What a rewarding week it has been! I’ve had the pleasure of spending the first of three weeks with a group of the most dedicated teachers. Teachers willing to give up their summer to write, read about writing, and teach other teachers about writing, and share best practices. It is what The University of Illinois Writing Project is all about. I can’t tell you which part of my day is my favorite, but one of the many highlights from the week came from a demonstration to an approach to teaching presented by Ms. Mary Poppins Biddle. She shared her years of experience and wisdom as she led us through ways to generate topic choice and get kids, as she would state, to find their backbones and just try it! We all deal with the “I don’t know what to write” whine– coming from our own voice or student voices. One powerful activity she offered was for us, the students, to think about what we know because we were there. To me, the “what do you know” prompt took me to more details than thinking about a list of meaningful things, places or people. I was able to quickly come up with many ideas that I’d enjoy writing about. The following is my quick write list of things I know because I was there…
Vitor’s Bistro has the tastiest seafood frittata (and pecan eggrolls and french toast and creme brûlée coffee and…)
Hamster balls probably aren’t made for 45-year-old fat ladies
Charlotte Danielson has to be one of the most difficult people to listen to
Ryan can even coax a 15-year-old to share his voice
Bagpipes can kill you
Spaghetti DOES grow on trees
I hope I can carve out some time to write about a few of these this summer!