Thursday, May 14, 2009

May! Short Fiction Month

Finished up a six week poetry study/writer's workshop with my sixth graders last week. Loved every minute of it for a lot of reasons I'll save for my teaching blog. I decided to start a unit on short writing as a follow up. I wanted to sharpen my own writing skills and clear the wreckage of added writing, so I started carrying a small lined notebook around in my bag. All my people-watching is paying off. Every day, I wait for that moment...a character, a setting or an incident that catches my eye. I think it may have been Daniel Pink's website that got me started on this. (Try his 6 word autobiographies!)  I'm writing 50 word pieces, micro-fiction which are really small snapshots...a window on the world.

Turns out the universe was calling me again! Check out today's piece in the Afterword. It's short fiction month! I found it first on Dan Wickett's site, Emerging Writer's Network, with lots of recommendations for good shorts to read. 

My kids in school are loving it! At this time of year, they don't want to hear a word about grammar. They just want to write. So I let them. It helps them get their ideas down, share with others and then go back to their work as never before. They are not as overwhelmed as they were in longer forms of writing. And...I'm sneaking in all kinds of lessons related to crafting varied sentence structures, relating it back to the good old change-up a pitcher uses in baseball. It's about economy, fluency, a quick story arc and precision. Reluctant writers? Not in this format! 

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