Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Real Writers. Real Writing. Real Voices

Same 7th grade classroom.
Different group of students.  
It is a warm afternoon and the fans are on.  
I think back to my days as a 7th grader.  
My teacher's name was Mrs. Zurn.  
She passed away in the mid-90's and I remember her clearly for her loud voice; 
Her booming voice and I remember her because she used to make us write.
A lot.

And it was always about the things that she wanted us to write about, never about the things that I CARED about like music and motorcycles and the ATV's that I spent my weekends on, flying through the cornfields and woods that I lived next door to.  Or my parent's divorce and my dad moving to California and how much I missed him.  We couldn't write about that stuff. 

Instead we wrote about St. Thomas and our favorite lunch, and if we could be anything when we grew up what would it be, and Mother Theresa and what our favorite color was and why, and writing a letter to Pope John Paul II. 
I went to a Catholic school. 
You can probably tell.

Today, though.  I want to talk about today, and the opportunities these kids have to write.  And I know how hard writing is, and as much as I didn't like it when Mrs. Zurn made us write about the topics she chose for us to write about, the one thing it did do for us, was help us get into a habit of writing.  A lot.  

Which is what I hope kids find, that writing can be such a wonderful, beautiful way to express yourself if you just practice it. 
A lot.  
And it doesn't matter what it is.  
Just as long as it is something.   
And it doesn't matter who it is for.  
As long as it's for yourself first.  
YOUR voice is the only one that matters.  
You need to know that.  
You need to know how important it is for us to hear your voice.  
So speak up.  
Get blogging.  
It matters.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

7th Grade Blogging Awesomeness

So, I am doing one of my favorite things today, and that is getting into classrooms and being with kids and teachers.  But even better, today I am working with teachers and getting kids writing on their own Blog site! How cool is that!  Will is writing about his cat (just kidding, Will), Quinn is writing about how he hopes his Fantasy Football is better than mine (I have Matthew Stafford as my starting QB, Quinn...), and it goes on and on.  What I am REALLY super excited about, though, is the fact that I get to do this every day.  For a living.  Like, this is my life and I get to spend my days with awesome middle schoolers and middle school teachers.  We work hard, but we also play hard.  This is definitely where it's at.

My hope is that, through this blogging experience, they find voices as writers and realize they ALL have something important to say.  They don't have to be adults to have a voice.  Just one VOICE can make a difference, and I guess that is what we blog for also - to make a difference in someone's life.  To move someone with our words.  From the clicking of the keyboards around the room, my guess is that they are off to a good start.