Friday, July 14, 2023

Teachers Write! Weekly Check In #1

Welcome to Teachers Write 2023 and the Weekly Check-In! I'm Jen Vincent and writing is my jam! Teachers who write make the very best teachers of writing and Teachers Write has been a huge part of my journey as a writer.

If you’re here, you get it! Whether you already write consistently or you are here to dust off your notebook or you have an inkling that this will be a game changer, you understand that being able to walk the walk matters when it comes to writing instruction.

A quick intro to me! I’ve hosted the Weekly Check In for Teachers Write with Kate Messner since we started Teachers Write in 2012. I've written young adult novels and picture books and essays. Most recently, I’m working on writing about what it looks like to live the life of a writer and how we can share this with students.

I'm a 6-8 Language Arts teacher for Bannockburn School in Bannockburn, Illinois and I’ve been in a variety of roles in my 21 years of teaching. Beyond school, I love being outdoors, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, practicing yoga, and hanging out with my husband (also a teacher!) and our two teenage sons (yikes!).

This year, our focus is Poetry and Play and this week, I played around with how I might use Laura Ruby’s suggestion to use a hermit crab poem to write slant and share why being a teacher who writes matters.

Yesterday, I met my friend Carrie Thomas, a high school English teacher friend who writes, at a local coffee shop and I snapped a picture of the menu.

I’m passionate about supporting teachers as writers because it matters. It matters because when we write, we are better able to connect with students and confer with them from an authentic place. Living the life of a writer means navigating the ups and downs and being able to say to a student writer, “That’s happened to me before. You know what I tried?” I wondered, how could I use the menu as a mentor text to share some ways that being a teacher who writes matters?

I started with a blank page in my notepad, recreating the menu with a Teachers Write spin, playing with the words and trying out ideas.

Then I switched over to Canva and had fun designing my own Teachers Write Specialties menu. If you’d like a PDF version to print, you can find it here.

I’m absolutely thrilled that you are here and looking forward to hearing how your first week of Teachers Write: Poetry and Play went! 

Here’s how the Weekly Check In goes. I share a bit of my writing life and I invite you to reflect on your writing life this week and share the ups and downs in the comments. It’s been pretty much the same since 2012 when we first started and if you’d like to see the resources I’ve shared over the years, this link will take you to all my previous Teachers Write posts, starting with the most recent first.

Teachers Write Weekly Check-In Agreements:
1. We respect each other and the type of writing we each do.
2. We are positive and encourage each other.
3. We recognize and maintain this as a safe, inclusive environment for all.
4. We have fun!

Ideas for today in the comments section:
What are your goals for Teachers Write?
How did you do this week? Did you meet your weekly goal(s)?
What was the pit of your week? (The hardest part, the non-fun part?)
What was the peak of your week? (The best part, the most-fun part?)

My Weekly Check-In: My goals for Teachers Write this year are to follow along with the prompts from Kate and our fabulous guest authors and to let myself play and explore. I do have a WIP (work in progress) that is currently at 21,244 words and I’d love to add to my word count and possibly finish my first draft before school starts in August…but I’m giving myself a lot of grace and going with the flow. 

This week I had fun blending Kate’s idea for found poems and Laura Ruby’s hermit crab poems suggestion. BUT I did not work on my WIP until I needed to write this blog post and realized I should at least open it during week 1. Let’s see if I can get some words added by next week’s check-in!

Give yourself a huge pat on the back for being part of Teachers Write this summer! Yay you! I‘m excited to connect with you and hear how Teachers Write is going so far. If you have any questions or if I can help with anything, please let me know.

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