Interview with Author and Educator, Rukhsanna Guidroz
The brave and reflective, Rukhsanna Guidroz, talks about the importance of bringing newspapers into classrooms, the power of a color-coded plot grid, and how engaging in social media can open up career doors.
When I interviewed Kristen Nordstrom, we talked about the power of newspapers in an early elementary classroom. On this episode, Rukhsanna Guidroz, talks about the power of newspapers in a high school English class in France. Not only did her mostly male students relate to the English football fans' shenanigans, after reading the paper her students almost felt as if they themselves had travelled to England.
When Rukhsanna reveals that using a color-coded plot grid led to a writing breakthrough, I dig deep. Rukhsanna lets the listeners in on a secret-it was her editor who taught her how to use a plot grid. Now, instead of being a pantser, Rukhsanna plots her whole novel out from the beginning to the end before she begins the writing process. This allows her to stay in the flow once she starts writing. Also, after she finishes drafting, she no longer has to engage in the painful process of unraveling plot threads because she's had a visual tool to make sure each plot thread is present throughout the novel.
If you're not involved in social media, Rukhsanna suggests you get busy and get yourself out there. Had it not been for #pitmad on Twitter, Rukhsanna wouldn't have published her debut book, Mina vs. the Monsoon. Before everyone emails me and tells me #pitmad just shuttered their doors, I know. But the truth of the matter is a myriad of writing opportunities are available on social media and one can't participate in them if one isn't on social media.
Rukhsanna thinks every upper elementary classroom should have the following two novels:
Unsettled by Reem Faruqi
Nurah, an immigrant who settles in Atlanta, Georgia, stays true to herself and finds her voice through swimming.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Like Rukhsanna's Samira Surfs, The Crossover is a novel in verse. It features basketball instead of surfing and it won the 2015 Newbery Medal.
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