About this time of year I am burning both ends of my candle. Students are sick, absent, being pulled for testing. My workload is heavy and my motivation is low. I inevitably slump through half of January and a quarter of February and the words “self-care” makes my eyes twitch. If this is you… I hope this month’s beat is a motivation and encouragement to you.
On the days that it takes all my energy to show up and be present for my kids I am reminded that I need to go back to the basics. Below are three ways you can take care of yourself and your students this month with writing.
- Slice of Life
Most of us have a positive relationship with writing if you are reading this blog. I am a wonderful teacher of writing when I take the time to write. Beginning of the year I am writing with my students and we are really digging into being writers. By January the writing is more and more infrequent.
A few years ago I came across a wonderful teaching blog called “Two Writing Teachers.” In 2008, Stacey, one of the blog’s writers, gave the challenge to her fourth graders to write a “slice of their life” everyday for 1 month. This has since turned into a teacher challenge too. (Check out the student challenge that happens in April)
Everyday in the month of March, teachers come together and write. They write a little slice of their life. And in doing this challenge the past two years for myself, my teacher writer life is filled up with the energy to go forth and write. If you want more writing in your classroom as you sludge through the winter months. Check out Slice of Life Challenge. It is a wonderful community.
- Taking Time to Make it Sacred Again
At the beginning of each year I gain so much excitement in my classroom around setting up our writers notebooks. We create lists of all sorts of things: things we love, hate, music, pet-peeves, places, people … etc. My students use this list and other prompts throughout the year during our sacred writing time. But as the year progresses and testing nears, our sacred writing time becomes more scarce. We forget our first love of writing and we get into the mundane nitty gritty standards based writing.
But what if we took a class to make writing sacred again in January? What if we cleared our schedule for a block or 45 minutes.. And we wrote about what we all really want to write about. What if we took time to share that writing? What if we forgot about all the exams, state testing, and pressures and remind our students and ourselves why writing is so crucial.
My challenge to you is if you are feeling the January/February blues take time to make writing magical again. Pull out flair pens, make lists, sketchnote, take a nature walk for inspiration… just write. You and your students will be better because of it.
- Finding Some Mentors
If you are like me, and maybe you are… you are thinking, yeah I would love to do some fun writing activities with my kids but I don’t have the time in my schedule right now to come up with ideas.
Well you have come to a great place. Have you checked out any of my Moving Writing colleagues ideas? Take some time and grab some mentors that can help revive your writing classroom this month. Try one. If it’s good, try another. [See Below some recent ideas]
Friday Quick Writes (New one posted every Friday)
(And SO SO many more…)
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Stand on the shoulders of teachers who have gotten their ideas by standing on the shoulders of teachers. Take a plunge. Your February writing blues will thank you.
Please reach out with questions, reflections, and connections in the comments below or on Twitter @Mrsablund. Check out my other articles writing out of the ELA classroom.
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