Let Me Introduce Myself

Well, it’s that time of year again, graduate classes are starting again.  If I happen to drop off the blog planet for a while, it’s because I am writing.  I have only two left: capstone, and a teaching writing in the content areas.  I am borrowing ideas from the class that could be used in my own classroom as a way to learn about students and their writing.  I am thinking about having my students create their own blog and start with some of these writing activities.  Giving students choices on how they want to introduce themselves gives them freedom and structure of how to start.  Click on each of the names to be brought to a PDF originally from readwritethink.

Writing Name Poem

I am Poem

Bio Poem

Or Freestyle

Here is my example of Freestyle.  That is the one I picked.

Broken Mirror

By Christy Berry

Many pieces lay on the ground looking back at me.

I was not sure who I was until I started to glue the pieces together.

I cried when I cut myself on anger and sadness.

I laughed at the funny face behind the humor.

Laughter seemed to resonate throughout the pieces.

The child started giggling when the glue tickled.

Thoughts and ideas seemed to attach to creativity.

Leadership instantly stuck to others while stubbornness wouldn’t stick.

I found myself staring at half of who I was.

More pieces still lay on the ground, almost too many to count.

Soon others seemed to fit, family, friends, enemies, lost friends.

Relationships were stamped on each of them.

Enemies were the dirty pieces and family reflected back the most.

As I finished putting the pieces together;

I found that I was still shattered and missing my heart.

I looked high, low, and for some extra glue.

Finally I found it; it was there all the time.

When I glued Jesus into my heart I knew I was complete.

Lines disappeared and now many reflections now sung one song.

I was whole.

Another assignment to tackle was getting to reflect on my own writing history.  The purpose of this assignment is to have students practice writing, have them think about writing, and to gage prior experiences.  What a great tool for gathering information on a student in one simple assignment.  My classmates had great reflections and I found that I was not alone in my own writing experiences.  As a teacher reading the reflections also provided an insight on how writing has been viewed by students. As teachers we tend to forget what it like being a student.

Students are to write about their writing memories.

Here is my example (rough draft):

As the tall file cabinet sits squarely in the middle of the room I swept away the cob webs and search for my earliest writing memories.  I thumb through the files and discover my passion for writing file.  “Ahh, here it is,” I say.  I walk over to the table and have a seat.  I open the file and start to read.  The file was written in pencil and some of the details are fuzzy and have disappeared after many years.

Passion for Writing
Age: 10 years old

Grandma gives me a journal to write down my travel adventurous out to Yellowstone.  The journal’s cover is a yellow cat with large eyes.  The journal is thin and light.  As we travel from Minnesota out to Wyoming by Winnebago I write about my day.  The fires of Yellowstone are burning and we see the park three days before it burns down.  Once we return I start another journal to write about my sixth grade year. 

Squint as I might the rest of the details become too fuzzy to read.  I take the file back to the cabinet and place it back into its spot.  Another report sticks out; one that was hidden.  I pick it up and take it back to the table.  I open the file and take a peek inside.

Writing Woes
Age: Currently

Not again.  I don’t want to read this.  How is this possible?  As I am writing the words are appearing on this report.  Wait.  This is supposed to be a memory, not live action dictation. Ok, I will go with it.  Truth be told, I have always struggled with writing.  It’s my enemy. I have lots of wonderful ideas; however, they become lost in the forest of correct grammar, spelling, and all sorts of other writing rules.  I grasp for spelling and I end up taking words out.  A teacher once told my mother and me, I would never learn to spell and that I would always need to use a spellcheck program.  Ha, Ha, Ha.  Spellcheck and I are not friends.  We sit on opposite sides of the room when writing comes to visit.  Oh, there was that one time; I almost didn’t graduate from NMU because I didn’t pass the college writing proficiently exam.  Stupid test!  I took the test again, and passed; just barely. Finally, my battle cry is: Bad Spellers of the World Untie.  Really I said, “unite”.

I close the file and shove it deep into the back of the file cabinet.  I give it a good slam and a final kick.  I pick up my twenty-four years of daily journal writing and place them in my box.  It’s heavy underneath my arm.  I turn off the light and held out the door.

Another gem that I need to complete this week was to write a list of 20 things that I could write about.  Not only does this activity give a clue into a students life, it also provides students of a bucket list of things they could use for assignments later.  Here is my example:

1.      How to talk Minnesotan

2.      Mall of America

3.      Minnesotan Family

4.      Giving Birth

5.      Planning a beautiful wedding in six weeks

6.      How I became a brussel sprout

7.      How I stop time

8.      How to blog (www.berryart.wordpress.com)

9.      Having the memory of a gnat

10.   Gardening

11.   Scrapbooking

12.   104 Days of Summer Vacation

13.   Being eaten by a tree

14.   Traveling to other countries

15.   The seven horrors of the world

16.   The perfect burger

17.   Building snow forts

18.   Fishing

19.   Camping

20.   Hotdish

Lastly, one that was harder than it sounded.  Finding a writing quote and writing what it means to me.  This one took me a couple of hours.  There is a lot of information on the web.  Here is my example:

“Stop. What is your name?” said the hunched over man in a raspy voice.

“It is, Christy Berry, student of SVSU”.

“What is your quest?” said the hunched over man.

“To seek a the holy writing quote,”  I said this answer with confidence.

“What is the air speed velocity of a coconut laden swallow?” questions the man.

“What do you mean?  African or European swallow?” I question.

“Ur, I don’t know that?  Ahhhh.” as the man sails away.

Much like King Authur, I know about art and not so much about writing.  I started googling art and writing quotes because it sounded good in my head.  I found one by Steven Pressfield,  “If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” I like that one but I wasn’t sure if that one was the right grail.  It might be a false quote.

I kept looking. I found one that might be ok, it’s from Lord Byron, “If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”  I like this one because some days, I feel this way.  I write down all the crazy things that happen to me in my journal for that day.  I then can fall asleep.  Then I read about who he was as a person.  I didn’t want to actually quote a mad man.  So my quest continued.

Another one I found was from Isaac Asimov, “I write for the same reason I breathe- because if I didn’t, I would die.”  I picked this one because for me that is how I feel when I am teaching.  What I find funny is that the other day; I wrote (in my journal) that teaching is like breathing.  If I were to stop teaching I would die.  I like this one too, but I am not sure.  So I keep searching past the rabbit with sharp pointy teeth.

After taking out the holy hand grenade and blowing the bunny to small little pieces, I found a quote by Colleen Wainwright, “This is pretty much what journals are all about, at least to me.  I knew as I wrote them that even though they provided an excellent place for  brain (and heart, and psyche) dump, there were mainly a map of me.”  This sounds like the holy writing quote for me because I write in a journal for the same reason.

I cross the bridge and prepare for battle where I am promptly arrested by the British police for plagiarism of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie.

When I start blogging with my students I think that I will use a few of these because they are a great way to start off the new year.  Now that you know a little bit more about me, please leave your poem about yourself in the comment section.

Artfully,

Mrs. Berry

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