Monday, June 18, 2012

Teachers Write 6/18

Today's assignment on Teachers Write had two great ideas for generating ideas in writing.  The first idea was to go to a random word generator and let the random words inspire a quick write.  This is my attempt:

Random Words:     Lizard     Edge

As she sat there on the balcony basking in the bright sunshine, she couldn't help but notice the lizards clinging to the outside of the house across the street.  How different this life was from the one she left in Wisconsin.  It was so fascinating how things that are mainstream in one place could be so exotic in another place.  The outside wall of the house across the street had five small lizards basking in that same sunlight and hanging there as if it were a lazy day lying on the beach.  Everything here in Sevilla seemed to move in a slower way and to defy gravity in the slightest way.  Deciding to study here was the best decision she had ever made.  

The second idea is similar to the Nancie Atwell idea that I use every year at the beginning of the school year--writing territories--except this idea has a much more directed brainstorm list.  I am really excited to spend time doing this thinking and I hope it will help me come up with some great ideas for writing.

Setting Ideas:
1. List ten places that you have lived in your lifetime:  Camp Webb, Glenside Circle, Brookfield, Oconomowoc, The Cochrane House--Madison, Langdon Street, Triana, Gran Plaza, Grandma's house, Milwaukee

2. List ten places to which you feel a strong emotional connection. The emotion can be positive or negative. Either is powerful. (it’s okay to have repeats in the bank. That can tell you something useful about where your heart lives.)
Camp Webb, The house/small bathroom in Brookfield, Kopps, Disneyworld, St. Francis Church, Memorial Union, Gambrinus, Streets of Sevilla

3. List ten places you’ve visited on vacation or places you’d love to visit in your lifetime were money and time no object:  Mallorca, Australia, Paris, Other cities in Italy, Greece, Grand Canyon, Tropical islands, Key West

4. List ten places from which your ancestors or in-laws come: Spain, Germany, England, Ireland, Czechoslovakia, Poland

5. List ten books or movies that have settings you’ve found particularly captivating:  Harry Potter--I LOVE Hogwarts and the idea that there is another world right in the same space as the real world,  

Character Ideas:

6. List ten jobs whether paying or volunteer that you’ve done in your life: tutoring, Urban Outfitters, Culvers, Respite care for families, baby-sitting, camp counselor, charity fundraiser

7. List ten famous people, historical or contemporary, that you would love to share a meal with: Jane Austen, Barack Obama, Oprah, Emily Dickenson, JK Rowling, Walt Disney, Matt Damon, Madeline L'Engle, Picasso, Sarah McLachlan

8. List ten ethnicities, religions, tribes, cultural groups, gender or sexual orientations, or political philosophies that are represented in your extended family: Spanish, Irish, Catholic, Episcopalian, Religious right, conservative, liberal,

9. List ten people who can make you laugh: Ramon, Matt, Tim, Konell, Tony, Christen, Scrubs, Bernie Mac, Jim, Michelle, Carl

10. Complete this sentence ten times. “I’ve always wanted to _____ like ____________"

Sing like Sarah MchLachlan, Perform on Broadway, write like Jane Austen, Dance like an Irish dancer, Cook like Giada or Mario, Do gymnastics like Mary Lou Retton, Ice Skate like an Olympian, Ride horseback like an equestrian

I didn't quite get to 10 ideas in each list, but I definitely see the value in an exercise like this for a great idea bank.  I will have more than enough ideas to pull from here and these guided lists will help me add to my writing territories list this summer and at the start of the school year.

I want to do the Monday quick write from Jo Knowles' blog as well, but I am having a hard time coming up with a project to describe.  I will have to let that idea simmer for a night and I hope that I will come up with something tomorrow.  If not, I will do what I tell my students to do if they can't think of a real-life example for a prompt---make it up.

Happy Writing to all of my fellow Teachers Write participants...see you tomorrow.

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