Sunday, January 13, 2008

Students write

I just love blogging. Introduced blogs to some of my year seven students last year and even though the content is worrying at times and rather deep and anguished I know that in writing their poetry and publishing it for comment, whether among themselves or from the wider world, the students like Jessica, Heather, Amber, Katie and Sally are expressing, exploring and experimenting with language. They are making connections as we see from the comments and this is continuing in the holidays. One student emailed me with concerns about her writer's block and asked for advice. She told me that she had done the usual things: used writing prompts and gone to other sites for inspiration. Her appeal for help was expressed in poetic language and I advised her to start from there. This is what I wrote:
You know the email you wrote is almost poetry. I wonder if you could use the words of this email and setting it out like you would set out poetry. Or just taking random words from from it and using the words as the start of lines, or rearranging the words. Start with the words at the end of sentences and use them as the start. Or go over poetry you wrote in the past and threading words and phrases from other poems winding them in and out of words from today, rather like making a daisy chain. Have you ever done that? take a stem from one poem and bring in a line or a thread from another and weave something entirely new.... I love your writing.

But I don't know if it helped. What advice would you give? I think these students need to be encouraged. What do you think?


  1. I am blogging with my sixth graders in Atlanta - one of my students wrote a post on writer's block - maybe you could share! The comments to her post are interesting too!

    Glad I ran across your blog -

  2. First, I'm not a writing teacher. Most of the writing I ask my students to do relates to lab reports and summaries of content.
    Maybe if the students are having trouble finding their own voice' they could use someone else's. Find a literary character with whom they are familiar and write a narrative or bit of poetry from the character's perspective.

  3. I think you're comment was very encouraging - if I were that student I'd be pleased with the response. The fact that you're taking time out in your holiday break to communicate with your students is a sign to them that you care and that means something!

  4. Anonymous12:12 pm

    mrs mac,
    thank you for your help last i appreciated it greatly i am going to miss you dreadfully this year and the years to follow thank you again

  5. heather10:27 pm

    mrs mac,
    i think i told you already,but i did over come my writers block. thankyou for the help, i was truely blessed to have you as an english teacher last year, and even though i spent most of the year complaining, i am thankful.
    you can check out the poem that broke my block here
    thanks for the help

  6. Amber9:12 pm

    hey mrs mac,
    thanks for teacking me last year you were a great help and i wish i had you again this year.