#SOL19 Day 9 Spark!

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For the month of March I will be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by The Two Writing Teachers Blog. Each day I will be sharing a Quick Write as my way of slicing. The idea is to offer a SPARK that will kindle thinking and then write as quickly as you can for 5-10 minutes. No filters, no revisions. I’ve been curating a collection of Sparks and will share some with you all month. It’s a great way to ignite your writing life.

Word Sparks

Words are a vessel for meaning. A single word can conjure up thoughts, stimulate memories, and/or stir emotions. Providing a single word as a quick write spark can demonstrate the power of a single word. It need not be profound like Patriotic, it can be as simple as Chair, in which thoughts of snuggling with a loved one, or shopping for a family one, or being forced to sit in one as punishment might be conjured in a flash.

You can find words in a dictionary, randomly point to one in a text, or use my friend Jennifer Laffin’s Word of the Day on her TeachWrite Facebook Page. She also has an Email List with tips, ideas and inspiration for teacher writers. Here’s a word from one of her recent posts and my quick write:


Is it an action or an identity? Are they separate. I suppose I could rebel at an idea that I found unsavory without being an outright rebel. But there are certainly times when I feel like a rebel. When we are discussing our upcoming state tests I feel like a rebel because I care so little about those results. I’ve been working with teachers on an ASSESSMENT PREPARATION unit the past week or so but my attitude has certainly rebelled against the conventional thinking. I see these types of tests as a genre of reading. So my goal is to help teach students the skills and strategies to be successful with a genre that they must read at least once a year. I think of it as functional reading/writing. The way we want to teach students to read a recipe, or directions, or schedules, etc. we can teach them to read a state test. And then I think about the results as how well they can simply read THAT genre and not a larger measure of their skills as a reader, because COME ON!! That is not the type of reading I care about or that matters, and I am hoping there are other rebels out there who feel the same way. Maybe one day we will have—-

So as you can see, one word can open up a can of proverbial worms! Also, I stopped after 5 minutes, MID SENTENCE. That is what I ask kids to do as well. The idea being that they can pick up that idea at any time without experience writers’ block. Works every time.

Let me know if you try this spark. What word did you choose?

26 thoughts on “#SOL19 Day 9 Spark!

  1. I have really been enjoying your quick writes and this one word strategy is one I used a long time ago but had forgotten. Your writing about rebel is powerful. The field/educators/students is/are lucky to have you and your voice and wisdom and work.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. There was a #TeachWrite twitter chat this week about being a writing rebel after Jennifer shared REBEL as the word of the day, made me think about that word in the context of teaching, too.

  2. Rebel conjures different things for me as I was raised in the south and feel that word is a title that has shades of meaning around racism. Maybe I could write about that today. I am reading slices to find inspiration. You and a few others are using quick writes. They are great for getting the writing done. I feeling the “Just. Do. It.” tug today.

    1. Yes, Margaret, I can see how rebel would have a different connotation in your community. I hope the Just.Do.It tug gets you jump started today. Love your posts.

  3. Love the “stop mid-sentence” idea – I learned that tidbit from reading Donald Murray. It works for any piece you are composing when you have to stop and pick up again at another time. Just love it. I am awaiting my order of Spark. It should be here today, and I cannot wait to dive in!

  4. I love this post in so many ways. First, you’re reminding me that word prompts can lead to interesting places. Second, your “Rebel” quick write encapsulates a lot of what I feel about assessments and expresses it so clearly. Finally, I love the idea of stopping mid-sentence. It leaves you with a clear starting place. Brilliant!

    1. I love your blog so much, but I can’t find the “About Me” section on it to see where you teach or even your name. We are so close I wonder if we’ve connected.

  5. This is one of my favorite writing prompts. I also like a list of words. REBEL is a trigger word for me. I have realized a lot about myself reflecting on this word over the past months! Thanks for sharing and linking to TeachWrite! I love our writing communities!

    1. We often don’t know the power of a word until one triggers something in us and then…BAM! They aren’t objective combinations of letters, they really are a vessel filled with meaning. I love our writing communities, too. TeachWrite is one of my favs!

  6. I love your rebellious attitude about state tests snd agree w/ every word. Also love the spark idea for quick writes. Well done!

    1. We did this in April with our students for years. There was a site called WordXWord that would post our kids’ poems from their word of the day. It no longer exists,sadly.

    1. and I will continue to advocate that all they tell us is how well the kids were able to read THAT GENRE (test taking genre) and not who they are as readers!

  7. I love this as a way to spark ideas for writers!

    “When we are discussing our upcoming state tests I feel like a rebel because I care so little about those results. I’ve been working with teachers on an ASSESSMENT PREPARATION unit the past week or so but my attitude has certainly rebelled against the conventional thinking. I see these types of tests as a genre of reading.”

    I will forever be a rebel against these types of assessments too.

  8. Your sparks are really sparking me this month! I love this idea (and have an oddly strong reaction to the word “rebel” – like Margaret, I am from the South & have strong associations with it) and I really love the idea of stopping mid-sentence. I will use this for sure next week when March break ends and we’re back to school.

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