#TeachersWrite Has Started!

Last week, I joined #TeachersWrite 2015 Summer Camp- a writers’ community where teachers and authors are coming together to write and learn from each other. This is the first official writing exercise.

7/6/15 – Jo Knowles’ Monday Morning Warm Up

The Prompt:

Make a list of all the things about your project, everything, no matter how insignificant seeming.


Here’s what I wrote in response:

My Project…My Project?

My Project

My plan was to voice it,

and then it would be

out there,

and I would be more likely

to complete it.

That was several summers ago,

and then,

I took it back.

Writing doesn’t bring me

energy, I said.

It’s work.

I love reading,

and sharing reading,

and teaching reading,

and reading aloud-

but a writer, I am not.

Along came Twitter,

and blogs,

and I felt my voice

rise up inside,

I want to say things, too!

I should say things

for me,

for others,

for my students.

I will be a better teacher

if I write.

This truth was self-evident.

It echoed through the blogs I read.

I MUST write.

I bought books about writing,

and started a google doc

to write my thoughts on teaching,

but the school year got busy,

my writing waned…

Still, the kernel of thinking

lived on-

I should write.

I need to write.

I MUST write,

if for no other reason than it makes me

a better teacher.

Then, an opportunity-

participate in the summer institute

of the PA Writing & Literature Project.


Teachers came together

to learn, to write,

and my writer explored writing in a

new way,

and my teacher soaked them up,

brought them to school,

built a thriving writers’ community

And now it is summer,

a time to reflect, to read, to write.

I began with Kate Messner’s

59 Reasons to Write.


What’s this?

A virtual writers’ camp?

Teachers and Authors

coming together to

support each other?

Sounds amazing,

and terrifying!

I’ll do it!

and now I’m doing it,

and it’s Monday, and

the prompt is to

write about my project,

and I don’t have a project…

except I DO, and

my summers-old project comes to mind.

This is where I begin…


for children

that inspire,

that are diverse,

that present a wide range of possibility.

Who are the heroes we don’t know about?

books that go beyond the usual

different cultures

different backgrounds



Friday Feedback for #TeachersWrite

Before #TeachersWrite 2015 officially started on Monday (July 6th), Gae Polisner posted an early “Friday Feedback” for writers to submit an excerpt from a Work in Progress (WIP).

Reading Gae’s blog made me braver than I was feeling before coming to read her reflection on becoming a writer, so I jumped in! Well, maybe I stepped into the shallow end, but I posted a poem for Friday Feedback, and Gae, as well as Greg Armamentos, and Krystal Oh, replied with words of encouragement and praise. It was a very warm welcome to #TeachersWrite!


Here’s is what I posted:

Okay, so yesterday I tweeted that I would be brave and join in. I don’t have a WIP, or ms. I have a writer’s notebook and I don’t use it nearly enough, which is what I hope to achieve by being in TeachersWrite. Last summer I participated in the summer institute for the PA Writing and Literature Project, and I discovered the true power of being a teacher who writes. I wrote alongside my students this year, and we learned together and built a true writers’ community. But I struggle to write regularly, and I would like to develop the habits of a writer, and not just think about all the things I could be writing. That said, I’ve done a bunch of reading and a little writing and I will share a found poem that I wrote in the margin of 59 Reasons to Write after I finished reading page 21.

Writers Need
a found poem inspired by the words of Kate Messner

Writers need
to feel safe,
free to push themselves,
write honestly,
from personal experience.

a new way of writing,
or different point of view-

in a supportive,
safe environment,
go deeper,
beyond comfort zone–
rather than fear.