Friday, July 11, 2008

Almost Live from New York - take 2

Hi everyone. I hope everyone is doing well. Things here are busy but great! It wouldn't be so bad if we just didn't have to go do the classroom stuff. That way, we wouldn't have to stay out so late. :) Lets see, we've been to so many places already I am having trouble keeping track of it all. The worst thing about the summer institutes I've been involved with is the goodbyes. Stay in touch and continue contributing to your blog here. If you need me, you know how to contact me. If you can't get ahold of me, I'm probably brainwashing prospective teacher consultants.

Sharolette's Action Plan 2008-2009

What is your plan of action in the fall? How will you use other demonstrations? Please list several demos that you saw that you will integrate into your classroom. This upcoming school year is an exciting opportunity for me. There are a number of things I would like to implement in my classroom; they include Elise and Cathy’s Grammar Writing, Katrina’s Monster Writing, Keller’s Knots on a Rope, and I want to expand and develop a lesson working with Slam Poetry.
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 of action for Writing I in the fall is to implement “Writing Territories” and “Monsters in Your Closet.” For Writing II I plan on utilizing the reading process and reading strategies to complement a section on Reader Response theory. For both classes I will be using “Writing Groups: Freewriting Drafting and Responding.” Parts of other work may appear in these classes.
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.

Michelle's Action Plan

What’s your plan for your own writing?

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.

Action Plan 2008

OWP fellows, thank you all for an incredible experience and the plethora of ideas I will take back to my classroom this year!

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!

Troxell's Action Plan 2008

Okay, I'm having a memory loss of sorts, so I have to use Casey's sign-in. :-)

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 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.

Action Plan

I have learned so much during my time at OWP and there is so much I am going to use in my classroom and continue to apply to my own writing. My goal for next year is simply to incorporate as much writing as possible into my curriculum and my own life.
I want my all of my students to keep a journal and write in this journal for about 10 minutes, hopefully, everyday. My plan is to have portfolio assignments every grading period in which students will pick one or two things they wrote to workshop and turn into me. I would like to use some type of blog weekly or bi-weekly based on computer access.
I learned a lot about writing when I was putting together my demo. I did a lot of research about the benefits of personal writing in the classroom and how this type of writing can help students academically. I plan to encourage my students to use their own personal experiences as inspiration for their writing, but then give them the opportunity to branch away from that.
I plan to incorporate "writing territories" from Kim's demo very early in the year and then encourage my classes to use this to write their journal entries. I also really liked the idea of using historical fiction for research writing, collaborative writing from Genesis's demo, and the pre-writing activities from Stacey's demo.
I liked what Chris suggested about mimic poetry and I also really liked Joshua's episodic fiction idea. It is really hard to list everything I liked because every one's demo was so incredibly useful and I plan to incorporate some aspect of most of the demos into my classroom.
The OWP has had such a profound effect on what I plan to do next year. I feel that it has already had such a positive influence on who I want to be as a teacher. I have a new understanding and appreciation of what writing should look like in the classroom.
Thanks OWP!

Action Plan 2008

I have many plans for this fall. I will be teaching 7th grade reading, 8th grade communication arts, and 9th grade language arts I.
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.

Action Plan

What is your plan of action in the fall?
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.

Fall Action Plan

My plan of action for the fall is to implement Writer's Workshop in my English III classes. I plan to incorporate ideas from most of the demos - grammar, writing territories, oral history, etc.

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.

Action Plan

What is your plan of action in the fall?
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.

Action Plan

Most of my post was lost due to an error once I tried to post. I will revist this at a later time. I recommend typing it in a word document and then trying to copy to the blog. (my two cents ;)

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.

September Renewal

This fall I will be implementing many techniques I have learned over the last four weeks. To begin the year and develop community within my classroom, I will be using lessons from Casey's demonstration on developing community. I loved the true/false questionaire and feel that this is a great way for my students to get to know me and for me to get to know them. I will be using Genesis's paper wadding activity to "blog" in the classroom. This will be a great way to discuss literature. I loved Jenner's claymation activity, I think this would be great with a poetry unit. I plan on have students get into groups, choose a poem, and then great a clay display. I am thinking that they will take pictures of their clay, and put them on a display board. I feel that this is a great way to connect to poetry.

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.

Sarah Tate

September Renewal

What is your plan of action in the fall? I am going to be outside of my comfort zone-- and that's good! I'll be student teaching at an area high school, so I can try all kinds of activities / strategies I've learned during the OWP Summer Institute on a new age group / skill level of learners. I may teach college, too. With the approval of my mentoring high school teacher, I want to have daily writing, small writing groups, reading groups, and I want to explore activities connecting print literacy to visual and technological literacy. I also intend to use general approaches such as I observed with writing territories, and also more specific lesson ideas such as with the "Monsters in the Closet" demonstration. If I teach college this fall, or the next time I do, I want to try new ways of approaching poetry composition, such as using ekphrasis as a prompt, responding to film, and using writing territories. I would also like to implement daily writing there.

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.


With my involvement in the OWP, I have undergone a terrific change. Before this program, I was stuck in my ways, stuck in my thinking. I had only been teaching for two years, but I knew what the students needed, and I thought that what I did in the classroom was the best way to meet those needs. Yet, as I became a student in the OWP, listening to and learning from so many different teachers, I sympathized with my students. I realized that while I might be a 'good' teacher, that I could improve so very much. I realized that while I could 'do' my job, that I could enjoy my job. I realized that while my students could 'do' their work, that they could enjoy their work. I realized that there was hope.

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,


Action Plan 2008

What is your plan of action in the fall? My goals are to write every day, to share, to write different genres, and to share my own writing with students.
What’s your plan for your own writing? I plan to write more, give myself assignments, and attempt to publish another professional article.
How will your classroom look differently daily? Weekly? Monthly? We will do more informal writing and we will share by using the author's chair. I like the ideas of portfolios.
Discuss the process of creating your demo and what you discovered through that process. I discovered that my topic was very broad and difficult to organize with the limited amount of time and resources.
How will you incorporate your demo in the fall? As I always do: we will learn basic grammar, practice it, integrate it as we go along, with the goal of mastery always in mind.
What kinds of student writing samples can you collect? Reflective pieces, journal entries, article summaries, poetry in a grammar class could be very fun.
How has your writing project experience affected your plan? It has refined my current practices. I will incorporate more writing of every kind into my teaching, although there is a lot already (too much according to my students). We will do more sharing of our writing.
How will you use other demonstrations? I will share these methods with my English education majors. I want to use writing to build even more community in my classes.
Please list several demos that you saw that you will integrate into your classroom. Writing communities, writing territories, poetry, writing workshop, blogging, blogging without technology.
Based on our brief conversations and your new knowledge of OWP programs, what areas interest you? Presenting at a conference, attending a conference, working with the youth writing camp, working with Camp Lookout at C of O to add a writing program.
Who would you nominate for certain areas? Take a look at the NWP website for information on NWP special programs such as the NWP Professional Writing Retreat and others, or take a look at the OWP web page for a list of some of our programs. Genesis should go to the Writers' Retreat at C of O; Katrina would be a good candidate for the youth writing camp and to present at the Write to Learn conference. Debbie would also be a good candidate to present at a conference.

KW's Action Plan

Because of I'm feeling very inspired and ambitious, right now I would predict that my classroom will look completely different in the fall. My students and I will be writing every day, and a lot of that writing will be low stakes, just like what we participated in the during the SI. I'm hoping that they find some intrinsic motivation from this writing. How much I respond to this writing is yet to be determined, but I don't think it will be much.

From the very beginning of the year, I plan to implement Writer's Workshop at least two days a week, and an integral part of that will be small writing groups. (Thanks to Keri and Joe's demos and my own SWG from the OWP.) Circular journaling (Genesis) will also come into play with my small writing groups. In our SWGs we will use some of the reformulation strategies introduced by Casey. Yes, scissors and glue will be involved. Students will create their own Writing Territories at the beginning of the school year, and that will provide an ongoing reference for them as they choose topics, genres, and audiences for their writing during WW. (As a side note, a conversation with Elise has inspired me to consider having my students write as a gift for an assignment. That would actually tie in well with Melissa's oral history project. If my students interview someone and write a personal narrative about their life, that would make a really special gift as well as an important lesson about writing for audience.)

I'll also use many ideas from demos during mini-lessons for my Writer's Workshop. Image and conscious grammar within the context of student writing will be taught in small increments and referenced back to throughout the year (Elise and Kathleen). Michelle's giant post-it poster to review figurative language would also tie in with a mini-lesson.

In addition, there are some specific writing assignments I would like to try with my composition students. Because I'm excited to try some of these things on my own, it will give a great chance for me to write with my students. Some of these assignments include parallel poetry (Chris), episodic fiction and creating characters from objects (Joshua), writing letters to "monsters," (Katrina), and responding to poetry through some form of artistic creation (Jenner). I was already planning to do a multi-genre identity project at the end of the school year with my seniors, and there were some projects that I think will tie in nicely with this, including Dana's footprint poem, Stacy's recipe, and Rachel's life map. These are all assignments or activities that I wouldn't have considered otherwise, and by seeing them implemented, I feel like I can try it with my students, too.

Some great ideas about the reading and writing connection will be helpful in my Novels course. I liked the TS, TW, TT connections that Sharolette reviewed for us, and the questions she provided for the reading will be helpful with that. Sarah's Story Impressions will also be a great way to introduce a new piece of literature. I'm sure there will be films to incorporate with my Novels course, and thanks to Debra, my students will be challenged to look beyond the surface meaning of media. Perhaps I'll even tape a third eye to my forehead! Faith's post-it activity would also provide a great way to review literature when we're finished reading during that class.

Okay, so maybe I'm sounding like my expectations for myself are pretty high. They are. I will promise myself now to do as much as I can, but I will not be disappointed if I do not accomplish everything in just one year. Change often takes time. I'm thankful to have this wonderful support network of other teachers who have inspiring ideas that I can utilize. And I will keep writing because, after all, I am a writer.

Action Plan

My plan of action in the fall is Master's work and lots of it. However, now that I've been through the demo and seen everyone else's, the little voice of responsibility in my head is telling me maybe NOW would be a good time to start putting lessons together. With all this experience to lean on now, I can put things together and bounce them off people, find the holes so I can fill them. It's very comforting to have that, a network that can tell me "Oh, yeah, I tried that and...".
As far as my own writing, I'm going to keep at it. The biggest difference now is the fact that I'm saving drafts for two reasons. First, I've discovered that I often fool myself into thinking new is definitely better, which is probably a bit of an overreaction to my previous falling in love with the first draft. The more important thing to me is having those drafts so that I can show students that I may be good at this, but it's work. I'm really allowing myself to be "wrong" in my writing now and I want students to understand that is part of the process.
The demo taught me to trust my instincts. I had experience that I wasn't sure was universal, but research supported me. I need to rely on this more but remain open to finding a new perspective.
As yet, I can't say I'm going to be collecting student samples, but I'm going to look for stuff that shows the students' development.
My experience here and the demos have really got me thinking about how important building a community is. I had a few moments in my demo where I leaned on the community here to keep things lighthearted and moving well. We support each other and I want my students to feel that in the classroom. To this end, I definitely see the community building techniques, like Dana, Rachel, and Casey's demos, making it into the classroom.
For obvious reasons, I'm going to be picking over the information on NWP's website that's related to the New Teacher Initiatives. I think Debbie would be great working on something like this. She shares her experience freely and she's always got a story from her classes to back up her reasoning.
I'm going to miss all of you.

Action Plan of Genesis

What is your plan of action in the fall?
My first goal is to consistently have students writing informally on a daily basis (well, at least on the days I have them in class). I know that has really helped me get things going in the writing realm. Another goal is facilitate more collaborative learning/community building in my classes. I would also like to try to add some of the innovative ideas for getting students more connected with academic writing. Additionally I plan on encouraging better portfolio keeping methods with the goals of encouraging revision and reflection.

What’s your plan for your own writing?
I plan to continue to write on a daily basis in some form or another. I would like to develop and submit at least one piece of writing for publication. I may be interested in presenting at a conference and/or

How will your classroom look differently daily? Weekly? Monthly?
On the daily basis, I anticipate having more variety in our activities (since I'll now have only 90 minutes classes it seems especially essential). I plan on having students do more things together (writing groups, collaborative assignments, etc.) at least once a week. Now and then I intend for students to do more self-and peer-evaluation/reflection. There are a lot of things I plan on shifting, but time is tight so...

Discuss the process of creating your demo and what you discovered through that process. How will you incorporate your demo in the fall?
During the preparation for my demo I spent time connecting low-tech methods to blog research, brainstorming other possible activities, and agonizing over what to use for writing prompts. I plan to continue to use circular journaling and paper wads and extending the idea of Post-It posters. Ideally I could get some grants to actually use the methods to transition to cyberspace.

What kinds of student writing samples can you collect?
Paper wads, more circular journal examples, and posters. I'm sure I'll have some other things developed from other people's demos as well.

How has your writing project experience affected your plan?
In general I am far more motivated to be innovative in the classroom. You all have inspired me in a time when I most needed it! I think that due to the OWP experience I have many new ideas and extensions to better work toward the goals for my classes.

How will you use other demonstrations? Please list several demos that you saw that you will integrate into your classroom.
I don't think there is a single demo that I don't want to steal something from. I am definitely going to integrate many of the fellows' ideas into the things I already do to make the projects better for my students. Some that come to mind first:
  • blending some of the ideas/activities from Casey's and Dana's demos as an opening unit
  • using Stacy's focus on the American Dream as an overarching concept in my American Lit class
  • Keri's small writing groups and Joe's response methods/forms
  • Melissa's and Kim P.'s ideas on making research awesome
  • Chris's Parallel Poetry
  • Kim W.'s Writing Territories as a portfolio opener
  • Sarah's and Sharolette's Reading/Writing Connection ideas/prompts
  • Kathy's and Elise's innovative grammar (probably in mini-lessons)
  • Episodic fiction seems like one Nelle of an idea (thanks, Joshua)
  • Making films more useful with hints from Debbie
  • Faith's index card categorizing
  • Michelle's figurative language sorting poster

Based on our brief conversations and your new knowledge of OWP programs, what areas interest you? Who would you nominate for certain areas?
I am interested in participating with many of the events for the year (the writing retreat, Write to Learn). I like the idea of working on professional development and integrating technology (I mean, real technology - not pen and paper). Jenner seems to be a technology guru in progress. Elise seems interested in developing professional writing - perhaps the retreat is just the spot for her to be this October.

Summer Institute 2008 Action Plan

At the September 27, 2008, Renewal, you will briefly present on your action plan--your new learning integrated into your classroom in the fall. Please bring student work and the assignment or idea that you integrated into your classroom based on your experiences in the OWP Summer Institute. Please create a "New Post" to respond to the questions below. In the tag line, "Labels for this post," type "Action Plan 2008."

What is your plan of action in the fall?

What’s your plan for your own writing?

How will your classroom look differently daily? Weekly? Monthly?

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?

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.

Based on our brief conversations and your new knowledge of OWP programs, what areas interest you? Who would you nominate for certain areas?

Take a look at the NWP website for information on NWP special programs such as the NWP Professional Writing Retreat and others, or take a look at the OWP web page for a list of some of our programs.

Help us help you!

Good morning, Fellows! It was so great to be a part of your SI yesterday, and I am so honored to be getting to know you and figuring out what we can build together as I support you as your Inservice Coordinator. You are about to enter into the exciting world of being a Teacher Consultant for the Ozarks Writing Project! What an overwhelming and thrilling endeavor; I remember this feeling well. In fact, I still feel these emotions when presented with the opportunities and possibilities presented to me from my experience at SI 2007.

From what you heard yesterday regarding Summer Institute, Advanced Institute, Writing Retreats, Youth Writing Camps, Saturday Seminars, Literacy Academy, Write to Learn, Embedded Institutes, and the other learning and networking opportunities, I am here to help you realize your potential through the Ozarks Writing Project. Did anything you have heard about so far excite your creativity and create a desire to know more information?

Thank you, it will be my pleasure to utilize your research and work as inservice opportunities are developed through the OWP. If you hear of any professional development or inservice needs in your building or school district, please contact me right away and you can help me organize a partnership with your building! These partnerships will allow you to share your demos with teachers and administrators all across southern Missouri! These partnerships will also create opportunities to develop projects in your building or district about which you feel passionately, just like the Youth Writing Camp I developed in my district. So, what information you give me here will "help me help you"!

Liz Salchow
Inservice Coordinator, OWP

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Blogging the Summer Institute: An Invitation

I have some exciting news! The National Writing Project asked the Ozarks Writing Project to present at one of its Annual Meeting sessions in San Antonio. The session will be called Blogging the Summer Institute. Our blogging has been noticed, and we, along with sites in Maya West Writing Project in Puerto Rico and the Hudson Valley Writing Project in New York will present during the session. When I get a link to their blogs, I'll put them on here.

Here's the rough draft description of the session we'll be involved in:

Why blog your Summer Institute? In this session, participants will have an opportunity to hear from sites that have taken the step of making aspects of their Summer Institute public via weblogs. The session facilitators will discuss the reasons why their sites chose to take this step, how they incorporated the use of a blog into their summer institutes, and what they learned from that work. Participants will then engage in conversations to identify the ways in which their sites might find blogging useful as a tool for publishing, communication and the development of community.

As many of you know, I've been thinking about blogging in the context of education for awhile, but we have many committed bloggers at our site. We like our blogs, and I think this invitation to present is quite an honor!

Does anyone have any thoughts about the blog that they would like for us to share at the Annual Meeting? Please comment.