Two Writing Teachers hosts the Tuesday Slice of Life-Thank you Stacey and Ruth for all the Tuesdays!
I'm participating in a group that is reading Write Beside Them by Penny Kittle. We are at the beginning of the book, learning what she does and reading the explanations about why she believes it's important to continue those activities. One activity Kittle strongly recommends within the confines of her writing class is to do a 15 minute quick write every single day. There are a number of reasons, but the strongest is to help students gain writing stamina, to learn that writing habits give experience, to learn that they do have ideas, that with practice (and good teaching), they will learn to write better!
Students do these quick-writes in their writers notebooks, so we in the group thought it would be good to start doing them too, to begin filling our own notebooks with our writing so it will be ready to be a part of our teaching repertoire at the beginning of the school year. One quick-write I've done with my students in the past that has yielded interesting results is to finish the following opening: I approached the exit ramp and slowed...
Here is what I wrote: I saw the exit ramp and slowed-New Borman-one mile east. After driving hundreds of miles--through three states--it felt good to end the trip. After all the hours, I felt ready. I followed a blue cattle truck making their way down the ramp, too. It turned right as I did, at the intersection leading to town. Since it was slower moving, I was able to take a good look at the town, from the outskirts to the center.
Main street looked worn. Cracks in the sidewalks and cracks in some windows showed how little money there was for upkeep. People had moved away, like me. Most who stayed were old-timers, headed for the cemetery north of town. I searched for my old favorites: Little Joe's Cafe, still frying...Lenora's Hair-Do, still washing and cutting...Mattie's gifts, still selling. Marty's Market had new carts, fancier than before, a few kid cars too! Anxiety loosened from my shoulders as I saw so little had changed. I kept that feeling around me like a shawl all the way down Main Street, turned right at the Methodist Church, with a newly paved parking lot. I knew nothing can ever stay precisely the same. Grass grows. Paint peels. Concrete cracks and sidewalks shift.
I pulled into the driveway, weeds growing in the middle. I stepped onto the porch, pressed the door knocker at the same time I yelled, "Mom, Mom, I'm home. It's me, Janie."