Day 31: Do as I say…

Ah, the joys of teaching! I am a font of advice for students, particularly middle schoolers. About work and life and everything. As I up my writing game from hobbyist to professional, I'm thinking I should "do as I say." Because some of my advice isn't half bad! Former students will tell you that these … Continue reading Day 31: Do as I say…

Day 3: Those that can, do. And we teach, too.

Why do I never take on a beginner's project? Always I must dive in with complicated instead of easy! Crazy, isn't it? I have no one but myself to blame. What was true with counted cross stitch is just as true with writing. My debut fiction project was not a simple story, but a mammoth … Continue reading Day 3: Those that can, do. And we teach, too.

In class today, the film Marty

Yes, my students rolled their eyes at me. A movie from 1955? In black and white? But after the success of While You Were Sleeping, they have learned to trust me. Sort of. Marty is a classic film that no storyteller should miss. It's a time capsule, pulling us into an ordinary working-class neighborhood in … Continue reading In class today, the film Marty

Why English Teachers Die Young

Tuesday, as my students read aloud these lame and painfully bad analogies, they laughed until they cried. This list is comprised of entries from, I think, the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest. And it's as much fun today as when I first snagged it from the Internet years ago. I offer it in celebration of Friday. And … Continue reading Why English Teachers Die Young

Benjamin Zander and Reducing the Impulses

Sometimes it helps to cross-train with artists from other disciplines. Today, a TED talk from conductor Benjamin Zander. As always, he is a delight. He transforms the way we see classical music. And, I hope, the way my students see the craft of writing. "Observe his performance of Chopin," I tell them. As writers, what … Continue reading Benjamin Zander and Reducing the Impulses

We’re in this writing thing together

I am a collector of quotations. Who better to comment on the writing life than those who have struggled through it, right? Ah, but my high school students aren't so sure, especially at the beginning of the school year. They don't get it. I share a quotation and get blank looks. "So what does this … Continue reading We’re in this writing thing together

For ducks, a round robin

Yes, we have way too much fun together. And this it isn't a true Round Robin, either. That's where one person starts a story, and then the other writers take turns finishing. Participants are writing to entertain one another, so inside jokes abound. Instead, I'm having each student contribute four words. A noun, a verb, … Continue reading For ducks, a round robin

Bad Dates and Girl Wars – 1

I'm grading my first year students' Chick Lit papers this week. What fun they had with relationship drama! They also discovered why writing is the secret joy of introverts. We entertain ourselves! Look for these excerpts every Sunday for a while. April brings both Camp NaNo and the A to Z  Blogging Challenge, so my … Continue reading Bad Dates and Girl Wars – 1

My Treasure Book of Writing

A while back I mentioned my self-made textbooks for high school. They're so fat they're laughable, being stuffed with quotations and articles. And, ha, cartoons. So today I'll give you a look. Yes, that is Wile E. Coyote's calling card in yellow on the open page. (Click the image if you'd like to enlarge it.) … Continue reading My Treasure Book of Writing

Learning Writing Voice with Henri

A teacher is supposed to inspire and empower, and to do that I sometimes use Internet videos. My beginning students are winding up their Chick Lit short stories (six to ten pages, due Friday), and I've been encouraging them to use a definitive voice. You know, writing like a girl would think and speak. Today … Continue reading Learning Writing Voice with Henri