Today two of my intern teachers working toward their credentials who are in the final year of our program presented their portfolios. They spoke about their experience and the philosophy of teaching they have developed. I’ve worked for Fortune School of Education for over ten years as a field supervisor. I observe my interns teaching three times a year. I give suggestions for improving and sit on the presentation panel each year. Tonight the students were outstanding, detailed, confident, and inspired. This time of the year is the rewarding part of my job…to see how much these interns have grown since the first day they started to teach.
Tag Archives: teaching
When I taught elementary school and special education classes, I used music in the background most of the day and rhythm music with the younger students to learn ABC’s, months of the year, math facts, etc. Research has shown that music helps memory.
On Thanksgiving, we had lunch with a friend and her extended family. Twenty of us in the restaurant placed our orders. The waitress didn’t write them down. Some of us wanted salad dressing on the side or gravy on the side, in addition to the several different appetizers and main courses we chose. The waitress surprised us with her exact memory. Not one error in our twenty individual orders. And she remembered our five check requests since each family wanted separate bills.
Our friend’s son said he could do the same. He repeated exactly all the orders we had made. When he was a child, his mother said he could repeat a whole TV program word for word after it was over. I asked him if he must have passed every test he took in school. He said not necessarily. I wondered why. He answered that the theme song on the TV programs made it easy to remember the words and actions.He repeats song lyrics after hearing them the first time. Whenever music is involved in other situations, he remembers everything that is going on in complete detail. To me he is amazing.
I’d like to write a story with a character who has his ability. Do any of you have a similar memory?
Gary, one of the members in my Dublin writing class also is taking an on-line course with Jessica Barksdale, who was one of my instructors when I started writing years ago. I continue to go on her retreats in summer and she is still an inspiration. Jessica’s assignment that Gary shared with me was to turn off the monitor and type. Gary followed directions and ended up with an eight hundred-word story, endearing main character, a poignant arc, and minimal rewriting needed.
The inner editor doesn’t have a chance to interfere. Gary said he did worry whether he had his fingers on the right keys, but he kept on going. It’s worth the time to do the exercise. What is produced can be a success.
Let me know if you try it.
In my previous post, I interviewed Shannon Brown who has two novel excerpts in my anthology, WRITTEN ACROSS THE GENRES. She attends our writers group in Dublin, CA. As the teacher, I give ten minute exercises to practice what we’ve discussed. Here is Shannon’s ideas about writing with some rhetorical devices.
Disneyland is fun in the morning. Disneyland is fun in the afternoon. Disneyland is fun at night. I am one of those people who likes Disneyland and doesn’t think it’s cheesy, however, the repeating stye of writing is coming out extremely cheesy. Not Gouda at all, it’s not better with cheddar, so go tell your Uncle Jack: “Don’t show up at the party unless you brought Havarti.”
The plot of Shannon Brown’s novel, ROCK’n’ROLL in LOCKER SEVENTEEN, involves seventeen-year-old Steven White, the biggest fan of teen idol Ricky Stevenson whose fate Steven is determined to discover. The description on the back cover states that it’s “a hilarious novel about what happens to Steven when he discovers what really happened to the missing star.”
Find it on Amazon.
In my writing class, I presented an exercise to analyze a story that had won third prize in a university contest. The author had an unusual writing style that the students found confusing, as did I in the first read. It took me three reads to understand the possible goals the author had for the piece.
An active discussion followed their frustrated sighs, head shaking, temple rubbing, blank stares, and furrowed eyebrows. Several interpretations from metaphor, mystery, murder, and psychological imbalance of the POVC added to the possible meaning of the story.
I appreciated the creative attempts at resolution for a story most of them disliked. But, I repeated, the story won third prize in a contest. On the drive home, twinges of guilt nipped at my heart since I’m very fond of everyone in my class. Then I received an email from Emily, one of the writer attorneys in the group and the twinges turned to confidence that to stretch everyone’s writing muscle was a good thing. Here’s what she said:
“I found the discussion today very satisfying. It was deeper than most and really made us work hard and exercise our brains. I felt like the way I feel after a good workout or how I used to feel after a good run. Hated the story, loved the workout.”
Thank you, Emily.
Anadiplosis is a rhetorical device that repeats the last word of one phrase, clause, or sentence at, or very near, the beginning of the next sentence. The main point of the sentence becomes clear by repeating the same word twice in succession.
An example from HADA’S FOG: “Hada’s immediate reaction to Lilli’s announcement wasn’t from shock. It was from anger. Anger at herself for denying the inevitable.”
Stella Cameron uses anadiplosis in NOW YOU SEE HIM: “It’s early, early enough the breeze through jasmine doesn’t take the edge off last night’s scents of booze, sweat, and urine.”
We avoid echo words in our writing. We attune our ears to recognize them in others’ work and in our own, especially when we read our stories aloud. However, with anadiplosis, we use echo words on purpose to create a powerful sentence.
Find a paragraph in your WIP where you want to add more impact. Select the word you want to impress upon the reader. Write it at the end of one sentence and echo it at the beginning of the next.
Do the two sentences work better as a closing to the paragraph, at the start of the paragraph, or in a paragraph on their own?
“Writers Talk” is the monthly newsletter of the South Bay Branch of The California Writers Club. In the June issue, Marjorie Bicknell Johnson, the editor, wrote an article titled “Power of Three”. She explains that “Information presented in groups of three sticks in our heads better than other clusters of items”. The use of a series of three words, phrases, or ideas has been used in many myths and stories, for example, the “Three Little Pigs”and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. Notice how many sayings are in threes: “I came, I saw, I conquered”, “Friends, Romans, Countrymen”, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, “Stop, look, and listen”, Location, location, location to name a few.
Two rhetorical devices used effectively in writing are anaphora and epistrophe. Anaphora is repeating a word or phrase at the beginning of three successive phrases or sentences. “He knew he had to drive her home. He knew he had to say good-bye. He knew he had to let her go”.
Epistrophe is the counterpart of anaphora in that it’s the repetition of three last words or phrases in a row. “The barking dogs drive me crazy. The cars racing down the street drive me crazy. The voices in my head drive me crazy”.
A writer who adds anaphora or epistrophe creates an engaging story, a variety in sentence structure, and often, an emotional response from the reader. Experiment with them and see if you agree with the power of three.
Here are the last four lines from Author Unknown about what she learned her first year of teaching. Thank you, Kristen, for sharing this paper with us and thanks to all the teachers out there who align with Author Unknown.
“I didn’t know that the sound of children’s laughter could drown out the sound of all the world’s sadness…
I didn’t know that children could feel so profoundly. A broken heart knows no age…
I didn’t know that a single “yes ma’am” from a disrespectful child or a note in my desk that says “You’re the best!” could make me feel like I’m on top of a mountain and forget the valleys I forged to get there…
I never knew that after one year of teaching I would feel so much wiser, more tired, sadder and happier, all at once, and that I would no longer call teaching my job, but my privilege.”
Jody Hedlund says, “Constantly using our creative muscles is the key to keeping them in shape and preventing writer’s block.”
Check out the visual for the quote and other quotes for writers on my Writing Board at Pinterestdotcomslashjkleistc