The Tuesday Slice of Life is hosted by Ruth and Stacey at Two Writing Teachers. Go look, and read, and reflect!
On August 15th, Ruth Ayres posted a piece about slowing down. I don’t print every post I like, but this one I did, and have used parts of it when I talk with my colleagues. It is mostly about taking the time to tell stories, giving support for everyone that, in Ruth’s words: You have a story to tell. You have the ability to tell it. Others need to hear it too.
Those are important and inspiring words, yet the ones that also resonated with me were to slow down and pay attention to the message we are trying to send. And there is a poem, “A Lazy Thought” by Eve Merriam shared by the first commenter that ends like this: It takes a lot/Of slow/To Grow. You can read the entire poem on Ruth’s post.
In the hurry, scurry of our lives, I see many students who turn to the computer more often in order to “get done” or “finish” and turn in the assignment. I believe in my own teaching life that my use of writers notebooks and sketchbooks helped students improve in a variety of ways, because handwriting and sketching slowed them down. If you use a journal or daybook or writers notebook, imagine what happens when you take it up. You ponder the page, you put down words, sometimes hurried, yet thoughtfully. You look at the words, cross out, draw arrows and diagrams, perhaps a quick sketch. You are slowing down, making changes as you think, deciding what you like, how to proceed. You might spark other memories and stop to think of them, make connections to that earlier time. You are reflecting. You might turn to a poem that you remember, and write it down, looking hard at the poet’s lines, wondering what she was imagining as she wrote. You are connecting your life with hers. You could be describing a scene in a story, and look back at an ocean vacation. You remember how powerful the waves were one evening. You wonder how to describe them. And you may write about a friendship in your story, drawing on your own experiences-good or bad-to find the right words. You are crafting.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at Sharing Our Notebooks has guest writers doing just that, sharing their notebooks, what they look like, how they are used, etc. Barry Lane is this week's guest.
|Here, and those below, are pics of old notebooks I've kept.|
All of the above takes time and thought, hence my argument for using writers notebooks in the classroom, taking time for them, honoring the thoughtfulness that goes with the act of using them. It’s good practice and encourages the slow, rather than the go.
On a different note, I am very excited to have been selected as one of the Round Two Judges of the Poetry Cybil Awards. You can see the group with whom I’ll be working at this site. This is a new challenge and I know I’ll learn so much from the others in the group.