I got to spend this afternoon writing with fourth and fifth graders from the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in Florida, thanks to Andrea Hernandez, Silvia Tolisano, and the wonder that is Skype. Here’s the teaser for the day’s session, which Andrea and Silvia shared with writers ahead of time. Our session was devoted to establishing a wide collection of potential ideas and purposes for new pieces. Here are the slides that supported some of our thinking and work:



  1. Wow, you are so fast! I can’t believe you already blogged about this afternoon 🙂
    What a privilege it was to have you join us in the classroom, sharing your expertise teaching writing. I will keep you updated as we work with the ideas generated by the activity, as well as the documentation (via backchannel, video, photos, etc.) that some of the students were simultaneously engaged in during the call. (Yes, we want them to know how to multi-task!)
    Thank you for sharing your time and wonderful energy with us, as well as the great examples you shared in each “room.”

    On a personal note….the story you told about your grandmother sounds very intriguing. I would definitely want to read it. My “great idea” came from the shed. I was thinking about my mother’s death, in the summer between 6th and 7th grade. My memories are a bit hazy now, but a few things stick out… especially in the way I was treated by both children and adults. I was thinking maybe I will write a blog post for teachers, based in my own memories, about what to do with a student in that type of situation.

    • Kinda interesting– most of the kids and adults that I write with discover their great ideas in the shed. I have to wonder how many of us are carrying around compelling stories and bits of wisdom that rarely see the light of day for one reason or another. I know that for many, these stories don’t get told simply because we are all so busy maintaining the life that we live inside of those other rooms…..

      I know that teachers are often provided training and resources for helping kids deal with the kind of loss that you experienced. I’m not sure how much of that training or how many of those resources are designed or informed by people who have experience with both teaching and significant loss, as you do. I hope you will write that story. Know that a bunch of us at Studio would be happy to provide feedback too, I’m sure. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, Studio teachers began talking about the fact that we need to be investing in our own writing more, and we’ve made a commitment to do that in the year ahead. So, we’re all beginning or beginning again as writers invested in things that matter to us beyond our work as teachers, and if you ever want to jump into the mix, I can promise you we’re a friendly bunch and would love to include you.

      Our Ning is right here, and you and your kids are welcome to join us there anytime. We’ll talk more as all of you get further into the process.

      Thanks again, Andrea. I learned a lot.

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