Posts Tagged ‘Essay’

Writing Workshops for Grades K – 12 – Summer in San Ramon, CA

April 7, 2010

In July, 2010, San Ramon Unified School District will hold summer writing workshops for kids in grades K – 12 in the areas of personal narrative, essay, and fiction.   Some are one-week classes and others are two-week sessions.  Visit their website for more information.  http://writersworkshop.net./location.html

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The Essay Groan

February 3, 2010

A few years ago I spoke to a class at Walnut Creek Intermediate about the California Writers Club Young Writers Contest.  When I mentioned the essay category, the kids’ eyes glazed over and perhaps one or two of them snored.   Then I read one of the essays that won the year before and they jolted awake.  It was about a boy making a home run. 

“Why, that’s not an essay.  That’s a personal narrative,” said a student. 

“Is that what you call it?” I asked. 

For the past several years, our essay judges had mentioned they were receiving so many academic “teacher-type” assignments, they couldn’t figure out why.  Now I got it!  We were calling it by the wrong name for kids.  Although in the publishing world, adults knew what an essay could be, students were unaware of this. 

So send us your personal experiences in this category.   Use first person.  (“I”)  Brainstorm your memories that charge you with passion, emotion, excitement, or joy.  It doesn’t have to be a huge experience.  Sometimes the small moments in life are the most meaningful. 

Need ideas?  Flip through your scrapbook, diary/journal, or photo album.  Keep an idea book for every day thoughts and anecdotes that may happen to you.  With our busy lives these days, we forget about those times that pass us by but may be significant. 

Once I confessed our error to the students at Walnut Creek Intermediate, the students relaxed.  No teachery essays!  YAY!  They could write about anything they wanted to write about!  They could write about themselves!  The pressure was off!

So go to it.  And we can’t wait to read them! 

Questions?  Ask right here.

Your Deep, Inner Wish . . .

August 21, 2009

In the July/August issue of Unity Magazine, there was an experience where a teacher’s aide in the Arizona prison system gave an essay topic for students to prepare for their GED. Their recent topic was “If you could have one wish, what would it be?”

You might think the prisoners would write about wishing to get out of prison. No.
One had a two-year-old daughter who is with foster parents, and he said his wish was to hear his daughter on the phone. The aide told him she wouldn’t be able to say much at age two. The prisoner replied, “I just want to hear the sound of her voice.”

What is your wish? Not a “million dollars” or “go to Europe trip” wish. What is your deeper wish and why? It can be simple or more complex. It can be a paragraph or longer. But speak from your heart.

Care to share it with someone?

Special thanks to the writer of the article, and aide of that prison, Charles “Tom” Brown.