sorry.

    I wonder why some children suffer from anxiety.
    I wonder why a child seems normal one day and the next day lives a life full of fears.

    I wonder how children can stand up to the bully.
    I wonder why a child pretends to be another student on Kidsblog and posts terrible pictures and comments.

    I wonder why luggage is so expensive.
    I wonder what luggage will withstand the abuse of being thrown around by the airport workers.

    I wonder how a sharecropper\’s daughter felt during reconstruction.
    I wonder how the poor white and newly freed slaves survived and provided for their families during reconstruction.
    I wonder how reconstruction impacted children and families.

    I wonder if gifted children feel comfortable in the regular classrooms.
    I wonder how a gifted child feels when he wants to go deeper, but is never given a chance to direct his own learning.
    I wonder how children really feel about peer tutoring.

  126. Posted July 6, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Argh. I accidentally deleted my first comment.
    Anyway, hello! I’m Jessica, and I teach 10th grade World History. I also just had a baby, a beautiful daughter named Emma, who turned 7 weeks old today. I’ve been a bit preoccupied! 😉
    At any rate, I don’t currently have a project in mind for writing anything, though I would like to write some historical fiction at some point. Right now, my goal is to start writing on a regular basis again, something I haven’t done in a long time.

    My wonder list doesn’t have a whole lot on it, but I picked out two wonders to share:
    I wonder what my seven week old daughter thinks and dreams about (besides her next meal!)
    I wonder if I will remember how to have a writing habit.

  127. Susan Bock
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Hi everyone! I’m Susan, an elementary school librarian in NC and wannabe writer. I’m very excited to participate in Teachers Write, and was excited to see that the first assignment was to “wonder”, as that’s how my students most often begin when researching with me. My wonders:
    -how do people who make things (artists, inventors, etc.) come up with their ideas?
    – what life events prompt families to emigrate?
    -what keeps kids who are surrounded by negative influences on the “straight and narrow?”
    -what is it like to learn English as a second language?
    -what misconceptions do I have about kids growing up in poverty?

  128. Tamee Daniel
    Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what it would be like to live in the 1800’s and 1900’s. (So I cannot wait to learn about writing HF.)
    I wonder how do we fix our world so my soldier son will never be put in harms way.
    I wonder what are the best new ways to teach my students to love literacy.
    I wonder why I can never finish writing a story, and if I were able to finish one what would it be about.
    I wonder if I’m parenting my strong willed daughter the best way.
    I wonder what our lives would be like if we lived on a technologically limited island.
    I wonder all the time.

  129. Posted July 6, 2015 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    I am Diane Anderson. I am an ESL teacher working with 3rd-6th grades in Indianapolis, IN. A few years ago, I began to focus on writing with my students to help them move toward fluency in English. I started writing during the 2012 Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers and have continued ever since.

    I wonder if I can weave some of my mother’s stories of growing up in the Great Depression Era into a story of that time and place (Lawrence County, Ohio). The historical fiction focus seems perfect- and a real challenge.

    I posted my WIP list poem on my blog:

  130. Carolina Christianse
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Hi! I am a Bilingual (English-Spanish) Literacy Coach (elementary), and this is my first time; a little unsure of what I am doing! I grew up in Venezuela and moved to Texas 14 years ago. I have been teaching in the US for 13 years.
    I have many wonders, but I have a couple recurring ones: what would my life be like if I were a man, would I have the same opportunities? ; And what would I be doing if I had stayed in Venezuela.
    On my first wondering, I think men, throughout history, have always had the societal approval to express their opinions –not the case for women. In Latin America, this was particularly enforced. Women had no voice.
    My second wondering really intrigues me. Venezuela is going through so many changes that it is hard to grasp the reality my family and friends relate. I wonder how my boys’ lives and mine would have been if we had stayed.
    I hope my wonderings are not too philosophical for the summer…

  131. sheryl
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    This is my third summer of “participating” in Teachers Write. The first year I just lurked, last year I participated with a few comments. This year I am hoping to participate even more. I have been a teacher for 13 years. I am moving into the library fulltime this next year and really excited about it! I hope to advocate for writing in my new role along with reading.

  132. Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    I am an ELA Teacher from New Orleans who wonders what I should say.
    I wonder…
    how to engage my students, coworkers and administrators
    Why I think it’s my job to engage them
    when I became a cheerleader for change and solidarity and good school climate
    why people are so reluctant to change
    why people talk so much and don’t seem to listen
    how to tear down the walls of my class, school, district
    why do we block YouTube instead of showing them how to use it for good
    how do I balance my tech world and my nontech world

    I really wonder if I thought my wonderings would be about anything other than EDtech stuff

  133. Dalila Eckstein
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Thank you for creating this community for writers! I was so happy that I started my summer PD with your book, 59 Reasons to Write. When I stopped to search Twitter for TeachersWrite, just 5 days before it started again, I was thrilled, and terrified to find out I could join in! The idea of learning from so many other writers is energizing! The idea of sharing my writing is scary, even after spending the last year writing alongside my third grade students, and spending last summer in the summer institute of the PA Writing & Literature Project. However, I’ve discovered that there are tremendous benefits, as a teacher and writer, that come from being part of a community of writers, so I’m jumping in!

    Here are a few of my wonders:

    I wonder how many more usernames and passwords I can memorize, and why is it that I can remember so many number and password sequences?
    I wonder why writing is so hard to share.
    I wonder if anyone is researching how to re-use or re-purpose all the plastic sitting in landfills?
    I wonder if I’m experiencing hot flashes.
    I wonder what it will be like for my son when he moves to Japan (and what it will be like for me).
    I wonder where my writing will take me.

    P.S. I love what you shared about Ranger in Time. I’ve bought both books and will read as fast as I can so that I can get the most out of your writing tips! Thank you!

  134. Posted July 7, 2015 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    I posted my list on my blog today. It was a lot harder than I thought. Hopefully it’s not too lame! http://inspirationflies.blogspot.com/2015/07/day-1-of-teacherswrite.html

    • Dalila Eckstein
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Not lame. Awesome! I wrote you back on your blog. Thank you for sharing your candid thoughts.

  135. Cheryl M
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    This is my first year with TW and I am uber excited to be part of this. I did the four week summer institute through the National Writing Project in 2004 and this group already reminds me of the amazing energy and passion for writing that I felt there. LOVE IT! Some of my wonderings:

    1. Will I take the time to write with all of this inspiration surrounding me or get too caught up in reading all the comments and trying to be the perfect student who has read every blog post and visited every author’s website, and read all the FB posts, and, and, and…?
    2. Where will I really be when the first day of school rolls around?
    3. Are elementary students and high school students really all that different?
    4. If I go back to high school, will I fit in again? ( I have been on a 10 year maternity leave and my return to the classroom is yet to be determined as of this moment!)
    5. Will I ever stop worrying about how things will work out?
    6. Will we get the tent up tomorrow BEFORE it starts raining?
    7. How is it already my daughter’s last year in elementary?
    8. Where did the idea for ice cream come from?
    9. Is it too late to have some?

    Kate, as soon as I read about Lizzie’s diary I knew she was the inspiration for the older sister — sounds just like her!!! My son who will be in 2nd grade this fall LOVED your first book and cannot wait to read the second one together this summer. Perhaps we will start it this week =)

    And I am so thankful for the lesson on making this comment box bigger — that would have driven me crazy at this late hour!!!

  136. Posted July 7, 2015 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    I wonder why I think this attempt at blogging will be any different from the last 600.
    I wonder why I have such a hard time following through on things sometimes.
    I wonder why my children think I’m such a great dad sometimes.
    I wonder if my grandpa was in pain when he died.
    I wonder why ADD happens.
    I wonder if I can get Christian to read something he’ll like.
    I wonder what my dad did today.
    I wonder if any of this matters. I wonder if life matters. I wonder why.
    I wonder what happened to my wonder. When I was younger, I was curious about the world and how it worked and all the whys and wherefores. I don’t always wonder anymore. Sometimes, I just wonder what it will take to get through to the next day. I wonder why it stopped being important to wonder. I wonder if it’s just a phase, or the medicine, or the stress, or the hundreds of questions asked every day. I wonder if helping to alleviate the wonder of others has somehow sapped my own wonder meter to minimum state.
    I wonder if I could manage without the medication. I wonder if I’d still feel this way. I wonder if life would come crashing down around me. I wonder if I would notice. Oh I wonder, wonder…ah-ooh-ah-ooo..who wrote the book of love.
    I wonder what I can to to be a better teacher. A better father. A better husband. A better person.
    I wonder if I’m up for the challenge of coaching my son’s football team.
    I wonder if next year will be different.
    I wonder if my knee will get better.
    I wonder why some parents and families don’t think school is important.
    I wonder if Alex and Tessa are okay.
    I wonder if my nephew will stop cutting.
    I wonder if I can find my wonder again. I miss it.

    • Posted July 7, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing such a personal and genuine list of wonderings. Looking forward to writing and learning with you!

  137. Posted July 7, 2015 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    This is my first time participating in Teachers Write. I’ve been looking for ways to reinvigorate my teaching and getting to interact with some of my favorite authors and new-found peers and friends sounds like a great opportunity to do exactly that. Happy writing everyone!

  138. Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Hello everyone, my name is Tanja and I am the primary teacher librarian at Hong Kong Academy. I love sharing my reading life with my students amongst others through a reader’s journal and no want to do the same for writing. I recently started a writer’s notebook but there isn’t much in it yet, so I am hoping to get many ideas this month on how to embark on my own writing journey to then share with my students.
    Here are some wonderings from my list:I wonder what my journey from Germany to Hong Kong would have looked like 100 years ago.

    I wonder what life would have been like for a German/European woman, working as a teacher in Hong Kong, 100 years ago.

    I wonder what would happen if we could grow younger (I recently read in a book about an animal that never really grows old but can return to an earlier state of being, I think it was a sea creature…).

    I wonder what life would be like if kids ruled the world – roles were generally reversed between adults and kids.

    I wonder what would happen if the climate would reverse among different regions around the world.

    I wonder whether there is a way of preventing/delaying dementia.

    I wonder why some people are more scared than others.

    I wonder how computers, iPhones, iPads work – how is all that we can do with these devices possible?
    What I would like to explore a bit more are the Hong Kong wonderings and the one about people and fear.

  139. Posted July 7, 2015 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    There are a lot of people here! I loved reading (most) of the wonderings! (And by most, I am admitting that I didn’t read every single one because there are a lot!) I listed many of my wonderings, but I want to comment on the historical fiction tips you gave above, Kate. I love the attention to detail! In doing my husband’s family history work, I have stumbled upon a family history mystery that I think would (will?) make a fabulous launching point for a story. I’d like to write it, and am confident that the truth will never be found so a fiction story it will have to be! She was an Irish immigrant to Canada, and he was a Danish immigrant to Canada. They married in the town where she was living, but he was not, and moved to the town he was from (6 hours away in a modern car, but days apart in their time.) Neither of them left behind a journal or collection of letters to explain any of their courtship (was there a courtship??) Later, he returned to Denmark but she refused to go and they later divorced so he could remarry. See…that’s the beginning of a great story! Now….can I tell it…that this the question.

  140. Posted July 7, 2015 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I’m wondering if I can still introduce myself a day late! I started my day yesterday reading this… so exciting! Then had a long day, and fell asleep with the kids! oops. But they are still sleeping (I wonder how long…) and I am writing! I teach 6th grade – this year I will have 2 ELA classes (Reading and Writing workshop blocks) and 2 Social Studies classes. I am so looking forward to actually writing during this teachers write… last year I stopped by, but really only lurked. 🙂

  141. Posted July 7, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Good morning! My name is Jennifer, and I am a Special Education Coordinator at a K-8 in the Boston Public Schools. I enjoyed the wondering exercise, as I noticed that a lot of my wonderings had to do with health and medicine, which surprised me once I looked at the list. My favorites were wondering about becoming a really good surfer and also wondering about being a yoga teacher and/or having a daily yoga practice. I have tried surfing a few times, and I really enjoy it. I do yoga somewhat regularly, but I wish I could practice it on my own. Another wondering was what it is like to have a physical disability. I have twin girls, age 13 months, and I am having another baby girl at the end of August, so I am very aware right now of what I can and cannot do with my body and all the changes I have gone through with the successive pregnancies. I look forward to being fully able-bodied again soon.

  142. Meredith Teuber
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    When I read the prompt in the morning, I thought I wouldn’t get a chance to write until the evening so I would catalogue all the things I naturally wondered about during the day. There were three.

    On my morning run, my friend pointed out the sun. The sun was in full circle. A bright orange with an iridescent glow on its face. This happened last week too. I remember when I saw it last week. I was in the car. I was stunned by the sun’s perfection, and while I was driving, I kept taking peeks at it as If I was capable of stealing its view and keeping it to myself. I wondered how the sun took its form that day? What made it glow? Why was I able to see it in its full glory? I had started creating a story in my head somehow attaching the sun’s beauty to the mystery of the universe and other worldly intervention. I was lost in my daydream stealing peeks and saddened when my course had turned away from the sun. Later that day, I hopped onto Facebook where people were discussing the sun, apparently I wasn’t the only one to see its majesty. One reader surmised that the city pollution had created this awe-inspiring reflection. I clicked out of Facebook. Yesterday, when my friend pointed out the sun, I saw it poised between a break in the trees and absently said “its beautiful.” At that brief moment, I did two things: I said “its beautiful” out of obligation, and I wished I had more time to view the sun in its original perfection before Facebook ruined it for me. I turned my head away. What made me do this? The answer is imbedded in the Facebook users post. My perfect sun was now jaded by pollution. I was disgusted with the user for ruining my perfect vision and a little disgusted with myself and how easily I take advantage of the earth.

    I must wonder a lot while I am driving. As my husband and I were on our way to dropping the kids off at swim lessons, I paid attention to the ash trees that litter the sides of our streets. I say litter because they are not pretty They have all been infected. An article I read last year said there was something like 1500 Ash trees in my town that have been diseased due to the Emerald Ash Borer. The town can’t afford to cut them all down at once so over the next couple years there is a firmly laid out plan for when they are coming to take down the trees. Our turn is summer 2016. Until then, I will have to see these trees. If you haven’t seen one close up, the Emerald Ash Borer lays eggs in the bark or under the bark, and then when the babies come out of their eggs they start eating under the belly of the bark serpentining across the bark in intricate little patterns. When I see the patterns, it is like nails on chalkboard or dry tissue getting wet, I can’t stand it, and I get the heebie jeebies all over. I have counted the trees that need to be taken care of on my street alone. There are 42. One strange thing about these trees is after they are infected the leaves of the trees fall off and never grow back. However small patches of little branches start sprouting just below the major branch lines and become lush around their bellies. This makes me curious. Is the tree dead? Should we really cut these trees down when they seem to be fighting hard to live? If we wait, really wait, would the lush branches eventually find their way up to the top? Note: Sometimes I view the tree from my kids eyes, and I think how fun it would be to weave my way through the serpentine maze.

    My third wonder of the day came while I was sitting with a friend waiting for our daughters to finish drama camp. She and I are both teachers and have been teaching for roughly 15 years. We were immersed in teacher talk sharing stories and ideas from our perspective schools. At some point we both mentioned the need for more, something new to excite or rock our worlds. I wondered what could that be?

  143. Andrea P.
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Good morning! So excited to be here for year 3 of TW!
    A quick introduction- I teach ELA grade 6, and this year will be required to infuse more technology into my classroom- especially with writing. I’m not afraid to use technology, but I am definitely one who learns better by having someone “show me”. We are also working on bringing back an “inquiry based project” in research. So, this is a perfect way to start…I also ask my kids to make a list of “I wonder” statements. Thanks, Kate, Gae, Jo, etc- I’m looking for another great summer of writing!

    Here are just a few of my wonderings…I think in different categories…

    How do birds KNOW how to make a nest that is so strong…with straight twigs. (nature)

    Why is Alexander Hamilton, one of the most important figures in setting up our country, being removed from our currency? Who was Alexander Hamilton exactly? (history)

    What will Abby do if she retires? (sports)

    Who is another Native American athlete who can inspire perseverance and pride in youths? (hero, culture)

    How do I set up little things on my website, like badges? (author, writing)

    Thanks for listening! Can wait to do the math now…

    • Posted July 7, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Is your website self-hosted, or is it a platform like WordPress.com or Blogger? I might be able to help you get badges on.

      I use Google Docs in my computer classes, and I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to let the kids write AND get comfortable with technology. They don’t know they’re learning to type and use a word processing program because they’re learning it organically.

    • Gretchen Breon
      Posted July 8, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Love your wonder statements! I agree this is a great starter for the year in ELA!

  144. Amanda Burdick
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Good morning! My name is Amanda and I teach English 2 and Reading Literacy in Texas. This is my first year with Teachers Write and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can from all my peers. When this topic of wonder came up, it made me think about something I am fascinated by: the ocean. I love being at the beach and often sit on the shoreline wondering about life under the sea. I wonder how and why the animals communicate with one another and what they do all day to keep themselves occupied. My husband says they live a simple life of survival, but I think it\’s more than that. I know there are undiscovered parts of the ocean and I wonder what\’s living there in those deep, dark, unexplored crevasses. I wonder about the colors of life in the ocean – some of the most magnificent colors, unreplicable by the human hand, exist below sea level – and I wonder how these magical colors are created. I wonder if mermaids are real; the adult side of me says, \”Absolutely not\” but the child side of me says, \”Maybe? How do we know they don\’t when so much of the ocean has been unexplored?\” I wonder about all the mystery of life below the surface – how many creatures are living there undiscovered? I wonder about the tide and relationship between the sun, moon, earth, and the ocean. I know there are many scientific explanations for what goes on in the ocean, but I often wonder if a scientific explanation is necessary. As you can see, the ocean and life below the surface keeps the creative side of my brain busy and oddly calm.

  145. Lindsey
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I have a feeling that I will be a lurker most of the time. I joined TW to gain insights and ideas for the classroom. I am learner. I love to learn by any media. I have been very active with professional development via Pinterest and Twitter for the past year. In the past, I have taught 6-12 grades except 11th. My first professional job was English I and English II on a block schedule for one semester then a year of 7th grade inclusion ELA then two years of 6th grade inclusion ELA then one year of advanced 6th grade ELA, and starting last year, I am teaching 3 sections of English II and one section of English II Pre-AP. I have taught four years in Texas, and now, I am on my second complete year in Oklahoma. I love movies, music, technology, and games which I try to incorporate all of these into my teachings.

    I wonder how I am going to finish all the books that I want to read for pleasure and professionally.
    I wonder how I can incorporate all the information that I have learning into one year or one classroom setting.
    I wonder how the kids will act the first day, the whole year, and the last day.
    I wonder which kids will need the most attention and which ones can survive with the least.
    I wonder who reads, who games, who watches tv, and who only listens to music mostly.
    I wonder who struggles, and I wonder who succeeds without me.
    I wonder who needs someone to talk to in a time of need and when that need might be.
    I wonder how long it will take me to get the quiet one to start excessively talking.
    I wonder who writes well and who writes neat–and how I will read the messy ones.
    I wonder how many will get the concept and what I need to reteach.

    I wonder about me:
    how long will I prep?
    what do I need?
    will I get stressed this year?
    how do I cope with that stress?
    when will I workout?
    when can I read this new book?
    when can I go shopping?
    when can I play Call of Duty?
    when can I go see that new movie–or should I wait for the dvd?
    how are my dogs–do they need me?

    I wonder how I will every isolate my rambling thoughts.

    • Lindsey
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      HOW DO I EDIT?! Haha. 🙂
      Also, 3 sections of Pre-AP, not 1 section.

  146. Leigh
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I am a first-time participant but not a first-time wonderer. I am a huge people-watcher, so I love this assignment. I have a lot of personal issues that cause me to wonder, but I tried to think beyond for this assignment. One thing that kept coming back to me was this. I wonder what percentage of the “as seen on TV” products actually work. It’s unbelievable the number of commercials and infomercials that impact us daily! While that one seems silly, it leads me to wonder also about the people who purchase the items, what their lifestyles and personalities are like, etc. There’s obviously a huge market for those products, but I just don’t get it.

    • Heather C
      Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      I am a huge people watcher too. I often wonder “What is their stroy?” “Where are they going?” “Where have they been?”

  147. Leanne Wright-Gray
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I am late to the party – -as usual for me. I am a teacher and now second-year teacher coach from the Cayman Islands, and I have been writing my whole life. Never for anyone else though. I would love to do that. Wonderings…there are so many, it’s hard to know where to start. I wonder how pelicans feel when they’re lost in the storms that push them here, and how they navigate, if they do. I wonder what the two warring geckos in my garden are warring about. I wonder what it was like to live here in the days of smoke pots, mosquitoes, turtling and thatch. I wonder how old-time Caymanians feel when they walk down Seven Mile Beach now that it is full of seven-story condos. I wonder if that once child I taught last year will make it through September without being kicked out of school. I wonder what my sons will grow up to be. I wonder if they’ll be happy. I wonder how my husband is getting on with his stressful day today, and what tomorrow will bring. I wonder what it feels like in a black hole. I wonder why they call it that? I wonder whatever happened to Eric? I could go on all day, so maybe I should stop now. Existential angst is sure to follow… On to today’s challenge. And I’ll try not to be late… 🙂

  148. Diane Konjura
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Where do I start? I wonder many things, but at this time in my life I wonder what I want to be “when I grow up.” My son graduated from college and my daughter graduated from high school. My son is starting grad school and my daughter is starting college. My husband and I will be alone together again after 23 years. I wonder how the transition to grad school will be for my son, and I wonder even more about the transition to college for my daughter. She isn’t passionate about going to college. She wants to get it over with. My husband and I hope she gets to college and enjoys it more than she appears to feel right now. We suggested she take a gap year and explore her passions, but she feels compelled to stay on track so she can get through it. I wonder many other things…We just moved to a new state. State requirements in different states vary. Do I feel like jumping through hoops to take exams or take college classes to earn credits to gain my licensure? I love books, I want try writing which is why I am excited to attempt this TW opportunity, but I have many things in transition at this time. I guess my biggest wonder is where will I be in a year? What will I be doing? Teaching or a new adventure?

  149. Renee Kirchner
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Hello! I am a first time participant in TW. I am a youth services librarian in Plano, Texas at a public library. I love writing stories for children and teens and I am looking forward to this class. I love the exercise for today. I wonder about a lot of things.

    What was it really like to be a pioneer?
    What would my dogs say if they could talk to me?
    What would it be like to live in another country?
    What does the future hold for my children?
    Will we ever find a cure for cancer?

    This is just a short list, but I will try to think of more. I love your books Kate and I recommend them to kids at the library all of the time.

  150. Posted July 7, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I love this focus on wonder! I am a third grade teacher and did passion projects for the first time this year – it was so fascinating to see how easily wondering comes to some kids and all the amazing ways their minds work. I have a background in archaeology too, so I love your current focus on historical fiction. Many of my wonderings at the moment have to do with some of the less-emphasized time periods and on why we focus on some aspects/moments in history above others.

  151. Mona
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for doing this!!! Your post yesterday inspired me to keep a running list of “wonders” this summer!!! I am so grateful also for you sharing how the research you did informed your Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail. I teach Reading AIS for Grades 3-4 and now have a great recommendation for my dog-loving students with your series!

  152. Kelli Horton Prodana
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi Everyone!
    I’m happy to be here!
    I teach 8th grade English in Massachusetts.
    (No, I am not crazy. At least I don’t think I am.)
    I was wondering where I might find the energy to water my flowers, but it just started pouring.
    Now I’m wondering if the free ice cream cone delivery I wished on will actually show up.

  153. Posted July 7, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I am right there with you on reading all the books. I want more hours in the day just for reading.

  154. Selene
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the late post!
    I wonder what my ancestors who came from Italy and Greece did when they first arrived.
    I wonder what their ideal home was like.
    I wonder what their hopes and dreams were.

  155. Pamela Tallmadge
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if I pay enough attention to the world are there signals I’m missing, dropped stitches in this world quilt? I wonder if I can make a difference, a pebble in the ocean, how far do those rings carry? I wonder what previous lives I have lived and what I have learned from them? I wonder what I will take from this life? What am I giving to this life? I wonder what each person I meet really loves? If each one had no screen to look at, no schedule to stick to, no pressing obligations, what would be left? I wonder if It would be a large black cauldron that suddenly glimmers with gold? I wonder how each of us finds that gold. How difficult the journey, the search, the false gold that excites and disappoints. I wonder if we all search together would that be easier or more complicated and frustrating? I wonder where this journey leads and if I keep my eyes on the horizon will I miss the pot of gold or is that pot of gold mine to create?

  156. Heather C
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I am excited to participate this year!
    Wonders — there are so many it is difficult to focus to list. My first inclination was what I felt too serious, then of course too trivial. Then I thought, what is wrong with either? Within the realm of brainstorming, of course the answer is that there isn’t anything too trivial or serious – it is a list to return to later and then determine the direction.
    For now – my wonders
    1. How do voices really travel through our cell phones to reach another? What would happen if the messages decided to go another way? Or meet up with other messages? Both serious and funny — how and why does this work.
    2. What does my 6 year old niece who was just adopted from China really think of the US and her new life? Does she understand that this is for keeps? Does she like her life better? What does she miss?
    3. What was my grandmother like as a teen? What would it be like to hang out with a 16 year old her?
    4. What are a baby’s first thoughts?
    5. What was the journey of my food to my table. Not to make a political statement about carbon footprint or anything like that, but the average apple on my plate — who touched it, where did it travel? What are the lives of the people it has encountered?
    6. What would it have been like to really cook in times before modern cookery / stoves etc?
    7. Have you every stop to think about all the things that are manufactured in the world and the individual companies that do this. Just within a classroom — furniture, supplies, electronics, etc. But look further. What about the PIECES that makes up those things.

  157. Laura Bowers
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m writing to introduce myself. I teach seventh grade reading in Somerset, PA. I stumbled onto a post about this camp on FaceBook and thought, “What a fantastic opportunity!” and joined right away. I have wonders that fly in and out all day, but one of the wonders that sits with me daily is: I wonder what goes on inside my sweet 13-year-old’s mind.
    I also wonder why the choice to be kind is difficult for some and simple for others.
    I’m looking forward to getting to know as many of you as I can and to reading your work and offering my support any way I can.

  158. Stephani Eaton
    Posted July 7, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I am a day late to camp! I have not been able to get to a computer since our family has been traveling for two days in the car, so Lizzie’s attitude on the trail rings very true right now. I am so excited to be part of this writing community. I haven’t shared much of my writing and I am equal parts excited and nervous to do so. I am currently at home with my two kids, but have taught middle school through college English. My current work on project is a time travel story about a girl who travels back in time and befriends her grandparents. My story grew out of these wonderings:
    How were people with dementia treated a half century ago?
    What would it be like to be a peer with your grandmother?
    What cultural differences would stand out to a 12 year old of today if she found herself in the 1950s?
    If I could go back an be friends with my grandmother, what would I tell her?

  159. Posted July 7, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Chiming in late. Thank you for doing this. I’m excited to be here. Things I wonder about include: How to start and keep a writing practice going, why do people (like me) want to blog, how can I keep my commitments to my profession, myself, my family, and friends all alive and well, and does loving to write make me an introvert??

    Looking forward to writing this month with all of you!

  160. Posted July 7, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for talking about your inspiration for Lizzie and including extra entries from her journal. I loved her! Can’t wait to share this with students!

    One of my wonders…
    I wonder what it is like to be in the minority a majority of the time. I’m a white female in elementary education. So are many of my colleagues. I have friends that are different from me due to race, financial status, religion, etc., and I have definitely been in many situations where I’m in the minority and felt comfortable. However, that is not my daily experience so I wonder what it would be like if that was what I experienced all the time? How would it be different depending on where I lived? Are there certain categories I wouldn’t feel the difference as glaringly? Are there some things like financial status or religion where it is easier to be the minority? Maybe it’s hard in some circles to be the only one without a Gucci handbag. I wonder…

  161. Posted July 7, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Can it be true? An invitation to wonder to kick off the first day of Teachers Write? This is my favorite kind of writing- a chance to dream and a chance to make a list. Ever since Reading Ralph Fletcher’s “A Writer’s Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You”, writing a list has become my favorite starting place when I write, even though I’m starting a day late. Usually, I’m not late, but just for today I am. Just for today. Thanks, Kate, for today’s invitation to wonder!

    I wonder about…

    I wonder waterfalls and what it would be like to have a secret home or world behind one

    I wonder what dogs think and if they are talking when they bark or whine

    I wonder what it would be like to visit another planet

    I wonder if I will ever get to see the rainforest. The book River of Doubt inspired me

    I wonder if I will ever skydive or hang glide. I love Soaring Over California at Disneyland but I’m terribly afraid of heights

    I wonder about the future

    I wonder about being a grandma one day. Will it be soon, not too soon?

  162. Roxie S
    Posted July 8, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I wonder…
    When, which tribe, and how long the Native Americans lived on Diamond Creek in Chase County, Ks, and if the white pioneers camped near that creek.

    About the Pennsylvania Dutch heritage of my great grandparents.

    About the Native American heritage of my husband’s great grandma.

    What my dogs do all day.

    How books from the Library War Service helped soldiers during WWI and WWII.

    • Tessa
      Posted July 8, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      My wonderings always lead me back to my extended family, as well. Something about the whispers just out of earshot from these ancestors, challenging us to engage with them that always keeps them just a few thoughts away.

  163. Gretchen Breon
    Posted July 8, 2015 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I decided I better go back and complete the writing task for Monday and Tuesday. One of my biggest wonders?
    I wonder if I can really, I mean, really commit to follow through on each day of this workshop? I teach 6th grade English and my youngest of 3 is headed off to college this fall at St. Bonaventure. I will have time, I predict to focus more on writing so this is a good time to start. Other wonderings I have:
    I wonder if my new stove will work as well as the old one that caught fire last Friday?
    I wonder if my resolve to walk/run every day this break will last longer than my resolve to stick with this workshop?
    I wonder if we can actually afford to send my daughter to St. Bonaventure in the fall?
    I wonder if I truly will have class sizes of 17 ish as promised by administration this year for this fall?
    I wonder what I will do with all the extra space in my room if I really do only have 17 students in each section?
    I wonder if I can write in my blog every day also this summer?
    So since I was late to the table for this one, that is where I will stop.
    Thanks for providing this opportunity for all of us. I love being part of this workshop. It is scary but I love taking the risk of writing and hearing what others have to say.

  164. Tessa
    Posted July 8, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I always find myself wondering about my female ancestors. My great-grandmother left her children in then-Lithuania to come to America. She returned for them and endured a dangerous trip back, but they all made it thanks to her.

    My wondering continues with the other side of my family. How did they end up in Ireland? Where were they before that?

  165. Posted July 10, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    My belated posting- I notice my wonderings vary based on where and when I am writing- these recent ones focused on family and community- I am visiting family in the US and meeting people I follow online in real life. I notice that my wonders leading to writing focus on nonfiction, as I do not feel I can really write fiction- maybe something I need to get over. I am writing in a notebook currently, rather than posting on my blog, as I am on the road a lot and internet is iffy.

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