COVID-19 · post-op life · slice of life · writing

Scheduling Change #SOL20

Writing Together

On the first day of quarantine-school, writing did not go well. It took Isabelle an eternity to brainstorm ideas and even longer to get lackluster writing down on the page. She argued with me, groaned repeatedly, and acted as if someone was hurting her. So, the following day, I moved writing time to the morning immediately following read aloud. While her efforts were still labored, she whined a lot less. As a result, I have kept writing time first-thing in the morning.

Today was day eight of quarantine school and writing was downright enjoyable. After we gathered our notebooks, we watched the fourth Keeping Our Notebooks video, which was “The Story of an Object.” After we watched it, I encouraged Isabelle to gather three to five objects from around the house that she could write a story about. She returned with five! Next, I prompted her to orally rehearse what she might write about each one to help her determine which one she’d select to write about. Two of the stories fell flat. One was mediocre. The other two were good. Ultimately, Isabelle decided to write one of the good ones, which she figured she’d be able to write about using action, thinking, dialogue, and description, something Amy Ludwig VanDerwater reminded about in the video.

I encouraged Isabelle to fill two pages in her 5″ x 7″ notebook. I encouraged her to skip lines so she’d have room to edit once she finished.

Five minutes passed. Then ten. I gave her the fish-eye and noticed she was still writing so I continued to write in my notebook too. By the time she finished, she had filled FOUR 5″ x 7″ notebook pages!

I. Was. Floored.

Eight days ago Isabelle behaved like she was tortured because I was making her write. Today, she seemed to enjoy it. (And she used her personal editing checklist with minimal guidance too!)

Every day will be different in quarantine school. But if things keep improving, then maybe I’ll have a notebooker on my hands by the time she returns to school. (Who knows when that will be?!)

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.org for more slice of life stories.

18 thoughts on “Scheduling Change #SOL20

  1. I am not at all suprised that Isabelle filled four pages. She must get that writing from her mama! And… when kids have the write outlet, they fly! Great job!

    1. She seems to be enjoying the keeping of a writer’s notebook.
      We did a one-line-a-day journal two summers ago and she wasn’t into it so I haven’t pushed the notebook much at home. Perhaps THIS will be a game changer for her.

  2. Teacher Mom for the win! I think it’s so important to not label kids as “non-writers” because we all have those days. Your persistence and troubleshooting made all the difference. Pat yourself on the back.

  3. Go Isabelle! I’m impressed with her choices here. Both you and she have been tenacious & I’m glad to hear things are moving along. I’m sure she’ll have up days & down days, but this is amazing. Now I’m wondering if I should try morning writing with my guys. Hmm… that might be just the shift we need. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. >Every day will be different in quarantine school. <

    Indeed it will, and you'll roll with the punches from groaning and moaning to four pages of writing. I'm not all together surprised about her loving write! 🙂 I'd think she's come by it naturally!

    Here's to more good days of quarantine school! 🙂

  5. I really like the label quarantine school and applaud all the parents who are actively guiding their children toward lifelong reading and writing. I have been checking on my granddaughter’s progress and happy to see her loving her read aloud and art time. Thanks for sharing Amy’s notebook video.

  6. This is fantastic! I love that you get to see her grow as a writer and a “tryer”. I also love that the schedule change helped. That is something I wish we could do in schools. Who wants math or English the last period fo the day? They have nothing left to give and it’s hard for everyone!

    1. I was really lucky, when I taught in NYC, to have a principal who allowed me to swap writing and math since writing was in the afternoon — right after lunch and recess — and that never seemed to work for my kids. Every year, when I asked, he said yes. So, I went back to my roots and remembered that my former 5th graders wrote better in the morning than the afternoon and tried it with Isabelle… and it worked!

  7. Way to go, Isabelle! Moving writing to the beginning of her day seems like it was exactly what she needed to get the most out of writing. Amazing progress! Cheers for writing!!!

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