Writing Stories (Carolyn Coman) pdf, epub, doc

Writing Stories ePub and PDF Available
Last March I took part in the Slice of Life writing challenge sponsored by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers.I got carried away with the commenting challenge for first time participants.(It happened to be the first week of our spring break, so I went all out and commented on almost every blog.My family thought I had lost it completely.)Not only did I read amazing slices from some of the most amazing teachers, I also won five professional development books.Now that summer vacation is here, I am sitting down to read them.

I read Writing Stories by Carolyn Coman yesterday, and it is a treasure.I agree wholeheartedly that good writing is grounded in writing good stories.As we move to the Common Core, we as teachers need to remember that good stories provide the basis for all good writing, including argumentative and informative writing.Reading this book is like having Carolyn sit beside you and guide you through the writing process, both as a writer and as a teacher of writers.

At the heart of this book are the connections between writing and reading and teaching.It is filled with clear explanations of story elements and how they fit together, writing exercises to explore and experiment with, and questions—questions to ask yourself as a writer, questions to ask your students, and questions to explore together.After reading through this guide just once, I have already dogeared many pages and highlighted many words of wisdom.I know this will be a book I turn to again and again in both my own writing and teaching.

I want to share with you some of my favorite lines:

On finding ideas for writing:"Bit by bit it began to dawn on me that everything was possible material.Reading showed me that I could journey inwardly into heart and soul as much as outwardly into the world, and that small moments held worlds within them and treasures of their own" (Coman 24).
On choosing controversial words or topics:"Considering the power of words seems to me a better way to go than simply laying down rules point-blank" (Coman 33).
On working with student writers:"A big part of our work as teachers is to help writers see what they've got that they might not be aware of—in other words, to help them see inside their stories" (Coman 78).
On responding to drafts: "To articulate that single thing requires looking into the story, past the obvious small corrections that need to be made, in search of the fundamental knot that keeps the story from realizing its intention...Settling on the basic question or comment about a story is our chance, as teachers, to practice what we preach: pare down, hone, and respectfully address what we see as the heart of the matter" (Coman 146).
On respect for the writer: "There are a million and one honest simple questions to be asked—without attitude, frustration, or judgment—to help the writer write the clearest, best story he or she can.Please note:asking the questions doesn't mean the writer knows (should know or can know) the answer yet.Questions are seeds, and the best ones take root, get the writer thinking and wondering about new possibilities.We're just asking.If the answer isn't clear, then the story is still evolving.The writer needs to write more to discover the answers" (Conan 146-147).
On connections:"A writer's interest in his or her topic does not guarantee that the piece will engage others, but a writer who's not interested in the material pretty much guarantees that no one else will be either.Whatever the topic, fiction or nonfiction, there has to be a point of connection between the writer and what is written" (Conan 148-149).
On difficulties:"Things not going well is part of the process—of writing and of teaching writing, too.At least in my experience there is no way around it, only acknowledgment and humble acceptance as you try to make—or simply wait for—things to turn around....simply accept that the process unfolds at its own pace, as long as you keep showing up" (Conan 164).
On difficult students:"So the most resistant students are the ones who need us most.We have to start where each student is and go from there.First, and always, we want to do no harm...One size does not fit all" (Conan 165).
On getting stuck:"It's my job to be patient and keep saying what I see in as many ways as I can, until the writer can see it too, or until the writer lets me see deeper into his or her story or process...It is never right until I come back to a place of respect for the writer and what he or she has written" (Conan 167).
On conventions:"Yes, spelling, grammar, and punctuation must be addressed (to the extent and at the level it's appropriate for your students), but let's not kid ourselves that addressing them constitutes teaching writing or means that we have don our job in responding fully to a story...Incorrect punctuation or misspellings show that a piece of writing is not yet finished" (Conan 175-176).
On sticking with it:"None of us got into teaching because it was easy" (Conan 169).

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Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Stenhouse Publishers
  • File: 7.5 Mb
  • Release: 02.05.2011
  • ISBN: 9781571108715
  • Pages 192
  • Rating: 4.14 (7 votes)

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