Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spilling Ink's First Annual Writing Contest!

      One of my favorite finds in books in June was the book Spilling Ink from Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter. My personal copy is completely bookmarked, tabbed, starred, and sticky noted. Let's just say it's one of my well loved sources of inspiration for my teaching. I also select passages to open my writing lessons in the fifth grade classes that I have visited this year. Like Ralph Fletcher's series written for young authors, Spilling Ink talks TO the students and encourages them to take risks and try!  

     One of the most rewarding things to be a part of is when those students find their voice, and realize that their everyday lives are important and that they do have something to say. I've brainstormed, planned, written, and shared with students stories from my own life, because it is so important to model how to harness the possibilities. Writing is intimidating and vast, and Potter and Mazer know that. One of my sayings is, "You can make the ordinary extraordinary just by writing it down!" I've zoomed in on moments like a flat tire on a road trip, little adventures with my Yorkie Lola, and exploring the Chesapeake Bay as a child. It's about finding the right words to "spice" up your writing, sticking to the subject while elaborating, great leads, and satisfying endings. Mentoring writers is instilling a confidence to experiment and try, and the openness to edit and revise to polish and give writing the proper structure to make it shine.

      If you are a 3-5 grade teacher, you could post this link on your Edline and encourage students to write over the holidays. If they choose to enter, they can do so by following the entry directions here.

      Spilling Ink's First Short Story Contest!

      You Tube video from authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter about their inspiration and a sneak peek at their audio recording. (Thanks to Dr. Denise Johnson for letting me know about this link. :)

      Here is the direct link to Spilling Ink's fun writing inspirations from Mazer and Potter for kids. (Also great for Edline! :)

      I have purchased three copies for MW this fall. Third grade has loved using it as a source of inspiration as well! If you would like to see a copy, come by and I'll show you mine. The students will go above and beyond on writing if we keep nurturing their voice and applauding their efforts. Both structure and testing demands can be taught in partnership with the teachings of authors Mazer, Potter, and Fletcher. (I'll post more about Fletcher in an upcoming post. :) Keep an open mind, keep capturing, and keep taking good risks with your writing with the kids. :) The kids learn best from their mentors - real authors and really great teachers like you!

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