Free day

Yesterday, there was scattered talk with fellow teachers about a possible snow day/ delayed opening coming up.  I woke this morning to what I thought was my alarm, but instead it was a phone call letting me know school was closed today.  YEAH!  This has been the hardest year in my ten years of teaching so a surprise day off is a bonus.  My plan is to read, read and read and possibly go to the movies.  I know we will have to make up the day, but that will be near summer at the end of the year.

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Conference week



I always get panicked when it is conference time. This year more so then because my team hasn’t set up our grade book. Luckily my IT guy (husband) came to the rescue and now I have a clearer understanding where my 5th grade kiddos are and I am letting out a sigh of relief. Two of my scheduled conferences did not show up which is annoying because I will have to reschedule them. The conferences I had went well so maybe I should just breathe and stop creating anxiety.

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Kate Messner Final Day

Write a few quick lines about what you learned about writing, about being part of a community of writers, about yourself and the work that you do. Here’s a starting place if you need one.

This summer in Teachers Write, I discovered… a community that I will forever connect with.  It was powerful learning the difficulties that publish authors deal with. I am a 5th grade writing teacher and I have some wonderful lessons that I will share with my students.  Writing is tough and sharing what I learned during this course will be powerful for my students to hear and understand that you can push through it and get solid advice from fellow writers.  Thank you so much for this opportunity.  I am a regular participant with the TWT blog and I will be a regular participant with Teacher’s Write every summer.

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Going Deep


Good morning! It’s Thursday Quick-Write day, and we have guest author Tracy Holczer with us this morning. Tracy is the author of THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY and joins us today to talk about creating characters readers will remember.

Today’s Assignment: A great writing exercise is to fictionalize an actual event in your own life. Take a Big Feeling and tell a story around it. Texturize it. Give it sounds and smells. Sit with the memory and look around. Who was there? What did they add or take away from you? Who were you before that moment and how did it change you? Explore, explore, explore. And bring it to life. Not only will your readers love you for it, but you will love yourself, heal yourself maybe, just a little bit more.

Happy writing!

Here I was in a new town in the late month of May of my freshman year riding home on the bus.  It felt  like a nightmare.  I had left  friends in my old town, knowing that I would never connect with them again.

When I got on the bus I noticed a boy who was staring at me intently from the back of the bus..  I quickly took a seat in the front of the bus.  I had never experienced something like that before.  It made me feel good, yet uncomfortable.  I had always been a shy person, never wanting to be the center of attention.  So my reaction was at odds with my normal insecturity.  It was probably because it was a boy who seemed to be interested in the new girl, something that I had never experienced before.

My stop came and I got off the bus.  I noticed him standing up and looking out the window at me.  Something came over me and I started walking with a sway.  He responded with a whistle.  I blushed and grinned to myself.


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Spit Poetry


Good morning! It’s time for your last Tuesday Quick-Write of the summer, and our guest today is Nanci Turner Steveson. Nanci is the author of SWING SIDEWAYS, a great new novel for middle grade readers, and she joins us today to talk about “spit poetry.”

Today’s assignment: Try this yourself now… Take something you literally just spit out and see where you end up after using this little trick. Would love to hear how it worked for you, and/or your students.

Happy sculpting!

The emotional tug in your heart from an animal can be overwhelming.   Samantha Jean arrived on payday in my office, found in a box on the street corner by an employee.  I took her out of the box and put her on the carpet where she was shivering and whining.  I gave her some milk in a bowl since that was the only food in the office. She lapped it right up as the employee left with his paycheck leaving me with this pathetic looking pup.

The emotional tug

in  your heart

from an animal

can be


Samantha Jean

arrived on payday

in my office,

found in a box

on the street corner

by an emploee

I took


out of the box


put her on the carpet

where she was


and whining

I gave her some milk

in a bowl.

She lapped it right up

as the employee left

with his paycheck l

eaving me with this

pathetic looking pup.

A pet can create an overwhelming emotional tug that takes over your heart. Samantha Jean arrived in a box found on a nearby street corner by an employee on payday. She was shivering and was quietly whining.  I gave her a bowl of milk and she lapped it right up. Meanwhile, the employee got his paycheck and left without a word, leaving me with this pathetic looking pup.

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Talking rock-Intention gone wrong

twsummer2016-300x3001Monday Morning Warm-Up:

If you had a talking rock of your own, who would you like to sit on it with, and what would you like to say? Once you know that, I urge you to draw the story up from your soul. Draw it up and then, as Craig says, “Pull the plug, and let it drain out raw.”

I would like to be on a talking rock with my oldest daughter. Being a mother is not easy.  My intentions come from deep in my heart.  Unfortunately, I realize that I need to have more balance between my heart and my head.  I always put myself in other people’s shoes which is their emotions, not necessarily what they could be thiniking.

I have made the same mistake more than once with the same response from my daughter.  This time she is 3 hours away and she has a very high profile job that is stressful and consuming.  Meanwhile my mother in-law had an incident that landed her in the hospital. It was pretty serious, but she is going to be okay.  I talked to my husband and my other daughter about not telling her about what happened until later.  She called out of the blue and suspected that something was up.  I told her what happened and she got angry and started to cry.  Yelling at me for not telling her.  I explained my reasons, but she did not think those were adequate reasons for not telling her. I apologized and told her I would not do that again.  What bothers me is that will leave a lasting mark in our relationship.


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Postcards- Madelyn Rosenberg

Last summer I came up with a new writing prompt and I had so much fun with it, I did it all summer long. I’m calling it “Postcard.” When I have students do the prompt in a classroom, I pass out index cards. When I’m doing it myself, I just scrawl on a page of my writing notebook.

The rules are simple: Describe the scene around you, using only 10 words or short phrases. Put one word or phrase on each line, so you’re laying it out like a poem. Think about your different senses as you study your scene and write it out. It’s a good way to practice working varied senses into whatever you write. Especially smell – I hate how often we leave out the sense of smell when it is so evocative/linked with memory. I like to include scraps of dialogue in my postcards, too.

You can use this exercise not just to write about the world around you, but to write about a scene in your current work in progress.

On the deck

Hawk screams

Slight breeze

Wind chimes sound





Non-greasy UV protection









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