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Express Yourself! Find a Little Artist in You This Year!
I truly believe if you invest the time to teach writing authentically and well, then state tests will take care of themselves. Writing skills create strong, independent thinkers.

I'm hardly an artist, but I challenge myself regularly to act like an artist. When you are living the life of a life-long learner, you make sure you give yourself occasional tasks that require small amounts of artistry.

At my house, I scrapbook and make greeting cards. I decorate rooms in my house with stencil paint. I keep small flower gardens. These are small things I do to further develop my small, little artistic side.

What do you do to maintain a little artist in yourself? Draw? Dance? Design webpages?

One important thing you should take from middle school is a variety of small experiences that will develop into a life-long interest in thinking like an artist every once in a while. It's good for the brain. And it leads to a happier life.

Are You a Poet? Find out this year...

When I was in sixth grade, I won a poetry contest! Okay, I got second place, but it was a pretty big contest. I'd played around with shaping words into poetry before, but this was the first time I was recognized as being a pretty good poet for a kid my age.

You can click on my poem at left or my certificate at right to see either of them bigger.

Some people think being a poet is hard, but poets are just people who find unique words to describe interesting things: emotions, places, every day objects, nature. I find that most people have the ability to think like a poet every once in a while. I believe it's good for learners to think poetically every once in a while

There are two types of poet out there: the poet who rhymes and the poet who writes in free verse.

Back in sixth grade, I was obviously a poet who liked to rhyme.

As an adult, I prefer to write my poems in free verse. The point is that I still challenge myself to write a poem every once in a while. This keeps me feeling artistic.

In your notebooks, create a list of topics that you think are truly interesting and that would be interesting to think about using unusual words and descriptions. Your list can contain the names of emotions, places, every day objects, nature, or a variety of other types of topics.

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The greatest thing about the poetry-writing process should be that you get to find your own topic that is worthy of a poem. Poetry is all about the person who writes it.



Are you a Photographer? Find out this year...

In this digital and technological age, it is way too easy to take pictures. In addition to casual snapshots of your friends, find some time to take pictures that are more artistic.

Below are three pictures I took the old-fashioned way--developed with film and chemicals. What artistic-sounding title might you give each of my pictures? Come tell me in class what you've come up with! I might give you a special sticker for your writer's notebook if you share a really original title.



WritingFix is the best website ever. And not just because they have several of my lessons posted! This site covers every writing topic out there!

If you're not a member of the NNWP's Writing Lesson of the Month Ning, change that fact right now! Click here and create a profile to begin receiving the monthly lessons!

The NNWP's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Guide is a great teaching resource. You can order your own copy by visiting the NNWP's Publications Page.

Creating Writers through 6-Trait Writing
by Vicki Spandel. A really great teaching resource!

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins. My three classroom copies see no dust as they're passed from reader to reader.

My husband also keeps a webpage of his lessons and his professional development resources. Click here to visit his site.

Click here to see some of my past students who are "famous" because they were published at the WritingFix website.





hometrait materialsmy student ningexpress yourself!no busy work!don't plagiarize!write to an author!be an author!note passers!my family and pets