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TW Interview with Natalie Goldberg by Judith A. Ross
"I knew I couldn’t learn how to do writing in school, because people didn’t know how to teach it."
Someone asked me for recommendations about books on teaching people to write. I had to laugh a little bit about this. I have a Master’s degree in writing education, I’ve taught writing for over 15 years, and I have a whole bookcase on books about writing (that I’ve read and annotated). I’m STILL on the lookout for good books about how to teach people how to write.
I’ll put on my Gypsy Scholar hat and offer my favorite titles and resources for teaching writing. When I’m done, I’ll post the list on my Resources page. Check that out; I’ll keep adding items to the list as I discover them.
By Lisa Fleisher
A 2005 photo of Daniel Pinkwater with his dogs in Hyde Park, N.Y.
Eighth-graders who thought a passage about a pineapple and a hare on New York state tests this week made no sense, take heart: The author thinks it’s absurd too.
“It’s hilarious on the face of it that anybody creating a test would use a passage of mine, because I’m an advocate of nonsense,” Daniel Pinkwater, the renowned children’s author and accidental exam writer, said in an interview. “I believe that things mean things, but they don’t have assigned meanings.”
Some say the world will end in fire, / Some say in ice. / From what I’ve tasted of desire / I hold with those who favor fire.
This short video makes a great writing prompt: What image sticks in your mind's eye?
Part of Google's Art Project iniative.
In 1895 Mark Twain wrote a rant that contains some the best guidelines we have for effective web writing.
"To write is to paint a picture in words. It can be pleasure, pain and frustration, and surprise when it works well. Writers have the power to create and transform things; they can inform, enrage, move, persuade, or seduce us by the written word. The following resources provide opportunities for your students to meet a range of writers. They can find out more about some popular authors and discover some new ones, and the references will assist you to develop writers of the future."
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” “There is no one alive who is youer than you.” “Oh the places you’ll go!” Who doesn’t remember a Dr. Seuss line from one of his many delightful children’s books? For decades, parents have been reading Theodor “Ted” Geisel—more commonly known to book and rhyming word lovers as Dr. Seuss—to their children. Dr. Seuss, whose birthdate is believed to be March 2, 1904, has touched the lives of millions of children and adults worldwide. Not bad for someone who dropped out of college and whose Dr. title was honorary.
Seuss was his middle name. And for decades, people have been pronouncing his name incorrectly. The correct pronunciation is “Zoice” not “Soose,” according to the author’s official website, Seussville.com.
From its inception, the Fairfax Network’s Meet the Author series has served to promote literacy, and an interest in reading and writing, by giving students direct access to authors who share their personal stories, offer their writing tips, and encourage students to “keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming.”
From The Teaching Channel
Madeline Noonan, a 5th grade teacher, meets with all of her students individually during writer's workshop. In each conference, she specifically identifies strengths and two goals. In this 5-minute video, observe her interacting with and giving feedback to one of her better writing students.
The TeachingAuthors shared the following resources as part of our "Helping You (and Your Students!) Connect with the Writer Within" presentation at the Illinois Reading Council convention.
Thirty years in the making, Writing in the Middle highlights the practices that have made Nancie Atwell one of America's most respected and influential educators. It inspires teachers to new heights so that we, like Nancie, can look back in June and say, "My students and I worked this year. The work was real. And I was of use to my kids."
LeagueXA is an international, multi-genre coalition of critically acclaimed and bestselling authors blurring the boundaries between old school and new world publishing.
Surely you were made to read one of John Steinbeck’s seminal works at some point in your high school career. Hopefully you enjoyed one of them, be that his novella Of Mice and Men, his classic The Grapes of Wrath, or what Steinbeck called his finest work East of Eden. Most of his literature can be classified as Dust Bowl fiction depicting tales of common people during the Great Depression. Steinbeck had an extraordinary career, receiving the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath, and eventually being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. Much can be gleaned from his masterful writing. Here are a few storytelling tips from Steinbeck himself.
"Welcome to the Authors Who Skype with Classes & Book Clubs List! I’m Kate Messner, the children’s author and middle school teacher who maintains this site. I started it because I’ve found that virtual author visits are a great way to connect authors and readers, and I realize that many schools facing budget troubles don’t have the option of paid author visits. With that in mind, this is a list of authors who offer free 20-minute Q and A sessions with classes and book clubs that have finished reading one of their books."
Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting.
By Maria Popova
Don't miss the video on the website! -JL
"1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things-reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages."
Flash Rosenberg imagines how the ideas in IMAGINE are tackled, tickled and teased-out by the author Jonah Lehrer.
TED Talks Combining dry wit with artistic depth, Billy Collins shares a project in which several of his poems were turned into delightful animated films in a collaboration with Sundance Channel.
When 11-year-old Kahlo Smith found out she couldn't enter Three-Minute Fiction she wanted to why. (Includes NPR audio)
Being the literary nerds that we are over here, we’re obsessed with everything about our favorite authors, and particularly the little scraps of writerly intention — things that give us a view into an author’s thought process and planning technique, or even just a peek at the way they see and order the world. Plus, we like to see that authors work out their thoughts with forced attempts at organization and scribbled-out ideas just like the rest of us.
Brandon Mull is the author of the Beyonders series, as well as the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling Fablehaven series. He resides in Utah, in a happy little valley near the mouth of a canyon with his wife and four children. Brandon's greatest regret is that he has "but one life to give for Gondor."
Zora Neale Hurston is considered one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century African-American literature.
Millions of Americans want to write about their lives. With Old Friend as the road map for getting started and following through, writers and readers will gain a deeper understanding of their own minds, learn to connect with their senses in order to find the detail and truth that give their written words power and authenticity, and unfold the natural structure of the stories they carry within. An absolute joy to read, it is a profound affirmation of the capacity of the written word to remember the past, free us from it, and forever transform the way we think about ourselves and our lives. Like Writing Down the Bones, Goldberg's classic book about the practice of writing, it will become an old friend to which readers return again and again.