Friday, August 2, 2013

Challenge, Writing Lesson, & Tribute All in One!

Hello Teacher Blog "Family,"

I wonder if anyone took my challenge out there.  If not, it is NEVER too late!  If you missed my Writing Challenge, you can check it out HERE.
We are putting ourselves in the shoes of our students and writing, even if it is uncomfortable.  The more we do something, the better we become at it.  We are MODELING, which is an important part of teaching. the time you get back to school, you will be able to share your new Writer's Notebook with your students!

For those of you who are getting started, I would like you to think about he word "inspire."  What does it mean to you? (awesome resource) says this:




[in-spahyuhr] Show IPA verb, in·spired, in·spir·ing.
verb (used with object)
1.  to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.
2.  to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.): to inspire confidence in others.
3.  to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.: to inspire a person with distrust.
4.  to influence or impel: Competition inspired her to greater efforts.
5.  to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does: They were inspired by a belief in a better future.
 Now, get out your Writer's Notebook and make a list of people, places, or things that inspire you.  If you want to take it further, write about a person, place or thing that inspires you. 
I'll show you an approach your students might like - a format used for assessment in Texas:
Look at this picture:
In class you can display any picture that you think might spark ideas for a given prompt.
I picked this picture, because we (adults) often think of older people who have inspired us, family, friends, teachers, etc.    
Two of the most inspirational people in my life - my Daddy and his sister, My Aunt Vivian.
 All of us have people that inspire us.
THINK about some people that have inspired you.  (Be sure to address new vocabulary words like "inspire" after you read the prompt together. Teacher may want to give an example of her own.)
In class, you might use a strategy like "Think, Pair, Share."
Give students 1-2 minutes to sit quietly and think. (Hint:  Use a timer.)
Give students 1-3 minutes to discuss their ideas with a partner or small group.
Use a strategy like pulling name sticks to have a few students share whole class.
Or... better yet, after discussing with a partner, set the timer for 2-4 minutes and have students write as many ideas as they can think of, then share out whole class.

This process of BRAINSTORMING is an important part of writing, because not every student has their own ideas for each prompt.  It is important to teach students that is normal.  Sometimes we immediately come up with something to write about and other times it might take us a little more time to think about it.
WRITE about a time someone inspired you. (THIS IS THE WRITING PROMPT.)
 In class, we would go back to the list we generated and pick one we want to write about the most.
By generating a list, we may have more than one idea, but we teach students to focus on ONE and write about only that ONE.  They must keep focus.
Any piece of this "lesson" is perfect for a Writer's Workshop mini-lesson or something you can train your students in and practice throughout the year so that they can work independently during "Daily 5."
But you, you may use this approach - Look at the picture, Think, List, Write,
OR you can use this page to inspire you to write in any way you want, because it's your Writer's Notebook and the point is to just become comfortable writing and making a habit of writing SOMETHING on a regular basis.  
 Here's a little modeling for you:
People Who Have Inspired Me:
Kelsi & Kyle
Annette, Karen, Allen, & Skeet
Marci & Dave, Debbie & Bill
Debbie (lots of them - lol)
Liz & Joey
Nona, Jan, Wendy, Valerie, Susan
Karen & Tim, Kara & Michael, Traci & Ken, Susan & Mark
Clair, Denise, Wendy
This is where I could go on and on, but my timer has gone off, so I'll stop there - especially since I wrote this post already knowing who I want to write about. :)
One Inspiring Woman
      I have had the blessing of knowing many inspiring Christian women in my life, but one sits on top of the long list - my Aunt Vivian.  I am inspired by her loving, giving spirit and her servant's heart.  She inspires me by how she openly and joyful loves her family - ALL of her family.  I don't believe there is anyone in the family who doesn't know if we needed her she would be there in any way possible!  Probably because she lives her life showing us that.  
     She did not grow up as a woman of "means," but one of her blessings was parents who raised her to love the Lord and do for others with whatever she had.  She has been a loving daughter, niece, wife, mother, sister, aunt, and on and on.
     When you are with Aunt Viv, you know you are going to feel special and loved.  She is for sure going to call you "precious" at some point in the conversation.  She will tell you how special you are, and make you feel like it's true.  She will hug you and give you a cookie, or a yummy piece of cake she just whipped up in case someone dropped by.  She will pray with you.  She will tell you how she can't wait to see you again!  You walk away warm and smiling after spending time with her.
     Aunt Vivian has suffered tremendous loss in her life - a granddaughter, her siblings, her parents, countless friends, and most recently, her son.  Each time she has leaned on the Lord and shown that life is a beautiful gift to be enjoyed.   
     I have many memories of my Aunt Vivian - from shopping to visiting nursing homes.  They all hold special places in my heart.  Because she made me feel loved.  And isn't that what everyone wants and needs...
     Happy Birthday, Aunt Vivian!!!  I love you and treasure your inspirational example!!! MUAH!  
Obviously I could have written far more, but this is a first "draft" of a much larger piece.  I believe it is called a "seed story."  I can choose to leave it in my Writer's Notebook, or revise and edit it and publish it in some form.  
Try it out folks - WHO INSPIRES YOU??