Sunday, July 24, 2016

Week #4 - Teachers Write Sunday Check-In 2016

Well, hello there, campers!!! How is your writing going!? I can't wait to hear all about it but first I have a quick mentor text for you to think about this week in terms of writing what you devour. I believe that writing is an extension of reading, that when we read voraciously then we can apply what we've learned about how to weave stories and then we can write our own. It's also why I believe mentor texts are powerful, our favorite books are models we can learn from. 

When we write, it's helpful to think about what you love to read and have read tons of as a place to start. Not that you can't read in one genre and write in another, but people talk about writing what you know (and not everyone agrees with that...) but writing what you know in terms of the genre you read most can be a good place to start. The same goes for our students, asking them to write in a genre they love can help them embrace, or maybe just ease into, writing.

My short and sweet video today comes to you from my kitchen...which isn't usually where I devour books but it is where we've been making Jell-o since my kids devoured it in Guatemala and now can't get enough of it. 
(Um...please ignore that I said Raymie Nightingale is coming out soon! 
It's already out! You can go get it right now! And you should. Now. Really!)

I've devoured every one of Kate DiCamillo's books so she's my choice for a mentor text this week when thinking about writing what I devour. Kate's descriptions are wonderful. It's like she makes time stand still and zeroes in on the most specific detail. I shared my review of Raymie Nightingale in April with some other snatches of text and here's a link to my review of Flora and Ulysses with some of my favorite snatches of text.

Some quotes I devoured 
from Kate DiCamillo's Raymie Nightingale:

     "The station wagon shot forward. The back doors swung open, then shut with a loud bang and stayed closed. The car accelerated at an alarming rate, the engine roaring and groaning, and then the station wagon disappeared entirely, and Raymie and Beverly were left standing together in a cloud that was composed of dust and gravel and exhaust." (p. 27)

     "The woman had green eye shadow on her eyelids and big, fake eyelashes and also a lot of rouge on her cheeks. But underneath the rouge and the eye shadow and the fake eyelashes, she looked very familiar. She looked like Beverly Tapinski, except older. And angrier. If that was possible.
     'Why do I have to do everything?' said the woman.
     This was the kind of question that had no answer, the kind of question that adults seemed to be overly fond of asking. 
     Before Raymie could even attempt some sort of response, the woman was out of the car and had hold of Beverly's baton and was pulling on it and Beverly was pulling back.
     More dust rose up in the air.
     'Let go,' said Beverly.
     'You let go,' said the woman, who was surely Beverly's mother, even though she wasn't really acting like a mother." (p. 35)

     "The sun glinted off the abandoned grocery carts and made them magical, beautiful. Everything shimmered. The seagulls called out. Raymie thought that something wonderful was going to happen." (p. 43)

I had the pleasure of meeting Kate at BEA this spring and at nErDcamp this summer. If you want to read more about my fun at nErDcamp, head on over to Story Exploratory.

My Teachers Write Recap:
I made some great progress this week so I'm feeling pretty good! I finished up revisions and sent them off to a writer friend...and I also sent a few queries too. (!!!) Querying is not easy but I keep telling myself that every query I send is one more step in my journey as a writer. Now I'm working on revisions of the YA contemporary I drafted last summer. I even snuck in some time to dig a little deeper into research for a non-fiction narrative picture book. 

This week I'm hoping to really revise like crazy. I've found that I need a lot more brainpower to tackle revisions but zoning in on something specific to work on makes it easier. I've also realized that as much as I love to work out a beat sheet and know where the story is going to go, writing the first draft (and every draft after it) and looking back on it is the only way to really know what story needs to be told. 

A reminder of my rules for Teachers Write Sunday Check-Ins:
1. We respect each other and the type of writing we do.
2. We only offer constructive criticism.
3. We are positive and encourage each other at all times.
4. We recognize and maintain this as a safe environment.

Today, in the comments:
What books, author, or genre do you devour and are they mentor texts for your own writing?
How did you do this week? Did you meet your weekly goal(s)?
What was the pit of your week? (The hardest part, the not-so-fun part?)
What was the peak of your week? (The best part, the most-totally-fun part?)
What are you looking forward to and planning for the week ahead?
P. S. Thank you for replying to each other's comments! 
While I read them all and do my best to reply and 
reply as soon as possible it doesn't always happen.
I so appreciate you cheering each other on through Teachers Write! You r-o-c-k!

Psst! Yes, you! One more thing...
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