A Writer’s Notebook

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I just finished another great read by Ralph Fletcher, Breathing In Breathing Out:  Keeping a Writer’s Notebook.  It had nothing to do with the Inquiry that I was supposed to be doing, but I couldn’t help it.  I wanted to finish.  I admire Ralph Fletcher’s writing (Marshfield Dreams) and his ability to teach writing strategies (Craft Lessons).  A quick read with insight into a writer’s notebook, it filled me with ideas and forgiveness.

Ideas

Ralph Fletcher (I feel like his name can’t be separated), among other things, gives his readers categories that could be found within a writer’s notebook.  He puts these into the following categories:  odd facts, questions, odds and ends, lists, lines and insights, artifacts.  Can you believe it?!  I have some of these things in my notebook?!  So here are some of the random things I have written in my notebook this summer, some I may develop and some may go no farther than sharing through this post.

  • Model how you want your kids to act.
  • “Not every day is a good day for writing.”
  • Your choice, your time (regarding writing workshop)
  • Recovering Catholic
  • Themes are necessary for my happiness
  • What was that game called we played at Brittney’s house?  There were fairies , magic, and adventure?
  • Mentors in his life:  teachers and texts
  • Listening to Troy’s Dreams
  • Pruning Bushes- even as adult writers.
  • “Failing is another word for growing.” – Kahn Academy “You Can Learn Anything” video

Forgiveness

Ralph Fletch, a published writer, says it is alright for some of your writing to be bad.  Throughout the book he gives many metaphors for a writer’s notebook.  However, regardless of the metaphor that makes sense to you, he says that the notebook is for all writing, good and bad.  In fact, he says that most of the writing in your notebook will be bad.  And that’s O.K.  So, Jennie, I forgive you for a whole lot of bad writing.  Ralph Fletcher says it’s normal and expected.

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Saturday Skinny

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 11.58.24 AMReading Workshop 2.0

$_35Today I finished book #11 of my summer reading:  Reading Workshop 2.0 by Frank Serafini.  I was hoping for more than I got out of the book.   :/   A lot of the book was theory or lists of tech resources that are already familiar to me.  I did learn about some new resources and I set some goals for my reading workshop this fall.

1.  I want to use more videos of author and illustrator interviews during the reading block.  I know these resources exist, but I always forget to use them.  This coming year, published authors will be sharing in our reading workshop, too!  I promise!

2.  I will include more mini-lessons to model how to navigate and code digital texts.  I swear!

3.  Students can record their book reviews sometimes and post the videos on their blogs.  Switch it up and keep them engaged!

Painting and Crafting

20150704_145659For some reason, I agreed to paint a Minecraft inspired wall in my son’s room.  It is a work in progress, but this project is taking up the majority of my weekend while my son is away.  (I have been working on it for months, but keep finding reasons to procrastinate.  Reminder to self:  Do not make promises to paint entire walls with anything except solid color!)  I’m sure there was an easier way to do this, but my first attempt at stenciling and I don’t think it looks too bad…20150704_212945

I also created this surprise for my son to put in his room, when it is finally done…He creates all kinds of Lego men based on different characters from movies, books, and television shows.   Now he will have a way to display them!

Guilt

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Guilt – Yep!  It’s a common emotion for me, a single working mom.  In Dad is Fat, Jim Gaffigan has a whole chapter about guilt, parental guilt.  “I feel guilty, gulity when I drop them off at school.  I feel guilty when I pick them up from school.”  (p.27)  And his list goes on…basically there is no way to not feel guilty!  And this is coming from a happily married, successful comedian and father!  Maybe it isn’t just me!

I took my first vacation alone in NINE YEARS last week.  I felt (and still feel) huge amounts of guilt!  I left my son alone for ten days!  (Reality:  Well, not alone, he was with his dad and my grandma.)  I feel guilty for taking the time, even though I know that it was needed and deserved.  But, it does make me feel better to know other parents feel the same.  I feel bad if I’m having fun without him.  I would feel bad if I left him and didn’t have fun.   Try as I might, that guilt was/is always there.   The beach, reading, no responsibility, and more reading…the vacation was worth it.  But, I don’t think I will be taking another ten day vacation without my boy anytime soon…

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

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Kate DiCamillo is definitely one of my favorite authors.  More than one of her books are regular read alouds in my third grade classroom.  This book is no less special…matbe my favorite yet.

Although the book is a novel, with words seperated into chapters, there are pictures and comics interspersed.   This only adds to the experience

There are many funny, laugh out loud, parts.  (See giant donut line above.) The book is about a squirrel with superpowers he received from being vacuumed up, after all.  However, my favorite aspect of this story is the parent-child relationship.   Her parents aren’t together anymore -and spoiler…they aren’t at the end either.  But the main character,  Flora, learns that she is the most important person to each of her parents.  They may have mad mistakes, said things they didn’t mean, but she is still their #1.  And thanks to her superhero squirrel, she realizes it.

THIS is a message kids need to hear! 

What I’m Loving Wednesday 6.10.15

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Thanks for the Linky Michelle!

♥  Everything about Summer!  Waking up late, which means around 7 for me…Drinking coffee on the couch…Reading, writing, browsing Pinterest, and watching my son draw or build with his Legos…Afternoons at the pool…I love everything about summer!

51jt1hDk0GL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_20150610_134350♥  This book!  I just finished Brown Girl Dreaming, my second book off my summer reading list. It was so beautifully written, capturing the time period and a little girl’s coming of age.  Jacqueline Woodson wrote in verse about growing up in a time when the country was changing and people were fighting for equality.  One more book to add to my classroom library for next year!

♥  My new phone!  Now I have a phone that will stay charged!  Woohoo!

IMG_20150609_184638♥  Seeing my son’s eyes after a much needed haircut!  He grows it out all year long and then has to get it cut at the start of summer.  Seven inches chopped off!

Summer Lovin’

Not that kind!  But I am loving these first few days of summer!  (BTW…Can you believe our parents let us watch Grease?!  Even if I was oblivious…)

♥  Trips to Half Price Books with my BFF and great picture book finds like this one…

3046420This is so cute and funny.  I absolutely love the twists and the Tooth Fairy’s attitude!  The thing is, I can’t just read a book anymore without seeing the potential applications in the classroom.  This would be a fantastic mentor text for Fairy Tale Adaptations – completely original twists!

♥  One book crossed off my “Someday List” already…

I-Am-Malala_-How-One--pTRU1-21121877dtI read the version written for young readers.  I am always looking for books that I can recommend to students and I need to beef up my nonfiction reading recommendations.  This one will be added to my library in the fall.  She is an amazing, intelligent, inspiring girl…

I also told [the president] that if America spent less money on weapons and war and more on education, the world would be a better place.  (p.190)

I raise my voice not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. (p.191)

One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world.  (p.192)

♥  More time with my favorite…now a fourth grader!  He can have fun with anything…even red solo cups!  Empty of course!

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