Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Living Like a Writer

If anything, I think that blogging has forced me to "Live Like a Writer," a line I am sure I pulled out of one of Lucy Calkins' books. Before contributing to this web log I never took the time to reflect so deeply on my day, whether inside the classroom or in my own home. Life and all of its relentless pressures are certainly traveling at light speed, and taking time to pause and reflect gives my mind that opportunity to be steady and make connections where connections would normally not be made.

I think I have always been an eclectic romantic at heart but now I am certain of it. Today, while in Writers Workshop with my Fantabulous Fifth Graders I was introducing our lesson and I had a moment of clarity. The students were fantastic, I had peaked their interest when I mentioned, "Today you will be using digital cameras."

With my captive audience I began to illustrate how to take a picture of something ordinary and think about it in extraordinary ways. So with my digital camera I leaned over, slowly lowered to one knee, and took a picture of my infamous coffee cup. How could I begin to think about this image in an extraordinary way? If I am to live like a writer what deep personal connections could I make with a simple picture of a coffee cup?

The ideas began to pour out of my students more easily than my first cup of morning coffee.

I had discovered in the middle of the mini-lesson that it's about the time around the Silver Bullet, the incredibly large coffee pot that so graciously holds the morning's life liquid that is found in our staff lounge. The time standing, waiting patiently for my turn to fill my cup, where conversations ensue with other teachers who are anxious for their mornin' cup-o-joe.

I get to find out about someone's new grandchild, get an update on someone's ill mother, find out that a son has been accepted to college, another son in boot camp, or simply get to say "Good Morning" to those I don't normally see throughout a busy day.

Living like a writer has forced me to think about the ordinary things in my life and find deep personal connections, silly I know, but oh so powerful. It helps me to find value in the mundane and allows me to treasure the small things in life and for this I am grateful.

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  1. John-I love hearing about your readers workshop! Lucy would be proud. I think your fantabulous 5th graders have a fantabulous teacher! Keep up the great reading and writing work! Very inspiring!

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