I don’t know…

Three of us live in our house.  School is starting soon for two of us.  The third is a dog.  He doesn’t go to school.

My son stood on the stairs, getting ready to take the dog, Milo, out.  He started wondering out loud about next week, the last week before we back to school…

“We should spend as much time with Milo as possible the days right before we start school.  Since we won’t be home with him as much.”

Then he paused.  “Or should we not be here?  So we can get him used to being alone for longer?”

The confusion was clear on his face, “Wait, I don’t know…Is it better to spend more time with him?  Or is it better to help him get used to us being gone?”

I couldn’t help but smile.  “Welcome to the world of parenting…You never know if you’re doing the right thing or not.”

 

 

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Summer Joy 7.7.17

This summer hasn’t been life changing or full of crazy vacations, but I’m loving it!

♥  My new pens!   I love school/office supplies, even if I’m not ready to go back to school yet.

♥ Library Used Book Sales

♥ Being Barefoot (I hate shoes!) and finding a book full of poems (at previously mentioned book sale) about being barefoot!

♥ Plenty of fun with my son:  fireworks, trips to the mall, and delicious Oberweis Shakes with a game of chess!

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“She grabbed a gray crayon and put pants on me.” The Importance of Feedback

I have been in a writing slump, but then I read this post from Two Writing Teachers about the book Feedback that Moves Writers Forward.  It left me with food for thought, a book to add to my summer reading list, and inspiration for a blog post.

The feedback we give our young writers is so important, be it formally or informally.  Our words can encourage, lift, or stifle their work. I know this as a teacher, but have seen it up close as a mother.

My son will be entering sixth grade this fall and has loved drawing and writing since before he could actually write or read. Even before he entered Kindergarten spent his days filling page after page with drawings that made stories.

In Kindergarten, he loved to write books.  And since he was in kindergarten, his books were mainly pictures that he narrated for us.  I would come home from work and he would have stacks of pages, stacked up in a specific order, ready to share with me.  He would tell me what was happening, complete with dialogue and sound effects.

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As you can see from the picture above, his characters didn’t have bodies.  The arms and legs came right out of the heads.  I got that developmentally he should have been drawing people with bodies, but he didn’t want to draw people that way.  At one point his teacher sent something home about this and I sat with him to help.  Turns out, he knew exactly how to draw the way she expected, he just didn’t like the way that looked.  He liked his way of drawing.   He was making an artistic choice. (One reason I try to find out WHY a student made a choice in his/her writing before dispensing feedback about it.)

You can see a video of him talking about one specific experience here.  “She grabbed a gray crayon and put pants on me.”    There have been plenty of times he told the story of his teacher “vandalizing” (the word Troy uses) his work.  I wasn’t there when this happened, I didn’t see it.  However, I did see how it affected him and his desire to create.

Luckily, since then, he has had teachers who provided feedback that made him proud of his work and encouraged to create more.  To grow. To move forward.  Teachers that read his personal blog and left him encouraging comments.  Teachers that return his hyperbole filled emails in the summer time.   It is because of those teachers that he will continue to move forward in his writing.

 

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I think of Troy’s experience every time I consider picking up a pen and writing on a student’s work.  How at the end of his elementary career, he still gets fired up about the teacher who didn’t like his drawings six years ago.

I very rarely write directly on my writers’ drafts.  Instead I leave comments on google docs, give verbal feedback in conferences, or use post-its.  My job is not to pick at each tiny mistake.  It is not my writing.  The writing belongs to a child.

My goal is not to create perfect writing, but motivated writers.

I can’t wait to get Feedback that Moves Writers Forward and learn more about moving my young writers forward!

 

I’m from…

I’m from colored popcorn.

From Pledge and wooden floors.

 

I’m from sleepovers and movie nights.

From summers in the pool.

 

I’m from paper and pencils.

From Oregon trail and dial-up.

 

I’m from divorce and tense pick-ups.

From being the in-between.

 

I’m from support checks carried back and forth.

From “Your father…”

 

I’m from kids table and rules.

From “Do as I say, not as I do.”

 

I’m from messages and stresses

That I don’t want Troy to be from.

 

What will Troy be from?

That is up to me.

SOL #26 – Weekends Without Him

Weekends without him

Are horrible.

Empty.

Even when they are fun,

They’re sad

Because he isn’t with me.

 

It’s been two plus years,

And it doesn’t get better.

Empty.

 

But then comes Sunday,

When I get to pick him up

And hear about the past three days.

Full.

 

In a rush,

Stories mixed together,

Out of sequence,

About Friday’s escapades

With friends.

And everything else

Since I saw him last.

Full.

 

“It pains me.

The Crossover won the Caudill.

But that’s not what pains me…

The kids who read most

Of the books on the list

Won a Barnes and Noble gift card.

It pains me.”

Full

 

 

SOL #20 – Standing Strong, But I Don’t Want To…

“Please?!?  I promise I won’t ask for anything!”  my son begged as we drove past.

“No.  We aren’t going.”  I was adamant, on the outside anyway.

“Why not?   I won’t ask.”

“No, you’ll just look at me and I’ll end up buying you something,” I replied.

He shrugged.  It was true and he wouldn’t deny it.

I was resolute and we didn’t stop at the store.  But, it was extremely difficult because I wanted to go as much as he did.   Where you ask?  The bookstore!  #proudmommy  #raisingareader #heismyworld

SOL #19 – I am listening.

Several ideas for slices

Have crossed my mind today.

But each time I start to write one,

It is starting to come together,

And then Troy starts to talk to me

About our dog,

About his idea for a graphic novel,

And then it is no longer coming together…

But I will never turn down a chance

To listen to my son.

If I stop listening,

He might stop talking.

So today’s slice must wait,

Because life is happening

And I am listening.