Saturday, May 10, 2008

summer demo / Faith

For my summer demo, I'm thinking of presenting story elements and creative writing. At first, I was considering using film as a way to prompt writing, but after I saw Saturday's demo, I wanted to present a subject that allowed for more interaction and direct instruction.

Demo Idea

At this point, my idea for a demo includes a pre-writing, anticipatory set, pre-reading strategy activity. (choose the rhetoric you prefer ;) I might focus my research on statistics/rationale to support the need for pre-reading/writing strategies.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Demonstration Free Write

I don't know / What demos did I send / Did I send Toulmin? / Research Paper Terminology / Peer Review / Whatever / Research people who have written about this / lecture-write-lecture-write / Clarity-Can I be clear? / There was a 3rd demo-not Toulmin / Probably demo peer review.


Demo Ideas

I am considering a couple of ideas for the demo teaching. I am interested in lessons about the reader-writer connection. From Kim's demo I realized how important having segments of various activities and transitions are to the demo lesson. A reader-writer lesson would allow for segments of reading, which provide models, graphic organizer activities based on the reading, which link to the writing, and chunks of time for writing and responding. I also loved how Kim provided a concrete reminder of the lesson (the cupcake) at the end. Another idea I am interested in is that of grammar in the context of writing. One method for this is called brush strokes or image grammar. I've been in a classroom where the English teacher was using this, and her students produced detailed and beautifully descriptive pieces of writing using action verbs, absolutes, appositives, adjectives, and participles. I also would explore writing responses to non-print text such as art or film.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Well, Kim's demo was a lot of fun to participate in, even if I still flunk crayon. It really reminded me that it's better to behave as if everyone is as deaf as I am. My hearing put me in a position that I survived mostly by asking people at the table and reading the handout. Keri knows what I'm talking about, for those of you who don't, the short version is I'm partially deaf. I honestly have to say that was the most fun I've had on research for a while. As for mine, I'm either doing a roundtable-style written discussion or parallel poetry. Yes, the technique in Breakthroughs, I've seen it before, love it, and my professor actually handed me that exact William Carlos Williams poem to work from. I'm still a bit undecided, but if you were to look up ambivalence in the dictionary, I believe you'd see a picture of me with the caption "See this guy... we think."

Demo Thoughts

After the experience of Kim's demo, I am excited, intimidated, and undecided. I had four ideas for the demo in mind, one of which was an innovative research project - thank you, Kim!! Another idea involved developing a successful method of embedding grammar into our existing projects. By "successful," I mean a measurable increase in appropriate usage. After talking with Elise, I feel certain that a great grammar idea will spark from communication with her during the summer. I am also "chewing" on a project involving in-class group writing using a wireless keyboard and projector culminating in a digital portfolio.
During this summer's process of becoming, I hope to find the words to express my delight in learning from all of you.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dashing Demo

Have you ever felt that your head was a sort of fish bowl with ideas swimming around constantly? Perhaps it's just that it's the end of the year, but that's how I felt after Saturday. My demo ideas feel a little like that too. My original idea is having the students write historical fiction by choosing time periods or people, researching them and creating stories using their research. It's a little too close to Kim's demo. I have another idea where students interview a family member or family friend who has been out of high school for at least 30 years. They also interview other people who know the interviewee creating a sort of "oral" history of the person. This particular project develops nicely into various extensions because the students can research an event or time period that impacted their person and write about that either creatively or as a research paper. You can use the idea of episodic fiction, and students could also create their own "oral" histories. All of these assignments have had varying degrees of success for me in the past. The best one was a student researching the White Revolution in Iran and finding her uncle's picture among a group photo of student revolutionaries. That was a great story. Talk to you soon.

Demo Idea

Per Keri's request, I am posting my demo idea--or should I say ideas? One I am considering is what I call Conscious (or Integrated) and Rhetorical Grammar, a technique I developed in graduate school in 1981 and have been perfecting ever since. A second option is a demo the introduces writing centers to elementary, middle, and secondary schools. Even though promoting writing centers motivated me to join the OWP in the first place, grammar is something that also needs more emphasis, and it's FUN!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

We are now an official "dot"!

I was looking for some information on the NWP website, and I took a look at the map. We are now an official red dot on the map. Congratulations to everyone!

Monday, May 05, 2008

2008 Pre-Institute Orientation

On Saturday, May 3, 19 Ozarks Writing Project Fellows met for the first time in preparation for the Summer Invitational Institute. It was a great day. In addition to the Fellows, we had some guests. Michael Frizell and Laura Burdette (TCs '08) attended. Kim Piddington, 1998 Teacher-Consultant of the UC-Irvine Writing Project, presented a demonstration on historical fiction. Hopefully, with Kim's permission, we'll get a copy of her demo on our website (see Teacher--Demonstrations).

We will be reading several books this summer, but for now, the Fellows received Breakthroughs and The Right to Write. In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron writes a short essay that ends with an "Initiation Tool." We attempted one of the initiations on Saturday. Casey passed out to each of us five postcards. We wrote one postcard to ourselves, and the other four we wrote to people we may not keep in touch with. This book will help us to focus on our writing and will help us "prime our writing pump."

Our Institute begins June 16 and ends July 11. I'll be emailing everyone, but we will not meet on Thursday, July 3, because of the holiday. (That's why we are meeting until Friday the 11th.)

Soon the '08 Fellows will be posting demo ideas and writing to the blog, so feel free to comment.

Thanks again for a great orientation. I'm looking forward to this summer!