Today is day 2 of the SOLSC #SOL16 and here's a slice of my writing workshop~ Please join us at Two Writing Teachers and grow your writing community and discover your inner writer!
Today I looked around the room and there he was, G sitting and staring blankly across the room; I walked over to confer with the G, "Oh I'm thinking about what to write." I remember the wise words of Gary Chadwell (that were something like this), "You can only confer with a writer if they're writing." So I walk away, and give them a little bit more time to think.
A little bit later I decide to so go see how he's doing. As I walk over, I notice he's still gazing across the room. Then I think, maybe he needs a little more help, so I walk towards him and ask, "Do you know what writers do when they're thinking of topics for writing?" He answered, "Read a book? I replied, yes and they talk to other writers and their friends about what it is they enjoy or what they plan to write about. We're writing personal narratives, so maybe you can tell me about your life and things you like to do."
I offer books, suggestions for topics, and I tell him to talk about his day. He seemed to have a few stories that made him smile, so again, I moved away so he could work. I looked over five minutes later, still nothing... there he sat, 20 minutes of our 40-minute writing time has been lsot. My heart was breaking for him. I decided to give him one more idea for writing, so I sat beside him and glanced at his empty page and said, "Did you know you could write a story about not knowing what to write about?" He looked up at me and smiled; he didn't know that you could write about nothing. As we sat there side-by-side, I told him how a story about nothing might sound. " I can't decide what to write, and my teacher is making me write. I could write about baseball practice, no, I don't want to write about baseball practice. I could write about all the weird things happening in my classroom. No, I don't want to write about that, I could write about just sitting here and staring around the room and how my teacher just keeps looking at me from across the classroom. I try to think of an idea and still nothing. I look at my paper, and it's blank. I look at my friends paper with writing how can you write so much when I can't think of anything?"
Then I ask G, "Do you see how this is beginning to turn into a story?" He looks at me and this time he laughed, I think he's warming up, so I asked him to tell me a few more ideas for his story. He starts sharing ideas, I see his face starting to light up, and I know he's ready to write, so I walk away.
A little bit later I walk by his paper, and I see he has a line, "the night of mashed potatoes."This sure sounds like an exciting title. I can't wait to see what you come up with." and I walk away again.
As we come to share I give him give him a little wink, and I qsk, "Would you mind sharing our conference?" He smiles and looks up at me; he begins by saying my stories called the night of the mashed potatoes. Then he reads the story, I'm looking hit him with a puzzled face. I replied, "I love your story it's, but can you tell them how you got your idea for your story here? He looks at me as if he's confused and so I asked him if I could share our conference. He nodded his head in agreement.
So I begin to share our conference. I explained I noticed G was sitting and looking around the room, and that I walked over and offered many writing ideas. I described how we decided he was going to write about his sisters cheerleading practice. Then, I asked the class "Did you notice what he wrote about?" the kids of laughed and then replied, "He wrote about mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts!"
I asked the writers why they thought G wrote about something different than what we talked about in our conference. A few kids thought, and then one hand shot up, and that writer said: "He wasn't feeling your story, Mrs.Frazier it belonged to you not to G. That's why he didn't write that story."
I was so surprised to hear this response, a reason I hadn’t thought of quite frankly. I wasn't sure why G didn’t follow the words of our conference, but now I do!
Thank you, writers!
Please join us at Two Writing Teachers #sol16 and grow your writing community and discover your inner writer!