Living a writerly life

During Writer’s Workshop, I am always telling my students to live a writerly life.  I share my own writing with them (and this was especially successful during our poetry unit), and I even share my fear of sharing with them.  I think it models that adults aren’t always perfect and that we have fears, too.

However, I realized last year that if I really want my students to value writing then I have to show them how much I value writing.  I need to prove to them that writing isn’t something I do just to model examples for them.  So, this summer I set a goal to work on getting something published.  Thus, last week I began sending out query letters to various magazines to promote an article I am writing about my trip to Michoacan, Mexico.  When I applied for the travel fellowship, I promised to promote the Monarch Teacher Network, and one idea I contributed was to get an article published about my experiences.  Well, we are off and running!  Now it is just a matter of sitting back and waiting to hear from the editors.  Wish me luck!

It’s funny, but now I have a new experience to share- the waiting game!  What is it like to send out a manuscript and just wait for an editor to make a decision?  Hopefully, this will encourage more of my students to be brave and attempt to get their own writing published.

10 Responses

  1. I don’t teach creative writing, but I am trying to live a more writerly life as well. Harder than it sounds. For me, it includes revising old work, sending work out, writing every day, keeping the goals I set for myself. I think that last is the hardest. I’m a born procrastinator, and it’s very easy to put other priorities first, and the ones that matter only to me last.

    Thanks for this post.

  2. That is pretty exciting. I love Michoacan. Had you been there before? Who did you send your article to? I was published before by Mexico Connect. It an online magazine. If you are interested, I am sure that they would love your article.

  3. I was just reading more about your work with MTN on other posts and on your “about” section. Does it work for classes to raise and release monarch butterflies in any area of the United States? I really like how you mentioned that you are able to use the concept in so many different ways throughout the year (helping the environment, team building, journey them, etc. I would love to hear more about the program

  4. Hi! I love reading your blog. I’ve taught 3rd grade for seven years and this year I’m moving on to fifth grade where I’ll be teaching reading and writing – very exciting for me! 🙂 I’ve grown so much as a teacher as I’ve broken away from the basal and focused on the reading strategies and students’ independent reading. I’m looking forward to interweaving the six traits with my reading so that the writing and reading will go hand in hand. I know I have my work cut out for me and it’s a bit overwhelming… If you have any advice, resources, etc., I would truly appreciate it! 🙂 Thanks and keep blogging!

  5. Mrs. V.-

    I sent the query to a few places, but I will definitely check out Mexico Connect! Thanks!

    As for the butterflies, they are found all over the US. The population east of the Rockies migrates to Michoacan and those to the west migrate to specific forests on the California coast. The Monarch Teacher Network is AMAZING and we are expanding nationwide. This year there were workshops in Texas, Arkansas, Virginia,Texas, NJ, Ohio,and Illinois. Check out the website at

    Also, even if there is not a workshop in your area, we would love to come do one! Erik runs the program and he can work with you to set it up. That’s how we got to Alabama and Texas this summer. 🙂 Where are you located?


  6. Mrs. Gilbert-

    Stick around! I am still in the midst of planning next year and I will be sharing more of what I will be doing. Good luck in 5th grade!

  7. Sarah,

    I am in the Pacific Northwest, so I guess the butterflies would migrate to the California coast. I had only known about the Canada-Michoacán migration trail before, so at first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do the project with my students. I am excited that it sounds like it would work! I emailed Erik.

    Have you read Francisco Jiménez’s La Mariposa? It is a children’s book. It is available in English and Spanish, even though the title for both versions is in Spanish. It would go great with the theme. It is also included in his book The Circuit. The chapter with the same story line is called “Inside Out”. It is the same story, but it was adapted a little bit in the children’s book as far as it isn’t word for word.

  8. Mrs. V.-

    I am so excited that you emailed Erik! The project is amazing, and I love the networking opportunities that come from it.

    I have La Mariposa on my wishlist but somehow it has never made it to the top of the pile. I will have to order it for this school year. Thanks!

    Let me know if you hear from Erik! I know the summer is the busiest time, so it may be a few days (he could be traveling.)


  9. Just wanted to let you know I’ve given you a blogging award. You can view it at:


  10. That’s such a good point. As a fellow wannabe- writer who works with children and young people encouraging them to write I find it’s hard to sometimes claim time to write for myself. You’ve inspired me to set myself a similar summer goal!

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