Homework is in:
I hesitate at the end of the driveway. My purple lined Asics weigh down into the cement, which has been dry for nine years. “No excuses,” says the tiny voice that nags in my head. I fumble with my phone as I loop the ear buds over my shoulders. Flipping through pages of apps in search of Pandora, I hear the long low who of the nocturnal owl that is settling in for the morning. I imagine the springtime chatter of the calling birds as they each flirt and hunt in their symphonic morning melodies keeps him awake. It’s only fair as he has done the same to me. I smile in the direction of the nearby woods and then wonder why the neighbors roses refuse to bloom. They are thin and leggy crowded around a young maple tree. Two robins hop around them hunting the dewy grass and I recognize that I have forgotten about the ear buds entirely. I turn my wrist to check the time and realize that I had not meant to wear the watch this morning. Will it loosely bump and bruise my wrist? Touching my hips, I know I have no pockets and will have to turn around if I want to take it off. The cool morning air on my legs is already a contrast to the brightening sun warming my shoulders. I refuse to give in. This chance will not come again today. I shake my legs sending the imaginary concrete to scatter like the water on a wet dog. Deep breath in as I will the movement that takes me off the driveway toward the cresting sun into the direction of my morning run.
Assignment #2 from Teacher Write!
Write for two minutes to describe a very specific place.
- Everything you SEE – Pay attention to big things and tiny things. Search for concrete details.
- Everything you HEAR – Be specific. Don’t just say “a scraping sound.” Say a “high-pitched, raspity-raspity-screeeeeaking noise.” You can make up words if you want.If you aren’t in the place, try to find a video. Or guess what you might hear.
- Everything you SMELL – Especially pay attention to the smells that surprise you. If you’re not in the place, pictures can help you smell. Look carefully…what would that dumpster smell like?
- Everything you FEEL – Weather, wind, things that land on you or brush against you. Again – pictures help you imagine if you’re not there, and if it’s not a real place, try imagining images and then assigning sensations from a similar place that might be real (desert, tundra, etc.)
Now, go back and rewrite that descriptive paragraph. Include your best tiny, surprising details, and work on senses other than sight. Better? More vivid? This is a fun activity to do with kids, too. Have them write about the playground or gym or cafeteria; then go there and hunt for sensory details!
This is the first writing assignment for my summer writing camp:
“Make a writing plan for your summer and for your school year.”
It sounds like the perfect first step. I’m in the mood to get organized, so it fit perfectly with how I want to spend my day.
Now that I’m done teaching, I plan to get up at the same time I do during the school year so my early morning will look like this:
5am – 6am – Exercise
6am – 7am – Write
That leaves 45 minutes to shower before I have to wake up the four kids so they can get violins and pianos played before swimming and tennis.
I am also going to take my iPad with me to the pool to read so I should be able to manage emails, twitters, and a little extra writing while the kids play.
They have one last week, so today I spent the morning finding my desk beneath a huge pile of papers. May has been crazy and it feel so good to finally turn over all those rocks, recycle most of them, and take care of the rest. Starting tomorrow, I plan to have my laptop sitting on a clean desk ready to begin my new writing habit.
I am telling my kids what the plan is. I will let them know what they may do when they wake up if I am still writing. My husband will be at the gym or off to work so I’ll enjoy his support, but know he won’t be a distraction. I am also determined to write and post to both blogs – teachingrace and 8busyfeet so I can accountable there as well.
I imagine that most of my writing will be reflections and ideas related to the books and posts I am reading, however, I am open to working on a little fiction too.
What happens after my wonderful summer slowdown? I don’t know yet. Family is going to be challenging… My oldest will be starting middle school and my youngest starting kindergarten. We have to make the decision to commit to club soccer teams for three of them or cut some of the sports stuff. Third grade is a challenging year and I want to be able to give the middle child all the attention he needs. Oh, and did I mention I want to start Grad School? I guess I’ll just take this one step at a time and enjoy all the material this busy life provides.
Wish me luck!
I miss writing. The thought landed on me about three minutes after I said good-bye to the middle school for the summer. Of course my students will roll their eyes. Yes, I am a nerd. I actually like that stuff – to do for fun … I know – right… nerd.
I’ve happened upon a wonderful way to give my writing goals focus and accountability. Author Kate Messner, is hosting Teachers Write! A Virtual Summer Camp for Teachers and Librarians. I will be given assignments or a writing prompt to focus on for the day. There will be guest authors, Q and A, even a happy hour!
It all starts tomorrow – I can’t wait!
I’m Theresa Dixon and this blog of mine is about teaching, reading, writing, technology, and other sundry topics that come with being a middle school teacher, a mom, and a life-long learner.