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a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

RUTH AYRES ROCKS


Write.
Pay attention.
Teach.

That was Ruth’s challenge to us.

Last week as part of her visit to my classroom, Ruth set aside time to work with the language arts teachers in my middle school.  


Her presentation was titled Nudging Joy: If I didn’t write, I wouldn’t know…  She spoke about the impact of our own writing lives on the work we do with young writers.  It is a topic I have heard Ruth speak about before.  It is the heart and soul of her work as a writing coach.  It is a message that settles more deeply in my heart and soul and each time I listen to her speak. 


It is no surprise that she inspired us to do some writing.   We did a quick write in response to Eve Merriam’s poem “A Lazy Thought.”  Ruth wrote alongside us.  


She shared some things she has learned as a writer and how they’ve impacted her work with writers.  

She reminded us to celebrate, to listen to the writerly voices in our heads and shut out the critics, to share our writing habits—the joyful ones and the spirit of endurance when the going gets tough, to think in terms of possibilities, to balance choice and structure, to play purposefully, and to write if not for immediate joy, then for the promise of future joy.

Then, she nudged us to notice what we learned from even the small amount of writing we just did that we could apply to our work with young writers.  This was the transformational moment. 
 
Today, my co-teacher and I talked about tomorrow’s lesson.  She got this little spark in her eye as she casually mentioned using the quick write from Ruth’s workshop as a model for the lesson about how writers develop a “So What?” in their work.  She wants to demonstrate how sometimes you just start writing and figure out the point later.

Write.
Pay attention.
Teach.

We are rising to the challenge.  Thanks Ruth!

10 comments:

  1. So fun today to read both you and Ruth's posts about the visit. I love your take away from experience. I love the line "listen to the writerly voices in our head." I also like the reminder to celebrate---sometimes I feel guilty about celebrating when it seems like I have so much else to do. This is a good reminder...

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  2. What an awesome experience for all participants! Thanks for sharing your learning.

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  3. I am so jealous of you and of Ruth! What an awesome treat to have her in your school, and to be in your school. I would kill to have either let alone both! Ok maybe not "kill" but it sure would be amazing!
    Tammy
    First Grade @ Storybook Cafe
    dtklinger@gmail.com

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  4. She is pretty amazing to watch, right? And from what I hear, so are you!
    So glad the two of you have connected--I've enjoyed getting to sort of watch from the sidelines (yeah, I know--probably part of my "fly on the wall" spy thing...)

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  5. From the sounds of it, you BOTH rock! What an awesome experience for you and your colleagues. I'm soaking up what I can learning from you both and I'm constantly in awe -- so exciting the connections that are created through . . . writing. Isn't that amazing?

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  6. AHHH INSPIRATION and excitement from a workshop. That is about as great as it gets!

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  7. So beautiful to hear your words about this visit, Christy. Wow, & wow, what a lovely time you had. I too love that you remembered these important parts, to listen to the "writerly voices in our heads." Happy to hear all about it here, with Ruth & your colleague, & earlier when you talked about what your students did too. Thank you, Christy!

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  8. Like others, I liked reading the two perspectives of this workshop. Both of you radiate inspiration and appreciation. I am so glad to be part of this community where the warmth shines through the computer screen all across the ocean. Thank you!

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  9. I loved that she had you write... and reflect.

    Then, she nudged us to notice what we learned from even the small amount of writing we just did that we could apply to our work with young writers. This was the transformational moment.

    Sometimes that even happens when we look back at our writing. Thanks for the sepia colored pictures...really cool. xo

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  10. Awww...I never left a comment, but wanted you to know this stayed with me. Thanks for all of the extra comments too. It is such a cool community that we are a part of, you know?

    As you know, I love (love,love,love) the images.
    Ruth

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