Teachers Write 8/15/13 Thursday Quick-Write & Reflections

I can’t believe the summer’s flown by so quickly! How could we already be at the end of six weeks of writing together?? I hope that this is really just the beginning, though. I hope that you’ve met some friends — some like-minded teachers who want to be brave and write and show their students that writing matters — and I hope so much that you’ll all keep writing.  What you’ve shared here this summer has been beautiful and full of talent. It’s been funny sometimes, and sometimes sad. But always, it’s been brave. Thank you so much for beign part of this community.

Now…you didn’t think you’d get away without one last writing prompt, did you?  Take a few minutes to reflect on the experience of participating in Teachers Write this summer. If you’d like, you can use the following three sentence beginnings to get started thinking about how you felt when you first got here, how you feel now, and what you hope for tomorrow.

Back in June…

Now, after six weeks of Teachers Write…

When the new school year starts, I hope…

As always, I’d love it if you’d share some of these thoughts in the comments. And please stop by tomorrow for one last get-together. We’ll be sharing a pretty cool secret as well as a link to the post-Teachers-Write survey that will help me to plan for next summer.

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25 Comments

  1. Debbie Krygeris
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Back in June, I knew I was an avid reader, but didn’t consider myself a writer. Slowly through the summer, I discovered that writing is as joyful and cathartic for me as reading. I was one of those teachers that forgot how important it is to maintain a writing life as well as an active reading life. The writing life has been more challenging. I’ve discovered I’m not good at jumping back into my writing when I’ve been away from it; it’s easier to dive back into the plot of a good novel. Teachers Write has provided me confidence to write, courage to share my writing, and enabled me to better understand the challenges writing poses for my student writers. I will be sharing my experiences in Teachers Write this summer with my class. As they write, I will be writing with them, sharing the good and the not so good, and willingly seeking their feedback on my writing as well as providing my own feedback to each student. I so glad I participated in Teachers Write; I can’t wait to join again next year and have already considered how to rearrange my time to fully commit to my writing. I’ve gained confidence in my writing and found joy. It’s been a great experience and I thank you Kate, Jo, Gae, and Jen for all the time you committed to Teachers Write. It’s truly a priceless gift!

    • Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Debbie, we are so happy you joined us this summer!

  2. Kristina Paustian
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Back in June…I looked forward to another summer of Teachers Write. I knew the format from last summer and enjoyed it very much.
    Now, after six weeks of Teachers Write…I have written much more than last summer and have been braver about sharing.
    When the new school year starts, I hope…actually I know I will use what I learned for I have already incorporated it in my classroom, displaying some of my Quick Writes on a bulletin board where their writing will be displayed, and also into my lesson plans for Writing.
    Thanks for another great Teachers Write!

    • Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      So glad you’ve had a great writing summer – and know that the quick-writes will all be there for you to use with students, too!

  3. andrea p
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Back in June, I was surprised when I found the link to TeachersWrite. I signed up immediately and convinced two of my colleagues to join. I loved the idea and thought it would help me learn more about the craft of writing.

    Now, after six weeks of TeachersWrite, my dreams have come true…and more! I learned so much about the characters we write about in our WIP. I was surprised how much better I got to know my “characters” when I completed some of the writing prompts. I was proud of the things I posted. I’ve have realized the discipline it takes, and the connection I’ve made, to write everyday. I’ve gained so much knowledge about all the aspects of a writing life, and hopefully in the future, a published author’s writing life. I think my biggest accomplishment is having the confidence to “put myself out there”, in blog comments, and now on twitter. That part is really hard for me…soon, I may have the confidence to put my picture out there, too. 🙂 Anyway, I have also been productive, and have two manuscripts that will be leaving my hands soon. Keep your fingers crossed. One WIP has been a labor of love for 18 years! And, the other is the one I “found” this summer, that I’ve been working on daily. So, thank you for all the positive encouragement.

    When the new school year starts, I’ll definitely be sharing lots of what I learned with my students this year.
    Writing is so personal, and all of you offered gentle guidance, and so many resources. I hope that I am the same with my own students. And, I have to figure out a way to get them to write everyday. They do write, but I want them let them have fun with creative writing, imaginative response to the prompts you gave us. I want to give them that gift. It’s such a great feeling!

    • Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      We are all thankful that you “put yourself out there,” Andrea – I’ve so enjoyed writing with you this summer!

  4. Posted August 15, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Kate,
    To borrow language from my kids: “this has been a most amazing experience.”
    I hope you are able to continue this program next summer as well.
    I am constantly amazed at the graciousness of the writing community. You and all the guest authors gave their time and advice, but most importantly their encouragement. As ‘students’ we felt that you all wanted us to succeed. There is no better model for teaching.
    As I go forward into this school year I have a bank of new ideas to work with. I signed up for Teachers Write last year and didn’t participate in the sharing aspect. This year I went in full-boar and the exchanges and opportunities have helped me become a stronger writer, teacher, and human. (Sounds corny, but true!)
    I saved one of the writing prompts I completed last summer; this summer it grew into a short story which I may go back to at some point.
    This summer the writing prompts have encouraged me to look at my WIP from new angles. Result? I’ve fallen in love with my character and her story all over again. I’m not ready to let her out into the big, wide world yet, but by this time next year I hope to send her on her way.
    Thank-you for believing in us, and giving us the little push all students need. And thank-you for being the bridge from education to art. You’ve guided us across. Some of us may stay on the new side, others will go back, but we all have the tools to cross again.
    Best wishes.

    • Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Aw, you just made me cry. But you’re forgiven – I’m glad it’s been a great summer for you, and we will most definitely be back in June!

  5. Posted August 15, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Back in June, the whole summer stretched out before me, I had great intentions, dreams, and goals for those 76 days. I joined Teachers Write because even through I had to adapt some of the ideas for my own WIP, which is a professional teaching book, I jumped in with both feet. The summer took me in all kinds of directions, though, so I didn’t stay completely focused on Teachers Write, but I did do a lot of writing, and that’s what matters. Now, after 6 weeks of Teachers Write, my co-author and I have an introduction and two chapters written, with some opportunities on the horizon.
    When the new school year starts, I will continue to share my journey with my students, and I will encourage them to share their journey with me and each other. Thank you so much for all the hard work that goes into this online PD. I commend all the participants and their amazing writing, and I look forward to sharing in their journeys, too. Thank you Kate, Jo, Jen, and Gae for an incredible summer of writing!

    • Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      So glad it’s been a productive summer for you, Holly – and I’d love to hear more about your teaching book one of these days!

  6. Posted August 15, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Back in June I had high hopes for a summer filled with stories, relaxation, and new adventures. I received all of that and more. Through this experience I rediscovered my love of writing. Creating new adventures, places, and people is something I always dreamed about doing, but this summer I stopped dreaming about it and just did it! Sharing was scary, but I did that too. I dealt with the emotions of anxiety, frustration, anger, happiness, and it was an incredible roller coaster ride that I’m glad I didn’t miss. I have no idea where I noticed Teacher’s Write and what made me sign up to do this, but I’m glad I did. I learned a lot about myself. I realized that I didn’t read as much as I thought I did, and I uncovered my joy (and relaxation) when reading MG and YA books again. I met some wonderful people that I now have connections with and bonds with – some that I will collaborate with through the school year. I’m sad that the summer is ending, but I’m excited to share my adventure with my students in a couple weeks (12 days actually). I will be sharing my writing with them, and I think that will be a scarier experience since 5th graders (10-11 yr olds) are never subtle. That idea makes me really nervous just sitting here and typing that I will do it. I’m not going to back down from the challenge. I’m going to show my students that writing can be every emotion and that sharing is tough, but possible. I can’t wait for next summer’s Teacher’s Write! Thank you for everything! It was the best summer I’ve had in a long time!

    • Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      “I rediscovered my love of writing.”

      This is just what we hoped when we launched Teachers Write – thanks for being part of it!

  7. Gail Schirmer
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I did not participate in “Teachers Write, but as a former teacher, I have followed all of you all summer. I love what you are doing for each other and for kids. The comments made me cry happy tears. KUDOS !!

    • Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      I am officially outing the “former teacher” in the above comment as my mother. 🙂

      (Love you, Mom! xo)

      • Posted August 15, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        oh my gosh, that’s adorable! I’m doing the math just so I can chime in to say that. 😉

  8. Amanda McCarthy
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    When the school year starts, I hope to inspire my students the way I have been inspired by Teachers Write. Thank you for blessing me with this experience. I feel not only brave, but much more confident as a writer. I can’t begin to express my appreciation for all you have done for all of us!

    • Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Amanda! I’m glad you enjoyed the summer of writing, and I hope you have a great start to the new school year!

  9. Jane
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Back in June, I was excited and nervous and didn’t know what to expect. When I was a kid, I wanted to write a book one day. Other things, including self-doubt, got in the way, but it has continued to be a life goal. This summer, I promised myself I would try, that I would put aside the voice of doubt and go for it. I wrote that in my writing notebook: “Going for it.” For good or for ill, I was determined to challenge myself and put my writing out there for comment, even though it was hard. I am so glad I did. The past six weeks have exceeded my hopes. I have learned so much, grown so much, expanded my writing, stretched myself, and been inspired by the instructors as well as by my fellow campers. My WIP has come a long way, and I have a much better sense of what I need to figure out to pull the pieces together. When I hit a snag, I hear Gae and Jo and Kate saying “Keep Going!” When I’m in a mire, I have guideposts: micro-tension, kick the characters, feel and show instead of telling, slow down, dig deeper into the characters, eavesdrop, remember the flaws, don’t leave the ramen noodles uneaten. The insights and encouragement from instructors mean so much—the feedback has been both buoying and incisive. This experience has made me feel that I actually can do this, that I can see this book through from start to finish. I am more determined and inspired than ever, and my hope for the school year is that I can carve out longer blocks of time to dig in and finish. And then revise (I’ve got Real Revision at the ready). I am profoundly grateful to Kate, Gae, Jo, Jen, and all of the authors who gave their time and talents to this program. Your books line my shelves, and it means so much that you made this possible. Thank you so much.

  10. Liz Dejean
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Back in June I was excited and nervous, but planned to do everything – especially writing every day. Now after a wonderful, exilerating, but sometimes frustrating six weeks with you and the talented and brave teachers who joined you, I recognize that I can’t do everything. However I can commit to writing – most days. I see how neccesary it is to carve out time for writing. When I return to school it is with renewed respect for writing as a craft and as work. I will make time for myself to write. I also recognize that when we ask students to write on demand we are asking a lot! Those who write above and beyond what is required, writing creatively outside of assigned work have already crossed a bridge on the way to a writing life. They should be celebrated!

  11. Liz Dejean
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Kate! You are incredibly generous to share this blog, and all your time, effort, and care with all of us.

  12. Posted August 15, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    So nice to read these comments and know that we’ve helped in some really profound and lovely ways. I’m a little misty eyed. Happy back to school for everyone!

  13. Posted August 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Kate,

    I know it’s getting late, but I didn’t want to let this day go by without letting you know how much I’ve enjoyed participating in Teachers Write! For the past six weeks, I have written almost every day. I’ve written blog posts, poems, and began working on a story about a character who started whispering to me and wouldn’t stop. I’m more confident about my writing (which means I think only 90% of it is terrible, instead of 99.9%!) I’ve also noticed changes in my thought process. This evening, for example, my cat decided to join me as I took my dog for a quick walk. He’s done this before, but tonight, the lines of a story about him started falling into place in my head. When I got home, I quickly wrote them down, not worrying about whether or not it was perfect.

    Now the challenge will be to maintain this momentum once school begins. I’m determined not to leave the character in my story hanging out in limbo for the next ten months. You’ve told us many times, Kate, that we don’t find the time, we have to MAKE time. So that’s what I’ll try my best to do.

    Thank you so much for providing this supportive community. Even if I haven’t posted responses every day, I’ve learned so much, especially from doing the Quick-Writes. The feedback and supportive comments from you, Jo, Jen, Gae, and all the guest authors have been so helpful! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the hard work you’ve all put into this forum, and helping me have a productive, rewarding summer of writing.

    Looking forward to next summer,
    Catherine

  14. Brian R
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Back in June, my addition skills were pretty rusty. Now, after six weeks of being inspired and encouraged to get words down and share them (but only after I, “Please Do the Math), I can sum two-digit numbers like nobody’s business.

    When the new school year starts, I hope. In fact, I’m doing it right now: hoping. And I hope I can keep that feeling with me the whole school year and then some.

    Thanks Kate — and to your network of generous guest authors, too — for a second summer in this writing sandbox.

  15. Tammy Petty Conrad
    Posted August 16, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Back in June I was excited to be devoting time to writing again and wondering if I could keep up with the daily-ness of Teachers Write. Now, after six weeks, I realize how committed you have to be to stick with it. I didn’t get ‘daily’ into my routine, but that’s okay. I did look at the posts and comments even if I didn’t always post. When the new school year starts in a week, I hope I don’t lose the momentum I’ve gained with my own writing and I hope I can inspire my students to fill their draft books with thoughts that turn into individual pieces of writing they can treasure.

  16. Posted August 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Back in June, when Teachers Write! Started, I was hopeful that I would be able to write regularly and seriously throughout the summer. I was also committed to reading more this same summer.

    Now, after six weeks of Teachers Write!, I can honestly say that I did both. I credit my new attitude abotu what is important to me, and my new schedule of part-time library media specialist (I have worked every summer for the past 6 years, and this summer, worked just 2 days a week).

    When the new school year starts, I hope to continue to grow and learn as a writer, and to take opportunities to share what I’ve learned with my students; though I don’t teach writing. I do engage students with it every week. The knowledge and practice we were given the opportunity to participate in this summer will enrich my time with my library students immeasurably.

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