Phew, that last birthday post really did feel like a party.
I’ve never had so many of you show up in the comments at once (which only shows how willingly you indulge my pleading.) There were folks I’d never met before, and others I haven’t heard from in a while. There were the regulars too, but it was something to see them here all at once, as if they’d carpooled over together.
And I got to flit around and chat with each of you. It was like wandering around in my maxi-dress and flip-flops with a cocktail, and having it last all week.
I had such a whopping good time that I’ve decided that as long as I’m blogging, I’m going to have a virtual birthday party every year. An annual excuse to call my readers down from their fly-on-the-wall spots. Come out, come out where ever you are!
Next year there will be party favors.
Selfishly, I’ve left the post up for well over a week, so the stragglers could find us. But also because I’ve been busy preparing my conference workshops. Really, I must get back to them, so in lieu of a more extended blog post, I thought I’d leave you with a series of quotes to ponder. Let’s turn this party into a salon. Or a coffee talk.
These are some quotes I’ll be using to kick off one of my workshops. I’m not going to comment on them today, but read along and see if you can guess where I’ll be heading.
“You don’t learn to write by going through a series of preset writing exercises. You learn to write by grappling with a real subject that matters to you.” Ralph Fletcher, What a Writer Needs
“Motivation is crucial to writing—students will write far more willingly if they write about subjects that interest them and that they have an aptitude for.” William Zinnser, Writing to Learn
“When kids groan at writing time, it’s usually a sign that they don’t have enough opportunities to choose what they want to write about. They don’t see writing time as their time to explore. It is lesson-driven, teacher-driven and assignment-driven. Escaping this paradigm is the first order of business.” Barry Lane, But How Do You Teach Writing?
“But if we’re serious about helping students to fall in love with literature, to get a kick out of making words fall together in just the right order, then we have to be attentive to what makes these things more, and less likely, to happen. It may take us a while, but ultimately our classroom should turn the default setting on its head so that the motto becomes: Let the students decide except where there’s a good reason why we have to decide for them.” Alfie Kohn, Feel-Bad Education
“Students now need…more informal writing, they need more exploration, and they need to do things that really matter to them—or to explicitly see how what they are doing in school can and does matter out in the world.” Jeffrey Wilhelm, Teaching the Neglected “R”
“Because I had not, at the time, experienced the power of writing in my own life, I did not understand that there is a world of difference between ‘motivating writing’ and helping people become deeply and personally involved in their own writing…We cannot teach writing well unless we trust that there are real, human reasons to write.” Lucy Calkins, The Art of Teaching Writing
“The good writers I see in college have often developed their skill in self-sponsored writing projects like journals or epic, book-length adventure stories they wrote on their own.” Thomas Newkirk, Holding on to Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones
To take a phrase from Coffee Talk with Linda Richman, said in my best Mike-Myers-as-Linda, New Yawk accent, with a double-handed flourish: Talk amongst yourselves.