Thursday, June 28, 2012

Free Writing

I went to a conference this week. I wasn't sure what to expect from the Education and Business Summit, since I'm not a business teacher. My step-mom was skeptical too, but I did manage to come away with some good ideas for things to do in my classroom.

One of my favorite sessions was "Which Disney Character Are You?". I am a Disney girl. I have been a fan since I was little. However, I'm not a big Princess person. Maybe I've always been a tomboy at heart. My favorite Disney character was, is, and shall always be Winnie the Pooh, or Pooh for short. He is a bear of "very little brain", but he has a heart that is larger than anyone else's. The presenter, Ms. Flowers, asked us to think about Disney characters and their leadership. She used examples (movie clips!!) from Toy Story (Woody), Up (Ellie), and Mulan (Mulan). We discussed their different leadership styles. I was really hoping for some kind of multiple-choice quiz, but was disappointed. Ah, well. We did get to watch movie clips, so that's a win in my book.

Another session that I really enjoyed was titled "Personal Narrative: Writing to Find a Career You Love". The presenter was again Ms. Flowers. And yes, I got her contact info, because she was GOOD! In this session, she gave us some information, and then gave us some instructions on how to do a free-write. It involved writing, without stopping, whatever came into our heads, whether it had to do with the topic or not. Not worrying about grammar, or punctuation, or spelling. What a great thing to tell students. We just want to get them writing.

At that point, she gave us a prompt and told us to write for ten minutes. My first thought was '10 minutes!? Is she crazy?' I couldn't imagine writing for that long, nonstop. The topic was "When I was six years old, I wanted to be..." I managed to write for the allotted ten minutes, without stopping. I wrote a whole page of notebook paper. I wished there had been more time, because the end kind of snuck up on me. Wow! Of course, my hand was terribly sore. It took several minutes for it to feel normal again. Then it was time for prompt #2: "Before I die, I really want to ..." If you'd like to see it, here you go:

Before I die, I really want to have one of those big anniversaries. I've been married for 12 years so far, which is not a terribly long time. I don't even mean 25 years, though that seems like a worthy goal. And that one isn't too far off, so it's too easy. I want to make it to 50, ideally to 75. I know that a lot of it has to do with how long I live, which I don't really know how long it will be. But my paternal grandparents celebrated their 50th Anniversary - silver - back in 1998. I remember  the big service in the church. My cousin Kelly gave a beautiful speech about how inspiration their marriage was to all 16 of us grand kids. There was a reception to celebrate afterwards. All of the family was there. Us from here in SC; my aunt and uncle from CO. It was a beautiful celebration. You could really tell that grandma & grandpa still loved each other. Not too long after that, Grandpa passed away. I will never forget the morning I got that call. Even though Grandma lived for several more years after that, it seemed like she was just doing time until she could join him.
My maternal grandparents celebrated their 50th too. What is it about that generation? Were they a special kind of people, or are we today missing something fundamental?

Anyway, I just wanted to share. I particularly liked this one, and again felt let down that the time had ended. I plan to keep editing that one, to make it something special. Wonder if I can come up with a topic to free write on with my students. For them six wasn't really that long ago, and they are too young to think about what to do before they die. Any suggestions? 

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