Friday, June 15, 2012

Reflection on the Blogging Way of Life

Pretty pumped that I made my goal and posted each night until the last day of school.  There were days when I didn't feel like it.  And there were days when I probably shouldn't have.  

Some of these posts, I'm actually proud of.  And not because anybody read it or because anyone commented on it- but because when I read over them for myself, I can look at them and say, "yeah, I can hear my voice in that one".

I was an English Major as an undergraduate.  I had an Professor that once said to me "There she is, the next greatest author in America, and to think she wants to be a librarian!"  Maybe he really didn't mean the author thing- but he was definitely displeased with the notion of me becoming lost in the stacks keeping the books from collecting dust but not wanting them to be moved so as to keep them in order. (Even though it drives us crazy- the sign of a loved library is one that is out of order.)  This compliment alone is responsible for my inner decision to not be a librarian, which up to that point I was actually pretty committed to.  I, ah, had already looked up the library of congress numbers for all of my personal books and made shelf labels for them and put them in order in my dorm room.  Yeaaaah.  I told you I was FLAWED. Quirky makes me cute, darn it.  At least, that's the litmus test for Mr. Right, correct?  He'll look at my self made labels and say "Hey- you ARE ADORABLE.  Let me give you some of my millions of dollars I made growing organic strawberries." Yar.

And no, I didn't (haven't YET) become the next greatest author in America- but sometimes writing this blog makes me feel a little closer to it.

But some of these posts- seriously- I mean, why did I bother?  Crap is crap folks.  When the idea is not there, it's not there.  And it's not that I have a lack of ideas of what to write about- check out the recorder usage on my iPhone app and you'll see, I've talked myself silly with things that I could blog about.  But just churning something out everyday, without taking the time necessary to maybe revise, edit, fancy up with photos or reflections- isn't QUALITY.  I should have spent the time organizing the question cards in a Trival Pursuit game in numerical order.  Dudes, there is a little number in the lower right hand corner of each card!  Clearly they are MEANT to be in order.  And Mr. Right says, "That is so perfect.  Let me buy you a Lexus."

You know what churning out this writing  makes me think of?  Making the kids write everyday even when they don't want to.  How often do we make kids do things even though we really shouldn't?  Is that a terrible thing for a teacher to say? Am I supposed to champion the idea of making sure the kids do it everyday without fail?  And yeah, I know- hidden gems in the sand and seed ideas and write yourself out of the block and what not- but don't we always tell kids we want QUALITY?  When we MAKE them do something everyday, even when they aren't prepared, ready, healthy, willing- aren't we sort of passing on the message that it's about QUANTITY and not QUALITY?  Am I going to teacher jail?  I sort of feel a little paranoid now.

There's this particular book in the Writer's Workshop plan that wants them producing a story a day.   Granted, they are five page stories.  But for a second grader- a five page story that follows a logical sequence, tells something enlightening, annnnnnd makes sense can be a tall order.  And we want them to do that every day?  I'm not saying don't exercise the writer's part of your brain everyday (in some fashion, which clearly I need to investigate what that would actually mean), but does that mean write a specific stand alone piece every day?  So in a month's time, they'd have twenty stories.  I know, as a severely FLAWED human being with limited patience and probably a decent touch of adult ADD, I AM NOT going to read 20 stories by 20 students.  This is at least 1000 pages folks.  Nine months of school.  Give us a month for holidays and snow and what not- STILL 8000 PAGES.  DO THE MATH!!!  How many trees is that?  How many quality pieces come out of those 8000 pages?  How many of them did I actually read?  Or care about?  Or comment on?

Sorry, but the whole conferring piece of writer's workshop, and the sharing of the story and reworking it into something they are proud of is where the real learning takes place.  Do I need to sleep with one eye open tonight?  Does anybody have an opinion on this one?

On that note- I am taking a few days off. I'll be back- I like this too much- but new goal for my posts: Quality.  Disclaimer: It might just be quality in MY OPINION.  Something I can actually look back on and say "yep, that was helpful."

Love and lashes, kittens.


  1. I appreciate your writings-always have appreciated your sense of wittiness but I can respect the need for quality instead of quantity. That's one reason why I haven't posted some of my writings on my writing blog or even some silliness about my life on my main blog. Until next time Kitten!

  2. FANTASTIC POST . . . I mean it . . . FANTASTIC. And, I ain't just blowin' smoke. I was originally a journalism major and I always heart me a good writer. What a way to step back and really think about writing in your class - in relation to yourself and your own struggles to come up with a creative and meaningful post. I have this problem from time to time and this makes me think about my own kiddos' writing experiences.

    There was always such pressure from our past administrators to make my little first graders write at least 30 minutes a day using this canned and somewhat stifling program. I found that I was always "selling it" the best that I could, but my poor kiddos would get so burnt out. This year I actually backed off (new admins) and we were able to embrace writing and find that "inner voice" so much more. Thanks for your wisdom this evening. I will definitely be back by for a visit sooner rather than later :)

    Kelley Dolling
    Teacher Idea Factory

    PS . . . I did fall into that blog trap a bit tonight by offering up way too much personal info, but I packaged it with something worthwhile in an effort to "keep it real." What say you?

    1. Cool beans, thanks for the comment! I don't know about the too much personal info- this blogging thing sort of makes me feel like I'm in disguise anyway. As long as I don't give out "Google-able" details, I'm sort of in my private Superman Fortress of Solitude.

      I have mixed feelings about these pre-made writing programs. Even our program is pretty wide-open with the direction the kids can go in, but I'm still finding adults adding in limitations. Like, you can't write about anything fictional. So a girl comes up to me and says, "Can I write a fairy tale?". I can tell by how she asks me, that I am supposed to say NO. Clearly someone has told her no before and she's just hoping that I don't have the 411 yet on the rules(and she was right about that one). But even so. Why not? Here's someone who wants to write. Why would I say, no you can't? The moment I do, she's not going to turn around and go write a stellar small moment piece. She's not going to write one at all, most likely. It's frustrating. We spend a lot of time giving these kids floaties in the ocean just to poke a hole in them. Ah well, I can rant about that another time. ;P

      I have loaded your blog and will be checking it out in the next moments. See you around!