Howdy, Campers! Happy Poetry Friday! Info about how to enter today's Book Giveaway is far, far below.
Poetry Friday is hosted today by the Paper Tigers--thank you!
Carolee keeps a gazillion plates spinning in the air at once. She not only works in public schools as a speech-language pathologist, she also teaches writing, helps sponsor middle school and high school poetry slam teams, and is the author of three young adult novels all including original poetry. They are: COMFORT (Houghton Mifflin), TAKE ME THERE (Simon Pulse), and the JUST ABOUT TO BE PUBLISHED paranormal verse novel FORGET ME NOT (Simon Pulse, Oct. 2, 2012)--which you, yes you can WIN in our Book Giveaway--woo-woo (details below)!
I've spent over a decade working in the public schools as a speech-language pathologist with students of all ages and a variety of challenges. The most difficult thing for most of them is writing, and understandably, many of them hate doing it. I'm always trying out activities to inspire my reluctant writers. Sometimes the activities work. Sometimes they don't. When they do work I like to share them with other educators because I know how difficult it can be to continuously come up with inspiring lessons.
Among some of my better ideas is a twelve step story analysis method I call The Secret Language of Stories. I've given presentations on it at several state, national, and international conferences including the International Reading Association 2012 in Chicago where I co-presented on an all day panel with you and TeachingAuthor
Esther Hershenhorn. I have a description of the twelve steps
on a tab at my blog.
What's a common problem your students have and how do you address it?
It's easy to get stuck staring at a big white page or a blank computer screen. I can't tell you how many times I hear the words, "I don't know what to write." I reply, "writing isn't about knowing. There is no magic right or wrong answer as there is in other subjects.
Writing is about choosing, about considering the infinite possibilities and picking one." To this the student inevitably replies, "I still don't know what to write." Then I usually give the stumped pupil a whole list of suggestions which he or she usually doesn't like because that blank computer screen is still just so darn intimidating.
One strategy that has worked extremely well for me is to create a PowerPoint with directions on each slide for what part of the story to write on that particular slide. I also include suggestions about what kind of accompanying images to select. I usually let kids choose the images first since the pictures often inspire their writing. This has worked extremely well with even the most struggling writers. Kids love power point and they love Google Images.
I have some high school students who read and write at first and second grade levels and they have come up with some of the most amazing stories.
(Directions for Carolee's PowerPoint story along with a downloadable PowerPoint can be found under the Teacher Resources section of her blog).
Would you share a favorite writing exercise with our readers?
I like to get kids talking about stories before they write them. There is a strong connection between oral language and written language and it often helps to verbalize ideas before putting them down on paper.
One of my favorite activities is to cut out unusual pictures from magazines. Advertisements often contain images that may be interpreted in a variety of ways. I play music and then ask students to walk around the room. When the music stops I tell them to sit down in front of a picture and describe to the class what they think is going on.
We do this several times and I've found that the random nature of the activity takes off the pressure to think of something good. After they've all come up with two or three ideas, we sit down to write. I often use the structure of poetry for this stage of writing because the focus is on ideas rather than grammar.
I LOVE that idea, Carolee. I can see using it in my classes for adults writers, too. Okay, so tell us...what's on the horizon for you?
I'm in the process of writing up The Secret Language of Stories as a teacher sourcebook and I just wrote an article for Cynsations exploring the history of verse novels going all the way back to Homer and the Iliad and the Odyssey.
In the immediate future, FORGET ME NOT, my paranormal verse novel, is coming out October 2! It's about a girl who has been cyber bullied and hides out from her tormentors in a deserted part of the school only to find herself stuck in a hallway full of ghosts.
(Read the great Kirkus review of FORGET ME NOT here and another terrific review of her book here.)
Sounds wonderfully SPOOKY, Carolee--and just in time for Halloween!
And finally, since it's Poetry Friday in the Kidlitosphere, would you share a poem from your new book with our readers?
Absolutely. Here is an excerpt from FORGET ME NOT:
WRITE IT OUT
That's what Ms. Lane,
my writing teacher,
Spill it out onto
the only way
for thoughts heavy
to become feathers
and fly away.
I could go
to her class.
Get my head
I'd sit next to
I wonder if
Even if he has,
poem © 2012 Carolee Dean. All rights reserved
Wonderful! Thank you SO much for stopping by to talk with us, Carolee!
Here's the exquisite book trailer for FORGET ME NOT:
Campers! Join Carolee's Ghost Tour which starts Oct. 3, and check out the original jewelry made especially for Carolee's book launch!
Carolee has generously offered to autograph a copy of her about-to-be-published book for our BOOK GIVEAWAY. Yay! To enter, just follow these rules:
You must follow our TeachingAuthors blog to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Forget Me Not by Carolee Dean. If you're not already a follower, you can sign up now in the sidebar to subscribe to our posts via email, Google Friend Connect, or Facebook Network blogs.
There are two ways to enter:
1) by a comment posted below
2) by sending an email to teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com with "Book Giveaway" in the subject line.
Just for the fun of it, tell us a true ghost story of your own in 50 words or less. This is optional!
Whichever way you enter, you MUST give us your name AND tell us how you follow us. If you enter via a comment, you MUST include a valid email address (formatted this way: youremail [at] gmail [dot] com) in your comment. Contest open only to residents of the United States. Incomplete entries will be discarded.
Entry deadline is 11 p.m. Thursday, October 11, 2012 (Central Standard Time). The winner will be chosen in a random drawing and announced on October 12th. [Note from Carmela--the original deadline was a week off. These are the corrected dates.]
Good luck, Campers!