Monday, December 22, 2008
Thanks, OWP! If not for the OWP, we wouldn't have even participated in this project.
We broadcasted live using Skype. I found the technology fairly simple and straight forward. We did have some tech glitches, primarily at the beginning and again at the conclusion. I am looking forward to playing some more with Skype, especially with video. I want to figure out how to stream live video over the internet and across mobile phones. The technology is there, I just gotta figure it out.
CLICK HERE FOR THE PODCAST
Holocaust Educators Network podcast on Teachers Teaching Teachers.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The Holocaust Educators Network, in partnership with the National
Writing Project, announces 25 fellowships for NWP teacher-consultants in
the Rural Sites Network to attend the Memorial Library Summer Seminar on
Holocaust Education in New York City. This year, writing project
teachers may apply as individuals or in teams of two. To learn more
about the application process, visit
http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/events/394. Applications must be
postmarked by January 16, 2009.
We hope that you will share this information with others, especially
history or social studies teachers who are part of your writing project
community. In fact, you may want to organize a site continuity meeting
to support teachers who would like to learn more about the seminar and
Happy Holidays to all.
Rural Sites Network Thinking Partner
National Writing Project
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The first narrative I shared was one I wrote when I asked my seniors to write about some moment from their education so far. Some wrote persuasive pieces, others wrote tributes to notable teachers and many wrote narratives about a memory from school as I did.
still green to the ways of the world—
million dollar mortgages,
This is about
big hair and blue eyeliner
and preparing for the
8th grade track meet,
or at least the boys we’d meet there.
This is uninhibited
routines to Paula Abdul
on my front porch where
high school boys driving by
could see, pacts to be
Best Friends Forever,
calls to plan outfits for the next day,
identical or at least similar—
jean skirts and oversized tees,
overalls and side ponytails.
This is a girl who knew me
hair unwashed for a couple of days
to preserve an especially
fortuitous cascade of the bangs.
A girl who knows me now
but still remembers me when.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, Missouri State University and Springfield/Greene County Libraries will host The Soul of a Poet reading series. Genesis Bewley(SI'08), Hayley Fraser(SI'07), and Joshua Rowlett(SI'08) will highlight their writing starting at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at the Library Center on South Campbell.
Please come and support our Teacher Writers!!
Hope to see all of you there!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Sixteen writers/educators spent more than 12 hours writing at the 2008 Fall Writing Retreat that began on November 1. During the retreat, fellows renewed friendships and and made new connections as they wrote and shared their work.
The incredible views at Big Cedar Lodge were inspiring and renewing. And, as writers shared their writing in the last hour of the retreat, we couldn't help but be amazed at just how much was accomplished in just two days.
Now that the retreat is over, participants have an opportunity to revise their writing. Finished products will be posted on the OWP website in January.
Monday, November 03, 2008
As usual, the answer occurs to me two days after someone asks the question. This past weekend a fellow, sorry, I can't remember who, asked about picture books related to alliteration...and, this morning as I was shelving books I remembered the author's name...Pamela Duncan Edwards!
Edwards has several books that could be integrated into a mini-lesson on alliteration.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
- Why was Sophie's choice an impossible choice?
- Why did the officer say that she was privileged?
- What was the motivation for the choice Sophie was given?
The possible responses for the above questions that were discussed:
- No matter what choice Sophie made the guilt would have be unbearable
- That she was Christian
- The officer was mentally and emotionally torturing her.
What do YOU think?
We also discussed the biblical reference and its significance and linking to other texts in general. Specifically, we discussed text to text, text to world, and text to self.
In regards to age appropriateness, we decided that it would be best to use this with older high school students. They would be more ready to look at things through the eyes of a parent than a freshman or sophomore. The idea of split-second decisions would also be important at that age because they are just getting ready to go on their own and have full accountablity for the first time. They will get a better understanding of the ramifications even seemingly small decisions can have on their lives years later.
1. Discuss your questions with your small group.
2. Some additional questions you might discuss if you haven't already are: At what age is it appropriate to show this scene? How can Sophie, who survived the Holocaust ever forgive the SS officer?
3. After fifteen minutes of discussion, choose one person to write as other group members summarize the discussion and post it here on the blog.
4. After each group has their posts completed, each of you will go to a computer, read other groups' posts and comment on each.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
2008-2009 Saturday Seminars at Missouri State University
Saturday Seminars . . .
*explore best practices across grade-levels and content areas;
*focus on research-based best practices; and
*actively engage participants.
October 25, 2008
Teaching the Holocaust—6-University
Thomas Maerke, Pleasant View Middle School
Larry Neuburger, Miller High School
Having a tough time getting your students to move beyond the hard facts of the Holocaust? Presenters will guide you through reading and writing activities, including writing from the perspective of a Holocaust victim.
December 6, 2008
Elizabeth Salchow, Steadley Elementary, Carthage
Julie Schreffler, Branson High School
Learn how to engage students through genre study and multi-genre research projects. Participants will explore how genres can improve writing, research, and thinking.
January 24, 2009
Using an Artist’s Eye—K-12
Michelle Keller, Hollister Junior High
Shelly Maledy-Martin, Hollister Junior High
Experience research-based strategies to incorporate visual learning activities into language instruction. Leave this seminar able to help students use their artist’s eye to explore writing.
April 4, 2009
Community Inquiry as a Springboard for Writing—K-12
Kimberly Witt, Mt. Vernon High School
Kim Piddington, Wilson’s Creek Elementary
Learn how to use community inquiry as a springboard for writing. Presenters will share how they incorporated writing projects based on their urban and rural communities.
Facilitators are Teacher Consultants of the Ozarks Writing Project.
All Seminars will be located at Pummill Hall 308 on the beautiful campus of Missouri State University.
. $20 per seminar
. $60 for 4 Seminars
. Graduate Credit available
For further information contact:
Dr. Keri Franklin, Director
For further information:
Thursday, September 25, 2008
On September 22, MSU's President Nietzel mentioned the Ozarks Writing Project in his State of the University address. You can find us on slide 42 of his PowerPoint under the heading of MSU Highlights and Achievements.
His e-mail is email@example.com if you want to tell him thank you for mentioning us and tell him how the OWP has helped you and your students.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
The deadline is September 30.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
· The Advanced Institute: Writing Our Communities will be meeting Saturday, September 6 at the Writing Center on the Missouri State campus. Visit the OWP Advanced Institute wiki to take a look at our “works in progress.” http://owpai.wetpaint.com
· Saturday, October 25, attend the first Ozarks Writing Project Saturday Seminar from 9:00-12:00. Larry Neuburger, Miller High School, and Thomas Maerke, Pleasant View Middle School, will share teaching demonstrations on Teaching the Holocaust based on their experiences with the National Writing Project/Rural Sites Network Holocaust Seminar they attended in New York City this past summer. Bring your department and colleagues from the History department. Registration is $20 and includes a light breakfast. Attendance can count toward career ladder and professional development hours. Contact Liz Salchow for registration information at firstname.lastname@example.org .
· Send in your application for the 2008 Professional Writing Retreat at Big Cedar Lodge. Find the application at http://owp.missouristate.edu/writingretreat.htm . Contact Laura Burdette at email@example.com for more information.
· Write to Learn Conference proposals are due September 19, 2008 . Submit site proposals to Dr. Keri Franklin at firstname.lastname@example.org. All Ozarks Writing Project Teacher-Consultant proposals will be sent as a group. Having the OWP designation is important.
· Contact Kim Piddington at email@example.com if you are interested in participating in a writing group.
· Encourage your students, grades 7 – 12, to participate in The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Contest of 2009. Visit www.artandwriting.org for Submission guidelines and contest entry forms (2009 forms available online October 1; Missouri entries due: Wednesday, December 10). Missouri Region winners and their teachers will be honored at the 2009 Write‐to‐LearnConference in Osage Beach, MO, on Friday, February 27, where winning writings will be displayed.
Missouri student winners will receive
· Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention awards and certificates;
· Copy of The Best Teen Writing of 2008: Selected national award recipients from The Scholastic Awards of 2008;
· Recognition from Write‐to‐Learn Keynoter Chris Crutcher and an autographed copy of a
· Crutcher novel or another featured speaker’s book.
· All Missouri Region winning entries will be published online—with listings by students’ names, by teachers’ names, and by students’ schools. Missouri Gold Key winners’ work will also be judged for national awards and scholarships, with national winners honored during Scholastic’s National Celebration Events in New York in June 2009.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org OR visit our Missouri Writing Region website at
Share this with colleagues:
---Letters to the Next President---Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future, made possiblethrough a collaboration between NWP and Google, is an online publishingproject that asks young people to develop essays and letters on topicsthey would want our next president to address. Students do their writingin Google Docs, which allows teachers and other students to collaborateon their writing and help them get it publication ready. Then, as ateacher, you have the opportunity to publish their pieces to awell-designed national website for all to read. At the end of theproject, we will deliver the student writing to Congress and make itavailable to the next President.
For more information on the project, visit the registration page at:http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/nwpsites/writing_our_future.csp
The Missouri Writing Projects Network (MWPN) of NWP sites has agreed to serve as a referral service for the Communication Arts section of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
We have been asked to submit a list of qualified Teacher Consultants (TCs) early this fall who are willing to
(1) Participate in item development, item review, or other MAP/End of Course development work which DESE will sponsor during 2008-2009;
(2) Work with teachers from schools in their area (This would involve approximately two school days and ongoing communication regarding a district's curriculum and practice. TCs would help to provide support for teachers in their process of improving instruction for students.).
If you would like to be included in the MWPN referral roster, send email to Dr. Keri Franklin no later than Monday, September 15. Include your name, contact information, the grade level you teach, and your area of interest.
NOTE: DESE pays travel + stipend for such work; I know a number of you already regularly serve on DESE committees/work groups, but you might want to add your name to this referral listing, too.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL PRESS RELEASE CIRCULATING -- NWP has issued a national press release highlighting the 3,000 summer institute participants who are returning to the classroom, renewed from their writing project experience. A local reporter may call your site, wanting more information about participants in your area. Consider using the press release as a template: fill in your site name, quote, and data, and send it to your local newspapers.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Our evening started with a writing marathon, and I had the best time of the retreat with my group. It was such an interesting mix of people; you can see pictures of us outside Starbuck's writing on Larry's slide show he recently posted. After the Marathon, everyone met at The Pasta Factory in Downtown Columbia. They served delicious salad, pastas, and cheesecake. Thanks MWPN!! In addition to eating and introductions, we had an open mic session in which fellows from all over Missouri read. It was so encouraging, and I had an awesome time networking.
The next morning after breakfast, we broke off into work groups. The group I participated in was focusing on organizing regional writing awards through Scholastic. Katrina was designated as our sites liaison, so she will probably be contacting you about distributing some mailing information to your colleagues because our number one obstacle is money. So, Katrina is receiving a bulk of information, and we're going to work together to distribute it . Now, does that sound like fun or what?
We ended the retreat by eating pizza from Shakespeare's and summarizing the different objectives addressed in our work groups.
Thanks again to Liz for driving, and I hope everyone is writing. See you soon.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The opportunity to change the 2008 WRITING RETREAT site from Keeter Center to BIG CEDAR LODGE became available, and we made the change
...We will begin Saturday, NOVEMBER 1 at 2:00 PM, and we will end Sunday, NOVEMBER 2 at 5 PM...dinner will be provided on Saturday as well as breakfast and lunch on Sunday. And all of the meals will be provided by the BIG CEDAR LODGE chefs...
...best of all, at BIG CEDAR LODGE, we will have plenty of opportunity to develop and polish ideas for publication, and we will have plenty of spectacular views of the lake and fall folliage to inspire us!!
...only 16 spaces are reserved...applications will be placed on the OWP website soon.
If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me...
Wow. I just had to give it just one more look!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The day began with writing.
Two fellows recapped the day before.
Reading groups discussed the night's reading assignment.
Then we were treated to a demonstration
that had us all involved, learning, and planning.
Revision and Voice.
Sound familiar ???
A week after OWP Summer Institute ended, the familiar routine of the Prairie Lands Writing Project (PLWP) was comforting. Melissa and I were warmly welcomed into the Summer Institute at Missouri Western in St. Joseph, MO.
On Monday, 7/21, we arrived during an afternoon demonstration on Classroom Environment.
On Tuesday we joined table groups and experienced the familiar routine of Summer Institute. (I expected to look up from my writing to see the faces of 2008 OWP fellows! I miss you!!) In addition to the familiar routine, we were invited to talk about OWP. We did so with great enthusiasm before answering and asking questions. We were treated to lunch with Dr. Jane Frick, Site Director, Tom Pankiewicz, Institutes Director, Mary Lee
Meyer, Technology Liaison, and Heidi Mick, Professional
PLWP is a smaller group of teachers. They include a business teacher and a FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences) teacher among the Communication Arts teachers. The fellows remain in
table groups for all activities. They do not meet with different fellows for Reading Group and Writing Group. They rarely experience working lunches. The rotating daily responsibilities, in addition to snacks and minutes (daily log), include a day as a photographer and a day of choosing and explaining "The Quote of the Day." Their anthology is on CD, and all paperwork is done on templates available on the web.
Our visit to PLWP Summer Institute gave us the opportunity to experience similarities and differences. I came away with some great ideas, and I was excited to talk about our experience with summer institute.
Oh, by the way, Melissa is a great travel companion!
(Thank you for driving!)
Our thanks to PLWP for their hospitality and to Keri for the opportunity!!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The World Will Know
See you soon.
Can you find me in the picture?
Monday, July 14, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
What’s your plan for your own writing? I want to continue to write for myself. I hope to use my new experiences and my interaction with my students at Carl Junction as inspiration. I have found writing to be very therapeutic and a means of pooling my thoughts.
How will your classroom look differently daily? Weekly? Monthly? In my Reading classroom, I will incorporate daily writing journals at the start of the class. Then move into reading strategies and assignments. Students will have weekly small reading/writing groups and will write monthly reflection papers related to their experiences in the classroom.
Discuss the process of creating your demo and what you discovered through that process. How will you incorporate your demo in the fall? Creating my demo involved a lot of research reading and although I did not incorporate all of the threads of the unit I created due to time constraints, I will utilize them in my classroom. The threads of the unit will lead to future demos.
What kinds of student writing samples can you collect? There are numerous writing samples that I will collect throughout the year including poetry, journal writing, letters, essays, and reflections.
How has your writing project experience affected your plan? The writing project has helped me develop the reading program I will be implementing for ninth grade at Carl Junction. It has given me the confidence to approach the administration with the ideas, plan, and supporting research for the reading program.
Based on our brief conversations and your new knowledge of OWP programs, what areas interest you? Who would you nominate for certain areas? There are so many OWP programs that I find interesting. I was fascinated with the youth writing project at Carthage and would love the opportunity to help with that program. I would also like to develop my demo skills and possibly present at another school district or Write to Learn. Research and publishing is an interest I have too. I would nominate Cathy, Deb, Dana, Elise, and Katrina for demo presentations.
My plan for my own writing is to continue freewriting 30 minutes every day, and to dedicate four hours a day to writing for the rest of the summer.
I do not know how my classes will look differently.
For my demo I had to revisit the research. This was very beneficial for me as it allowed me to reassess why I utilize workshops. Actually, this question had been working in my mind for several months when a lead instructor made the comment to me that workshops were not valuable because students did not know enough to teach one another. My reaction at the time was to think that this person did not understand the significance of workshopping. My goal then was to establish how workshopping creates communities. I knew it did, but I was not prepared to present an academic argument. Now I am better prepared. As far as incorporating my demo, I am going to expand this to cover revision as well as first drafts.
I can collect their about my writing samples and their peer review sheets.
I picked up hints on how other instructors do peer reviewing and, from experience, collaborative work.
I expect to use “Writing Territories,””Monsters,” parts of “Writing Groups,” “Grammar,” and “Image Grammar.” However, there were many good demos, and I plan on going over them again to see what other things I might use.
I want to be involved in Rural Voices Radio.
I will use my journals to find writing territories and develop pieces to share with various audiences.
How will your classroom look differently daily? Weekly? Monthly?
As I begin the school year, I will implement Casey's "I AM" poem, Author's Chair with "bless, press, and address" will be a weekly activity (from Keri), writing territories including topics, genres, and audiences with a quarterly review (from Kim), then some of the projects and demos I plan to incorporate into classroom activities include:stories of our lives from Melissa, Discovery of Personal Identity Multi-genre from Dana--use the whole thing, circular and peer dialogue journals from Genesis, Divergent Thinking from Faith--I will have students write as a new character point of view,Conscious Grammar from Elise--I will have students examine how the patterns used in writing can affect meaning, from Jenner I want to have students use clay mation to analyze a poem--have to check on technology, from Chris I will use parallel poetry and have students use models for their own poems as a jumping off spot in my poetry unit.
Discuss the process of creating your demo and what you discovered through that process. How will you incorporate your demo in the fall?
Creating my demo began with a huge decision making process. I have three different projects that I love and have great success with in the classroom. I picked the one that is the most fun and fellows can have a complete sample after my demo. I appreciated the interaction in collaborative groups and believe colleagues can adapt for their classrooms.
What kinds of student writing samples can you collect? I AM poems, Story of our lives finished product, Personal Discovery poster,Mapping our lives poster,stories created for their community piece w/index cards then pictures.
How has your writing project experience affected your plan?
How will you use other demonstrations? Please list several demos that you saw that you will integrate into your classroom. Divergent thinking,Moving beyond surface content in poetry, episodic fiction, and stories of our lives.
Based on our brief conversations and your new knowledge of OWP programs, what areas interest you? Write to Learn conference and Fall Renewal.Advanced Institute and NWP opportunities. Who would you nominate for certain areas? Write to Learn conference--Dana, Joshua, Chris, and Rachel.
My plan of action was hard to create. I plan to use so many of the new activities you all have taught me that I couldn't fit them onto the little chart Casey gave us! For the fall, however, I plan to implement a book pass at the beginning of the quarter that will help my students pick their first quarter book. From this I hope they will pick a book because they are interested in it, not just because it's short or it has a pretty cover. I also plan to implement free writing and writing response groups into my weekly lesson plan. Melissa gave me great encouragement to teach content Monday-Wednesday, then meet with writing groups Thursday, and Freewrite Friday, along with any other activities that need to be wrapped up. I think the students will enjoy the fact that I'm only teaching content three days a week. I also want to use a modified activity from Jenner's claymation demo and have each group of students respond to one stanza of the same poem, then take a picture. I'll collect all the pictures and we'll create a storyboard for the poem and respond in writing to that poem. Also, I plan to implement paper wad blogging to respond to various short stories and poems we will read in the first couple of months of class. Thank you, Genesis!
I plan to continue writing as much as possible. I would like to finish the memoir I started in Kim's demo and give it to my mom. I would also like to continue working on my professional piece and seek publication for it. Also, I want to write with my students and complete as many of the projects that I assign my students as I can.
My classroom will look completely different after this experience. I have already mentioned the change in my weekly teaching plans. Also, the students will be working together more and creating stronger bonds with their fellow students. The writing response groups will work perfectly with the cooperative learning that I have been trying for the last couple of years. I hope that my students will enjoy class more and laugh more. Maybe they'll cry, too. :) I plan to share my writing with them from this institute and what I will continue to write.
I can collect the paper wad blogs, the pictures from the clay project, and pictures and student reflections on other various activities I will use in class. I would also like to collect the students' favorite pieces of writing from their freewriting notebooks to share with you.
Other demonstrations I will use are: well, all of them! No, seriously, I have marked at least one activity from every demo that I want to use this year in one way or another. I plan to have the students write a memoir, create their writing territories, write episodic fiction, and I also plan to use Image Grammar and Conscious grammar monthly.
I was inspired by Liz's discussion of creating a program to improve her learning community. I would love to implement a support system for my school district to improve writing across the curriculum. I would like to involve my department to serve as ambassadors for writing and each member visit a different department during our PLC to support and encourage every department to use writing to improve student learning.
I think Joshua would be great to help with the publishing and technology part of the OWP. Kathy, Sharolette, Debbie, and Michelle would be wonderful coaches for future fellows. Jenner, Genesis, and Melissa would do an awesome job presenting at future conferences. Stacy, I encourage you to create a writing center at your school! You will do a great job convincing your administration and staff that it is an essential program to improve writing in your school!
I hope everyone has a great school year and I can't wait to see you all in the fall!
As I wrote to my small writing group, I plan to write everyday at the end of the school day. The first thirty minutes after the bell rings will be mine to reflect on the day. Last year my principal wanted us to keep a reflective journal, writing in it once a week; however, most people forgot. You'd end up writing four or five entries at once. Not only will I reflect, but I will use that time to write what I want to write. Sharing my writing with my students to model, show them I write too, help create a writing community is important. Writing, writing, and more writing with my students will be shared, shared, shared.
My plan in action is to use all of these demonstrations. I have to sort through the demos I will do with my department grade level groups to inspire them. For example writing territories will be in every binder for my students and hopefully for our students as a department. Dana's and Michelle's demonstrations will probably be passed on to the freshmen teachers because they really focus on those skills then, and I shouldn't be selfish, keeping these great ideas to myself. Rachel's, Katrina's,part of Casey's (the stories for the t/f test) will be shown to the Applied Communications teacher to help those students. For my classroom, I'll remember what I learned from Keri the first time- having small writing groups and author's chair to begin and add more explicit teaching of peer review, conference and edit. Debra's demo, especially the book, The Cube will be sprinkled liberally throughout the year until I get my film and lit class, and Elise's examples will be great to show my older students the power of manipulating grammar. I'll use Genesis's and Sarah's ideas with the whole department. There are so many ideas that I wanted to keep, but again, I can't be selfish. If your name was not mentioned here, never fear, I just haven't decided where your demo will be used yet. :-)
Before school starts, I will organize my writer's workshop notebook to include the things I'll keep for myself. Building a community of writers and small writing groups is the primary focus. For the fall renewal I'll probably bring Image Grammar examples from student writing, writing territories examples, and stories as Faith had us do. That's just the beginning!!
Creating my demo, which I'll have to do in the spring, made me so much more reflective about the actual practice that it will be so much better. I am inspired to do that for my other writing assignments and units of study.
I have an idea about a writing camp/project for secondary students because I just love the little stinkers. I also have an idea to do that for struggling writers coming in from 9th grade to help boost them before they start high school. I'm also really interested in community writing. I'm thinking of presenting my demo at Write to Learn. Hmmm.... Nominations: For best actress...best phrase.... Oh, it's not that kind of nomination. Debra would be a fabulous recruiter. Everyone here has so many talents, but I'm not sure where to place them.
This has been a fabulous experience. Thanks to everyone for inspiring me to be a better teacher and a better writer. I look forward to seeing you all in the fall.
On a daily basis I plan to have my students participating in some sort of writing activity such as journaling.
-take more ownership in their writing.
-and tell them that they are writers.
On a weekly basis I plan to have my students participate in writing workshop.
-emphasize the reading/writing connection.
-add to a writing portfolio.
-participate in peer conferencing.
On a monthly basis I plan to have my students participate in writing conferences with myself.
On a quarterly basis I plan to have my students participate in a writing marathon.
-have students evaluate their own progress and reflect.
My classroom will look like it isn't a classroom. Ultimately, I will be a facilitator to learning rather than a "teacher." Students will be collaborating and learning from me as well as one another. If I can learn so much from them, then they should be able to learn from each other as well.
My demo is very close to my heart. I adapted it from a demonstration I saw at the literacy academy. I went back to my classroom and made my changes and used it will my students. It was the best thing we did all year. It brought us together and made my students see they could be writers. I will definitely use it again this year.
I would like to keep a writing portfolio for my students writing at all stages. This way, my students will be able to look back and reflect. I will be using something from each person's demo in my classroom. I have worked with really great teachers so I figure their best lessons will be great in my class, too.
I plan on utilizing part of my summer break to revise demonstration ideas to better fit my specific teaching assignment, so when school starts in the fall, I'll be prepared with many creative ideas for my students.
What’s your plan for your own writing?
I plan on writing at least one hour a day including journal time with my students. If possible, I want to contact other fellows and ask for feedback on new writing samples and meet additional fellows by attending conferences and developing more demo ideas.
How will your classroom look differently daily? Weekly? Monthly?
My classroom will have a more creative atmosphere. I'm armed with many more artistic ideas than ever before, and I think the work I post from my students will reflect that.
Discuss the process of creating your demo and what you discovered through that process.
My demo was based off a lesson I did using I Heard the Owl Call My Name. I had creative writing samples from the students and had utilizes index cards throughout the year, so I was very comfortable with organizing them on charts in front of a group.
My colleague, John, helped me find research for my demo and introduced me to a study about divergent thinking. I also included research regarding teaching "wounded students" and the importance of implementing various response techniques to literature with students.
After researching the ideas I had already implemented with my students, I thought of generalizing the index card technique which worked really well during my demo.
How will you incorporate your demo in the fall?
By utilizing my summer break to revise demonstration ideas to fit my site and students population, I will incorporate many of the fellows' ideas.
What kinds of student writing samples can you collect?
Poster samples, Journal, Response to Lit., Vocab. Development.
How has your writing project experience affected your plan?
My project experience was broadened my knowledge of curriculum ideas and provided a network for additional communication.
How will you use other demonstrations?
I will use other demonstration to develop my own and teach students writing.
Please list several demos that you saw that you will integrate into your classroom.
Ways to Build Community. Looking Over the Edge: Figurative Language. Writing Territories. Discovering Personal Identity. Mapping Our Lives. Film Production. Conscious Grammar. Brush Strokes. Pre-Writing. Moving Beyond Context of Poetry. Episodic Fiction. Monsters in the Closet
Based on our brief conversations and your new knowledge of OWP programs, what areas interest you? Who would you nominate for certain areas?
Areas that interest me include opportunities to broaden my network and develop my writing skills. I would nominate any fellow for any area they feel led to pursue.
I plan to use Writer's Workshop two days a week to begin the year. At this point I plan to rearrange desks for the workshop days so that the students will know the environment is different. I plan to change the workshop days/week depending on the unit of study, i.e. during research papers, we'll probably have only workshop days in the classroom interspersed with library days.
The process of developing my demo involved finding research to support ideas already incorporated into the daily routine of my Literature and Film class and adding more conscious instruction in media literacy. I developed the class based on advice from other teachers and my own research and experience in using film in the classroom. In reading for the demo, I discovered that more attention to teaching media literacy was necessary. I will make those modifications in the fall.
I will collect student writing samples from our first day free write, from the first grammar lesson in Writer's Workshop, from the first essays, and from book reviews before our Fall Renewal. During the year, I plan to collect poetry, creative nonfiction, short stories, and research papers.
The writing project experience has turned my black and white vision into one with vivid colors. The curriculum will be much more exciting for my students and for me with the strategies I've learned this month.
I will implement Image Grammar and Conscious Grammar immediately in Writer's Workshop. I intend to have students record Writing Territories as a beginning for journaling. I will also incorporate Oral Histories as a community-builder toward the beginning of the semester. Honestly, I plan to use something from every demo during the coming year.
Based on the knowledge I have of OWP, I think I would be interested in sharing what I've learned with other teachers. I would enjoy demonstrating the impact of OWP and facilitating change in the classroom.
I hesitate to nominate other fellows for certain areas. I have learned from every one of the other 19 fellows. I see amazing strengths in each one, and I believe that each one should speak to his/her own passion.
I will not be teaching this fall as I will continue with my graduate assistantship and course work at MSU. My plan is to keep the information from the summer institute current in my mind so that when I do return to the classroom, I can access and implement many of the great demo ideas. I can do this by being as participatory as possible with the writing project activities. Part of my job and studies at MSU is research. I plan on using the demo ideas as beginning places to develop and write about current best practices in the field of reading and writing.
What’s your plan for your own writing?
Plans for my own writing involve daily writing in my journal as a reflective practice. I also plan to continue writing about the reseach that I do in the field of Reading and English Education. I will be writing an extensive degree paper, and that will be a major focus for the upcoming year.
How will your classroom look differently daily? Weekly? Monthly?
When I do return to the classroom, my classes in high school English will have a focus on some type of daily reading, writing, and sharing. Daily writing may include practices such as journaling, entrance and exit slips, freewrites, and lists. I believe that students should have some form of reading everyday. This reading may include independent reading, teacher read aloud, partner reading, reader's theatre, and choral reading. Sharing will take the form of whole class, partner, performance, and small group collaborative activities.
On a weekly or bi-weekly basis, having students meet in small writing groups will be a part of my classroom. The idea of reformulation and multiple drafts will be emphasized. One area I want to explore is that of the writing and reading workshop approach. This might be something that my class will work with and meet as groups twice a week.
Discuss the process of creating your demo and what you discovered through that process. How will you incorporate your demo in the fall?
I found having a demo modeled prior to the development of my demo extremely helpful. One of the prompts during that modeling was to take note of the process of the demo. This was helpful. I accessed articles and books from the university library, and my coach provided me a book where I found activity ideas for my demo. I read these materials and sketched out a plan for the presentation. I discovered in this process that having a plan was most beneficial. I created a time line for the activities, and this was useful when I was presenting. When I return to the classroom, I will present my demo in a series of mini-lessons to my class at the beginning of the year. That way, students can work with the ideas of image grammar and incorporate the skills into their writing. These can be reviewed as often as necessary.
What kinds of student writing samples can you collect?
Since I will not be teaching in a classroom, the samples that I will have will be my own. I hope to have drafts and reformulations of my personal writing and of professional article drafts.
How has your writing project experience affected your plan?
The writing project has convinced me that writing is a way for learning. The more writing activities and writing projects that I can include in my lesson and unit plans will help students learn.
How will you use other demonstrations? Please list several demos that you saw that you will integrate into your classroom. Based on our brief conversations and your new knowledge of OWP programs, what areas interest you? Who would you nominate for certain areas?
I found the demos that had to do with identity and critical thinking to be the most intriguing and current for students. Any of the reading-writing connection ideas that have to do with students making connections such as with text to text, text to self, and text to world. I foresee selecting specific activities from demos such as writing territories, identi-kits, multi-genre, responding to non-print texts, photographs and other media connections to text, film analysis, etc, and adapting these to the specific curriculum I may someday teach.
I nominate Michelle K. for future presentations of her demo at a conference. Her idea was interactive, used media, and required a stretch for creativity. Very hands on but much thinking was required. I also found Dana C. demonstration about how we see ourselves and how others see us as useful, and her multi-genre approach was excellent.
One of my goals includes theme writing. I plan to incorporate Friday's into the weekly schedule as a day only for writing. Most Fridays I plan to tie the writing into the literature we read, but also plan to leave Fridays open for freewriting, personal writing, and writing for author's chair. I will also use Fridays to include multi-genre writing, so students will not be writing a poem every Friday or a narrative every Friday. In the past I have taken a specific day of the week to maintain a consistant activity of some sort and students seem to enjoy the consistancy and the "break" from the "normal" routine. I feel Friday can be a springboard for other institute activities such as Image Grammar, circular journaling, life map, etc. And these activities could be tied to a character in literature-create their life map, etc.
As for writing and my writing groups, I will be taking what Joe gave us on peer response groups. This will be a great way for students to respond to the writing of their peers, and for them to critically think about their writing. This will fit right in with Kim's demo on writing territories. I know that I will have my students writing everyday, and for them to have something to write about will be great, especially since it will be self generated.
I am going to work on being a facilitator this year. I want my students to use me as a resource in their learning. I want them to take responsibility for their learning and I don't want to have to hand feed them everything they will learn. I am going to do this by modeling strategies that I have learned at the writing project this summer and then putting them in charge of themselves within their writing communities. I will be collecting student samples from all of the strategies, techniques and lessons I implement.
This summer has really changed my attitude towards writing. I never noticed how I never write. I am excited to write with my students. To share my writing with my students and for my students to understand that writing is their way to connect to everything! I am excited to write more and to have my students writing everyday.
I am interested in learning more about using technology in the classroom. I would love to be able to connect to my student's technologically advanced lives. I want to make reading and writing a wonderful experience for them. I think connecting to them with technology will be one way to achieve that goal. I am also interested in learning more about teaching grammar and poetry. I feel that these are two of my weakest areas as a teacher, and I would love to feel better about my abilities when trying to teach grammar and poetry to my students.
The OWP has been the most wonderful experience I have had with professional development. I will be using everything that was presented to us this summer immediately. I am actually excited for school to start so I can take all of the wonderful ideas I have back to my students. This is going to be a great year, and I can thank the OWP for that. I hope that my excitement about the program rubs off on my co-workers and they join the program next summer.
What’s your plan for your own writing? I journal regularly already, but I don't review what I've written, or only rarely. I think I need to amp things up and have another tier of daily writing, where I'm polishing pieces, and I also want to develop a submission / publishing plan. I've built a nice rapport with my small writing group, and we're planning to correspond.
How will your classroom look differently daily? Weekly? Monthly? It will be new. It's reborn. At the college level, I have many new ideas to try alongside strategies I use already.
Discuss the process of creating your demo and what you discovered through that process. How will you incorporate your demo in the fall? What kinds of student writing samples can you collect? I discovered that technology has the good qualities of imparting transferrable work skills, and building social skills, as well as allowing for variety of response to text. Technology does have the drawback of not always being dependable, and not feasible financially for most districts. I will collect samples when I use technology in the classroom. I would adapt an ekphrastic poetry demonstration from the demonstration I did this summer, to be practical. If there are resources where I go, I would love to give students the stopmotion option this fall.
How has your writing project experience affected your plan? It has given me so much good information, and a human resource in my great fellows.
How will you use other demonstrations? My binder is dear to me-- I'll keep it closer than a brother. I will need page protectors before long. I'm a nerd, but that's not the sole reason; it's because I'll wear the pages out with flipping through them.
Please list several demos that you saw that you will integrate into your classroom. Memoir/writing territories, monsters in the closet, roadmaps, paper-blogging, film-response, film creation . . . I could go on. And on.
Based on our brief conversations and your new knowledge of OWP programs, what areas interest you? I am interested in technology in the classroom, poetry, the graphic-print connection, professional development, as well as helping my colleagues at the college-level.
Who would you nominate for certain areas? Tough one. I can see Chris, Michelle, Rachel, Katrina, Dana, Kim, and Faith in poetry . . . Joe and Melissa in creative nonfiction and fiction . . . Sarah, Genesis, and Josh in technology . . . Elise, Debbie, Stacey, Sharolette, and Kathy in Professional Development.
I know that in this post I am to answer a series of questions that range from 'What is the plan for your own writing?' to 'How did you develop your demonstration?' I could, and probably should, comply with the request to answer each of the questions posed to me. However, I think it would suffice to say that the Ozarks Writing Project - not the project itself but the individuals involved - has revolutionized my thinking on teaching. I am positive that had I not come, I would have faced another year of frustration, another year of threatening to leave the profession. So I am grateful to everyone who has been a part of the last four weeks. You have, in no uncertain terms, saved me, a teacher.
Now that I've said what I had to say, perhaps I should set myself to answering these blasted questions. My action plan is simple: implement as much as I can from the demonstration as often as I can. In truth, there is something from each of the demos. that I can include in my teaching, and I am sure that me and my students will be better for it. There are two overarching ideas, however, that I will most definitely institute: writer's workshop and small writing groups. Writer's workshop, although it may be difficult to begin, I believe will add so much to the way in which I teach writing. On those days in which we workshop, I finally have a forum that I understand in which I can teach mini-lessons. Additionally, I loved my small writing group, and I want to be able to establish a similar type of community for my students.
Finally, the OWP has shown me that I have something valid to say as a writer. Before reading my work aloud to variety of people, I struggled mightily with insecurity. Would anyone want to hear my writing? What would they say? Would they like it? Yet, what I found during the last four weeks was that somewhere in me is a powerful voice and that people want to listen to that voice. Thus, I have set for myself a goal: I want to write a novel. Ambitious, I know, but those involved with the OWP have given me the courage to do so.
So, once again, I am left in awe of all those who I know consider my fellows. You have, in many ways, saved me.
Thank you so much,