Mrs. Simon, I don’t know what to write.
Oh, no! I don’t have anything to write about!
I have writer’s block today, Mrs. Simon.
These words echo in my classroom regularly. Why? Because we are all writers. And we all know that writing is hard.
I asked my students to write long about a book we are reading. (Global Read Aloud: Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly HUnt.) You could hear the sighs. For some reason, that bad word…long…sent them into total fear. So I saddled up to the computer connected to the board. After stumbling over the necessary technology to get them to see what I was writing, I set about modeling a long writing.
I actually surprised myself that I could do this on-demand-in-front-of-everybody writing from nothing. But I realized that it all comes from practice. I just started typing and the words came. My students laughed at my typos as I was trying to type quickly. They noticed that my long writing was only 140 words. The assignment became less intimidating.
Yet, one of my best writers sat in front of her computer not typing. And it seemed the longer she stared at the blank page, the harder it got for her to start. I didn’t have a very good answer for her. It happens. We’re writers. We are going to have those days when nothing comes to mind. So I let her leave class with this instruction, “Think about what you may want to write about and we’ll start again tomorrow.” Some writers need time to think.
I know this is Poetry Friday, and you are asking yourself, “Where’s the poem?” Sometimes with writing, you need to write about what you need to write about.
Kielan is a writer. She is in 6th grade, and I’ve taught her since she was in second grade. She’s had her share of writer’s block, but she is connecting with Ally in Fish in a Tree. This is her long writing about how she was bullied like Ally.
In Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s book Fish In A Tree, Ally’s at the restaurant where her mother works. Her mother is a waitress there. While Ally is at the restaurant suddenly her “friends” walk in. Shay and Jessica walk in the restaurant and start talking to Ally.
Ally tries to resist them, but her mother thinks she should talk with them. Her mother doesn’t know what Shay and Jessica do to Ally. They talk to her about the sympathy card Ally gave to their teacher. Something similar like this happened to me too.
I was in 4th grade when it happened. A girl named Emily was in my class. Every time a teacher was near she was nice to me, but when there was no teacher near she was mean to me. When she was nice to me I would reject her and then I would get in trouble.
She sat right in front of me in class and we were kind of enemies. I had to read aloud in class and answer the question. I read the passage right, but I got the answer wrong. Then she got called on and she got the question right. She looked at me, gave me a mean look, and then rolled her eyes. After school she saw me in Mcdonald’s at Walmart. She called me smart, her friend, pretty, and nice, only because my mother was around, but then the next day at school, she called me dumb, mean, her enemy, and ugly. She made me think I was dumb. Just like Ally felt in the story.
I made my own quote. “Trust no one” and “Never trust a phony with anything”.–Kielan