Monday, July 7, 2014

Big Time Blogging Challenge & Teachers Write!

Just what I needed - a big swift kick in the rear!!!!

I have been such a slacker of a blogger, and this challenge is just what I needed to get me doing what I should have been doing all along.  Michelle at Big Time Literacy is hosting a blogging challenge to post daily during the month of July.  She does have topics, but you don't have to use those - the big idea is just to make sure you write.

In addition to this challenge, there is another writing event going on - Teachers Write.  This is  a virtual summer camp for teachers / librarians to encourage them to write - with the assistance of published authors.  They will have a weekly structure with writing prompts and even provide feedback.  It will be quite interactive.

So, why am I so interested in both of these opportunities?  Writing has always been somewhat of a "challenge" for me.  Not that I can't do it,  but I have never really enjoyed it.  I tend to blame the way it was taught - or should I say - not taught - to me as a student.  We were more or less just told to write, and never given any real instruction.  We were given these random grades - some good, some bad, but with no real feedback.  It felt more like a lottery.  I never could understand the scoring.  I was an overall A student, but when I wrote, my grades were very inconsistent.

In recognizing this about my own learning of writing, and knowing it has been one of my least favorite subjects to teach,  I have been working on trying to make it better for my students.  I want to hit this challenge right on and provide my students with the instruction and feedback they need.

This year I am moving more to a "Writers Workshop" model.  I am reading as much as I can about it. I am actually really excited to get it up and running.  I am sure I will have more posts on it later.

Today's Big Time Challenge prompt is about favorite books.  I love, love, love books, so it is hard to make a list, so I will give you one.

My all time favorite book (or should I say series) is the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I loved the TV series as a kid, and then my third grade teacher read us several of the books.  I later had my parents buy the series for me and devoured them quickly.  They will always hold a special place in my heart.


  1. I know what you mean about writing. I found d it really difficult in school. Last year was our first year implementing Writer's Workshop and I love it. I have learned so many strategies from teaching them to the kids. Writing is so much more than the grammar that I was taught.

    1. Yes, it is more than the grammar. That was what I was taught as well. I am very excited about writer's workshop. This should be a great year.

  2. Writing--seems to be a theme, not good, didn't have good instruction, difficult to teach because I don't understand it myself. I have definitely gotten better since blogging and learning how to teach and reading amazing blog posts from great writing teachers. Good luck this summer!

    Little House-- LOVE the tv show and the books!

    Mrs. Bartel’s School Family

    1. I too get very inspired by other bloggers. My mind is going a hundred miles a minute. I have to tame it down to get focused.

  3. I don't understand why I didn't learn about the Workshop model in Undergrad - it wasn't until grad school that I was immersed in the workshop model! You will LOVE it! and, like you mentioned, I think blogging really helps inform our writing instruction...since we go through the motions of the writing process with our posts!
    WHat books are you reading? My faves are listed on my website under the Recommended Reading - I wonder if we have any overlap?
    So glad you could join the challenge!
    BigTime Literacy

  4. I didn't really learn about writing workshop until I started blog hopping several years ago. At that time I was an inclusive special ed teacher and did not have my own classroom. 3 years ago I became a 3rd grade teacher. Now I am able to implement things that I read about more.

    You do have a few books that are on my list. There are a few that I have seen but have not read though. Always nice to see others recommendations so you know you are getting something credible.

    Looking forward to the rest of the challenge.

  5. I don't think I got any instruction in writing until high school! Now my first graders are required to be able to write in different genres, use topic sentences, and have conclusions. I know for a fact no teacher ever talked to me about having a conclusion until 9th grade! Sometimes I think if my school experience had been more like the one I give my students, my whole life might have been different!
    Not very fancy

    1. I feel the same way - what kind of writing could I be doing had I been given the type of instruction my students get.

  6. I agree with your comments about writing. I didn't have very fond memories of writing back in my Catholic elementary school. Nowadays, Writer's Workshop seems to be the way to go. Good luck diving in when school starts! By the way, Little House on the Prairie books were fun to read growing up. I loved the show, too. I'll never forget the character Nelly. Too funny. ;)

  7. I LOVED Little House on the Prairie. I read all the books. We also didn't have cable so I watched the TV show as well!

  8. Love your blog title! I find writing one of the most challenging subjects to teach as well, but only because I'm always looking for a better way. On the other hand, I also find it to be the most rewarding subject! Of course I teach kindergarten and I watch them go from scribbles to paragraphs! You can't beat that!

    Camp Kindergarten

  9. I always forget about the Little House series. I loved them too growing up! And then my sister and I would act out the books!

  10. Hi there! Just checking out the other bloggers in the upcoming book study! Teaching writing is such a challenge and I received little in the way of preparing me for it in college. It has been four years of trial and error, but I am getting there. I now use Lucy Calkins and the workshop approach.