Starting Slowly

One of the things I realized about myself when I went to the Choice Literacy writing retreat is how quickly I speed through the day. I like to pay attention to the world around me, but sometimes I’m moving too quickly. For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to slow down my pace.

It’s good to remember this at the start of a new school year.

We can be so excited about writing workshop and our plans and the getting-going that we forget sometimes slow is a very good thing. Of course, we are also feeling all kinds of pressure to meet common core and increase our performance and score big on tests that there is a push to get going right now, and we forget sometimes slow is a very good thing.

Part of slowing down is considering the heart of the message. I’m asking myself a lot of questions. What is the most important thing for beginning writers to know? How am I going to anchor this key idea in writing workshop? How will I introduce it? Here are some of the ways I’m answering these questions.

  • Everyone has a story to tell. Think about the things that matter most to you. Collect these ideas. Talk about them. Tell stories. Sketch. Illustrate. Research. Jot. Plan.
  • It is important to share your story with others. It’s a big gift when people share their stories with us. When writers are grateful, they listen attentively, encourage, ask questions, and realize other stories they could tell.
  • It’s important to document our stories so we don’t forget them and so we can share them with others who aren’t in our community. Writers document their stories in a variety of ways. Illustrations, text, and video are a few ways writers document their stories.

I’m asking myself if these ideas hold true for a diverse spectrum of writers. I think they do. I think these things are true for 3 year old writers and 9 year old writers and 18 year old writers.

Today I get to launch writing workshop in a kindergarten classroom. On Thursday I’ll be learning alongside eighth graders. In both cases, I’m going to be intentionally slowing myself down and paying attention to the heart of the message I want to send about being a writer.

  1. You have a story to tell.
  2. You have the ability to tell it.
  3. Others need to hear it too.

On another note: I’m participating in the Ivy+Bean Blog-A-Bration. There is a terrific grand prize that will be given away in honor of Ivy + Bean Day on October 13.  In order to be eligible for the grand prize drawing, you have to be selected as a weekly giveaway winner. Each participating blog will select 4 weekly giveaway recipients until the final week before Ivy + Bean Day. Go here to enter and to find a list of participating blogs in order to increase your chances of being eligible for the grand prize and to join in the excitement of Ivy + Bean Day.