Friday, July 23, 2010

Irises Blooming in the Garden of Dreams

Stories Are Like Irises

         "Irises wait underground for spring," writes Molly Anderson-Childers. "Even if you're impatient for them to bloom, it doesn't matter. Irises will only bloom when they're good and ready--so, too, with stories. It's important to show students the entire process of writing, and to teach them to find joy in every step of the way.
        "Ask each student to keep a writer's notebook," she continues. "This tool functions as a sort of catch-all for ideas and inspiration, and is designed to help students explore each step in the writing process from brainstorming to character and plot development in an organic way.
        "What's in my writer's notebook? Bits of poems; random scribblings; lists of character and place names; photos; sketches and collages; notes; bios; and character interviews to help with character development.
        "Also, lists of plot twists; resources; inspirational quotations and photos to get my mind moving when I'm stuck in the muck; lists of randomly beautiful words like googoplex, tintinnabulation; blank pages for ideas and brainstorming, and writing prompts."
         Anderson-Childers notes, also, that each student will need a notebook or binder for this project. "Every page should have different activities designed to fuel  young writers' imaginations," she continues. "By using these pages frequently and consistently, they'll develop the habit of recording ideas for future use.
        "Students can add photos or other forms of visual art to their notebooks. You can encourage them to add their own photos, images, and artwork to inspire them in their writing."
        When asked what advice she would give to young writers, she responded with, "Writing will lead you through the darkness, and shine a light on the truth your heart fears to recognize. Writing is a path, a road to follow, a sacred journey of the heart."
        Molly Anderson-Childers is a freelance writer, photographer, artist, and creativity consultant. Her work has appeared in Images, Edible San Juan Mountains, New Witch, Southwest Colorado Arts Perspective, The Durango Telegraph, and The Four Corners Business Journal. You can find her work online at,, and Anderson-Childers also publishes two inspirational blogs,, and To connect with her send an email to stealingplums(at)yahoo(dot)com.

How Joann Garbarini Uses Photos in the Classroom

In a review of  Write What You See in Voices of Youth Advocate, August, 2009, Joyce Doyle wrote: "Possibly the most helpful feature is a special section in the back of the book where high school and college teachers show how they have helped to inspire creative writing through the use of photos." Here's one example.
        At  Irvine High School, Irvine,California, English teacher Joann Garbarini shows her students photographs of different towns and asks them to pick one they would like to write about. She then instructs them to imagine what the town they chose is like.
        "They must include descriptions of ethnicities, social class, jobs, relationships between neighbors, the education system, the town's history, and anything else they can surmise from the photograph," she writes. To conclude the exercise, Garbarini directs the students to write about their own town and compare and contrast it to their imaginary town.
        If you would like to share a favorite photo-writing activity, please contact me at hankpix(at)gmail(dot) com.

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        Here's how to receive your discount. just enter the coupon code HPIXWS when you order online. Your discount will be entered automatically when you check out. The $8.48 discount applies only to orders that include Write What You See.
        You can also phone in the order at 1-800-864-4297 and mention the coupon code HPIXWS to receive the discount.
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Coming Soon! 
Artist-Photographer Henry Stindt by Dan Mouer
The Man in the Green Shirt by Michael A. Shapiro
Student Photography Contest by Stephanie Smith Ph.D

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