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Writing: Voice

Every Writer Is a Snowflake



Scissors | plain white paper

Someone to read the attached "I'm a Snowflake" narrative

while students are making their paper snowflakes



Today's Snack: Make a "Snowflake Fizz" by pouring clear, lemon-lime soda pop over crushed ice or ice cubes that you've chopped in the blender. Then you can make a "Bologna Snowflake" by folding a piece of bologna in half, and then in thirds, and carefully cutting out skinny pieces so that, when you unfold it, it looks like a snowflake. But not too pretty to eat!




Plain, white, 8-inch paper squares




There are a lot of wonderful things to know about snowflakes. Maybe the very best is that each and every one of them is DIFFERENT. How many trillions of snowflakes have been formed, since time began? Countless. And yet it's nice to know that there have never, ever, been two that were exactly the same.


It's the same way with people - and with writing.


No two pieces of writing, even on the same topic, could possibly be the same, because they had two different writers. Each writer thinks differently, chooses words differently, sets priorities differently, and concludes meaning differently.


We celebrate that diversity and individuality!


So each writer is like a snowflake, and each writer's "voice," or personality, is different from everybody else's. Like a snowflake, that's really . . . COOL!


Let's express that by making our own paper snowflake while we listen to a writer with a unique "voice" tell us why she is like a snowflake.


Now, snowflakes need to be six-sided, and each side needs to be identical. Eek! How to do that? Easy: before you cut, fold your paper in this special way to end up with six identical parts for your snowflake:


1.      Take your square of paper, and fold it into a triangle. Press down firmly on the folded edge; it needs to be sharp.


2.      Now fold that triangle in half again, producing a smaller triangle. Again, make sure the edges are crisp and lined up as straight as you can.


3.      Now, with the tip of the triangle pointing away from you, fold over the left-hand edge back to the right, just past the middle, and press down hard along the edge to make it a crisp fold.


4.      Then fold the right-hand edge back left, over the edge you just folded, so that the folded form looks like an arrowhead.


5.      Cut the bottom into a rounded shape - you don't want your snowflake to end up square. Who's ever seen a square snowflake? (Don't answer that - they're probably out there!)


6.      Now you can cut a circle or a V or some other shape out of the very tip of your snowflake. Cut skinny lines, curves and half-circles all along the two edges, and the rounded bottom.


The deeper in to the middle of the fat arrowhead, and the more paper you remove with your cuts, the more "air" there will be in your finished snowflake, and the prettier and more realistic it will appear.


Now carefully - CAREFULLY!!! - unfold your snowflake. Pretty, huh?


As you listen to the story, "I'm a Snowflake," remember words and phrases that you think really show this writer's unique "voice" and writing personality. The fact that each of us has a different "voice" as a writer is a pretty beautiful thing, too.








I'm a Snowflake

By Susan Darst Williams


People call me "flaky." Now I know why. As I watch snowflakes dance in the wind, whirling and twirling, I realize that I'm a lot like one of winter's crystal creations.


Like a snowflake, I change directions a lot. Snowflakes go up. Snowflakes go down. Snowflakes go left. Snowflakes go right. You can't predict where they'll blow and when they'll finally stay put. It's the same thing with me. I tend to flit from task to task in my everyday life, fluttering around doing housework, running errands, driving to meetings, visiting friends and family . . . the only time I stay still is late at night, when I finally fall into bed. I'm constantly on the move and refocusing my attention. Who knew? Both people and snowflakes can have Attention Deficit Disorder. It's part of our charm!


Another way I'm like a snowflake is that my life has had its ups and downs, its good times and bad times. Just as a snowflake melts a little when it hits some warm air, and takes on more ice when it flies through cold air, I've been shaped and changed by the things that have happened to me.


I've been blessed by peak experiences such as my college graduation, our wedding, and the births of our four children. But I've also dealt with the death of my beloved father, a couple of serious car accidents, and some health problems. I couldn't help those bad things from happening, just as a snowflake can't help where the wind blows it. But I look back now, and see how everything that has happened to me has shaped my personality, made me a little wiser, and given me more experience.


In the same way, the longer a snowflake flies around, the more complex and beautiful it becomes. I've always loved snowflakes that are really intricate. Now I realize how they got that way: they've had to go through a lot. It's the same way with people. I'm glad for all my experiences, happy and sad, because I can see how they helped make me what I am today.


You know, snowflakes are beautiful when you look at them individually, up close. But it is when they are with millions and billions of other snowflakes that they have the most meaning. Whether that snowflake is part of a snowball or a snowman that a child has made, or rests within a glittering snowbank that graces a park or field, when one snowflake joins with many others, it is in context. It's where it needs to be.


Even though each individual snowflake is different, all put together, a great, big mass of snowflakes makes something better, greater, more valuable. It's the same way with me. I'm a unique individual, but also a member of many communities - my family, my neighborhood, my co-workers, my many different circles of friends. By myself, my life means very little. But when I interact with, help, work alongside, and receive help from these other people, my life gains much more meaning.


So I'm a little flighty. I've been shaped by my experiences. I'm at my best when I'm with others. But there'll never be another human being who is exactly like me. Never! That's amazing! And even though, throughout time, squillions of snowflakes have drifted to the ground, there never have been, and never will be, two snowflakes exactly alike. That's awesome! The next time someone calls me "flaky," I'm going to give them a great, big, snowflake smile!


By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2010


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