Monday, March 10, 2014

Do you have the write stuff?

Principal ponderings...
On Tuesday, thanks to the PTA, we were lucky enough to have a very special guest at our school, Cynthia Lord.  Cynthia gave two wonderful presentations, one to our 1st and 2nd graders and one to our 3rd and 4th graders.  I also invited some 4th graders to have a lunch chat with her in my office.  I can't say enough great things about this author and about her visit to our school.  There was one unexpected surprise that happened with her visit.  Yes, kids were excited about hearing read her new HotRod Hamster book.  Yes, students got the message about how important reading is to writing.  Yes, students learned about the writing life of an author they enjoy.  The unexpected surprise for me was Cynthia's impact on all of you, our teachers.  

Several teachers came up to me after Cynthia's visit and talked about how motivated they were to write.  Did you know that many in the building have dabbled in the writing world?  Last year, I taught an after school class to several of your peers, and it was all about the importance of teachers writing.  How can we teach writing if we are not actually experiencing the struggles and joys that come along with writing?  Some of you may have book ideas that you are playing around with.  Some of you may write in a journal.  Some of you may write poetry.  Some of you may write articles or blogs.  I know for myself there is so much I want to write but it's not easy finding the time.  During the lunch chat with 4th graders, Cynthia talked about when she wrote Rules and she was working during the day.  She said she would get up and write from 4:00 to 6:00 in the morning.  That was her sacred time of day where it was quiet and she could focus on her writing.  After scheduling that time, it eventually became a habit and a time of day that she looked forward to each day.  

I am not advocating that we all go and try to write a book.  But I am advocating that we all write.  If you can share in the same experience as your students, you will be a better teacher and you will help them become better writers.  And along the way, through your writing, you just might discover things about yourself that you never knew.  Writing can certainly be stressful, especially when you are first trying to get something on the page.  But writing can also help you relieve your stress, helping you get thoughts out instead of holding them inside.  

I challenge all of you to get yourself into a writing routine.  It does not have to be at 4 am like Cynthia!  Once you get that routine in place, maybe it will become a habit.  Personally, I love that I have my weekly routine of writing this blog.  I look forward to doing it each week.  Share your writing with your peers.  As I mentioned, there are many of us in this building who love to write.  Talk about your writing life, whatever it looks like, with your class.  Remember Cynthia's advice...We all need to read. We all need to write.  We all need to observe.  We all need to dream.

So FloRo, do you have the write stuff? :)

Currently reading:
I am still working on finishing up Half a Chance and The Mighty Miss Malone.  I have a brand new copy of Hotrod Hamster: Monster Truck Mania from Cynthia Lord in my office.  I read through it before I have to turn it over to our school library.  I also spent some time reading more of Book Love.

Events this week:
We are collecting registration packets for kindergarten all this week in the front office.  Report cards are open for you to enter in iPass.
Wednesday - Grade 1 chorus practice @ 2:25 in the gym, School Council meeting @ 3:30 in the office, School Committee meeting @ 7:00 at the high school
Thursday - Curriculum half day: meet at 1:15 in the library (lab teachers will be meeting with Grace and Sharon)
Friday - Para meeting @ 9:00 on the staff room, Grade 1 chorus practice @ 2:25 in the gym, Variety Show @ 7:00 in the PAC...come see your colleagues ROAR! :)

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Students in Mrs. Snow's class were writing opinion pieces about going to bed at a scheduled time.
  • Students asked Cynthia questions such as: how did you think of certain characters?, tell us about the spot where you like to write, what is your favorite book that you have written?, how long does it take you to write a book?
  • Our 2nd graders and multi-age classes did an awesome job singing their hearts out at the concert!
  • Mrs. Hoke's 2nd graders presented their heritage projects on Wednesday night.  I learned a lot about various countries and an added bonus...I got to try lots of family recipes!
  • Our 4th graders were invited to a middle school assembly on Friday.  They listened to a motivational speech about accepting people with differences by Becky Curran and asked some really thoughtful questions.
Check it out:
Interesting blog post about not punishing students:


  1. On teaching writing: I love Penny Kittle's book "Write Beside Them". I find this strategy so useful when teaching and modelling writing.

  2. I will have to check that book out, have not read that one yet!