As I prayed this morning, going through my daily devotional, our family basset hound made a crazy amount of noise, pulling out something from behind a shelf. I scrambled to quiet him and to discover what in the world he had gotten himself into again at 4:30 a.m. and then I noticed the treasure he found: my dream notebook.
How is it that a dream notebook can collect dust in a darkened corner and be forgotten? Sometimes, that’s right where we put our dreams.
This past winter I created a dream notebook using COMPEL’s Follow Your Dreams Action Plan. COMPEL is a membership site for writers who want to write words that move people that I discovered through Proverbs 31 Ministries. Listening to a podcast posted through COMPEL, I met Michael Hyatt for the first time and then read a couple of his books: Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals and Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Through these readings, I set the following goal on April 8, 2018: I will write two hours each day, Monday through Friday, beginning April 9, 2018, every morning, 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. in academic writing and 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in children’s literature writing. I noted a reset on July 4, 2018, and I also know that’s the weekend my dream notebook tumbled into the dark corner.
So, today is a new day. On August 20, 2018 I reset again to choose to write not only in academic writing but also in children’s literature writing. My schedule does have space for me to carve out two hours a day to write, certainly not consecutively, but even fifteen minutes at a time, dreams can be kept out in the open, free from dust, and be developed to become a reality.
Teachers: Have you ever said goodbye to your students, only wishing you could teach them for a bit longer? Letting go has always been hard for me whether it was my third-grade students, my elementary readers I supported as a literacy specialist, or my preservice or inservice teachers.
Students: Have you ever ended a semester wishing you could have just a little more time to learn? Maybe not, but as a teacher educator, I hope my preservice and inservice teachers will choose to stay connected even after the course has ended. That’s why I started this blog—to stay connected to my students, to continue to support them as needed, and to continue to learn from them throughout their careers. The added bonus will be connecting with others interested in teaching writing. Welcome!
I envision much of the content I’ll explore through this blog will be connected to two courses I teach at the University of Michigan—Dearborn: EXPS 298, Writing to Communicate, Learn, and Teach; and LIBR 465, Literature for Children. Through these courses, I stress the importance of using high-quality children’s literature, connecting with published children’s book authors and illustrators, motivating our students to engage fully with literacy, and learning to write as teacher-writers.
I look forward to highlighting the ASK Program, the Young Authors’ Festival, writing contests, articles and books I read or publish, parent resources, and flipped writing components I use in my flipped writing methodology course (EXPS 298). I am committed to connecting my preservice and inservice teachers to educational opportunities I believe will be useful throughout their careers; therefore, I feel the need to store those resources at danielledefauw.com so my students and others may use them whenever needed.
I invite you to continue the discussion with me of how we teach writing and connect our students to writing in myriad ways.