Which story?!

My fellow writers out there I’m back to just being a writer! I created a separate WordPress for my educational content/ graduate fluff stuff.

Curious about the title of this blog? Well I’m sure you’ll understand once I explain. As a writer we have, often, several stories floating around in our minds constantly wanting to float between each. Well, I have this problem currently and I can’t decide which I want to focus on or if I should just attempt both. So… let’s begin–

Nishume Chronicles Revision

For any of you who have even glanced at the other pages in this blog you might have seen Dem’rick’s story. I finished writing this novel last year and set it down. I was told before editing you needed to look at it again with new eyes. Well, I have new eyes and I think it can be better.

So, my first story I’m telling you about is the longest one I’ve been writing. Longest as is ive worked on it since 2012, and longest because it’s 408 pages on my google docūüėĪ.

Shit. That’s long.

My goal is to cut it down by about half. Dem’rick is also angry, pissed off and ready for revenge. The story follows his plan to destroy his enemy and tharwt Mikulas’ goal for the world. ¬†It because it’s the right thing to do, but because he wants to see his ex-friend fail.

The Underlying Truth

Here is a story you haven’t heard of from me. So, here is a little snippet of this story.

The Underlying Truth takes place in an alternate America where the eastern half is overrun by shape shifting monsters called Mitos. A faction of hunters are hired to track and kill out of control Mitos, where our main character comes in to play. Her name is Rooney and she is a Mito hunter. She meets a boy named Lyric who saves her life and joins her group. They are forced to learn how to work together and eventually fall in love. Unfortunately, Lyric carries a dark secrete that might destroy everything Rooney has created.

Tadaa! Now you know at least two of the stories I have been working on. There is a third, but I’m sure that one is on the back burner.

You See my Dilemma?

I want to work on both stories, however jumping back and forth can cause a lot of problems. Right at the moment I’m focusing on the Nishume Chronicles. Though it makes me sad to set The Underlying Truth aside so easily. It is a Romance and I’m in the mood for some star crossed lovers.

Have any of you been in the same dilemma?

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A Twitterverse Experience

Tweet Chats

I have never been on for twitter. The only thing that forced me into the world was writing, my other passion, and even then I only posted things about my blog. Education has definitely evolved because of twitter, and the writing world as well. Last night, I participated in #21stedchat where educators across the country got together to discuss Communication within their classrooms, school, and district. It was really enjoyable, more than I thought it was going to be, discussing what other teachers use in their classrooms and discovering new tools to use in mine.

I found several technology tools to use and also some “old” ones as well. MY favorite by far is using post cards to send home with the kids! Who would have thought! It is ¬†a fantastic way to send notes home where students would be excited to share with their guardians.

During the chat we answered questions and the one that stuck out to me the most was, “What social media does your school use?” It stumped me, and realization struck and I don’t believe we have any social media tools to communicate to parents. I feel inspired to begin a FaceBook page or Twitter account just for the school, a way for parents to get immediate information.

I cannot wait to explore more twitter options in the future for not only my educational path but also my writing one as well. #21stedchat

Twitterverse

Again, I was not a twitter person until I began taking this graduate class and it taught me a lot of different ways to use Twitter. I really enjoyed using TwitterDeck, a place where you can see everything happening on your twitter account at once, except I always had problems finding the comments people posted to my account.

However, I did enjoy finding information other individuals posted and accessing educational resources on Twitter. Using Twitter is a great way to find information that others use and knowing who to talk to for more information.

I cannot wait to keep using Twitter to further my knowledge of Education and Writing!

Class Dojo Exploration

Hello Fellow Educations,

I understand that Class Dojo is a wide used app for educators, and that means this blog may seem completely useless, that being said I’m going to go through how to set up your own Class Dojo, some useful tools on the app, and also using Class Dojo on your computer and phone.

The reason for writing this blog post is because we discussed in my graduate class that writing a blog to your colleagues is incredibly useful when trying to teach them about a new educational tool. I was using the Class Dojo app on my phone when one of my colleagues wanted me to show her how to use it. So… Here we go.

Learn More about Class Dojo

 

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Learn More

Let’s get one thing straight: Class Dojo is a Classroom Management Tool, used to reward students with positive points for them¬†to succeed. There is a way on the app that you can give negative points, but with my class we just avoid that based on how they perceive negative consequences like that. So, I focus on rewarding points instead of taking away. Back to Learn More…

 

Once your class is created and are able to give each child points based on: On Task, Helping Others, Teamwork, Working Hard, Participating, and Persistence. For children who normally do not receive recognition for their good behavior, this app gives them the opportunity to shine! On the other hand children who only receive negative feedback from their teacher can prove that they also do well during the school day. That is the main reason why I started using it.

On Class Dojo you are also able to connect with parents and showcase what students have been doing in the classroom. A lot of schools require Data Notebooks showing what students are learning in the classroom. This website and phone app allow you to create each student data’s notebook online! No more binders to store or papers piling up, take a picture and send it on their way.¬†Parents are also able to see the points their child is earning. If you want more information that the small buts I gave, click the “Learn More” caption under the picture.

Website Resource vs. Phone App

Visit the website, at the top right hand corner click the blue Sign Up button. You will be directed to who you are, a teacher, parent, student,  or school leader. Click the appropriate tab. We are going to go through the teacher tab.screencapture-classdojo-1504967801021

Click the tab and fill out the appropriate information for you and your school. You will have to go to your email and confirm it by clicking the link they sent to you. Your school leader will also register you once they check their email.

Now you have ClassDojo on your computer! Explore and have fun with it, create your class and be sure to have your class list because you need to have last names as well.

I thought it was easier to go through the computer sign in vs the phone app, then I just went to the app store on my iPhone (if you do not have an iPhone go to your designated app that allows you to purchase apps for your phone) and downloaded the FREE Class Dojo app. Once its downloaded sign in and you can see the class you already created.

I love having a reason to carry my phone around (because I never do while in school) and give points to my students wherever they may be. When we are walking in the hallway I can pick out the rock stars and provide them points. I can also give points for helping friends which I like to emphasize in my classroom.

Conclusion

I never thought I would be a Class Dojo person. I learned about the app while attending college and it was never for me. But when I saw a colleague using it out in the hallway to give points, and my class struggled walking to and from class, then I knew it was for me.

using classdojo effectivelyI have been looking for great teaching blogs based around what I want to learn and see their opinions on the matter. I found Teaching Trio: Using Class Dojo Effectively and the advice she provides for the app is amazing. I had no idea some of the great ideas she implemented to use this tool effectively and now I cannot wait to try it with my class. I love her annalogy of class dojo being a hammer:

“But every once in a while, I see a teacher (or read about a teacher) not using Dojo as effectively as it should be used. Let me explain.¬†¬†ClassDojo¬†is a classroom management¬†tool.¬† So for our purposes, let‚Äôs compare it to another tool- the hammer.¬† I could use the hammer¬†handle¬†to attach a nail to a board and it would work‚Ķeventually- it is just not as effective as using the¬†head¬†of the hammer. You get the job done but, boy, did you struggle along the way.”

I recommend checking out other blogs involving Class Dojo and see how the other teachers in your school us it before making your own jump in the pond. Please comment below how you like using the app, or if you have any questions regarding how you would use it.

 

 

The Adventures of Writing with Children

(Disclaimer: My fellow writers, I am getting my master’s degree and that required me to post some things to this blog. I will still connect it to writing some way or form, but some may also be linked to education as well. Disclaimer over)

Writing can be a lot of fun. You don’t believe me, well neither does the 20 three foot tall 7 year olds. How do you convince children that writing can be fun? Well, keep reading and you’ll find out:

Write Side by Side with them

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Do You Write with your Students?


According to Rebecca Adler, Edutopia Consulting Editor, “When we model for students our love — and struggles — as readers and writers, they will follow. The more our students fall in love with writing and reading, the more of it they will do. And as we know, practice can make us better at just about anything.”

 

 

Show them your own passion, when they write you write, and in this article I loved how Adler discussed sharing your writing with them. If you wrote a story (and it was age appropriate) then read a bit to them, or what Adler mentioned was she had to write a reply back to the DOT about a miscommunication. The students gave great suggestions and loved her sharing with them.

 

Share the Wealth of Technology

This is a new age, and we need to change with it. Yes, I may be young and technology is easier for me because I have grown up with it, but I believe if you are willing to learn than anything is at your fingertips.

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Reimagining Writing Instructions With Digital Tools

International Literacy Association published a post about engaging students in writing by using Technology (or better yet they wrote technology that can be used to support writing). One of the best parts about reading this post was all of the technology they mentioned that could be used to help struggling writers write. Ideas are some of the hardest things to write, and a lot of the tech can be used to engage students such as Popplet and Padlet.

Now for some of my writing followers who have stuck with me, you can use these tools as well! Check out the site and see what tools are suggested for what and play around with them. You never know what will spark and idea.

 

What are you doing now?

What are some things your doing in your classroom? Or for my writing buds, what are you doing to share your writing or get yourself inspired?

For me I just started using SeeSaw in the classroom. Today was the first day I had students access their own accounts. They had a lot of fun with it, and many are excited to start sharing things with their peers and write to me. If you don’t know of it, then I suggest you check it out! Have fun writing and don’t forget to leave a comment!

 

(Thank you to Edutopia, ILA, and Mo Willems for the amazing pictures!)

The World of Empathy in Writing

Empathy is a powerful thing as writers, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. Wonder why? Well, I just finished watching Game of Thrones finale for the season last night. I CANNOT GET IT OUT OF MY MIND!

Speaking of which. Turn away now if you don’t want spoilers. Warning over.

George RR Martin does a lot of great things in his story, but the one most important aspect is empathy. As readers, and watchers of the show we begin to (almost immediately) have empathy for the characters. This is why we cry when they are hurt, devastated when they die (or extremely happy in Joffrey’s case!) Empathy can carry the readers from the first page to the last.

I watched an amazing YouTube video of this same topic a while back, and they spoke of some great reasons why we have so much empathy in Game of Thrones. I’ll post the link here, and go on.

(Great video! Thanks Just Write!)

So, start challenging yourself when your writing. If you begin to feel that your characters don’t matter, or you yourself have no passion for them, begin to think about how to create empathy. What would make us feel for your characters? Dig deep. Its difficult.

I was attempting to do the same for my story I’m currently writing now, and I haven’t thought of much. Which means I may need to do a little more research on it.

Try yourself, and of course have fun with it!stock-vector-empathy-word-cloud-concept-vector-illustration-416736880

Writing in a busy life 

I know a lot of you can share this feeling. We all have lives outside of writing even if we are professional authors/writers. Life catches up. Children, spouses, friends, schooling and an assortment of other things. So how do we juggle it all?

Today I feel like a clown on stage with everyone watching. The balls I’m Juggling are flying through the air one after the other. Suddenly, another ball joins the juggling trick. Then another. And another. Until I’m wobbling in my unicycle and everything tumbles to the ground. Great. I have some choices now. Pick the pieces up and try again or walk away from the stage. 

Now I don’t mean quit, but maybe find a different path or solution to all those juggling balls. And don’t, whatever you do, pull a 12 hour shift at work it will do more harm than good. (Today was my day)

For me writing is something that lets me escape, the different path away from the juggling so to speak. So, tomorrow after my juggling routine I will drop the balls and go write. 

Summer’s Over? Really!?!?

This cannot be the end of summer! And when I mean end, I’m back at work already preparing my classroom for 20 screaming 8 year olds. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but where does time go? If we wrote a monologue about time it would evolve around older individuals because time escapes us all. Bleh. 

I had great plans this summer. Including keeping you all informed of my writing infected. Heh. Sorry. Big fail. Not my writing of course, but keeping you all posted. I am not one for blogging, though I do enjoy it sometimes. 

Now I have to face reality and return to work. But my pen is never still. Lots of work happening with two of my stories and even Demricks is gettin g quite interesting as it sits on the back burner. Thank you “Vicious”!!!! Lovely book if any of you haven’t read it. 

Well that’s it for tonight. I have more meetings tomorrow and classroom time. Oh. Did I tell you all my classroom is Harry Potter themed? Let’s just say it’s looking pretty bloody brilliant. ūüėČ

Reading and Writing

According to my writing buddy, I need to keep blogging… So, here I am blogging away!

It’s difficult to continue blogging because I feel that, at the moment, I do not have anything to say. Which if my parents read this they would be laughing hysterically¬†at the irony (because I always have something to say). So, I will just give you an update on my life currently and what I have been doing.

Read the title. Yes, that is all I have been doing besides working my part time job (which I’m not counting as it is only two days out of the week).

My goal for the year is to read 20 books, and what better way to get caught up in that goal than during the summer. I finished a book today,¬†Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas. Though not my favorite series she has written, I did fully enjoy the depth¬†of characters and how the plot thickens in the fifth book. However, I’m ready for it to end. JUST BE DONE WITH IT ALREADY SARAH!

I’ve never thought that my novels would exceed three books. Sticking to a strict trilogy writing style. However, Sarah J Maas can write, and write, and write, and write. Not only does she write a lot of books, but they are roughly 600 pages each! 600 pages! Holy cow!!!

My next book is by the same author, A Court of Wing and Ruin. The third book in the series I like from her! I cannot wait to read it!

Then I’ve been attempting to write. I am currently on chapter 11 of my dragon story. Some of the concerns I’m having right now are the consistencies between the chapters and also the motivation to keep on writing. I’m hoping that the lack of work next week will help me give me time to write rather than watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, and reading.

Well, I guess I had more to talk about then I realized. Keep working hard everyone and reach your goals!

Real Life Written with Words 

The real world can inspire all forms of writing. Mystery. Romance. Action. Use what you know to write what you wish. 

I have recently started taking self-defense classes; known as Krav Maga. Though taking these classes is one of a personal reason I am excited to have an incling on how hand to hand combat might be like. 

I write a lot of action sequences involving swords and other weapons. Book research only goes so far without witnessing or being a part of that form of combat. It’s exciting to learn how to throw a punch, block or dodge a hit and also throwing kicks. 

My next story involves a girl learning self defense and hand to hand combat. Learning it myself will help put life experiences down on paper for my characters. 

Such a glorious experience it will be. 

Is Editing easier than Writing?

flannery_oconnor_quote_writingLet’s be completely frank when I mean “writing.” What I mean is sitting down with a blank piece of paper and starting from scratch, just the ideas from the brain. Are we clear? Great!

So, which is easier, starting with something that is already written and making improvements on it or starting from scratch? Well, it depends on what kind of writer you are.

This thought came to me this week because I have already written my new novel. All the content is complete and the idea put down on paper. My goal now is to change the content in a different order than in which I have, at present, written it. I reread the old chapter, make minor changes to it to adjust the time setting of the novel before placing it in its correct order. For me, this is incredibly easy and I have already fix 9 chapters within a two week time frame.

Now, my point is that editing may be easier, right? So, what makes writing from scratch so hard?

I just said it. You are writing from scratch. Putting your pencil on paper, fingers to the keyboard and creating something that has only just beginning to bud in your mind is difficult. Especially, if you worry about character development, plot sequences, and all of the other mind boggling crap writers think about when they are starting a story. All of these can prevent a writer (particularly a first timer) from even starting their story or finishing.

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My remedy for the evils of writing? Put all other thoughts aside and save it for the editing process. Just focus on the story and writing it with enough details that when you edit you can take some of it. And like my friend Dory says, “Just keep writing!”

Any thoughts? Which is more difficult for you? Easier for you?