Friday, May 22, 2015

Writing, Brains, and Notebooks

Writing is Exploring is Writing
by Amy LV

Students - Today's poem is really a how-to poem, but not a clear cut how-to such as "How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich."  Rather, it is a poem about how to do something that is in a way concrete, and in a way, mysterious - writing.

You will notice that I compare writing to walking a dog.  That's because when I walk my dog, I never know where she will want to go.  We have discoveries and adventures.  Such a sense of discovery and adventure is writing at its best too.

When I started writing this poem, I had no idea where it would go.  Rather, I just followed my pen and mind and there appeared the tracks.

Trust yourself.  If you don't know what you wish to exactly write, just get started, and see where you go.   Allow your pen to find its way into the brambles of metaphor and the secret paths of simile. You may well find a hidden room.

Today I am tickled to welcome English Language Arts director, Mary Wheeler, from St. John School in Houston, Texas with this zany Poetry Peek!  Enjoy!

          Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Thank you, Mary, for e-mailing me these joyous pictures to share here today.  If anyone tries this way to display poetry, or if you have another way that you like to share students' poems, please let me know as I would love to feature it.

Now that our brains are feeling colorful, I would like to extend an invitation to all. In the past week, my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, has lit up like a bonfire. It started when Kimberley Moran of iWrite in Maine wrote and asked me about hosting some ideas for student notebooking over the summer.  She wrote the first one, and now we already have 27 entries!  All are welcome to contribute, and you can see the list of how to post here and the list of entries already up here.

Here's how easy it is to share.  Just think of one way you get inspired to write in your notebook (or on your napkin or on your computer or on your arm...) and then write up a paragraph sharing that idea/exercise. Then, snap a photo of a page (or napkin or screen or arm...) and e-mail or Google Doc it to me with a brief bio. Then, I put it up with all the others, and we all have a wondrous list of writing exercises to inspire not only our students...but us too.

All are welcome - students, teachers, writers, artists, mechanics, chefs, jotters, scribblers of all types.  The more variety, the merrier.  I welcome you to share and hope that you will.

Here's an easy Tweet if you just want to copy and use it -

@amylvpoemfarm is collecting #notebook ideas! Share your short paragraph, photo, bio here to join the fun - #writing

Matt Forrest is hosting today's Poetry Friday party at Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme...with wonderful news.  Please stop by, enjoy all of the poetry offerings, and congratulate Matt on his book contract!

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. I find my writing is more cat-like...It usually starts off meandering around until I can nail down the premise, then takes off like a rocket until it stops suddenly and goes to sleep! Love the poem!

  2. This is such a nice poem to show students, Amy, about metaphor and creating the connections from what one knows. I like it very much, that "keep walking your mind/by moving your hand".

  3. Amy, I think your new poem is delightful as it leads students to wonder where your hand will take your mind as it walks across the page. The opening is the hook into the poem. It is true that we often do not know where the mind will lead your pen. I am offering today a glimpse at my digital writing process using a digital journal.

  4. Great post!What a lovely and creative poetry display. The cafeteria is beautiful too. I'd love to eat there and visit with the poets.

    Amy, I liked your poem. It encourages us to trust the writing process while we allow our minds to work.

    I hope the summer notebook project grows even bigger!

  5. I love that pull of the leash!

  6. Writing is much like walking a dog. Some days you end up going on a vigorous adventure and others you come up with a pile of s_____.

    I enjoyed walking with your pen today.

    Thanks for the gallery of notebook ideas. I'm so excited that so many have joined in.

  7. What a great metaphor! And a great project; will go sniffing around myself and get something to you. Woof! (And love that creative writer-friendly space, too.)