Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Peek Into My Daughter's Notebook

The team at twowritingteachers.wordpress.com hosts the Slice of Life on Tuesdays. Everyone is welcome to post and comment!

My sixth-grade daughter knows that she can get my full attention whenever she shares excerpts from her writer's notebook. This afternoon, she asked if she could read me her beginning as we were driving home from school. Tonight, I found her notebook next to my computer, so I am sharing her beginning with all of you.

"Let's go swimming," my sister says. The sun is shining brightly and the sun rays make the crystal blue water shimmer. The wind makes the trees sway back and forth like saying hi. The flowers burst with color happy for it to be summer again. The dogs get let out and sniff around the garden and chase each other around. Today was the day I was going to jump off the diving board without any help. I jump into the pool and then I arise and walk up the steps and that is when I take my first shaky steps toward my enemy but I know today I am going to defeat my enemy--the diving board.

I do love her little voice as she reads her piece, but you can probably hear it, even through the blog and, in true conferring form, I complimented her voice. I couldn't resist the urge to research and teach, even in the car. "Talk to me about how the trees swaying and the flowers bursting relate to the story of jumping off the diving board," I said. She let me know that her task was to just get the reader into the world of the story. I admit it--I struggle with elaboration without relevance, so

I silently debated, then wondered a little more out loud. "What if you had a line in there that went something like 'it was funny that everything was so beautiful that it seemed weird that this was a day of doom for me?'" (I admit it--I'm teaching the writing here and not the writer...) "Mom," Cecily said, "this description has nothing to do with the story. I'm just using my elaboration techniques."

Sigh. I'll keep working on the relevance factor--but I do enjoy her voice!


  1. It is such a fine line we tread....she has an awesome voice, and somehow I notice her ability to defend what she was doing...love it, thanks for sharing her with us! xo

  2. So great that your daughter is approximating with elaboration! She is like our kindergarteners, just learning to use periods, and joyfully inserting them after every word! Eventually she will come back to center and have the technique down pat! And how great that she is willing to share her writing with her mom!

  3. It's so hard to turn off our teacher brains, isn't it? I love Cecily's confidence in her writing, and her determination to face down the diving board!

  4. I know I'm going to have to walk this fine line as Isabelle gets older. I'm glad I have other moms, like you, to learn from so I don't have to go it alone.

    I get she's trying to use setting details to get her reader into the world of the story. I commend her for that (and her lovely voice). Perhaps you can show her a mentor text that will help her see how to do this from another author so it's not like mom telling her. Just a thought.

    1. It is a fine line, Stacey, and I love that all of my girls share their writing with me. Love the reminder to share mentor texts with her. Maybe we'll cuddle with some favorite picture books this weekend.