Memory is a complicated thing — a relative to truth, but not its twin.
On the table where I sit each morning with my coffee — thinking and dreaming, writing and reading — is a small stone engraved with these words:
The biggest lie that I tell myself daily is ”I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it.”
It’s a reminder to me of all the good ideas, large and small, I’ve lost because I haven’t written them down.
Beau Biden died tragically young earlier this year, while he was serving as the attorney general in Delaware. One of the memories shared at his funeral was of Beau listening intently whenever any citizen accosted him with a concern, and then pulling out a small notebook to write it down. I love that image of a notebook always on hand, a physical reminder that he would literally carry someone’s concerns with him.
It’s a stress reliever for me to write things down. It takes any idea or issue out of mental space and into physical space to deal with later. I keep little notebooks in the car, next to the bed, and in many coat pockets. But writing ideas down when they come is easier said than done. The problem is that ideas often come when we are on the move — something about getting up and walking across the room, or taking a shower, or driving in the car shakes and loosens the mind. It’s this reverie that allows thoughts to mingle in new ways, and inspiration to emerge. And then we scramble (because we aren’t at a desk or table) for any scrap of paper to write it down.
That’s why I probably have at least a half dozen notepads and notebooks in use at any given time — it’s impossible to keep track of all of them as they are moving from car to house, coat pockets to coffee tables. I no longer worry about any kind of order to them, or finishing one before I start another. What matters most is to tell myself the truth — if I don’t write it down when inspiration strikes, it is likely to be lost forever.
This week we look at ways to energize writing workshops. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
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Mary Lee Hahn finds 15 minutes of writing on Friday builds fluency and confidence in her fifth-grade students, and gives her a wealth of formative assessment data at the same time:
Shari Frost shares children’s picture books that are about characters who write. These are wonderful mentor texts for writing minilessons:
The Sharing Our Notebooks blog from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is a terrific resource for teachers or anyone interested in how writers capture and hone ideas in notebooks:
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Katrina Edwards moves her first graders from writing “bed-to-bed” stories early in the year with a mentor text and writing activity that promotes self-discipline and a growth mindset:
Ruth Ayres explores the boundaries of student options in Choice in Writing Workshops:
Katherine Sokolowski shares some of her favorite Resources for Quick-Writes:
In this week’s video, Ruth Ayres confers with sixth grader Connor about constructing a thesis statement:
In an encore video, Beth Lawson models essay writing in a fourth-grade minilesson:
That’s all for this week!