Teachers Write 7.10.17 Mini-Lesson Monday: Another View of the World

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.”

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. Usually, our guest authors will stop by to be part of the conversation, too (though not always – some will be on deadline or traveling for book tours or 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 author-mentors who donate their time to work with us. It’s free. There’s no charge to participate, but we do have a request. Kate, Jo, and Gae all put many hours into preparations for this summer camp. Much of the time we’d normally spend on book promotion is going into Teachers Write instead, so we’re asking that everyone who participates try to purchase one of each of our books this summer. That’ll run you as little as $25 – which is the cheapest professional development around (and you get to keep the books!) We also ask that everyone try to buy at least one book written by one of our daily guest authors.  We don’t check on this – it’s all honor system – but if you can, we’d truly appreciate it if you’d support our books in this way. If you truly can’t swing the expense right now, we’d still love for you to participate and would ask that you support our books in other ways – by requesting them at your local library, borrowing them, and writing online reviews. Thanks!

2. Our weekly schedule will look like this:

Monday Mini-lesson, and a Monday Morning Warm-Up on Jo’s blog (check it out!) 
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 some great Friday revision features here, too. 
Sunday Check-In on Jen Vincent’s blog – a chance to check in with everyone, reflect on the week, and share encouragement.

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 2500 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 trolls. So when you comment, it will not show up right away – sometimes, it may be later in the day when your comment appears. THIS IS OKAY.  I check in regularly to approve comments, but I also spend uninterrupted writing and family time in the summer months, so please be patient with me, and resist the urge to post more than once if your comment doesn’t appear right away.

Now…let’s get started!

Looking Through Someone Else’s Eyes

One of the best ways to share a character’s heart and soul is to let your readers see how that character perceives the world. And our perceptions of the same setting can be wildly different, depending on who we are, what our past experiences have been, and what’s going on with us right now.

Imagine, for example, a rainy night in the country. There’s thunder and lightning and water pouring down from the clouds. Can you see it? Can you feel it?

What you experience in that moment depends on who you are and what situation you envisioned. Are you someone who loves storms? Or does thunder make you want to hide under the bed? Some of you probably longed to be on your porch with a cup of tea, watching the lightning. Some of you probably thought of a child or dog who might be scared.

Were you imagining the storm from the point of view of an observer who’s warm and safe inside?  Consider how that same thunder might sound to someone whose car is disabled at the side of a quiet road. Or someone who’s trying to sleep on a cardboard box in a park. What if you were someone whose farm has been struggling with drought? Or someone living on a river that’s likely to flood? Someone who just lost a loved one? All of those elements can change how we see our setting.


When I was writing THE SEVENTH WISH, I spent some time out on the winter ice of Lake Champlain, where I live, writing about it from different perspectives. One of my characters in that book is an experienced ice fisherwoman. One is a twelve year old who’s always felt a little nervous about walking on frozen water, even as she sees its beauty and magic. I took my notebook out on the frozen lake on several cold January and February mornings and spent time in each of their boots, experiencing the sensations and sounds of the ice and reflecting on that in messy mittened handwriting in my notebook.


The same character can see a setting in different ways, depending on the day. The magical frozen lake that Charlie experiences when she’s out searching for “ice flowers” with her beloved older sister Abby changes completely by the end of the story, when Abby is struggling with addiction and Charlie is desperate to catch the wish-granting fish that she wants to believe can fix everything.

That’s an example of a person’s emotional state affecting their perspective on setting, but this is a writing exercise that can have a lighter touch, too.

Cover of Fergus and Zeke by Kate Messner


When I was writing FERGUS AND ZEKE, the story of a classroom mouse who stows away in a backpack to go on the school field trip to the natural history museum, I spent a day wandering around the American Museum of Natural History in New York, notebook in hand, imagining how everything would look if I were a mouse. I’d still be impressed with the huge dinosaur skeletons, but instead of simply staring up at them, I might be able to scamper up one and climb around those T-Rex teeth!


When I was teaching middle school, I liked to take my students on setting-writing field trips. We’d either go out back to the soccer field, or on rainy days, simply stand at a long row of windows in the hallway to write for a few minutes about what we observed. Then, I’d give each student a slip of paper with a new identity.

“You are a lost five-year-old who can’t find her mom.”

“You have just robbed a bank and are searching for someplace to hide the money.”

“You are a hungry seagull.”

“You are a 90-year-old visiting your home town after 70 years away.”

We’d write for another five minutes or so, and then share our reflections aloud, noting how point of view and perception change the way we see a place and what we choose to notice and share. This is an incredibly powerful way to explore your character’s state of mind and to write in a way that does double-duty – using setting descriptions not only to paint a picture of a place but to reveal character as well.

TODAY’S ASSIGNMENT: Go outside or look out a window. You can do this at home in your neighborhood, or you can go somewhere else – the park, the farmers market, the mall…whatever you like. Spend a few minutes writing what you observe – everything you notice. Write down what you see, hear, smell, and feel.

Then, look through someone else’s eyes and spend a few more minutes writing from that perspective. If you’re working on a story right now, take on the role of your main character during a particular point in the story.  How are they feeling in that chapter? How might they observe the same setting differently than you did? What details would they notice? What would they like? What would bother them? And based on that, what kind of language might they use to describe it? We choose our figurative language based on the world we know, so a modern-day figure skater will choose different words and metaphors than an 18th century farmer.

If you’re not working with a particular main character in your writing life right now, here are some identities to try on for this assignment…


An elderly woman with limited mobility

A teenager who’s being bullied

A dog (Be sure to choose a particular breed before you write. Dachshunds don’t see the world from the same perspective as Greyhounds.)

A dragonfly

An imaginative and energetic five-year-old


In the comments today, feel free to share a snippet of what you wrote, but please also write a few lines introducing yourself.  Let’s get to know one another – we’re going to be writing together for four weeks, starting right now!

329 Replies on “Teachers Write 7.10.17 Mini-Lesson Monday: Another View of the World

  1. Kim in Maine, second grade teacher. I live in the woods and dream of being a farmer. We have a huge garden, process string beans and tomatoes for winter eating, raise chickens for eggs, tap and boil the sap from over 100 maple trees. Aside from my 2 daughters, we get so much joy from our 4-year old granddaughter and enjoy her company two days a week in the summer. This story happened last week and shows how different our perspectives are:

    Where’s the sun they promised? I wonder as I gaze out at the overcast morning, no hint of the sun poking through the angry clouds. Heading to the bedroom, I dig through the hangers until I find my thin L.L. Bean brown fleece and pull it over my head.
    My 4-year old granddaughter, eating her favorite breakfast of pumpkin pancakes and 2 boiled eggs, looking out the same window asks, “Mammie, is it raining?”
    “Not yet,” I reply.
    “Can we go in the pool?” she begs.
    “Today? It’s not even sunny!” I remind her.
    “It’s not raining. It’s nice out!” she says.
    “If you still want to when you finish your breakfast, we can. But it’s going to be cold!” I gaze back out the window and watch the trees swaying in the breeze. Must be a south wind, I can smell the pigs next door as the breeze forces their aroma our way. Maybe I can distract her with some painting when she finishes breakfast. She interrupts my thoughts.
    “I’m done Mammie. I’ll beat you getting my bathing suit on!” Addi yells as she runs to her backpack and throws everything over her shoulder until she finds the pink striped bathing suit she’s searching for.
    I trudge to my bedroom to put my suit on, dreading the plunge into the cold water but warmed by the thought of making memories with Addi.

      1. I love how you can tell that it’s a south wind blowing by the aroma of the pigs next door. 🙂 I also really enjoyed how you contrasted the emotions of Addi with Mammie.

    1. Hi Kim,
      That was me last night with my two daughters. Nice job showing the perspectives in one piece of writing!

    2. Hi Kim,

      I love the voice of the 4-year old granddaughter – she seems so real. I also love the description “of the sun poking through the angry clouds.” Well done. Thank you for sharing.

    3. Hi Kim,

      This is so enduring and really puts our lives into perspective. Sometimes we forget how important it is to jump into the cold pool water or run through the puddles on a rainy day. I really love how you captured the differences of age Thank you for sharing!

    4. Ahh the dreaded plunge into the cold water! No matter how hot it is, it’s always so cold on your back.

    5. I love how well you capture this!! It is an everyday situation I have to force myself to being a kid again. Funny thing is, I never regret it once I’ve taken the “plunge”!

  2. Good morning, my name is Lori and I am a Grade 6 teacher in Ontario – GECDSB. Here is the beginning sentences of the assignment. Will share more later.

    It’s early on a Monday morning….my second Monday morning on summer vacation! The cedar trees are lush and full. Green soldiers standing tall but not still all around me. Protecting the yard and me from the distractions of the reality of the outside world. They appear to be home to a very loud crackle family and camouflage to a passing squirrel.

    1. Hi, Lori! Thanks for sharing on the first day. I love how you personified the cedar trees here – glad they’re protecting your writing time!

  3. Good morning!! This is my 4th year of joining teachers write. I have always participated in a very private way and this allowed me to avoid taking on some of the writing tasks that I found challenging. This year I am determined to write every day and share whatever I write no matter how terrible. I am doing this because I want to remind myself how vulnerable one feels when they share a piece of themselves and for me to keep this in mind when I consider how I work with my students.

      1. Hi Lynn,
        This is my third summer participating in Teachers Write and my participation has also been quite private. I admire your courage; it definitely does put us in our students shoes. I hope you meet your goals for TW this summer. Thanks for sharing!

      2. Hi Lynn,

        I love “the cruel circle of popularity” and your description of the bus as Cassie gets inside. I want to know what will happen at school!

      3. I love that piece and wanted to keep reading. You captured the descriptions of a bus so well. I was rooting for something good to happen to Cassie!
        P.S. Nice job being brave with your writing. One of my professors once told me, when sharing something, preface it with, “I just wrote this.” There are no apologies and no excuses. It is what it is! Your piece makes me wonder why you’ve been timid to share. It’s amazing.

    1. Lynn, I’m trying this for the first time for a similar reason. I want to feel what my students feel when I ask them to share what they write. Kudos to you for taking the leap!

    2. Lynn,
      I read your snippet on your blog. I love it! The end of the snippet is an amazing Pop! sentence (I call it that in my classroom). As a girl who went through middle school, I can relate to your character. I love the contrast between the happy June day and your character. I want to read more!!

    3. Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for sharing your writing. I love your character and her trepidation about facing yet another day of school. I, too, love “the cruel circle of popularity” line. I really want to know more about how things turned for your character. Keep at it. Great job!

    4. Hi Lynn,

      I’m in the same boat as you! I’ve participated in Teachers Write several times, but always on my own and very privately. This year I am hoping to push myself out of my comfort zone and get more involved with this amazing community of teachers and writers.

      I especially love the first paragraph of your piece. It not only captures the setting, but also tells us so much about your protagonist and what conflicts she is facing. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. I’m so excited that TW has begun – Thanks Kate! Hello writers! I was a children’s librarian in a school for a long time and now am a bookseller/children’s buyer at a newly opened indie bookstore in Pittsburgh.
    I also run storytelling workshops for MG kids. And last, but not least, I write.
    Snippet: The birds sound so nervous here, like they have a lot to get off their little sparrow chests. Not like at home, at the beach where I see sweeping lines of silent, purposeful pelicans.

    1. Hi Jen,

      Your job sounds so fun – working with books all day.:) I enjoyed the contrast between the sparrows and the pelicans. At home (in Upstate New York), I awake to the birds chirping every morning. At the beach (in N.C.), I awake to the ocean waves crashing on the beach. Thank you for sharing.

    2. Jen,
      Your snippet sounds like a line of poetry. The “sweeping lines of silent, purposeful pelicans” conjures a powerful mental image. We don’t have pelicans here in New Hampshire, but I can just imagine them at my local beach. The line sounds so good, it’s just begging to be read aloud. Well done.

  5. Thank you Kate! And hello everyone! I am a former classroom teacher and current school librarian. I just completed a big move from New Mexico to Vermont, and I’m excited to have a structured format like TeachersWrite to keep me accountable with my own writing this summer. I’ve always been bad about completing my own writing projects, with a busy teaching load as well as two children at home, and for the past year or so I’m trying to make writing as much of a priority as everything else!

    1. Hi Angela,
      I also have two children and have let writing be a back burner activity. Hope you are getting settled in your new home and find lots of writing time this summer.

  6. Good morning, writers! This experience is a first for me. I’ve been blogging for a while, but I’ve never tried a character-driven fiction piece, so I’m attempting that today, thinking about what I tell my students: character, setting, plot arc. Not even sure if that’s how writers do it, but the advice on here and on Jo’s blog already have my head swimming with inspiration that I’ve never felt before. I have zero idea where this will go or what it will become, but here goes!

    Snippet: The purple and yellow flowers in my mom’s garden turn their faces toward the sky, grateful for the relief of a cool drink of water. But the rain on the rooftop and the rolling of thunder have the opposite effect on me. Instead of relief, I feel my stomach knotting in that familiar way. The rain means my dad will hurt more than normal, his arthritis worsened by midwest moisture. The thunder will wake him early. Less sleep plus aching joints are a recipe for anger. Quietly creeping in from the back porch, I grab a dustrag and polish. Maybe a clean house will calm him.

    1. Oops.. I forgot the intro part.
      I’m a 5th grade teacher living in the suburbs of Chicago. “Writers make stronger writing teachers” is what brought me here. I’ve love to read and write, and am excited to start this new adventure!

      1. I love how you set arthritis to lead into less sleep, and less sleep into anger. Problems are rarely just one dimension!

    2. This is such a powerful contrast, Lorie. I love how rain can feel so strikingly different depending on the person’s perception.

    3. I, too, have cleaned and polished in hopes of preventing angry outbursts. Your writing brought up a powerful response in me.

    4. I absolutely love the very stark contrast between the joy of the flowers and the pain of the father. Beautiful figurative language, too.

  7. Excited to be here and ready to write! Thank you Kate! My name is Lindy Lorenz and I am a school librarian at an intermediate school in St. Charles, Illinois. I love to write and am thrilled that my first picture book is in the process of getting published and will be out in December. I’m working on a middle grade novel that is part prose and part verse. My main character, Kree, is an all star hockey player who plays with the boys and rocks it! Kree is a writer of poetry which she hides from her team. She also happens to be a former conjoined twin. Here is my snippet of verse from the story:
    Words and ice
    That’s all I have
    To keep me

    Today I choose words.
    No hockey
    Just words.

    I skate them around the page
    Rearrange them into funny
    Patterns and lines
    Not that different
    The lines and patterns
    Hockey skates
    Etch into the surface of the ice.

    I talk to Poe with poetry
    I ask her about heaven
    I ask, is there hockey in heaven?

    But I know the answer.
    Hockey is heaven.

    Sometimes I talk to Poe in my
    3 year old voice.

    I ask her why she gave up,
    Why she left me alone,
    To hide our secret.

    Maybe we would have been
    If my mom hadn’t ripped us

    We would have been freaks
    But we would have been freaks

    Instead I’m alone,
    Pretending I’m not a freak.

    If everyone at school knew my
    Freakish secret
    They would
    Kick me off the hockey team.

    That’s what my mom thinks.

    Poe understands me,
    Even though she’s dead.
    She’s the only one.

    Maybe that makes me

    I think my mother also
    This makes me a freak.

    She found my journal to Poe

    But I don’t care.
    I keep
    Writing to Poe
    She’s the only one
    Who understands
    Even though she’s dead.

    1. The longing of your character to be understood and to feel less alone is so powerful. I look forward to reading more!

  8. I’m a first grade teacher moving into second this year. I love to teach writing!
    I’ve been teaching for a long time and want to start my school year with some new creative thoughts to share with my students.
    Snippet: The clouds drift by as I lay quietly in the grass. The wind tickles my bare skin as it gently rocks the blades of grass around me.

    1. Welcome, Carla! Love your lounging-in-the-grass description (it’s raining where I am today, so I’d be pretty wet if I tried that this morning!)

  9. Hi all – my name is Jane Chalifoux, and I am a teacher from Long Island, NY. Been wanting to do Teachers Write for some time. Feeling brave enough to try this year.

    A male Eastern Phoebe is frantically building a nest in the gutter of my house. He is there alone, and I imagine him getting the house ready for his love. I had the voyeuristic pleasure of watching the mate on my roof every day last week. He makes many trips, always returning with treasures to fortify the nest. Each time he looks around expectantly, but she has yet to return.

  10. Good morning, TW campers!

    My name is Andy and I’m a sixth grade social studies and ELA teacher in Syracuse. I’ve been participating in Teachers Write from the start, but this year was the first that I actually used a ton of my writing with my students – it was a powerful teaching tool. I look forward to meeting everyone. THANK YOU, Kate!

    Snippet (main character – 4th grade boy): This is heaven. Squealing first-graders (I think – they’re little) are climbing all over each other to get up the rock wall. There’s a line three deep at the monkey bars. Where are the grown-ups? Those teenagers are in charge? Six girls from my class are making friendship bracelets at the picnic table, and the best part, the fifth graders are playing full-court basketball. It’s shirts versus skins. I need to get on the shirt’s team. The homemade poster (probably made by the six girls) next to the picnic table reads, “Pine Street Playground Day Camp 10:00-3:30 FREE! Sign up at the table”. Why did it take me until July 10th to find this place?

    1. Hi Andy,
      This is my third Teachers Write, and I’ve always enjoyed reading what you have to share. I have a second grader and a fifth grader. Can I send them to your free summer camp? Seriously, though, I think you have done a great job capturing all the things going on at this playground and how a fourth grade bay might feel.

    2. Hi Andy! Thanks for sharing your writing! Where in Syracuse do you teach? I grew up outside of Albany, but did my undergrad at Le Moyne and spent a lot of time in schools in the Syracuse area.

      1. Hi Kelsey,
        I teach at Jamesville DeWitt Middle School (between LeMoyne and SU). It is an awesome district, and I’ve spent all sixteen years teaching sixth graders. What schools were you in?

    3. “I need to get on a shirts team” speaks volumes about your character! He’s an observant guy, too. I like how you used so many ways for us to know something about your character with your indirect characterization. I’m excited to read more of your writing.

    4. Oh my gosh, Andy. You nailed the fourth grade boy voice. I taught 4th grade for 6 years and I feel like I’ve had several iterations of your character in my classes. The final line “Why did it take me until July 10th to find this place?” really captures how he feels in a show, don’t tell sort of way. Nicely done.

    5. Hi Andy! I really love your characters voice. The last line is the best! You captured the fun of this age. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Hi Kate and all, my second year here and I ‘m back. Going to use Wiley Corgi, my fur baby’s POV, to see a rain storm today. we just had one and he was outside. Also, am going to suggest to my moderator that we use &th WISH in our BOB this coming year. TY for sharing your valuable time w/us.

  12. Good Morning,
    My name is Jennifer Howe. I teach students German, ELA 9, and a reading intervention course in Lake Orion, MI. I have been reading all the TW posts and writing some for three years now. I hope to write and share a bit more this year if I can juggle it with the two girls who keep me busy at home, especially during the summer! I’m at NerdCampMI today, and I brought my kids with me to attend NerdCamp Jr. One of the things I included in their packing list was a notebook, and my heart totally melted last night watching them write “on vacation” and without me telling them too. So now, instead of wanting to write because I love writing and teach writers, I also want to write and share my writing with my children.

    My quick snippet:
    Around me, the melody and harmonies of laughter, greetings, sightings, selecting the perfect seat, and the hum of anticipation circle. I could have chose from hundreds of seats when I arrived, but now it’s difficult to find one. Ten minutes away, in the dark hotel room, she rubs her eyes, spies the rain, and begins to pout. “At least we can swim in the pool,” she mumbles as the thunder roars.

    1. I could totally relate to your character. You described the anticipation of choosing that seat perfectly.

    2. Hi Jen,

      I love that you shared. I also love that you are at NerdCampMi – SO JEALOUS!:)

      “I could have chose from hundreds of seats when I arrived, but now it’s difficult to find one.” – This sentence is beautiful and I can totally relate. I’m one of those people that struggle to find a seat (because I don’t want to disrupt anyone). I am so jealous of the woman or man that can climb over people while on her or his cell phone to find the perfect seat. I believe that they find seat finding adventurous.

      Thank you for sharing. Keep on writing!

    3. Hi Jen Howe!

      I wonder if we crossed paths at Nerdamp NJ! Meeting Gae in person was a great treat for an already phenomenal event.

      My two girls keep me busy as well, but at 11 and 9, they’ve become much more indepemdent. How old are your’s?

      I look forward to writing together this summer!

  13. Hi! I am Wendy from Gillette, Wyoming. I teach sixth grade at an elementary school and love it! I am excited to participate more this year than the last two years. I just participated in the Wyoming Writing Project and knew TW would help keep me writing daily. I recently re-started a blog and hope to show my students that writing is not a dreadful activity that adults force them to do.

    Snippet: Outside time is my favorite time, except for nap time, play time, belly time, chase time, stick chewing time, and food time. Oh and find socks time. Really though it’s outside time. That is where I am right now. Sitting in the grass. Minding my own business. What is that? Water! My pool! Nope not my pool. It’s hitting my head. Rain! Nope, not rain. I look around. Mom walks out…

    The rest is on my blog, http://chaulk-it-up.blogspot.com/. I don’t know where this piece will go, but it was fun to write.!

    1. Hi, Wendy! Glad you’re writing with us again this summer, and I LOVE the voice in what you shared this morning. So vivid & so much fun!

  14. Hi! My name is Hallie and I am a teacher in St. Louis, MO. I’m entering my tenth year of teaching and will be teaching 2nd grade for the first time this year, a change I am excited about! My writing for the morning:

    I’m standing on the field, glove on my hand, ready to play ball, but I look around and nothing is happening. We are all just standing in random spots. Even though everyone tells me how tall I am my coach tells me I am playing “short” – I don’t get it. I start kicking the dirt, it flies into the air! I kick some more and see how far it can go. I bend down and grab a handful of dirt. I raise my arm up and let the dirt drop from my hand. I like feeling the grains fall through my hand. I do this again and again and watch the dirt drift in the wind. Suddenly I hear coach yell, “Pay attention everyone! Batter up!”

    I quickly stand up. Mom has been telling me I need to go get the ball. I watch the batter, he swings but hits the tee, not the ball. He tries again, he hits it! The ball is on the other side of the field, but mom said I need to start moving out of my spot more, so I go for it. I run toward the ball, I see other kids running for it too, so I run faster! I reach down with my glove and fall on top of it. Other kids fall on the ground too – but I stand up with the ball in my hand! “Coach Ryan, I got the ball!” I yell and wave the ball in the air. He tells me to throw it to first. I look around the field at the different bags, forgetting which one is first. I look back at Coach and see him pointing so I throw the ball, then I turn around and wave to mom. She is clapping and smiling. I walk back to my spot, kicking dirt on the way.

  15. Hello fellow writers! I am a high school English teacher living in SW North Dakota. I teach sophomores, British Literature, journalism, and creative writing. I am a mother of three, Nana to three entertaining grandchildren, and wife of 34 years to my best friend and high school sweetheart. God is the center of all of it.
    Snippet: Willow pulled back the black curtain and peered out past the yard overgrown with thistle to the wooded pines. “How long would it take before anyone even knew I was gone?” She startled hersrlf with the sound of her own voice. Knowing the answer all too well, she dropped the curtain, reached for her stained navy hoodie and shuffled toward the door. She reached for her backpack, thought once again of the woods and decided.

    1. Wow, Sheila, your snippet is powerful! My favorite line is “She startled herself with the sound of her own voice.” Beautiful description! I wish there was more.:) Thank you for sharing.

    2. You left me wanting to read more! I loved the last line…”thought once more of the woods and decided.”

      1. Thanks, Marilyn. I appreciate your feedback! In fact, what do YOU think should happen?

        1. Oooohh..it could go so many ways. Is there something/someone in the woods she is going to meet? The overgrown thistle seems to suggest an unkempt neighborhood. Is that a metaphor for care in relationships?Why is she “shuffling” to the door rather than bolting, tiptoeing, etc? Even her name, Willow, suggests a certain vulnerability.

          1. Wow, Marilyn, you are pretty good. I love your eye for metaphor. You’ve also given me a spark for an added direction. Thanks.

    3. Sheila, I love the little details (the stained hoodie, the thistle). I would love to read more.

    4. Pulled on my heart when you wrote about Willow knowing the answer all too well. Who would miss her?

  16. Hi, I’m Karen from NJ, I teach K. I am an avid reader and wannabe author in my head. I am pretty sure my writing is too wordy, but welcome any and all suggestions. I am also not a confident writer, yet. So I’m jumping in because from what I’ve read in here the water looks safe…

    Today’s writing assignment…

    As I sit outside on this Monday morning I begin to hone in on everything around me as I sit and have my first cup of coffee. I am most grateful that I am alone right now for this, those first few sips are blissful! It is overcast and warm but not yet hot. The stream is trickling because we recently had a lot of rain. It’s a sound I don’t always hear even though it is right next to my house. It is comforting background noise. The tiny birds are busy this morning and I hear lots of backyard chatter, yet their chatter has a calming effect on me just like my trickling brook. I am offended by the sound of a passing car. A busy bumblebee is at work in the flower box near my head and it makes me happy to have given him a little piece of Happy this morning. A plane flies overhead and is also not an unwelcome sound. It’s the cars…it’s the potential of other people that breaks my calm. I want to hide here for as long as I can this morning. It is hard for me to let go and give in and just be. My head is swimming with what I have to do, how it will all go down and what does my week look like? I need to just bee.

    From the bumblebee…
    I have a lot of ground to cover today but am happy to be back here in these long flower boxes. My body is heavy as I cling to these tiny red flowers but because they are close together I can move from flower to flower with ease as I collect my pollen and then head back to my hive. My body vibrates and I buzz along. This is a productive morning, no one and nothing in my way. Well except for that lady hovering over me with that contraption, I’ll just ignore her…I’m bizzzzzzy. Oh hey there, Stan! Howz it going today?

    1. Welcome, Karen! I’m so glad you’re writing with us this summer and yay for you, being brave enough to share on day one! I love that you chose the bumblebee’s perspective to share – that’s one I’d never thought about before!

    2. Hi Karen,

      You are no longer a wannabe author (I smiled when I read this). You just published your writing for the entire TW community to see and it is wonderful. I could feel the calm that sitting at home brings and the anxiety of what lies ahead from reading your perspective. I loved the bees perspective, which says a ton about how well written it is because I’m very allergic to bee stings. I thoroughly enjoyed the line, “My body is heavy as I cling to these tiny red flowers but because they are close together I can move from flower to flower with ease as I collect my pollen and then head back to my hive.” I felt compassion for the bee (this is not how I usually feel about bees). And the end made me smile again. Thank you for sharing. Keep on writing!

    3. I want to be sharing that coffee with you! And how dare that car interrupt your quiet thoughts!

  17. Good morning! I am an elementary ELA teacher in Wyoming. I’ve content-specialized for several years now at the fourth grade level, but am changing jobs in the fall. I’ll be at the fifth grade level in a dual immersion school (English side of Spanish/English program). This week I am in Iowa attending the Summer Writers’ Festival, so this excerpt is double-dipping a little:

    Miss Hess’s sharp, shrill whistle bouncing off the block walls signaled, “Clean your plates, you filthy creatures! Get out!” Hands down, she was the most misplaced faculty member of my entire school career. Frankly, now that I think about it, she was misplaced in the 70s and I think that may have been her problem. Her head, her heart, her values, and her dresses never left the 50s.

    It wasn’t easy to make plans when this woman was on lunch duty. She had the uncanny knack for hearing whispers amidst the roar of voices bouncing from floor to ceiling like the basketballs of morning PE class in that same room. I don’t think it was her ears that were so sensitive though, but her horn-rimmed eyes that were tuned to the expressions on children’s faces that told her plans were being laid. Plans that were up to little good, or even no good.

    Wendy always managed though. She made just about all our plans. So after dumping the remains of our tot casseroles in the bins, the three of us put on our I-am-a-good-samaritan faces and casually walked through the doors to the playground of Henderson Elementary. As the sun overhead hit us, Shaun and I blocked it with our hands and looked to Wendy.

    Shaun and I were boyfriend and girlfriend. We decided that based on the fact that each of our names was five letters long. They were perfect for matching up on the grid paper we were using for math, well, in math class for writing Shaun loves Libby, Libby loves Shaun. A perfect match really, and because we were boyfriend and girlfriend, we needed to kiss. Well, Wendy convinced us and the rest of the lunch table agreed. So there we were, waiting for her to give us the nod to head to the dumpsters.

    1. I love “her head, her heart, her values and her dresses never left the fifties! The details are really great in this piece. I enjoyed reading it!

  18. Hello All, I’m excited to have found and joined my first TW. I’m a high school English/ESL teacher in Glassboro, NJ happy to have as many writing friends as possible. I’m not sure about any of you, but for me, writing can be lonely.

    My quick snippet is from the POV of a story I am working on about a cat that feels more like a dog.
    Look at that cloudy day. Look at those puddles! Get me off this cold, hard, and dusty windowsill, and into that warm, soft, mud! Ahhhhhhh, that would be a good day.

    1. Hi, Maureen, and welcome! Writing can be lonely sometimes, but not here. 🙂 I love the idea of a cat with identity questions – such a fun point of view!

  19. Good morning everyone!

    My name is Adrienne and I teach 6th grade Humanities in Portland, OR. This is my first year participating in Teachers Write and i am both nervous and excited. I am hoping to get some new pieces I can share with my students during Writers Workshop.

    I read today’s assignment and decided to talk my dog (Lucy the basset hound) for her morning constitutional while I observed and pondered POV. Watching her sniff every blade of grass, I decided she would be my inspiration today. Here’s a snippet where I try to capture her fleeting thought process.

    K@t touched this blade of grass…and this one. But Otherk@t has been here, too. It went this way. Bouncy Boxer seems to have passed this way this morning. I am glad he isn’t around – he makes me nervous. Look at this long, delicious blade of grass. I think I will just… UGH! Why does Momperson alway pull me away from them?

    1. Welcome, Adrienne! I love your dog’s point of view here! That’s a perspective I think about all the time when I’m working on my Ranger in Time series.

  20. Good morning! I am a 5th grade literacy teacher in Charlotte, NC. I am married with 4 children — the youngest just graduated high school. I am thankful for this opportunity to create and share during my summer “brain break.” I am currently on my first trip to Seattle, visiting my sister-in-law and visiting briefly with my 21 year old son, who is on a summer tour with a drum corp. I am struggling to find the words for what I’m seeing and feeling as I look out of the hotel window.

    Mt. Rainier is easily the largest landform — largest anything– I have ever seen. As I gaze out of the hotel window, it’s snow capped peaks rise above the trees, a sleeping giant, benign and watchful, but with terrifying potential. How can anything be that big?

    1. Hi, Marybet! Glad you’re writing with us this summer – and how lovely to have such a great setting in which to write your first day’s assignment. Mt. Rainier is spectacular.

    2. An unexpected visitor (my parents’ 10-week-old Lab puppy) pulled me away from the computer today; but I am so excited to participate in Teachers Write! While playing with the puppy, baking a cake, and trying to assure our dog that the puppy was only visiting, I thought about what I plan to write in response to today’s prompt. I hope it’s okay to write my response tomorrow! My name is Lori, and I teach 7th graders in Lexington, KY. This summer, I am enjoying time with my husband (an elementary school principal), our two sons (18 and 16), and our miniature schnauzer (who spent the day hiding from our guest).

  21. Good morning! I am a third grade teacher near Sacramento, California. I have been participating in Teachers Write for several years now. I believe it has made me a much better writing teacher. TW also got me started writing a fiction story, which has been a lot of fun for me.So, thank you so much, Kate, Gae, and Jo for providing this opportunity. It has truly been a gift! Here’s what I wrote in response to today’s prompt:

    Nina slipped out the door and into the backyard. The backyard where she had spent so much time in years past and where soon, once the house sold, she would no longer be welcome. The planter boxes her grandfather had built years ago and had filled with glorious vegetable plants stood abandoned and overgrown with weeds. Why they were able to grow without water when nothing else could, Nina didn’t understand. Her grandmother’s wind chimes jingled softly in the gentle breeze that danced over Nina’s bare legs and arms, and in the distance, a passing train sounded its lonesome whistle. The gravel crackled under Nina’s feet as she made her way across the yard to the wooden bench under the once majestic redwood trees that now stood spotted with dead leaves that littered the ground beneath them. Nina sat down on the rickety bench, weathered by years of alternating sun and rain, and slowly rocked it back and forth. Closing her eyes, she breathed in the sweet smell of dirt and leaves, imagining that everything was green and lush again and her grandparents were just inside the house, waiting for her.

    1. What a poignant description of the changes in this backyard that’s been so important to Nina. I’m hooked and want to read more!

    2. You have really captured the mood of your character and how she would see the backyard at this moment. I loved you description!

  22. Hi! I’m Marilyn, a reading specialist in Springfield, VA. I’m trying to be braver this summer by sharing some of my writing rather than just reading! My joy in teaching is co-teaching writing workshop in grades K-5. Here’s my bit of writing off of the prompt today:

    That messy mimosa tree bothered him every summer when rain brought down the brown, gloppy, former blossoms. Such a mess to clean off the sidewalk. Why did they let that volunteer grow up anyway? They should have mowed it down while they still could.
    Watching from the kitchen window, she could imagine the sweet smell of mimosa blossoms. It seemed to have taken longer this year for the blooms to appear. Soft, pink, airbrushed invitations to birds and insects. Dragonflies darted in and out and shimmered in sunshine. She turned the water back on and rinsed a few more plates.

    1. “…soft, pink airbrushed invitations….” LOVE this description. I even love saying it out loud! I want to stand by her and look out the window.

      1. Thank you for your response! The word “invitations” took quite a while to come, but it seemed right.

    2. Reminds me of the mimosa tree in my childhood backyard. They did have “soft, pink, airbrushed invitations.”

    3. Here’s to being brave, Marilyn! Thanks for sharing today – your post made me want to breathe in the smell of those blossoms.

  23. Hi,

    My name is Mary Lee and I teach third grade in California. I have participated, mostly privately, in TW for several summers. I also started taking writing classes recently and have learned that I am a slow writer, so I really appreciate the time all of the authors are taking out of their writing schedules to share their time and experience with us!

    In this quick write, both points of view were my own:

    My husband’s up early again and this morning’s debate swirls in my head. Am I mad I’m awake at 5:30 on a summer vacation day or am I happy to be up with so much day ahead of me? Thoughts float in tandem. “I should get to lounge in bed in the summer” is followed by “I love to walk Boh on a quiet morning path.” “I stayed up too late watching 2001 A Space Odyssey” is trailed by “I slept through at least half the movie.” Gray thoughts, always followed by sunny ones. Every con has a pro, but I’m not cheering myself out of the funk I woke with.

    I live in what is fondly, or not so fondly, called P Foggy G, Pacific Grove, California. In this town, shops sell sweatshirts all year long. We can spot tourists by their pale, wetsuit-free bodies and their shrieks when they hit the Pacific waves and realize the ocean is just as cold as we warned them it would be. I grew up in a place where summer meant blistering sun, sweltering cars, tank tops and flip-flops. The transition to my new home has sometimes been tough for me. This is one of those days. My mood may well hinge on my first peek out the window. Can I muddle through if the weather is foggy outside as well?

    1. Sometimes I wonder why the weather has such power over mood. I’m a slow writer, too. I’m glad we can work on this together!

    2. Welcome back, Mary Lee! Love this description of your town – especially the way you describe the weather without ever describing the forecast – it’s so vivid the way you let the all-year-round sweatshirt sales and the contrast of tourists without wetsuits tell that story.

  24. Hi everyone,

    My name is Diana and I’m a teacher in Mississauga Canada. This is my second year doing this. My goal this year is to share more often. Below is my description of a second hand store near my house. I am trying to describe it from two points of view.

    Amelia pulled the heavy glass door and walked into the store. She had seen the sign on the window and they were hiring. She needed a job and this one was perfect! Amelia loved fashion and had an eye for good design. The store was huge, much bigger than it looked on the outside. The windows were tinted and the colours were dark so the store took on a mysterious feeling like there were treasures to be found here. Compared to her closet, with just a few outfits to rotate throughout the week, this store was full of possibilities, row after row of clothes organized by colour and size, that she could go through looking for a prize. The clothing looked like it had been washed and worn until it was soft and comfortable, like a favourite blanket she had slept with when she was a baby. She took a deep breath, breathing in the slightly dusty mix of different laundry detergents, spotted the cashier, and headed over to ask about the job.

    This was not like the stores he usually shopped in. The store smelled like forgotten clothes that has been left in a damp gym bag, mixed with dust and a faint hint of expired dryer sheets. The store was so crowded and dark, the windows tinted to block out the sun and the trim painted seventies brown. There were a few individual outfits displayed high on the wall where no one could reach, but most of the clothing was all melted together, hung on racks into one blurred mess. They were arranged by colour but most of the pieces had faded from being washed so many times so everything looked dull and grey.

    1. Hi Diana! I’m a teacher in Mississauga too! I love the way you describe the clothing like a favourite blanket. The girl and the guy perspectives are an interesting contrast.

    2. Diana, I love the guy/girl contrast here, the gal, in search of hidden treasures and the guy referring to everything as dull and grey. Relatable without being cliche.

    3. Welcome back, Diana! I love the way your writing here shows that even smells can be perceived differently, based on a character’s identity and frame of mind.

  25. Hello all! I’m Melissa. I am going on my 4th year teaching 1st grade in Texas. I am a Teachers Write first timer, and I am extremely nervous. I read a tremendous amount and never write. I’m actually struggling with this first assignment. I have an idea but don’t know how to execute it.

    I want to write about a raindrop that’s excited for his big day to fall from the sky with his graduating class, if you will. He’s nervous about falling into a sewer or in the mouth of a 5 year old, but either of those would be better than the sidewalk. A raindrop’s purpose is to help things grow, but he’ll learn that rain always gets another chance..and another..and another (the water cycle).

    I haven’t fully developed the idea, and I don’t know how to start yet. I’ll post again if I figure it out. Thanks!

    1. Welcome, Melissa! You know what? In telling us how you had a not-quite-ready-to-write idea – your raindrop and its fears – you’ve actually written a first draft of the assignment. Sometimes telling your idea to a friend brings out the words – at least the first version – and then you can work with those words to revise later on. 🙂

  26. Hello all, I’m a 4th grade teacher in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I love teaching writing, and I also like to write. I have mostly been blogging, but I an dipping my toe into a project — a biography for middle grades of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, an unusual woman of the 18th century. I’m here at Teachers Write to help me try things as a writer. So here’s my POV snippet, from the point of view of my 17-year-old cat, who we no longer let outside because he’s partly deaf and not so spry anymore.

    Why won’t she open the door for me? I’ve been sitting here asking since dinner. There’s a squirrel in the grass. I want to be out there with all the smells. The bugs in the grass. The squirrels always ran away, up the trees, when I would come out, but the bugs were always in the grass. Grass. It’s good to crew on, though sometimes I throw up later. Fortunately I can always find a nice place on the carpet to throw it up. But first, I need to be out there! Just open the door!

    1. Hi, Becky! Great work today – and you’ll be excited to know that we have a guest post especially about biographical research later on this month!

  27. Hi y’all! This is my first year of TW and I am sooooo nervous. I teach 9th grade English in Texas and I haven’t seriously sat down to write in years. STAAR, TAKS, and the like and made me feel like I didn’t need to and that it wouldn’t matter. How wrong have I been!?. How much have both I and my students missed!? We are taking the plunge and implementing the Readers Writers Workshop model in my classroom and on our campus this year (pray for us… I’ve been “piloting” this for 3 years now and it has always been shut down, which has killed my confidence), and my hope is that TW will teach me, encourage me, break barriers, grow, and unearth the love of writing I used to have so that I can give my students more of what they ACTUALLY need this year. This is for them as much as, if not more than, it is for me.

    I wrote from the perspective of my one-year-old black lab this morning after observing the pleasant rain showers in my neighborhood:
    Sweeeeeeeeet! Mom’s opened the window! Oh the smells, the sounds, the … ARF ARF ARFF!!! I have been on high alert since it’s just been Mom and me at home for lots of days. (Does she ever work?) I’m protecting her, but I don’t know why she keeps looking out the window… she doesn’t have anything to make noise at. It’s just that wet mess of a day that makes my paws like she doesn’t want them on her bed. Or the couch. The rug. Her lap. Can we go play now??! Time to lay my big-eyes face on her. She loves that!

    1. Welcome, Kylee! It’s okay to be nervous – I’m always nervous when I write (or especially, when I first share a draft!) and that’s after ten years doing this professionally. It’s awesome that you shared your fantastically enthusiastic black lab writing on our very first day!

      1. Thank you so much! 🙂 It’s nice to know I’m not alone, and I love this community of writers. Thanks for making this possible.

  28. Happy Monday! I am a 4th grade teacher and a newbie to TW. I’m excited to push myself WAY beyond my comfort zone over the next few weeks.

    Snippet: The earlier sounds that filled my ears with the break of day have vanished. Now, it’s all about the noise, or lack thereof, after everyone has left for work. Gone are the cars that line the streets. Gone is the slap, slap, slap of my child running after me. Instead, I lie here listening to the regular rumble of a plane overhead as it makes it’s approach for landing. Tick tock tick tock goes the clock, as I wait for that moment when the door creaks open and my boy bursts in. It’s time for another run!

    1. Welcome, Lisa! I love the way your writing today highlights the absence of sound- and how important that can be to a setting, too.

  29. Hello, I’m Annie. I’m a second grade teacher from New Jersey. I’m on a teaching hiatus at the moment, but still want to find ways to better myself and my students in the writing world. This is my first time participating in Teacher’s Write. I’m crazy nervous about posting my own writing, like everyone is. I’m struggling with writing today, because my morning feels chaotic. Because of my 6 and 3 year old I am an early riser, even though my inner self wants sleep in like a 16 year old. I stayed up way too late reading. I’m sitting outside at our lake in our community. I come early, before anyone else. My children are running in sand, laughing and playing on the playground. I often think about my almost 3 year old and how absolutely insane his imagination must be.

    Today’s writing:

    Through Jude’s eyes at the top of the slide serenading himself to the “Imperial March” (a.k.a. Darth Vader music) and wearing a towel over his head as a cape.

    I am protector of this Death Star, no one can reach me. As I see rebel forces approaching I begin to panic, what do I do? I move to the opening in the doorway, I channel my long forgotten sister Elsa of Arendale and freeze all invaders with my ice freeze. I capture the invaders in ice. Ha Ha! No one can defeat my magic freeze.
    Oh, swings! Ela let’s go on the swings!

    1. Welcome, Annie! I’m so glad you’re writing with us this summer – and way to go, getting the assignment done while juggling the kiddos on day one! I love what you chose to share – it makes me long for the days my own kids were playing pretend and wearing capes. 🙂

    2. Thanks Annie for sharing Jude and his thinking. i am in awe on any given day watching the world through my child’s eyes. Savor the every day little moments.

    3. Hi Annie,

      I am feeling your post. I actually have a 7-year-old and 10-year-old that wake up with the birds, and a 12-year-old and 14-year-old that wake up at lunch. I get very little done in the morning.

      I love this line – “I channel my long forgotten sister Elsa of Arendale and freeze all invaders with my ice freeze. I capture the invaders in ice.” I love the comparison between the two movies and the vivid description. Well done!

      Keep writing and I will keep reading. Thank you for sharing.

  30. I’m a librarian, I introduced myself yesterday. This was hard for me. It all sounds good in my head and then when the times comes to put it on the page. UGH!

    Living room full of toys laying out, legos left in structures and chaos.

    As I entered the living room, I see joy. My grandkids making houses with cars parked out of legos, toys that have been loved and left behind for the next thing and kids being able to be kids. This is a place with happy kids and smiling faces.

    1. Charlotte, I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I do so much editing in my head that the idea gets lost before I can write. I’ve tried to be better at telling that inner critic in my head to leave me be and just let me write. After all, that’s what revision is for! Keep on writing, girl!!

    2. Welcome, Charlotte! Just so you know, this…

      “It all sounds good in my head and then when the times comes to put it on the page, UGH”

      …is pretty much the story of every writer’s life, so you’re in great company!

  31. Good Morning! My name is Susan MacKay-Logue and I am a core ELA/history teacher for 5th grade in California. For this activity, I took a look at the setting of my story from a mother’s perspective and then her daughter’s.
    First, Sarah (the mom)
    The road was so dark, that she nearly missed the driveway.  There was no moon and the sky was lightly overcast, giving the woods an eerie shimmer. She drove slowly down the dirt driveway, lowering the windows to listen to the woods.  As the tires crunched a rhythm into the sand and pine needles, Sarah listened to the world outside.  Night critters rustled the leaves of the trees lining the way.  In the next drive, an owl called out a greeting.  The scent of pine and moist leaves filled her nose and her memory.  This driveway had always led to safety, to love, companionship, to family.  There was always a sense of excitement and adventure when Sarah approached the cottage, but tonight it was different.  

    She pulled carefully into the sandy drive in front of the back door.  The cottage, dark and too quiet, held back its welcome.  Closing the door lightly behind her, Sarah walked around the side of the house toward the front porch, toward the lake.  The lake finally welcomed her, its waves licking the shore in short, repetitive ticks.  She crossed the front yard to the steps of the dock and followed them down to the shore.  She was part of the darkness now, part of the sand and pine and water.
    Then the daughter, Claire.
    The dark water slapped at the shore.  Claire tried to find comfort in the rhythm, but it felt discordant and unsettled.  The moonless night, suffocating and oppressive, added to her anxiety.   She knew that she could no longer find comfort at the lake.  No longer would the water wash away her worries and her sins.  This dock, where she had happily sunned herself like a sea lion for most of her life, now felt dirty and humiliating.  How had she let it come to this?  She was glad for the darkness, as it hid her tears and her shame.

    1. Oooh. I love the pacing and suspense. You gave me Judy enough to make me want to turn the page for more!!

      1. Thank you, Kate. I’m so glad that you suggested this exercise, as I hadn’t considered comparing the two experiences. Torch Lake is kind of a character in my mind, so looking at it from two related, but different perspectives, was illuminating for me.

    2. Sue, I love this. The sense of foreboding from the daughter’s POV really had me wondering what was it that had turned a once peaceful, calm place into one that now provokes anxiety and darkness. I want to know more.

      1. I’m glad that Kate suggested this activity. I think looking at the juxtaposition of the two POVs made the conflict a little clearer for me. Thanks for your kind words, Nicole. I look forward to reading your work (swears and all!).

    3. This snippet makes me want to know more about the darkness at the lake. I can feel it.

      1. Thanks, Brandy. I hope that this summer’s activities will explore these exact issues. 🙂

  32. I teach kindergarten, and I write picture books and middle grade novels. Also an occasional poem when it arrives. I’m always trying to improve my writing craft. I’ve participated in Teacher’s Write for a couple of years. This summer I’m struggling with revisions of a picture book manuscript and revisions of a middle grade novels, while sneaking in a few minutes a day to work on something new. Here’s two different points of view I wrote this morning:

    POV #1: Yay! Grass! So many new smells. What’s that? Rustling bushes make me nervous. Any minute a strange creature could jump out at me. Sniff. Sniff. Hoppy-legs have been here. Bushy-tails. And lots of little people. Sniff. Sniff. One of them left crumbs behind. Slurp! Wait! I wasn’t finished. I don’t want to go back yet!

    POV#2: “Stop pulling, Cutie.” I can’t believe I said that name out loud. Who would name their dog something so dumb? I hope none of the guys see me out here. I thought walking across this lawn where the old people are playing checkers would be safer than cutting past the courts. My real friends should get that I’m only walking dogs for the cash, but that doesn’t mean they won’t bug me if they see me with this fluffball. “Hey, come on. Is that rabbit poop? Let’s go!”

  33. Hi Teachers and Writers!
    My name is Meg and I joined TW last summer. This summer I plan on dedicating more time to writing. In my 12 years of teaching, it is my first summer not working another job. A large part of my decision to take a summer off was to focus on my writing. I recently read Mary Oliver’s Upstream and she said, “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” How could I not write after reading that?

    Here is my snippet:
    There is a slightly more than gentle breeze today, moving our maple tree to the beat of the windchime. Wind is good like that, moving everything to the same rhythm. The neighbor’s sheet, hung on the side of their back deck to keep out the sun, is also joining in. It is more like the timpani – it’s sagging middle bellowing out an invisible boom as the wind moves it. The edges trembling to hold the entire sheet onto the nails securing it to the porch.

    I see horsetail wisps of clouds, one, two, in the sky. Their see-through white still allows the pale blue sky to seep through. These gentle giants are unmoved by the wind. They creep along like a snail, unaware that the rest of the world is in a hurry to sway.

    And from my cat’s perspective, who joined me on the back deck this morning:
    I see criss cross ceilings and a wide blue floor. The roughness feels funny on my small padded feet.

    Wait! What is moving? There is some kind of big animal making noise coming down the – oh. It is gone.

    There are long white stripes rising up to meet the bridge I like to walk on.

    Wait! Something is moving. On that space across from our space. I am ready to leap. If it weren’t for those long white stripes I could leap right over to that green prickly tower and catch that darn bird. It’s over there – now over there!

    Wait! What is that? That little black thingy zig zagging so fast. He is on my space – I can catch him for sure. Be careful, be still. I’ll sneak under the criss-cross things my lady likes to sit on. Then I can…darn it! Gone.


    1. Welcome back, Megan! I love both of these snippets – your cat’s perspective especially. It’s so much fun to get out of your own skin and consider a totally different point of view, isn’t it? I have a blast with that when I’m writing from a dog’s perspective in my Ranger in Time series.

  34. Hi, I’m Lisa. I live outside of Baltimore, MD. I teach middle school English and also have a high school Creative Writing class. I’ve read everything on Teachers Write the last couple of years, but haven’t posted before. Putting time aside to work on my own writing has changed, and I hope improved, the way I teach it to my own students.

    Here’s my snippet, from the POV of my dog, a fluffy, white Samoyed:
    Lisa doesn’t seem to be paying attention to me, so I think I’ll slip under the deck. Yes, the cool dirt feels so good on the paws. Just a little digging. Yes, that’s it. Got to make this hole as big as my other one. Love the earthy smell of dirt. Oh, and just a little taste.
    “Lucy! Get out from under there!”
    Oh no. Caught. I’ll try a good shake and an innocent look. I trot up the deck steps, hoping for a treat.
    “Look at your paws! And your nose!”
    She’s got that look in her eyes. Don’t wipe the paws. They smell so good. Sigh. Time for a nap.

    1. Hi, Lisa! Welcome back, and yay for you posting on day one this year. Way to start the summer with courage! Love your dog’s perspective here. 🙂

    2. Thanks for sharing, Lisa. I love your last few lines in particular; I’ve totally said things like that to my dogs, and I love the detail in the dog’s POV about how good her paws smell.

  35. Hello. My name is Jen McGraner and I teach K-4 English Learners in Ohio. This is my first time participating and am very excited! I’ve always loved writing. Growing up I would keep writing journals during my summer break. To this day I still handwrite my 96-year-old grandpa letters and mail them to him. My EL students all have composition books for journals during the school year and take them home for the summer. I’m very excited about this adventure!!

    Here is my snippet from this morning:
    Yesterday’s clear blue sky is now covered up by a thick blanket of clouds. I awoke this morning to a heavy downpour with thunder in the distance. The fierce moving wind blew our patio furniture to places unknown. Two Adirondack chairs are now hugging each other with a bush at their feet and a rose bush at their heads. If they could speak they would be saying “ouch” right about now. A small table was blown into the grass away from its cement patio home. I suppose it’s comfier out in the soft, plush grass. A heavy, covered fire pit now sits lonely all by itself and missing the chairs and table that were once placed carefully around it. Windchimes are reminding all of the misplaced furniture that there will be happy days ahead once they are placed back to where they belong.

    1. Hi Aileen! Thanks for sharing your piece. There’s a strong voice here. I particularly liked the lines at the end: “Hold on a minute. Isn’t it too hot to go out? Like unhealthy air quality or humidity or something?” I love the sort of nonchalant excuse vibe going on there; it really rings true!

  36. Hello, all. My name is Gail. I’m a 6th grade ELA teacher in Johns Creek, GA. This is my first time participating in the camp, and I am brand, spanking new at writing. As I prepare to start my third year of teaching, I am determined to be a teacher who writes so that I can better teach my students to become writers. My family is currently on vacation at Disney. My snippet today was inspired by our stay at the Beach Club resort. The perspective of the piece is from an elderly widow.

    Walking into the resort with my daughter and her family was like taking a step back in time. Dormant memories of summer days on the Jersey shore quickly erupted. As we made our way through the grand lobby and out the back door, I was taken aback by the familiar sight of an expansive boardwalk that stretched out before me. As my eyes strolled along the wooden promenade, I spotted all the delights that made summer at the shore, well… summer at the shore: cotton candy, saltwater taffy, caramel corn, hotdogs, and even a vintage soda shop. I was surrounded by nostalgia. Suddenly, unexpectedly, a wave of sentiment mixed with a hint of melancholy overtook me, and my mind was transported back to a warm summer day in July 1946. The day I met my Robert.

    1. Gail,
      Beautiful! You don’t seem so spanking new to me! It’s lovely. Powerful volcano metaphor.

      Congratulations for joining the Teachers Write group. I’m sure you will have lots of success. I look forward to reading more, hopefully about this gal and Robert.

      Enjoy your trip to Disney!

    2. Welcome, Gail! Love this post, even though it’s totally making me crave cotton candy. (You did that on purpose, didn’t you?!)

    3. Welcome to the camp Gail! Thanks for taking the courageous plunge of sharing your writing, which by the way, is quite lovely! You painted quite a picture of the boardwalk, and I was strolling along with you, plank by plank, ready to learn about Robert. Brand spanking wonderful piece here!

  37. The teachers were clustered on two benches under the lone tree on the playground. I could hear Mrs. Blake’s laughter from across the playground as she listened to Mrs. Gordon. Miss Jones and Mrs. Hall looked at something on Miss West’s cell phone. Mrs. Lee was really the only grown-up paying attention to the kids on the playground. Her eyes constantly darted around the playground and occasionally she blew a whistle and called out someone’s name. I watched her walk over to the slide to remind Paul that he wasn’t supposed to go down the slide head-first.
    I walked around the playground again. Everyone seemed to be laughing and having fun. Macy squealed as Jason pushed her on the swing. Billy twisted the chains on his swing, spinning around and around when he let them loose. Ben and John kicked a ball back and forth, trying to keep it away from Maddie and Josie. A big group of kids played kickball on the blacktop. Joey was trying to boss everyone around and Layla wasn’t letting him get away with it. She faced him, hands on her hips, and shook her finger at him. Mrs. Lee noticed and strode over to them. She held up her hand, said something to both, and then the game continued.
    I stopped to pick mulch out of my shoe. Every day at recess, I had to pick mulch out of my shoes. I hate mulch. It’s so prickly and sticks to my socks. When I looked up, I saw the new girl. I think her name was Grace or Gracie. She stood in the middle of the playground, just looking around, half-smiling as she watched everyone.

    1. I like all the details you included. I find that kid who Hang back at recess often know everyone and everything that’s going on. Very authentic!

  38. Kitty West here. I am a 5th grade teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. I just completed my 30th year of teaching. I have participated in NANOWRIMO for the past 8 years which has been a blast. I am so grateful to be participating in Teacher Write this summer. Many thanks to all of you for making this happen.
    One morning, one backyard, two dogs…….


    The crazy lady who calls herself Mom is slipping her feet into her flip flops. I spring to all fours and make it to the bedroom door just as she is opening it. I run and slide, run and slide down the hall beating her to the sliding glass door. I am now desperate for a patch of grass, any patch of grass. It has been a long night in my bed under her bed.

    I am breathing heavily as I hit the lawn. I spend a few minutes searching for the just right spot. I lift my leg and ahhhh sweet relief. The light summer breeze gives me the all the information I need about the neighborhood. That cat ran across the lawn again last night. I tried telling her last night. She was rude and told me to shut up. The family that shares our back fence has a pot of beans cooking. I can also hear the chickens next door enjoying breakfast and planning their day. Like they do anything. I trot over to the side fence we share with them.

    “Ernie.” She warns me. Then I hear the Boxer next door and race to the fence. With my fiercest bark I warn him to stay on his side of the fence. He yells the same message back at me.

    “Ernie!” I jump away from the fence. “Go. Into. The. House.”

    I race back into the house. The sliding glass closes.

    The Boxer Next Door

    Stepping into our backyard I hear the soft cluck of the chickens two yards over, smell the cat I warned the family about last night before being told rudely to shut up, and feel the rush of the dog next door. I see his nose in the hole in our fence. He is growling and the fence is shaking because he is pushing against it. I race over toward the black quivering nose and just barely feel the wet cold when I hear the lady next door call him off. I breathe in through the space formerly occupied by his nose. That cat had been through their yard too. And ohhhh Ernie had steak last night. Lucky. And don’t ask how I know. You know how I know.

    1. Love this! I’m also partial to stories from a dog’s perspective. I laughed out loud at the Boxer’s observation of Ernie’s dinner. Great job of making believe those were truly each dog’s thoughts.

      1. Thank you so much for this. And for the Seventh Wish…..you tackle an important topic.

  39. Hello, it’s Denise in Bahrain. I teach grade 5 English to native Arabic speakers at a private school. I’m so looking forward to Teachers Write! It’s hot here–sweltering heat and humidity, in fact, so I don’t have any summer fun excuses to not be a writer this summer! I live in an apartment at a hospital, where my husband works, and I sat out on the cement bench for a while today, thus the paragraphs I wrote.

    In my story, I started out thinking about a bullied teenager, as Kate mentioned as one of her ideas. We don’t learn much about him yet, but my goal is to start a story this summer. Maybe my story will be about Bailey. Here is what I wrote today:

    Bailey sat on the dirty cement bench. He quickly wiped away the tear in his eye before it ran down his cheek. His shallow breaths came not so much from fear of his father’s illness, but more from the sweltering heat and humidity.

    “Honey, come into the waiting area. It’s too hot out here,” Mom said, as she opened the door and started inside.

    “It’s OK, Mom. I’ll stay out here for a while.”

    “OK, when I hear from the doctor, I’ll come.”

    Bailey took the small sunflower he had picked and began pulling off the petals a few at a time. He flicked them onto the ground, then threw the broken flower. He ground the stem and sepal under his once-black Converse All-Stars. The high tops were folded over, and the rubber tips were split away from the gray and dirty shoe fabric. The broken shoe laces were long enough to make it through every other grommet, the aglets long ago split and broken off. Bailey kicked the flower remains away, as his feet swung under the bench.

    “Bailey, come quick,” Mom called from the hospital door.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Denise. You’ve got a lot of interesting things happening in this piece, and I’m eager to know more about this character. I really like the choice to hyper-focus on Bailey’s beat up sneakers. It perhaps seems like an irrelevant detail, given the context of the scene, but it’s a great way to show us more about him and his circumstances.

  40. Hi everyone! My name is Patty Toht (although I use my big girl name, Patricia, as an author). I live outside of Chicago and work in a middle school library. I’m happy to be here for the first time, hoping to recharge my writing after doing an extremely poor job of balancing work and writing this past year. Thank you so much, Kate and guest authors, for sharing your time and talents with us.
    My snippet: The rain begins softly, a cool caress on my leaves. Tiny drops gather and trickle down ridges in my bark. I sway in the soft breeze, branches welcoming the respite from the sweltering heat. CRAACK! Lightning snaps. I brace as thunder rocks my roots. Tranquility becomes trepidation.

    1. What a unique perspective. We just had some trees cut down on our property and I wondered what it was like for those organisms.

    2. Hello fellow Chicago suburban teacher / writer and welcome to the camp! This is a lovely snippet, from the perspective of a tranquil tree quickly shaken by the thunder. So glad you shared this! It reminds me to see through the eyes of nature as well!

  41. Hi, I am a newly retired Elementary School Library Media Specialist, who taught for 13 years the classroom before I moved to become a teacher in the Library for 13 more! This is my third year participating in TW. I have not shared my writing often.
    “I really want you to meet my sons before they start school in the fall.” Mrs. Wilkes tells me on the phone, “Especially John, because he is the child you observed at his preschool in May. John has challenges and will feel most comfortable meeting you for the first time in our home.”
    I go willingly on the home visit, but I have hesitations about my ability to successfully integrate John into our Kindergarten classroom. I have never taught a student who did not speak. How will I communicate with him? How will he express his needs and wants? How will the students respond to him and he to them?
    On the visit I learn that the family talks to John as if he understands everything they are saying. Their expectation is that he hears them and and he communicates using body language, noises, and sometimes, pushing or hitting. I cannot tell from his behavior if he is happy, sad, or upset. The family members seem very adept at this, however. For instance, there is a tray of donuts on the coffee table and John reaches out to touch them. His mom says, “No, John, I will get one for you and you may have one – only one.” John flails his arms in the air, almost hitting me in the face, as he growls loudly. “Oh, I know you don’t like to be told no, but you know the rule about touching food that is out for everyone, Mister, so don’t get so upset with me.” “Here is donut for you. Mrs. Wilke’s places a donut on a paper plate and holds it in front of her. She makes eye contact with John and says, “Show me “Thank You.” John growls louder and closes his eyes. “Okay, buddy, I can see you do not really want a donut right now.” She moves the paper plate with his donut across the table, out of his reach. John shouts louder and flails his arms, knocking pillows off of the couch. Then he slaps his hands together awkwardly and Mrs Wilkes says, “Well, that is more like it, I see you signed “thank you”. “Here is your donut.”
    As the donut is passed back within John’s reach, he grabs it off the plate and shoves it into his mouth, taking a huge bite and mumbles with satisfaction. Crumbs are everywhere, on his face, down his shirt, on the table and floor. Cosmo, their Golden Lab, seems suddenly eager to be be John’s best friend. “My brother loves donuts”, says Jim, John’s twin. “I can see that!” I reply, smiling. Jim continues, “He doesn’t talk using words yet, but you’ll get used to it.” “Oh, I’m sure
    I will”, I respond, with what I hope is a convincing tone. Later on, I leave with more questions than when I arrived. I’m not sure anyone can answer them except John.

    1. Hi, Mary!

      First of all, congratulations on your retirement. When I’m done teaching, which is over a decade away and I’m fine with that, my next dream job is school librarian. Our school library is the heart of our school and the librarian is the reason.:)

      I loved how you described the family dynamics of John’s family. It is so real. Over the last sixteen years of teaching, I have found that the dynamics play a major role of the student finding success (or not) in school. I also enjoyed how you introduced the entire family through the scene (even Cosmo).

      Well done! Happy writing! Thank you for sharing.

    2. Welcome, Mary! I’m intrigued by what you’ve written today – it makes me want to hear more of John’s story and the narrator’s (yours?) So glad you chose to share this!

  42. Hello,

    I have been on this site before, but mostly I have been an observer. This year, it is my goal to post often. I have just completed my 20th year teaching in an elementary school library in the Phoenix metro area. I teach 25 library classes a week, K-5. We’ve been out since late May. School starts again in 4 weeks! Whoa! With the help of a volunteer, I am able to get the most urgent things done to run the library. It is a busy job, often overwhelming, but I still love it. I also love to write. I really enjoy the craft of story and the excitement of researching something new. And of course I love to read.

    Here is something I wrote this morning for the prompt. It connects to my recent research on the native desert foods that are gathered in my state. I find the whole subject fascinating. But really, I am a city girl who loves nature.

    Grandmother held the long stick up to the Saguaro cactus, pushing against the crown of fruit poised high above her head. Her arms ached, tired from age and from many years of gathering wild foods in the Sonoran Desert. She hummed a happy song as she joined her community in celebrating bounty. This was a yearly tradition for her family and neighbors who lived in the dry lands north of the border of Mexico. There was no way to know if the birds had already feasted on the sweet fruit. Clusters, poised on top of three arms of the stately cactus would ripen over several weeks before the monsoon rains came in early July, only days away. She pushed up against it again with the end of her stick until it wobbled. Her eight-year-old grandson, Marco, eager to catch the fruit, held up the bucket as high as he could. He would move it about to judge which way the fruit would fall. Several pieces of fruit already lay on the tarp at their feet. He peered in the bucket.

    “Grandma, I’ve got one fruit. How many more do we need to make jam?”

    Thank you for all the time and energy that you and other authors have put into this wonderful forum.

    1. Hi Rachel,

      I am happy to hear that your goal is to post more writing. From what I read, I can’t wait to read more. It sounds like you are going to be busy writing and getting ready for school. My school dismissed for summer two weeks ago, so we still have eight weeks to get ready.

      Being from Upstate New York, your snippet took me into a setting that I have only experienced a few times in my life. This did not matter. Your vivid description made it feel like I was in the desert. It seems so beautiful (and hot:). I also loved Marco’s naive question at the end.

      Thank you for sharing – keep it coming. Happy writing!

    2. Welcome, Rachel – and way to go, starting the summer by sharing some writing on our first day! I’m smitten with desert landscapes and loved your description here.

    3. Hi Rachel!

      This is a setting that is not terribly familiar to me, and you brought it to life very well. I also love the relationship between Marco and his grandmother; it reminded me of my own grandparents, and made me want to keep reading. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Welcome, Michelle! And what an interesting perspective to share – the idea of feeling trapped by wilderness instead of the traditional freedom. So unique!

  43. Hi! I’m a reading specialist working in a year round elementary school in Alexandria, VA. I’ve been teaching for 21 years starting off my career as a middle and high school English teacher. Enjoying my (short) summer break. I head back to school in 2 1/2 weeks. Have tossed around thoughts of writing a children’s book, but never really pursued those thoughts. Am looking forward to this opportunity to take the first baby steps…Here I go putting just my toe in the pool.

    Bright sun through the window. “Where’s the rain?” she thought. She chewed on her thumbnail wondering how she could dissuade her little brother from wanting to go to the pool today. She knew that those girls would be there. The ones from school, the ones that….
    She shrugged the thoughts off. Maybe they had moved onto another target. There hadn’t been any new posts on her Facebook page.

    Xander came bounding into the room, yelling, “I got my bootie seetie on. We go to the pool.” His smile bringing warmth and joy distracting her from the worries inside her head. Picking Xander up, she rationalized that if those girls were at the pool they wouldn’t bother her if Xander was there.

    Setting her brother down, she sighed, “Okay we can go to the pool. Let me get ready.”

    “Get your bootie seetie on,” smiled Xander.

    Ava closed the door to the bathroom trying to decide which bathing suit to wear. Which one looks the best, or rather which one won’t make me get made fun of. Fighting back the tears, she got ready.

    1. Hi Brandy,
      Thanks for sharing this piece. As the mother of a middle-schooler, it makes my heart break a little. “The ones from school, the ones that…”. Ugh.

      But also “Hurray” for courage and resilience, as only in a few line, I feel myself hoping for Ava already.

      Thanks for sharing.

    2. Welcome, Brandy! I’m glad you’re writing with us, even though your summer break is short. I loved this post – especially the contrast between the younger brother’s innocence and the sister’s worries.

    3. Welcome Brandy! So glad you’ve decided to put the toe in the water. The other swimmers in here don’t bite, nor do they cast disparaging comments on the brave work of others. You’ll swim safely here, and be doing cannonballs in the deep end before the bootie seetie gets too wet. Your piece is a lovely snippet, reminding me of the fragile fears many of us experience when trying to enjoy such an innocent pleasure as swimming. Thanks you for helping me see the pool through the eyes of this delightful character.

    4. Oh, poor Ava! I could feel her pain. Every now and again I have a class with a “mean girl” clique. It’s always awful. The innocence of her little brother is so endearing. I want the girls to leave Ava alone when she is with Xander. I’m eager to know what happens.

      1. I feel like I need to explore this character more even though I initially just wrote for the mini lesson.

    5. Hi Brandy! Yeah for writing. I love the reality of your piece. Even as an adult, I’m still trying not to worry about what other people think but it is hard. Happy to see you here and good luck with your writing!

  44. Hello. I’m Nels Tooker. I teach a 5th and 6th grade multi-age class in New Hampshire. High up on my list of things to do before I die is to write a book. After letting an idea germinate (translation: putting off getting started) for a few years, I discovered TW this year. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone involved for the opportunity that looks like it’s exactly the push I need. I’m not one to dip my toes in the water slowly, I’m more of a “give me the rope swing, cannonball!, hope the water’s deep enough, if I break something it will heal” kind of person. So here it goes.

    My snippet:
    I fling the curtains open with a pop and already I realize my mistake. The sun blasting off the white railing on my porch gets magnified by my Coke bottle glasses and practically blinds me. It feels like I’m blind for real, not just most of the way, like the doctors told me, but the white light fades and I can see again. The neighbors lawnmower backfires, causing me to jump, though I wouldn’t admit it. Glad there’s no one here to see.

    I rub the stubble on my chin and gaze down the street. Just a bit of a breeze has them tall orange flowers ducking and weaving slightly. I look a little closer, toward the pavement. A cloud shifts making me squint even more and I can practically see the heat getting up off the blacktop in waves.

    I curl my lip and shake my head. Not going out today. Not to the park. Not to the store. Not with the way I move these days. Snap! I close the curtains with a flick of my wrist, then I give them a light left jab. They dip toward the window like every single tomato can I faced back when I still had it.

    1. Welcome, Nels! No need to be cautious here – the water’s fine, and the crowd is friendly. This is a great piece to share to kick off the summer – thanks for being brave!

  45. Hello everyone! My name is Jessica. I teach first grade in Alexandria, Virginia. I’ve always had a secret desire to be a children’s book author, but I’ve always held back fearing that my work just isn’t good enough. I guess it is time to face my fears and see what happens. Come what may, I’m really excited to be a part of this experience.

    Sorta Snippet: I was sitting in the courtyard of my apartment building near the pool. After writing about what I was observing, I began writing a story about two friends. One who was an excellent swimmer and one who didn’t know how to swim and was keeping it a secret from her friend. I’ll have to return to it later tonight when I have more time to write.

    1. Welcome, Jessica! Want to know a secret? We ALL worry that whatever we’re writing isn’t good enough. You…me..the other published authors who will be visiting this summer…and all of our students. So this is great practice being at peace with that and starting to feel more confident.

  46. Hi Everyone! I’ve taught in grades K – 5 for 18 years in Columbus, Ohio and am now trying to take more time for writing. I’m really excited about participating in TeachersWrite this year. I did my writing indoors today due to severe thunderstorms in my area.

    Here’s my snippet: I’m sitting at my dining room table and there is a thunderstorm outside. A glance out the window shows darkening skies, torrential rain making the tree limbs heavy and wet. It’s become so dark in here that I had to turn on the chandelier over the table. I can hear the rumble of thunder, the sump pump working in the basement below me, the clothes tumbling in the washer and dryer, a train whistle approaching and then disappearing, and cars passing in front of the house on the rain-slicked street. I can smell the cinnamon scent of an unlit candle on the table mingling with the aromas of fabric softener, laundry detergent, and the chicken pot pie I had for lunch. The disappearance of the sunshine combined with the cool air blowing from the air conditioning vent has made me shiver.

    Melanie is a fifth grade student in a story I’m working on, and here’s a bit of the same setting through her eyes: What the hell?! Why is it so freaking cold in here?! Why is the air conditioner cranked up so high? Who turns it up so high when it’s not even hot out anymore? It really sucks that it’s raining so hard outside, because it’s soooo boring in here. This dining table is huge and so fancy. I would love it if our family could eat at a nice table like this every day. But it’s obvious from all the stuff piled on it that no one ever eats here. What a waste!

  47. I teach second grade in Saginaw, MI. I am excited about learning new writing strategies to both improve my teaching and my own writing. This is my first year participating in #TeachersWrite. I’m nervous about sharing my own writing but am going to because I expect my students to.

    The birds woke me again this morning. I rolled over trying to muffle their cheerful greeting but it was no use. The sun’s rays found the single crack my curtains neglected to cover. Morning had settled in. My grandson’s footsteps pattered down the hallway toward the room. He burst into the door and threw open the curtains revealing the brilliant sunshine bouncing off the lake. “It stopped raining! Time to go fishing,” he said. “Let’s go Nana!”

  48. My name is Paola and I teach 8th grade Language Arts in Apopka, FL. This is my first time in this forum and I am quite excited to learn from all of you. Creative writing scares me as I don’t feel I am very good at it despite having a minor on the subject. I have always felt more at ease in academic writing as I get to hide behind great writers.

    Here my first attempt at this writing prompt. I wrote in the perspective of my 12-year old daughter as I dragged her to the pool this morning. This is just a snippet of it. I am still trying to get my thoughts together:

    I opened the door and my face is met by a hot and humid draft of air. For one moment, I can’t breathe, but my lungs seem to reset themselves and apprehensively welcome the warm air.

    “Ugh! It is so hot outside!,” I whined while rolling my eyes, which meet my mom’s gaze.
    “That is why we are going to the pool. Here take this,” she says while gently tossing a freshly laundered beach towel.

    I lazily catch a towel’s corner, the rest of it cascades down to the floor. The thought of wading in a warm pool, like a teabag inside a hot cup of water is not my idea of fun, but I cannot say no to mom again. She will accuse me of being antisocial or would spend thirty minutes on a self-serving discussion on how children today do nothing outside but play video games and be gloomy. To my defense, I stay inside because I don’t see how feeling like your nostrils are burning every time you take a breath is supposed to be amusing. Instead, I stay quiet, put my headphones in my ears, and start my defeated walk down our apartment stairs.

    As soon as I hit the asphalt, I can feel my plastic flip flops start to melt or maybe is just my desire to become liquid and maybe evaporate into thin air.

    1. Welcome, Paola! I was thinking about what you wrote about creative writing feeling riskier than academic writing. I feel that way, too, probably because creative writing always includes pieces of our hearts. I love your description here today – especially the melting flip flops that made me really feel the heat.

    2. Paola, I appreciate your piece as I have a twelve year old also. I can see and hear him in this moment. He is trying to avoid the pool at all cost this year providing a variety of excuses.

      In addition to the “melting flip flops” line, I was drawn to the so true to the age line right before, “and start my defeated walk down our apartment stairs.” That is what I think a twelve year old really feels when the battle is lost to the parent.

      I am inspired to take on the perspective of my twelve year old son in a writing piece soon however scary that will be for me. Thanks for sharing.

    3. Love the girl’s thoughts about her mom’s accusations and discussion about children today. I can totally relate!

    4. Hi, Paola! This is really evocative; you did a wonderful job setting the scene. I especially love the simile about feeling like a tea bag in a hot cup of water. Thank you for sharing!

  49. Krista Jensen from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I teacher grade 2. New to Teachers Write this year.

    My snippet:
    The quiet hung in the air like invisible dust that was wiped away every Tuesday. The ache was palpable in the room, in her breath, pushed aside into the quiet. The clock ticked nearly in unison with her knitting needles as she gazed out the partially closed blinds – open enough to peer out at the world without feeling its glare stream back in.

    The ring of the wall phone cracked the silence, startling her out of her chair with electrifying speed- jagged and sudden for someone of her age. It was unexpected. No one should call before David’s call at 7:30 this evening. The hope it brought relieved the ache a bit, making space for gut-knotting anticipation; sometimes hope was worse that the ache.

  50. Hello fellow campers! Greg Armamentos (3rd / 4th grade teacher / writer – Hoffman Estates, IL) here, jumping in my 4th camp. Some years I’ve been a very active camper, and other years I contracted the poison ivy early on and my writing was curtailed by that lame excuse in a virtual camp. 😉 Hopefully I will stay on the path and not get so itchy or blotchy. I admire the courage of my colleagues who write and share, and I will do my best to stay the course this year. Otherwise, send some aloe Vera lotion and I’ll make the best of it.

    Today’s response:

    Books and coffee. Words and aromas. Stimulation of the senses.

    Taking time in the local Barnes and Noble cafe has long been one of my favorite pastimes. I peruse the aisles looking for new titles to consider, new characters to get to know and new worlds to visit. This used to be our Sunday night date night for my youngest daughter and I, and while she has temporarily outgrown this tradition, I keep coming back, because some of my best friends are books.

    Yet just a few feet to my right, there is a counter that divides the bookstore from the cafe. And behind that counter, the barista brews order after order. The stories she enjoys come up to the counter, sometimes smiling, sometimes crabby, but always wanting something from her. Always needing. Always asking. Always pouring out their words. The aromas welcome me, but I wonder if they don’t stalk her, relentlessly, in layer after layer of clothing. Books just out of reach. Quiet interrupted every few moments by another person needing another cup or another bite or another shot when all she wants is to get lost in the solitude that rests just beyond the counter.

    This is my happy place. My escape. My weekly retreat.

    She just wants to escape.

    1. I love the “stories she enjoys come up to the counter”. I wonder what’s her story.

    2. Greg,

      Thank you for sharing this site with the District 15 gifted/talented team. I find your writing inspiring and descriptive, I can’t wait to read more!

  51. Hello Everyone, My name is Katie and I am a middle school special education teacher in Maine.I have been teaching for 17 years and my students still amaze and challenge me. This is my passion and I love every minute of of it 🙂

    Here is my snippet:
    She felt the sand drain slowly between her fingers. The sounds of the waves crashing, filled her ears. The heat warmed her skin as her heart beat slowly in her chest. She listened, but something was missing. She sensed it. She breathed deeply and she could feel the calming effect of the salt air in her lungs, but it was not enough to ease her. Her hair gently tickled her face as the wind caressed her cheek. She could not see around her , but it didn’t matter, she knew where she was. She has been there a thousand times, but not like this. This time it was different. This time she was not alone.

    1. Welcome, Katie! Thanks for being brave enough to share on our very first day. I love your description – it makes me want to go to the beach AND know more about this character, too!

  52. As a Library Media Teacher from PA who works in both elementary and middle school libraries, I’m lucky to discover authors who can write for readers of all ages. Messner is definitely such a model, so look forward to the challenge. My screen time may be more limited than I planned, since I ended up with an ER visit last night because I fell on staircase last night. The pain I’m experiencing today provided some unexpected inspiration for sone writing snippets, though.

  53. He steps slowly down the path. I wonder if he uses a cane when it’s not raining. Now he holds his umbrella with both hands and moves forward. I approach and say good morning then turn and see his broad smile. “Don’t you just love the rain?” he says, and I agree. “I don’t mind getting wet,” he continues, “but I love the chorus on my umbrella stage. The rain song allows me to imagine I am dancing down this path, celebrating the rain.”

    That old fool! Look at him, barely able to totter down the path, and that grin on his face. He’s just asking to be carted away to the home. Out in the rain with a smile. We’ve had so much rain, no one is smiling but that fool, clinging to his umbrella when he should be inside. I have a mind to call his daughter.

    1. I love the male character’s description of the rain on his umbrella. I never thought of it like that. It’s a nice contrast to the gloom your narrator describes and helps to see both perspectives.

    2. Hi Pamela, I like the contrast between perspectives. I can almost picture the second character as a busy-body neighbor, peeking out the window and passing judgement. It makes me want to read more and explore both of their stories.

  54. Hello there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a first-time participant. I’m a library tech at a K-8 school in Sacramento, CA, starting my 4th year at the school.

    Here’s my snippet, told from the point of view of my main character who is about to embark on a cruise with her family…
    Taylor stepped outside the building she had been in for the last several hours and closed her eyes, taking in the smell and sounds around her; the salty air of the ocean blowing against her face, the horn of a nearby ship getting ready to take sail, the cry of a young child who was too scared to board the large ship, the seagulls trying to find scraps for food among the crowds, the hot humidity of a Florida summer day against her skin. She opened her eyes and brought her camera up to capture the huge boat in front of her, her home for the next several days.

  55. Hi fellow TW campers! I’m Michele from North Carolina, and this is my third time participating (or more accurately, lurking) in Teachers Write. I am going to try to be brave and share this time. I’ve been teaching 3/4 grade combined as the writing teacher, among other things. But this time, I want to focus on my own writing and not so much a teacher of writing.

    Here are my snippets.

    Buzzing cicadas with high notes, keep at it circling their buzz back around again to a low hum. I can hear the clicks and buzz of their mid air tussle each trying to outperform the other.

    This is Gabbie a possible main character for a possible story experiencing the same thing.

    “Ahhh, listen to that sweet little chirping bird. I wonder why they call him a Purple Finch when he is clearly red? He’s probably looking for a friend. What was that? Did you hear that? BUZZZZZZZ Where is that sound coming from? Do you think it can get in the screened porch? Do you think it stings? I need to go inside now.”

  56. Hello – My name is Georgia Parker.I teach 8th grade English and a YA Lit Class for 8-12th grade students. I have been a TW lurker & participant from the beginning and always learn about awesome books, authors & writing strategies. Thanks to all the authors for ssharing their time and talents. If anyone has not seen Kate’s books – 59 REASONS TO WRITE or REAL REVISION – both are excellent!
    Here is a snippet of my WIP –
    I wake with my legs tangled in my sheets like the Confederate jasmine vine that wraps around the trellis outside my bedroom window. I slept but didn’t sleep. The night’s events replayed over and over and over in my head. Fireworks, lips, euphoria, disappointment play in a loop over and over. Each replay just as embarrassing and hurtful as the last. What was I thinking? I cover my head with my pillow and groan at the awkward situation I’m in. I pull myself out of bed with one goal for the day – avoid Brice. The Trader is 100 acres. How hard can it be?

  57. Hi, I am Janet, a 6th grade ELA/Social Studies teacher from Massachusetts. I have taught over 20 years, and this is my third year participating in Teachers Write. I have only shared a little over the past few years, but I am really hoping to have more time to write this year. I am so thankful for this outlet to help support my personal creative side for myself and my students. My children are becoming a little more self sufficient with my son having just completed 6th grade and my daughter having finished second grade this past school year.

    Here is a “snippet” from a teen character for part two of the assignment:

    The moonlight streams through the cracks of my window shade while I lay still under thin sheets. I am sweaty. I cannot sleep.
    “Why do I feel so alone?” I murmur to myself under the fabric masking my mouth.
    As if the beams summon, I slowly, silently wriggle myself free and tip toe on cat’s feet avoiding detection from my parents who are asleep two doors down.
    I am desperate to escape from the stifling house and find freedom outside in the dense cover of the woods behind my house. As I reach the brass knob, I twist the lock with a click and gently turn. “Sque-e-a-ak,” I hold my breath and pause in the darkness waiting to be found out. How long I stand as a statue is unknown, but finally I open and step into the night as bright as daylight.
    The ritual of sneaking out has increased from occasionally to several times a week as I have found solace in the canopy of trees and the rhythms of the cicadas chirping and the not too distant coyotes’ shrill barking signaling a warning for the unknown to withdraw. I wish I too could signal a warning for those lurking to withdraw from me, but I fear I am too weak to sound off a clear signal to my predators. I feel I am the prey, trapped.
    I prop myself against a cool rock behind the enormous beech tree shielding me from view and stretch my thin legs across a mattress of dry leaves.
    The air is thick with summer’s heaviness and the shimmering light of a full moon encircles me. I feel a moment of release from the weight I carry constantly dragging me down. I feel my eyelids droop as my tenseness disappears, and without realizing it, I have drifted into a peaceful sleep for the first time in weeks. I know because the sound of heavy footsteps and a grunt have startled me awake.

    1. Welcome back, Janet! It does get easier to write as the kiddos get older. So glad you’re writing with us this summer – and thanks for being brave enough to share on the first day!

  58. Hi everyone! My name is Lacy Greco and I am a 4th grade teacher at Kay Franklin Elementary in San Antonio, Tx. I have been enjoying my summer with my two daughters, Paige (3 next month) and Laney (9 months). My husband and I bought an RV this summer and we will be leaving on Wednesday for another “adventure” according to Paige. I teach all subject areas, but writing is my passion. I was moved to 3rd grade last year to strengthen writing and now I will be going back to 4th grade and looping with my class. I am ecstatic! This is my first TW camp and I am excited to learn from y’all!

    Snippet: It’s dead noon as she steps outside with one thing on her mind…bubbles!! Purple bubbles only. Bubbles in the air, bubbles in her mouth, bubbles on the porch, bubbles on her Cash-y dog. Bubbles everywhere. This is the time of her life. Bubble time. The time when she gets to make a mess and not have momma tell her that “she’s making a mess.” This is her time of bubble bliss. Bubble freedom. She asks, “Can I play bubbles again tomorrow?”

    Snippet: It’s dead noon, as in dead hot. As in, I could be dead in ten minutes from this Texas heat and this kid wants to go outside and play with bubbles?! But, I pull myself up, grab Laney and off we go into the dreaded heat. Paige has one thing on her mind and that isn’t changing. Purple bubbles. Let the mess begin. Bubbles in her hair, bubbles on her face, did she just drink those? I’m pretty sure there is a warning about that on the bottle. Bubbles everywhere. I’m holding back from telling her what a mess she is making. She’s having the time of her life and I don’t want to nag her about making a mess. I’ll let her enjoy this time of pure bubble bliss. Bubble freedom. She turns to me and asks, “Can I play bubbles again tomorrow?”

    1. Welcome, Lacy! I love the parent-child POV contrast here – so perfect! Hope you and your family have a wonderful adventure. (Bring your notebook!)

  59. Hello campers and Kate!
    My name is Kate Baker, and I’m a 9th grade English teacher from NJ. I’ve lurked and false started many times with Teachers Write the past few years, and after meeting Kate Messner at NCTE and Gae at NerdcampNJ, I am determined to schedule the time to write this summer. I am a prolific reader, but I have to admit that creative writing has always been a struggle, much as I’ve longed to be a published author. I have a few very raw WIPs that are more vague ideas than concrete plots. I usually blog about flipping my classroom and integrating technology and, until recently, wrote research papers for my graduate work (graduated MAIT in May!). I look forward to writing with all of you the next few weeks!

    Here’s my window writing. I took some liberties with the characterization of my neighbors, but I swear the view is true.

    Outside my window, the rabbit relaxed in the shade of the cherry tree next to the tall ornamental grasses which swayed in the breeze. Hostas, no longer food for deer, ringed the base of the tree, as bees explored the pale blossoms that hung like bells. On one of the low hanging branches of the cherry tree, a few red-throated hummingbirds hovered near the feeder as a gray catbird flew low over the lawn to land near the white vinyl fence.

    What is a pastoral view to me is an irritation to my persnickety neighbor: the tall grass sways into his yard; the catbird vandalizes the caps of his fence posts, the bees make nests in his shutters; the untrimmed cherry tree blocks his crepe myrtle. But the worst offense of all is the rabbit out my window. The rabbit, who alerts me when gregarious Mrs. Hubert is out parading her golden doodle, ate the prized zinnias planted by his deceased wife.

    1. Wow-what a change in mood as I read this. I was at peace and calm reading your perspective, then wham….your neighbor sounds like a curmudgeon and can’t find the good in much of anything! Your descriptions are spot on to create that change in mood. I was a bit confused about Mrs. Hubert. Is she a new wife?

      1. I wish I could attach a picture. It is a calming view.

        It took me a bit to workout the ending and switch in mood.

        Mrs. Hubert is a different neighbor from the other end of the street. I was torn between two different portrayals of her: the talkative affluent neighbor I try to avoid or a lonely lady who sweet on the curmudgeon.

    2. Hi, Kate! Good to see you here again! Love your view here – and it’s never a problem to take liberty with the neighbors in writing. 🙂

  60. I’m Patty and this is my first time participating in TW. After 30 years of teaching mostly intermediate grades in Terre Haute, Indiana, I have spent the past 3 years as a writing teacher. I get to teach writing lessons all week to 2nd, 5th, and 6th grade classes, which is the best job ever! Because I ask my students every week to practice their skills by jumping into some kind of writing, I think it’s only fair that I practice what I preach.
    My first snippet (written before I found a tick in my hair – Ha!):
    I had worked up a sweat cleaning up the kitchen and I’d actually imagined I could sit a few minutes on the deck and cool off. I was wrong.The sun had slipped down in the western sky, and ever since the maple tree went down in a wind storm, there is no escaping the late afternoon rays. Every few minutes I can hear the breeze before I feel it, almost like seeing lightning and silently counting the seconds until the thunder booms. I close my eyes and hear the rustling of leaves coming in a wave that lasts 1…2…3… Then the blessed relief of a breeze that temporarily makes me forget the dampness under my bangs.

  61. Hi all! I’m Jennifer from Northern IN, writing for the first time here “out loud.”
    I am starting my 21st year of teaching, mostly middle school, and this fall as a new librarian! I am excited for this new adventure. Here’s a little writing I did today:

    Jennifer’s heart fluttered just a bit as she looked down the aisle of the high school auditorium. There must have been 500 people in seats already, and she came an hour early! This was her first national teacher institute — educators from all over the world represented in this one cozy space. Since she registered for the conference on a whim and without the support of school funds, she didn’t know what to expect. “Wow, this must be a big deal!” Jennifer thought. She had no idea just how big a deal it was…

    1. Welcome, Jennifer! I love the idea of writing “out loud” and appreciate that you shared this point of view on our first day!

  62. Hello everyone! Glad to be a part of Teacher’s Write this summer. I’m Lilla and teach middle school Language Arts in Charlotte, NC. Kate, I loved reading about Lake Champlain in the winter on your blog and in The Seventh Wish. We just returned from a summer trip to the Lake in the Champlain Islands. I’ve never seen it in the winter, but I could certainly feel it. Here’s my piece about my neighborhood seen through the eyes of one of it’s older residents.

    Heavens, there are quite a few cars out on the street tonight. That brick house always has at least three or four in the driveway. Two luxury cars and a smaller grey boxy one, it must be the nanny’s. Tonight though there are simply too many. Another party, and I’m simply distressed about it. I can barely enjoy the evening sun as it finally glows on the other side of my magnolia, giving some beauty to the rusty undersides of it’s leaves. Those cars though, so big, and the tiniest little women stepping out of them. Will you look at her? Skinny! Platinum blond hair and high heels carrying the largest parcel. You know I’ve seen those kinds of bows too. The Buttercup sells them for $15 so people can stick them on their doors when babies come, but on a package? Too rich for my blood.

    1. Welcome, Lilla! And thanks for the kind words about my Lake Champlain writing – I’m glad you got to visit the area! I love the voice in this piece – you’ve captured that older point of view so beautifully.

  63. Hello Everyone! My name is Stephanie and I am a first time Teacher’s Write! camper. I am a 9th grade Reading Specialist. While I am pretty comfortable writing for professional reasons, creative writing scares me. I am determined to write each day during the next four weeks just like I ask my students to do. Looking forward to growing with you all.

    Snippet: I peddled furiously down the main road to get to my beach. During the summer, the lake offers only a brief moment of quiet before the tourists wake and the arcades start calling for customers. I was just in time to see the fog begin to dissipate from the mountain side, whispers of smoke rising to the sky. The Queen’s smooth water was beckoning me with a day of floating and fishing. But first I stop and sit alongside the lake’s edge to watch the earth come alive.

  64. Hi, I’m a former elementary school media specialist and a freelance writer. I am looking forward to participating in Teachers Write for the first time, and have already recommended it to several friends. Here is my short response to the first assignment…how a five year old would react when she saw butterflies on the lawn.

    ” Look at that small, white butterfly. There are three or four of them! Look, Mommy, look! They are all stopping at those little, yellow flowers—staying a little while and they flying away. Are they butterflies or moths? Why do they like those flowers? Where do they live? Can we follow them? Where are the other butterflies? I like watching the small butterflies stop and smell the flowers. That’s what I want to do.”

  65. Lolly Salazar from San Antonio, Texas.

    People engrossed in their reading, research, discussions about what they are reading. The chatter of the baristas at the coffee counter. Being surrounded by an outrageous number of stories waiting to be read, information lying in wait to be soaked up by knowledge loving patrons. I sit with senses heightened at being in one of my favorite places and two young men walk by and catch my eye. Their colorful hair and flair for dressing in the summer confuse me. Why would someone want to draw attention to themselves? Don’t they understand flannel and work boots are reserved for late fall and winter? The unnatural shades of hair color are something else that through me into a whirlwind of confusion. People aren’t born with pink and blue hair!

    Writing from another perspective…
    What are all those people engrossed in? Some are reading magazines, books, discussing their latest book club pick. I just don’t get it! My friend and I walked through this place with booksmlining the walls,filling shelves, and displayed everywhere attempting to entice people to buy the latest best seller or the latest in a popular series. We walk through here as quick as we can because this is not a place we wish to spend our time.We walk by a lady who stares at us. I sense the judgement in her gaze. She has no idea who we are. She probably didn’t like my bright colored hair or my rainbow emblazoned t shirt. I assume she doesn’t u derstand that I struggle with who I am. She doesn’t understand that I don’t love myself and that I am in search of acceptance from anyone who will offer it to me. Sometimes I wish I could sit with people like her and pour out my feelings about how difficult it is to navigate this world.

    1. Welcome, Lolly! I love how you’ve explored two points of view here. Here’s another challenge for you – sometimes it’s helpful to take a point of view you might not understand fully, like your character with the bright hair and rainbow t-shirt, and imagine another point of view. What if she loves herself instead of feeling insecure? How would that change the narrative?

  66. Hi, I’m Rachel from Virginia. Right now I am on the obligatory family beach vacation on Tybee Island, GA. I am not a fan of the beach, but the sounds here are wonderful. Waves splashing, wind blowing, birds chirping and flying overhead. Right now I can hear the chirp of cicadas and crickets through my window. The sun will be setting soon. Yesterday we watched the moon rise over the ocean. It was covered in an orang-ish hue which made it look spectacular. Looking forward to Teachers Write!

    I posted a response to someone else’s post on Jo’s blog, but my original post about my main character, Cora, seems to have disappeared.

    1. Hi, Rachel! I love your setting-sound details here. I’m a bit confused about your earlier post, as there haven’t been any glitches or deletions that I’m aware of. Let me know if this happens again, okay?

  67. Good evening! I am a middle school librarian in Tampa, Florida who is new to this, and excited to be a part of this. I began to write about my daughter stopping by our school today when we had a visit from Bess the Book Bus but somehow it wasn’t as much fun with a 4 year old so I de-aged her to somewhere between 1 and 2 years old… so here is a short piece I wrote from my little one’s perspective:

    I am so excited! I see Daddy! He is talking to another mommy I don’t know. She’s a stranger so I hide behind mommy’s legs. How can I see my Daddy without the stranger seeing me? Maybe if I pretend to be a secret agent like Mickey I can make it through. I think I’ll try.
    Crawl along the grass. Ooh my legs are nice and dirty! I love my dirt! I think I’ll give some to Daddy when I see him. Hide under the chair. Daddy is still talking. Talking daddy… talk, talk, talk. Why isn’t he looking at me? I’ll make a sneaky sound for him so he’ll see me.
    He’s looking at me! Now he’s going away. Daddy, where are you going? Mommy, where are you? Bro-bro? Stranger over there, stranger over here… strangers everywhere! My family is gone!
    Maybe if I pretend to cry they’ll come back.
    Uh oh, that strange mommy is coming. Run away!
    There’s nowhere to hide!
    “Mama! Daddda!”
    She’s coming closer. I don’t want a new mommy!
    I think she’s talking to me, but I am not going to listen.
    “Blllaaah. Blaaaaah. Blaaahh!”
    Ooh that’s a cool new sound! I think I’ll do it again.
    “Blahhh Gahhhhh Blahhhhhh!”
    It sounds good louder! Reminds me of Trixie from Knuffle Bunny! Oh no! Where is my Knuffle Bunny?
    “Where’s my bunny?”
    She’s talking again. I hate when she does that. I just want my family.
    “Blaaaah! Blahh!”
    Ooh I do love that sound! Mommy and Daddy are going to love it so much too! I think I’ll share it with them every time I see them for a couple of days! Where are they?
    Get a clue lady! I just want my mommy and daddy! Wait I see Daddy! He’s coming back! I think I’ll get his attention but sneakily like a spy.
    Here he comes! I knew I would get the hang of this!
    “Blaaah! Blaah! Blah!”
    I love my Daddy!

    1. Welcome, Joshua! Love that you chose to share today – and I think it’s interesting that you chose to make your narrator a little younger. It’s fun to think about what that difference of just a year or two can make in a person’s voice – especially with kids.

  68. Thank you, to Kate and all the other authors who make Teachers Write possible! This is my third year participating and am so grateful for this experience. I am a Literacy Specialist who recently left my job after 19 years in order to have a change of pace and am currently looking for a new position. I am looking forward to doing a lot of writing this summer, as well as learning from all of you! Mona

    Here’s my snippet:
    He took a last look at Alice softly snoring and thought about kissing her good-bye but then shook his head at the romance of the idea.  Pulling his robe around him, he grasped the keys tightly, made his way through the little house and then walked across the yard towards his garage.

    (The rest is posted here: https://wordpress.com/post/literacystudio.wordpress.com/1113)

  69. Hi everyone,
    My name is Kristin Johnson. Since 2001 I have been the high school media specialist in West Suffield, Connecticut. It must have been meant to be that I was scrolling through Future Ready Librarians on Facebook last night and saw an announcement for TeachersWrite. I feel so lucky to have found this group! Most of my writing has never seen daylight, so I am excited by this challenge! Thank you to Kate and all who are involved with making this opportunity possible.

    My snippet:
    This tiny beach is my favorite place. Growing up minutes away was a luxury I didn’t appreciate at all as a child, but treasure for as an adult. I always turn off the AC and buzz the windows down starting at the exit, even though I know the salty air is still ten minutes away. It is not tropical, no surf. The sand is rocky and the water is blanketed in seaweed. Depending on the direction of the wind, the thick smoke from the BBQ stand can get trapped in your hair, resistant to even aggressive shampooing.

    My nephew is sitting in the middle of a sand bar, face pointed toward the sun. He has Spiderman sunglasses on, but I know his eyes are closed behind them. His grin reveals a giant gap from two missing baby teeth that fell out last week, and he looks like he is drinking in the sunshine. He hasn’t spotted my car yet, so I just watch him pour pail after pail of mud on his castle, and he giggles with glee as he destroys it again and again.

    I love everything about this place, so why can’t I seem to make myself get out of the car?

    1. Kristin,
      That was providential that you found the Teachers Write group the moment it was starting! Welcome!

      I love this snippet about your beach. It puts all kinds of pictures in my head, especially of your Spiderman nephew. So sweet! The last question makes me want to keep reading. Why can’t you get out of the car? Hmmm….

      Enjoy writing and sharing. All the best!

      1. Thank you, Denise! I appreciate your comments! Can’t wait to go back and read everyone’s writing!

    2. Welcome, Kristin! I’m so glad you found us! (And I’m intrigued about this narrator who loves the place but stays in the car. Hmmm….)

      1. Thank you, Kate — I’m so excited to be in this group. Working on my confidence — timid writer to date! I didn’t know why the character stayed in the car yesterday, but today I do!!! Can’t wait to write more of the story!

  70. Hello writers–my name is Kate Weber, and I’m a PK-5 school librarian in Pittsburgh, PA. I’m a novice writer, and it’s pretty much the hardest thing I’ve ever done! I’m hoping the mini lessons and writing here everyday will give me a bit more discipline, which is something I desperately need.

    Here’s my snipped, from my WIP:

    Even though Thora knew that things were bad–scary, even–she couldn’t help but gaze fondly at her home as she prepared to leave for the first, and maybe even the last, time. The early morning glaze of the sun shone through the trees, the leaves dappling it and creating a speckled appearance on the soft dirt ground. The morning birds chirped as if they were asking her a question, even though she knew that’s just what they always did every morning. She watched as a train of ants carrying bits of food trampled along the ground, orderly as always. A squirrel ran across her path, chittering slightly and almost seeming to look her in the eye as he passed, as if to say Are you sure about this? She shouldered her bag, and thought with a slightly sick feeling that even Nature was questioning her next move.

    1. Hi, Kate! It’s so good to see you here! I love the tiny details in what you’ve chosen to share here – the train of fire ants….

  71. Hi, all! My name is Lauren, and I’m an elementary librarian in Pennsylvania. I am a lifelong writer, but must admit I’ve fallen woefully out of practice over the last several years. I am hoping that this year’s TW will help me get back into a writing routine, and to become more disciplined with my writing.

    I’ve participated in TW in the past, but usually on my own and behind the screen. I’d like to push myself to share more, and to get more involved in this wonderful writing community this year. I’m so glad to write and learn with you all! Here goes nothing…

    I let the screen door slam
    as I stomp
    across the front porch
    and throw myself into
    my favorite spot–
    the swing Daddy and I put up
    when I was six.

    My feet didn’t reach the ground then.
    I needed him
    to make us move,
    the heavy chains squeaking as we floated
    back and forth
    back and forth
    back and forth,
    and me begging, “Faster, Daddy, faster!”

    I can push myself now,
    and I kick the concrete below my feet
    harder each time.
    Tonight, it feels better to kick
    than to swing.

    1. Lauren,
      This is beautiful. It makes me want to keep reading to learn why tonight kicking is important. Well done, and welcome out from behind your screen this year!

    2. Hi, Lauren! So excited to see you writing with us – and I love that you chose verse as a way to approach today’s assignment.

  72. Hello! My name is Kelly Vorhis from Indiana. I currently teach high school English classes (English 9 and 10, Creative Writing, and Advanced Composition along with coaching Spell Bowl and English Academic Teams). I’ve registered for Teachers Write from the beginning and been an observer and supporter behind the scenes. I aspire to be published one day, and yet I so enjoy nurturing my student writers (and one of my former students is going to have a book published this summer – YAY!) so many times my personal writing gets pushed aside. I can most often be sighted at various conferences listening in, trying to figure out how to adapt the elementary/middle school ideas for my high school classroom.

    Here’s a snippet from my Steampunk YA WIP SURRENDER:

    ​A​ ​warm​ ​morning​ ​for​ ​sure​​ ​I​ ​think​ ​as​ ​I​ ​stand​ ​outside​ ​the​ ​post​ ​office.​ ​The​ ​early​ ​morning​ ​storm​ ​clouds
    that​ ​were​ ​obscuring​ ​the​ ​mountain​ ​tops​ ​are​ ​dissipating,​ ​revealing​ ​a​ ​brilliant​ ​blue​ ​sky.​ ​As​ ​Bea​ ​is​ ​taking​ ​quite a​ ​long​ ​time​ ​wrapping​ ​up​ ​her​ ​business​ ​I​ ​decide​ ​to​ ​stroll​ ​down​ ​the​ ​sidewalk,​ ​taking​ ​care​ ​not​ ​to​ ​snag​ ​the hem​ ​of​ ​my​ ​pale,​ ​yellow​ ​day​ ​dress​ ​on​ ​the​ ​uneven​ ​floorboards.

  73. Hi! I’m Maggie, a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher and advisor in the northern suburbs of Chicago. I lurked around Teachers Write last year but never shared anything. This year, I’m trying to commit to actually sharing some stuff, which I think will keep me accountable for completing the writing.

    I see green grass, a tilted stone birdbath, a garage, a side garden with succulents, a back garden of wildflowers, four different trash/recycling/yard waste/rainwater barrels, and cracked concrete and brick patio. The deck dips in the middle, and the steps are uneven; there’s a wooden slatted screen covers the space beneath the deck where we store extra wood and where Louis stepped on a nail. A fence was recently erected around my mom’s property and the next-door neighbor’s. It’s new, and I don’t like it. The heat radiates from the still air, and dragonflies dip lazily through the leaves of the plants. The back neighbor’s garden has been cut off by the fence, and I miss the mini woods that we used to have. The hosta are rustling, but the lilacs have long died and that makes me sad. The grass smells like summer – like long nights, warm days, and bug bites.

    1. Welcome back, Maggie! Love this post – especially the way you made me think about what a bug bite smells like. Such a great way to mix up language in a way that’s fresh and unique!

  74. Hi! I’m Ashley from CT. I’m an instructional coach for grades 3 and 4 focusing on literacy, and this is my first Teachers Write. I rediscovered a love of writing a few years ago and was happy to stumble upon Teachers Write through Twitter!

    I am not currently working on any particular piece, but today I sketched a quick picture of my backyard, which motivated me to consider it from a few different vantage points and create a scene around each of them, one from a critter’s, one from a city-dweller, and one from my grandfather. I’ll share pieces of each below.

    SLAM! clunk, clunk, clunk
    Georgie’s instincts kicked in as the clunks got nearer. He beelined for the safe haven of the dark room.
    Why hadn’t he heard the click? He worked to get his heart rate back to normal. That first click was his clue to get outta dodge. But today, he almost found out what happened when the clunks got too close.
    He huddled in the corner of the room, listening carefully for any more clumps. All he heard now was a strange new melody, one he’d never heard before. As the melody disappeared, Georgie gave himself a pep talk. Who was he kidding? He knew exactly why he hadn’t heard that click. He was thinking of what was behind that waving black wall. It called to him. It teased him. He’d been dreaming of it before the SLAM had jarred him and saved his life.


    ‘Look, Nick’, Kelly pointed behind him, ‘blackberries!
    ‘I didn’t know blackberries grew on long branches like that,’ Nick answered. He turned to Sean. ‘How do you know when they’re ripe to pick? Are any ready now?’ He pulled a branch up to reveal berries in multiple shades of pink and purple.
    ‘Well,’ Sean began, settling into his favorite role as backyard tour guide, ‘there are actually three different kinds of berries here . . .’ He and Nick walked around to the other side of the bushes for a closer look.
    Kelly listening in for a while, but soon drifted back over to her beautiful little girl. Ashley sitting on the deck with the infant on her chest. Ashley’s nose rested on Eloise’s light black hair, and she took a slow breath of sweet baby smell. ‘This is heaven,’ she thought.
    ‘This is quite a sanctuary you have here, Ash.’ Kelly surveyed the yard, taking in the garden, the picnic table, the sheep quietly munching on grass in the enclosure. ‘We have enough trouble keeping two or three vegetable plants alive. He’s got hundreds here!’
    ‘Well, remember, while you’re busy bustling around the city until 9 or 10 at night, he’s home tending to his plants. It makes him happy.’ Ashley smiled, knowing that Sean was at the part of the tour where Nick got to smell the coffee grounds in the soil.
    ‘It’s so quiet too,’ Kelly said.
    Ashley laughed, but quieted quickly when Eloise began to stir. She knew what Kelly heard – the birdsong ,the plane, the mooing of the cow. She heard them too, but she also heard bottles clinking beside the pool next door, the motorcycles and tractor trailers passing by, and the voices coming from the in-law apartment attached to the house. She certainly wouldn’t call it quiet, but she knew, coming from city living? This *was* paradise.


    “Dad? Dad! Earth to Dad!”
    “Huh?” He shook his head clear. “Yeah, what?”
    He felt her eyes studying him closely. She was always watching. Couldn’t a guy have a moment when he wasn’t being watched?
    He stomped on a few ants with his cane. This wasn’t fair. It wasn’t. It should be him out there, planting those seeds. Why were they even doing this? He didn’t want these plants. He didn’t want this garden. What good would it do him with these two bum knees.
    His hands came down hard on his knees as he muttered under his breath. They didn’t understand, any of them. He didn’t want to watch this.


    Thanks for any feedback you have 🙂

    1. Wow, Ashley. You did a really great job, I think. I’m out of my league here, that’s for sure! I think your examples have really made Monday’s prompt come alive for me. Here I can clearly see how an omnipotent narrator can write each scene. I’m really out of practice!4

      In just that short piece, I can picture all five of the people talking in the garden. And Dad’s piece is so poignant. I can see him stomping ants with his cane. Very powerful.

      I have some questions about the first piece. I wish I could read more about Georgie’s perspective. I’m not sure what is happening here. He hears clicks, clumps, and clucks. I’m not sure if that’s purposeful, but it has me curious and confused.

      Great work!

  75. Hello writers! My name is Emily and I teach 7th and 8th grade language arts in Charlotte, NC…so very excited to be on this journey with all of you. Thank you to our excellent hosts as well; this is a gift to so many. Below is my snippet based on my parent’s back yard told from the point of view of my brother.

    As I grip the chipped doorframe, I see my sisters in the two rockers. How did they get there so fast? And why are they laughing? I look down and see the faded welcome mat calling me to step down. I stumble forward over the gravel patio and Ellen jumps up to grab me before I fall. She pulls me up and Emily helps me into the rocking chair. I quickly snatch the rubber band from off her wrist and slip it into my pocket. She doesn’t think this is funny and snatches it right back, reaching for her glass of red liquid which is now quietly dripping onto the patio. They go back to talking; I notice their sandaled feet and hear them chatting. I am uncomfortable, I realize. I am here and not here. The lights of the house call me back inside…

    1. Welcome, Emily! Thanks for sharing on our first day – I’m intrigued by this narrator & what he notices, which means you’ve done your job beautifully here!

  76. Hi! I am Lara Heine and I teach fourth grade in Leander, Texas. I was lucky enough to find this last year and did more lurking and reading than writing. One thing I learned was that writing is a lot more work than inspiration, and that realization forced me to ask myself if I was ready to start doing the work of writing. I always live creating and live when my mind is in a state of flow. I feel this way when I am creating, whether it be art or writing. I find though, that in many ways, I am not among people, family or career wise, who take the time to embrace or practice the arts, including that of writing. I love it. It is my happy place, and I am excited about the next month. I will be practicing on my blog during this course and writing other things as well at:


    I can’t wait!

  77. Thank you for offering this wonderful opportunity!

    I had the good fortune to attend a writing institute at Millersville University, Millersville, PA several years ago. Kate and several other presenters forever changed my POV on teaching writing in the classroom. I look forward to seeing what this week brings!

    Happy Writing!

    Becky Tassone 3rd Grade

  78. Hi writers! I’m Amy joining in from Auburn, CA. I teach 5/6 grade ELA and History. This will be my first summer to publish any writing to the prompts. I’m looking forward to this summer with all of you!

    Here’s my snippet from today’s hike:
    A puff of dirt from four excited paws blows into my eyes. I move my eyes back and forth blinking to clear the vision I must keep on the four flippy paws and the two sturdy paws following behind. My slight movement has rustled the dried grasses that cover my golden hills home. A sling of slobber flies not two inches from my face as the four legger turns toward my home. Freeze…I whisper to the muscles flexing back to spring double my four foot length if he comes any closer. The two sturdy paws come to a stop too.
    “What do you hear, Codes?” The sturdy paws asks to the slobbering mess in front of her.
    One more inch and I’ll strike, I repeat to myself ready to sink my two fangs into the first paw that puffs dirt too close to home.

  79. Hi everyone, my name is Tanja and I am a primary school librarian in Hong Kong but currently visiting Ghana. Yesterday morning, I went for a walk/run in our neighbourhood. I passed many people, many busy with their daily activities, others sitting in front of their houses, some chatting with neighbours, some selling fruits and vegetables or breakfast, others repairing or washing cars… a busy morning. As I passed, the expression on some people’s faces made me wonder what they must be thinking to see me running in this heat and so I decided to write a bit about it. I had one particular woman in mind, who had been sitting in front of her house, next to a table with goods she was selling, and the expression on her face was just one of utter disbelief. Here is a snippet:

    Ahhh, look at this foolish white woman, running around in this heat! Look how red her face is, and how she is sweating. They say exercise is good for your body but just look at her, there is hardly any meat on her bones and she looks like she might collapse any time. That can’t be good for you. Why did she choose this time when the sun is already high up in the sky for her exercise? When I got up this morning, around 4am, to sweep my courtyard and then fetch water for my bath, it was nice and cool. Beautiful! I like that time of day. Everything around me is still quiet and I can do my chores without being disturbed. By 5am, everything is ready for my husband and children: I have ironed my husband’s shirt and trousers and the children’s school uniform, made their tea and prepared their lunch. When they leave around 6:00am, I set up my table with goods in front of the house and wait for my first customers, people on their way to work and school children who buy tea bread, butter bread, biscuits or a sachet of Milo from me. And now I am happy just to sit here and rest a bit.


  80. Thanks, Kate. I teach ESL to adults and find it very rewarding. I’m excited and grateful to have the opportunity to join the Teachers Write program and to “meet” fellow writers.

  81. Good morning! Day 2 and already playing catch-up — story of my life. My name is Jennifer Hernandez, and I teach English Learners at a middle school in suburban Minneapolis. This is my 3rd summer as a TW camper.

    I just finished my writing from yesterday’s fantastic prompt on setting. I’m visiting Maryland and went for a hike Sunday evening in Patapsco Valley State Park. For my writing, I inserted my MC — a 12 year old girl who has no direct experience in natural settings — into the park. She is alone, looking for her little sister. The circumstances of how they both ended up there are sci fi / dystopian (cue giant flying creatures). Somehow, despite the panic that she is trying to contain, she was able to find beauty in the park. Sunshine through the leaves. Wild raspberries. Fireflies. Three-and-a-half pages worth. Thanks, Kate!

  82. Hi – my name is Kay Berry. This is my first year with Teachers Write. I teach 11th grade English, concurrent enrollment Intro to Writing (1010) and Research (2010). I also taught AP Lit for 6 years. I am looking forward to the next few weeks.

    Snippet: Shades of light and dark flickered through the pine trees as she walked on the trail around the lake. Indian paint brush and bluebells were scattered here and there. She felt connected here. For months an ocean of sadness had opened up within her. A sadness that threatened to swamp, and sink everything in her life. The view of herself had totally changed. She was adopted. For the first time, she felt like an orphan.

  83. Hello –

    My name is Diane, and I teach 5th and 6th grade ELA in Oceanport, NJ. This is my first year participating in TeachersWrite. I definitely needed a fire under my butt to stick to my summer writing goals.

    Here’s a snippet of what I wrote based on the prompt. I had the beach on my mind, so my character is a beach umbrella:

    It’s always jarring when the season begins. Most of the year I lean against the corner of the garage, folded and waiting. Dust, dirt, and detritus settle on me. Occasionally, I fall over. Sometimes this happens in a rush. A raucous child passes by, arms akimbo. A rumbling lawnmower is shoved through the narrow path between the car and the wall, and a corner catches one of my canvas-covered spokes, leaving me and its gasoline trail in its wake. Sometimes my decent to horizontal happens in slow-motion. The semi-circle of plastic supporting my stem slips ever-so-slightly. Then it’s a matter of time before the entirety of my body is off-balance. It could be the garage doors springing to life one morning that pushes me over the edge, or even a soft breeze when the house door pops open. Either way, I just pray I don’t get run over.

  84. Hello everyone! My name is Cheryl and I teach 2nd grade in SE Michigan. This is my first summer with Teachers Write!

    To the untrained eye it appeared to be just another dreary gray, rainy day. You know the kind where the sky looks as though the fluffy, marshmallow clouds have been slightly cooked over an open fire, just enough to turn a smoky, lightly burnt color. To the untrained ear the sound of the rain beating down onto the dry, weathered earth resembled the beating of African drums, thumping and banging over and over until you think the drumhead will snap under the constant beating. But look closer. What sits in front of you is not an early summer storm. What you see there, balled up, holding tight to herself and to everything that surrounds her, is a grieving mother. A mother who has buried her child before herself. A mother who is sobbing, enough tears to make an onlooker think they are in the middle of a summer storm. Sobbing loud enough to make an onlooker feel the thunderous roar throughout their bones.

  85. Last year’s leaves crunch under my feet as I lift my legs one leg at a time up one step then another the another until I reach the porch, warn thin of its white paint, having become a foggy gray between the steps and the door. The floorboards get brighter as they lead to the edge of the house, where the white paint feels safe enough to stay. I remain somewhere between the last step and the door, completely frozen, even my breath waits for me to move.

  86. Poop. I forgot to introduce myself. I am a third through fifth grade librarian in a suburb of Rochester, NY.

  87. I JUST registered. I promised myself (and the rest of the room) at NerdCampMI that this would be the summer that I finally do this. So here I am! Excited and nervous and still finding my way on this site.

  88. Hi! I am Usha from Corpus Christi Texas. It is hot here, so I only venture out early in the morning to water my yard! I have been following TW since its inception. I looked at Jo’s prompt from yesterday and Kate’s today. I have tried to combine both.
    This character has been swirling in my brain for a year but I don’t think I have done justice to her.Here is a snippet:

    Dodging through the loud hallways, Minerva takes quick, short steps towards the stairs. She is at ease – her face is expressionless. She meanders the laughing, arguing, yelling peers or some quiet ones like her, her ear buds blocking the loud sounds. The outside sounds suffocated her. Head down, she runs up the stairs to the third floor to reach her class before the tardy bell. Her metal knick-knacks – keys, broaches, and safety pins- on her black backpack and shirt tinkling away but she is oblivious to sounds. She makes it on time today and squirts in a zigzag motion, avoiding certain desks, towards her desk at the corner of the class in the back. She slides down her thin frame onto the seat and quickly takes out her sketchpad and charcoal pencils. She continues on her sketch from last class period, head bent.
    The teacher takes attendance and calls out “Tommy” and she answers “Yes”. The teacher sighs, and speaks to herself ‘ Oh! she is present’. Her tardiness and absences have taken a toll on her attendance but her work is above average and always on time. The class goes normal, Minerva gets the assignment- a quiz on ‘Scarlet Letter’ and works at a furious pace! She finishes the quiz in twenty minutes and turns it into the teacher. She goes back and resumes sketching without a word!
    It is a lucky day to see “Tommy” smile. For the first three weeks, the teacher could never figure out that ‘Minerva’ and “Tommy’ were one individual! Her assignments all had ‘Tommy’ as the name and the missing ‘Minerva’ became a puzzle to the teacher. Then one day, as she returned the assignment, she looked at the name and called out loud “ Is there a “Tommy” in my class? I don’t have one on my roster!”

  89. Hello, I’m Sarah Addison from sunny Fresno, California. I’m the librarian at a PreK-8 public charter school. I taught high school English for 3 years before this. I love to read, and am challenging myself to grow with Teachers Write so I can be a better, broader coach. I really enjoy the podcast _Writing Excuses_ and follow several authors on Twitter, but now it’s time to put my ideals into practice, and actually write myself. Thanks for making a space for lots of us to join!

  90. Hi! My name is Ashleigh Rose and I’m a 6th grade teacher in SE DC. I have grand hopes to one day be published and will probably just be fiddling with my character and story through Teachers Write this summer – so sorry if there’s sometimes little context or I go off the directions :). So excited!

    The walls in this place was enough to make you feel happy. Two lime green and one bright orange. The smoothies all had these cute names – Mikale Jackson, Marrion Berry, Swizz Beets. And the lady behind the counter; she always be smiling. Like a real smile. Like a “I’m a real good person” smile. Even when she was just walking to or from work out on the street. Now that I think about it, they hired real smart here. She musta only ate what was in the store, so she was a great spokeswoman for vegetables. Maybe they was actually a good idea. Or maybe I was just hungry enough to mess with that idea.

    Cause all a sudden, the smell of blendy fruit and vegetables and the little pockets of dough thingies sitting on the counter had my stomach growling. I shoulda ate more of those weird tacos at lunch, but Ms. Robinson said she was out of the mini packets of Challula hot sauce. Without that tangy spice, those “tacos” was just moosh-ey half moons with a little burnt on the outsides. So I had taken two of the President Cookie bags each time I’d walked past the extras table. I had five bags left in my backpack but I didn’t want anybody to hear me crinkling those baggies and wonder why I ain’t had a smoothie in my hand to go with them.

    So I just spent my time staring out the window at all the people walking home from their days. It’s funny how you can see in people’s faces how they feel about where they on their way to. Made me wonder what kinna way my mom’s face would look when she came home. Or when she had before. Like, would coming back to our place bring her down? Or could it maybe bring her up?

    But maybe forty-five minutes later, a dude at the table over was eying me every time my stomach groaned its unhappy. So I took my eyes off the faces I was searching and swung my bag around to look for money. There were a lot less people in the store now and I wanted to buy something so nobody would say anything. I was quietly counting the definitely-not-enough change in the front pocket when the smiley lady walked up to the stare-ey dude’s table to pick up some of his trash. I kept my eyes looking anywhere but her so she wouldn’t think she could just talk to me.

    “Hey, girl!” she said walking around the table to stand di-rect-ly in front of me.

    Do people not understand that failure to make eye-contact is intentional? Scratch what I said about vegetables. They musta messed with your head.