Teachers Write 8.5.16 One Last Time…

I’m starting our last morning of Teachers Write with my favorite song from the musical  Hamilton. George Washington’s farewell song felt like a good way to end, since we’re saying a goodbye of our own today. It’s always bittersweet. Each August, I’m sad to say goodbye to our every-day-writing-together summer, but I’m also excited for all of the students you’re about to meet, students who will benefit so much from the brave work you’ve done this summer and from the community you’ve forged.

Gae has one more Friday Feedback for you, and I have one last writing prompt here, too. Let’s do a little reflecting together.

Write a few quick lines about what you learned about writing, about being part of a community of writers, about yourself and the work that you do. Here’s a starting place if you need one.

This summer in Teachers Write, I discovered…

Feel free to share in the comments if you’d like. Even if you’ve never shared before. Especially if you’ve never shared before.

And finally, thank you. Your beautiful words and your brave willingness to share them, to make yourselves vulnerable to better serve your students, has been an inspiration to all of us this summer.

Teachers Write may be wrapping up, but we’re not going anywhere. I’m around on social media if you want to talk writing. We’ll be back next summer with new lessons and inspiration. And if you listen carefully through the school year, you’ll be able to hear me, cheering you on.



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  1. Jen
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    This summer in Teacher’s Write I discovered:
    • That Kate and Gae and all the contributors are beyond generous, super supportive and inspiring. You are rock stars!!! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!
    • That these words of writing wisdom and exercises connect me to every day and fictional worlds in a new way.
    • That the TW lessons are like candy. Now and Later. Some I gobble up immediately, others are like a dark chocolate truffle with an almond hidden in the middle – I savor it (for) later.
    “I’ve been changed for good.” Stephen Schwartz, Wicked.

    Many, many thanks and may the muses continue their visits to you. Jennifer Kraar

    • Posted August 5, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Now and Later. I LOVE that!

      Happy writing! 🙂

  2. Posted August 5, 2016 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    I am so thankful for chain of links that brought me to Teacher’s Write! It came at the perfect time in my writing. The question and answers were so helpful. Even when I couldn’t think of a question, someone else would ask one I didn’t know I needed to ask. The prompts helped open several new story ideas and beef out portions of my WIP.
    Each morning I have looked forward to see what’s posted and kick start my writing brain for the day.
    Thank you to all the authors and contributors. I know have piles of new books to read and recommend.

    • Posted August 5, 2016 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      the questions from “others” were great for me too!

  3. Posted August 5, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    In Teachers Write I discovered that I really enjoy finding the good in other’s writing. I’ve never felt super confident as a critique partner because I’m such a big picture person and details can escape me. But, practice, practice, practice does strengthen critiquing muscle. I love to find ways to encourage people to “keep going”. It just makes me happy.

    I’ve learned about so many books for my students to read. My wish list includes $500 of titles….some on pre-order. It does not include titles that aren’t with my large school library serving vendor. So the price is higher than that.

    I’ve discovered amazing authors to follow on goodreads and have a wealth of tips, insight and prompts from them to refer back to throughout the year when I’m feeling stale or stuck. Also, I kinda like fan-girling. I’m no fan of typical movie stars….but authors are so cool!

    Also, I’ve discovered that TW takes me a little bit away from my wip in that so many prompts get my imagination pumping and lead me to rabbit holes I happily dive into. I’ll be getting back to my wip.

    I’ve discovered that the strongest “day” of TW for me is Sunday when I reflect and goal set. I love this and will keep that as part of my writing practice.

    I’ve discovered that I’m brave enough to share more in blogging than ever before. It’s not a big deal because I don’t have many readers….which I kinda like. I feel like I’m taking steps toward actual published work without a big scary audience.

    I’ve always been tremendously grateful for TW as inspiration and encouragement. I love this community and wish everyone well as they head back into the traditional academic year. I look forward to seeing your names in print or on my kindle soon.

    • Posted August 5, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Yay, Linda! I find reading through the Sunday posts at Jen Vincent’s blog so inspiring too. They keep me pushing hard to make my contribution matter.

      Happy writing!

  4. Andy Starowicz
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Good morning!

    This summer in Teachers Write, I discovered that there were many good writers surrounding me that were brave enough to share for the first time or to come back again and share. I discovered that children/middle grade/young adult authors are unbelievably fantastic. They took time away from their own writing to share ideas and activities with us (teachers and writers).

    For me, I discovered that reflection is the most important part of teaching and writing. Through reflection, your lesson planning improves each year and you become more confident with your own writing. I also discovered that in all of the years I have participated in Teachers Write this has been my best one yet.:)

    Thank you to Kate, Gae, Jo, and Jen. As Jen wrote above, you are all rock stars! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity for me to grow as a teacher and a writer. Happy writing!

    • Posted August 5, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink


      I always feel like an exclamation point needs to follow your name because there’s a light happy joy that seems to come with you when you show up anywhere! Thanks for being a part of TW again! It was amazing to read your excerpts and see how much your writing has improved. Can’t wait to see where your characters and stories are next summer! Have a great school year.

      Happy writing.

    • Posted August 5, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I have to agree with Gae, Andy!

      It’s such a joy to see your name because of the thoughtful comments and insight that comes with. Enjoy your school year and let us know when your farm to table food blog gets going.

  5. Mona
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    This summer in TW…
    I learned that I can’t think of myself as a writer if I don’t make time every day to write and that none of the excuses matter.
    I learned that I am again in awe of Kate Messner’s talent, creativity and generosity in providing this sacred space for all of us to grow as writers.
    I learned that there are so many generous writers who have shared their process and struggles with us and I am deeply grateful.
    I learned that I have been so inspired by Kate and all the other author’s that I want to read their books.
    I learned that I want to revisit this blog and do all the writing prompts again, especially the ones that I didn’t do the first time!
    I learned that there are so many incredibly talented and generous teacher writers out there and I learned so much from reading your writing and thoughtful comments.
    I learned that I want this to be the year that I stop making excuses and start writing regularly.

  6. Gloria Jeanne Johnso
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Good morning!
    This summer in Teacher’s Write I discovered that the piece I started last summer might actually be MG rather than YA. I grew comfortable with that and read many MG novels this summer. I learned from the research posts and Wednesdays question-and-answer times.

    I re-discovered how much I love Monday Warm-ups with Jo. I could take what I wrote on Mondays and revisit and rework ideas all week.
    I discovered that I could still benefit immensely from this group without an actual WIP. My goal is to have one when TW rolls around next summer.
    I did not jump into critiquing this year, but I read and reread how others cheered each other on. I learned much.
    Another camper mentioned the “generosity” of Kate, Jo, Gae, and Jen as well as the guest authors. I thank you all for continuing to give wholeheartedly even on the days when the comments are lower in number than the first week.
    Thank you!

  7. Posted August 5, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    As somewhat of a despiser of writing prompts and exercises myself… this summer my appreciation for them — for how very much they can really, truly help — has deepened.

    Last year, it was Jo’s White Page List poem. This year it was Madelyn Rosenberg’s 10-line postcards that became part of my permanent writing and teaching repertoire.

    I’m always so inspired by the bravery — but also the effort and compassion — of my Friday Feedbackers! The amount of time you put in to critiquing and commenting on others’ shared excerpts was truly appreciated. In a summer that was unexpectedly and overwhelmingly busy for me, you really made Friday’s work and sing and matter.

    Hope you all have a smooth, happy return to your classrooms.

    Happy writing!

    xox gae

    • Patti
      Posted August 5, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Gae, I don’t think I caught Madelyn Rosenberg’s 10-line postcards. Can you tell me where to find that?

      This is my third year at camp, and the best year ever! Even though I didn’t make it to the deep end (WIP), I feel like I swam to the raft in the middle of the lake. I absolutely loved reading the consistent feedback, all the submitted pieces and I feel like I made a lot of new friends because we shared more than words. Camp is over, but winter is coming and that is a great time to cuddle up and write.

      Thank you to all the authors, teachers and readers who participated in camp. The Monday morning warm ups, the quick writes, the Wednesday questions were all thought provoking and gave me so much ammunition to make my instruction clearer and better this year. Most of all, thank you to the fearless leaders, Gae and Kate for giving writers and teachers of writing a place to meet, share, read, and write.

  8. Jennifer Hernandez
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I’ve done a ton of writing this summer, much of it connected to an online writing challenge that I participated in rather than for TW per se (although I did submit one of the poems that I wrote for a TW prompt as part of the challenge — “Abscission”, from the research-why-deciduous-trees-lose-their-leaves prompt). But I read all the TW posts and curiously, even though I came into TW selfishly — more for myself as a writer than for my students — as July wore on, I found that I couldn’t help myself. There were so many great ideas that could be applied to my classroom practice that I was thinking about classroom applications whether I wanted to or not!! Last year at school was a tough year — I really, really needed a break. So to have this turnaround and be able to think positively and get excited about teaching and learning again is a Big Deal. I’m a little nervous, in that we’ll be piloting a new English curriculum this year — and from what I’ve seen so far, it looks much more prescriptive than what I’m used to (but seeing as how our English curriculum before consisted of whatever-the-English-teachers-came-up-with, I guess anything would be more prescriptive). Anyhow, I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to sneak some of these great ideas into my classroom, whether sanctioned by The Teacher’s Guide (oh, how I hate teacher’s guides!!) or not. Sorry, this is ridiculously long, but I’ve typed it, so I’ll post it. THANK YOU to all the TW authors and campers for a great summer!!

  9. Martha Willey
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe it is over! TW is amazing and I told everyone I could it’s amazing and here’s why:
    People giving of their time, energy and creativity, thanks Gae, Kate, Jo and Jen for all your work and time. I could tell from other social media places that it was a busy, crazy up and down summer for all of you and yet you continued to give to us. Thanks.

    To the brave people who commented on writing, who sent in writing you share of themselves, thank you. You have proven once again that we may write alone but that writing isn’t done alone.

    This year I learned some wonderful ideas to take to my students. And some wonderful ideas to use for myself. And underneath all that advice, what touched me the most, was the enthusiasm for writing. How it keeps us going, helps us figure life out, and teaches us to share and encourage.

    Best wishes to all of you as you head back to school or pick up that pen for the first time, or send out a query, or struggle with the middle of your novel. Keep pressing on knowing there are so many behind you and in the same boat with you. Blessings.

    Thanks again everyone!

    • Posted August 5, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Martha, I love seeing your contributions and I wish I could schedule my children to be in your classes. Keep up the good work. I smile whenever I see your work and know that you are sticking with this writing thing!

  10. Susan MacKay-Logue
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    This summer with Teacher’s Write I was reminded of the incredible generosity of the writers involved in this endeavor. The exercises were fun and valuable, and will be terrific additions to my classroom experience. The time that they took to respond to questions, add feedback to our efforts, and to encourage us, as writers, was remarkable.

    I appreciate the other campers immensely and look forward to their writing almost as much as I do the exercises. I love that this journey “gives me permission” to write daily during the summer. It is PD, you see, so therefore it is required. Even family understands that. I hope that I can continue the habit during the year when things get increasingly crazy.

    I learned that writing about things that are important to you is very difficult and that in order to “get it right” I may have to get out of my own way. I believe that my story is an important one, but it may take me a very long time to get it down in a way that I am happy with. I deeply appreciate the authors who helped me with this process when they only had snippets of scenes to work with. Your suggestions have been illuminating.

    I especially want to thank Gae, who has been so encouraging this year (well, every year, but this one especially). Thank you.

    It’s been a great summer of writing and learning. I already look forward to next year.

  11. sheila mustard
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    This summer Teacher’s Write helped me discover most writers have difficulty putting personal emotions and experiences down on paper; but if we expect someone to read it then that is what we need to do.

    My participation this summer was to glean helpful hints and tips for classroom writing. Thankfully, through the wonderful authors I received great writing inspiration as well as new book titles for my classroom. Each summer, has provided me with a different viewpoint and inspiration.

    I would like to send a huge Thank You to Kate, Jo, and Gae for all of your hard work and I look forward to using the advice I have gathered from Teacher’s Write in my 5th grade classroom. Again, thank you authors and participants!

  12. Posted August 5, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    That was an amazing journey! Thank you to Kate, Jo, Gae and Jen for your time coordinating all of this, and your valuable insight on writing. I have almost filled my summer spiral and plan to keep at it until I do. Then, I get to go choose a new one! I will definitely continue the writer’s notebook habit. I also really appreciate all the guest authors. I find that, as a librarian, the students get really excited when I can tell them some cool tidbit story from the author. Their eyes sparkle like I personally know the author, and then they can’t wait to read the book. I have many new tidbits and book titles for this next school year. Plus, my personal TBR pile has grown tremendously. Thanks again!

  13. Posted August 5, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    This summer in Teachers Write, I discovered… a community that I will forever connect with. It was powerful learning the difficulties that publish authors deal with. I am a 5th grade writing teacher and I have some wonderful lessons that I will share with my students. Writing is tough and sharing what I learned during this course will be powerful for my students to hear and understand that you can push through it and get solid advice from fellow writers. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I am a regular participant with the TWT blog and I will be a regular participant with Teacher’s Write every summer.

  14. Kate Schoedinger
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Your generosity is infinite and this summer at Teachers Write I discovered a useful gem in every writing lesson you offered that I could transfer to my WIP. I am armed with books, ideas, and suggestions for having our teachers take the time to write themselves since they ask this of our students daily. Kate, Gae, Jo, Jen and guest authors are a dose of confidence to me. I love my journal of this Camp that chronicles those gems and writing exercises. It’s wonderful to be in a community of writers who are educators. This opportunity is nothing short of magnificent and I already look forward to Camp 2017. Thank you for the endless and year round work it takes to bring this to fruition.

  15. Angela Berent
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    This summer in Teachers Write, I discovered…
    That I like to write; it’s rewarding, and I’m proud when I’ve completed even tiny goals for myself.
    That a strong support group is invaluable.
    That daily expectations for myself will be key as I continue.
    That I need a network of professional writers to guide me.
    That those writers are out there & willing to help!
    That the more I write, the better writing teacher I will become.
    That I’ll look forward to even more participation next year!

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! To the generous authors who give of their time to encourage our growth and to the amazing facilitators who give SO much of your time (WHEN do you do it?!??!) to support and guide us – you have my utmost respect & appreciation!

  16. Andrea Clark
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    This summer in Teachers Write, I discovered…

    I discovered that I could write.
    I discovered that I could write poetry.
    I discovered that I could connect with famous authors on Twitter, and they could respond to me(!).
    I discovered that I actually looked forward to writing every day.
    I discovered that I could do some good writing.
    I discovered some excellent writing prompts to use with my students this year.
    I discovered a community of writers who are like me, not published, not wanting to publish, just wanting to write more.
    I discovered new books to read for me and for my classroom library.
    I discovered that writing could be fun.
    I discovered that I am a writer.

  17. Jen
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    This summer with Teachers Write I rediscovered how much I value writing and how much energy I get from others’ advice, encouragement, and examples. I, too, would like to thank Kate, Gae, Jo, and Jen for all of their efforts and time, the many guest authors for their expertise and prompts, and the slew of vocal participants for their feedback and sharing. Thank you!!!! I loved reading the posts each morning and will miss it. I plan to go back and revisit those prompts that I didn’t get to, or even those I did, and hope to keep the momentum of writing going. Like others, I also have a beautiful stack of new authors and books to read. I look forward to every moment of that, and to the eventual sharing of books with my students. Until next year—-

  18. Kim Haines
    Posted August 7, 2016 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    This was my first summer with Teachers Write, and I’m so happy that I discovered this community! I love the little sneak peaks into authors’ lives and inspiration as well as the interesting tidbits to share with my students. It all helps to make books and authors “real” to them. Thank you, Kate, Gae, Jo, Jen, and all of the guest authors for your time and thoughtful commenting. I learned a lot while lurking, and I have a long list of TBR titles and books to purchase for my class library. 🙂 While I didn’t write every day, I wrote more this summer than I usually do. One of my professional goals this year is to make time regularly to reflect on my teaching practice. I finally, actually started my blog two weeks ago, and I appreciate the inspiration and example of the authors and campers in this community.

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