Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thank you

As I drove home today I was mindful of the beautiful day it was :)
But I was also very aware of how truly honored and blessed I was to
have been in your presence during this institute.
You all allowed me to share my voice and you encouraged
me to write using it.
For that gift I thank you. But more importantly I thank you
for your friendship and unconditional acceptance.

I wish for you all a wonderful rest of your fall and school year.
I hope we cross paths again and in the mean time enjoy the poetic words
of a favorite song that seems appropriate:

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

Writer(s): Jerome J. Garcia, Robert C. Hunter

Keep on writing!

For the memories....

MIndfulness at Chewonki

Here is the link for the workshop at Chewonki

Mindfulness questionairre

Last Day To-Do's

Please complete the three tasks on this to do list.  I've kept the portfolio links from the summer, so if you simply added your fall pieces to you summer portfolio, then you don't need to update your link.  If you made a new portfolio for fall, please update the link.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Saturday, October 17

Blogging the Day: October 17

Opening Moment:

Lorry started the day with her presentation: Teaching Writing Through Literature. She started by having the class read Alice Walker's Feminist Prose: In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens and highlight or underline an important passage. She called a small group into a circle to model what she would do in her classroom. Each "student" read aloud their passage, and then afterwards everyone went back and explained why they chose it. This was known as "The Quiet Circle of Voices." Then, the group revisited the passage to look at the author's element of style using the writer's toolbox. Finally, there was a discussion about how the meaning of the piece was enhanced by style.

Margi presented next: Writing About Informational Text. Not only did we learn all kinds of fun facts about owls, but we learned to be mindful about choosing nonfiction texts to read with our students. Margi discussed ways to help students picture images while reading, how to help them navigate material on the page, how to take notes and find key information, and she gave us time to practice all of these strategies. We categorized; we acted; we made predictions; and we learned how to have fun with informational texts in the classroom.

Kerstin and Kelli presented about Writing Across the Curriculum. They showed a video where they interviewed their staff about their prior experiences with writing, and then they reviewed common grading strategies as well as writing strategies to use in every classroom. Erin and Stephen shared an introduction to the Lucy Calkins' Writing Program that they plan to present at their school this year. 

Mary presented about the importance of mindfulness in the classroom. Her research did not have the results that she'd hoped it would, but this could have been because of emojis. She talked about the procedure of mindfulness in her classroom: quiet chime, gentle neck rolls, and other relaxation techniques were used before writing time. She explained that hesitant students started to look forward to this time in her classroom, which was validation enough to continue the practice in her classroom and to promote it for others.

Kate presented about pre-writing exercises for the college essays and whether or not this helped students. Unfortunately, she missed many classes with her group and by the time they returned to her, they had already completed the essay. Her results were inconclusive, but she explained that she wants to continue pre-writing exercises and also to communicate with teachers about what they are doing for college essay prep in their own classrooms.

Closing Moment: Kahlil Gibran's "On Teaching"

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

True Facts About the Owl!

I was thinking of this video all day last Saturday after reading the awesome book Margi shared about owls.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Writing Across the Curriculum Conference
Writing Group

     Come experience SMWP's monthly writing group this Monday, October 19,  at McAuley High School beginning at 4:00.  We typically write for 45 minutes.  Leah offers a prompt which you can choose to use or not and then some folks, or everyone, will share.  Enjoy the camaraderie and debunk the myth that writing is a solitary occupation!
     McAuley High School is located on 631 Stevens Avenue.  Feel free to text or call Rebecca when you get there.  Her cell is:  332-1627.
     Hope to see you there!

Writing Through Reading

Lesson Objective:

Teaching Writing through Literature

Focus Piece: Feminist Prose: In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens, “When the Other Dancer is the Self”,  Alice Walker

Objectives: How does Form compliment Content and vice versa?
         How to teach writing through literature.

To use personal essay to instruct, model and promote writing in an Upper School classroom.
To introduce the elements of style in a “Writer’s Tool Box” that can become the foundation for designing a personal essay.

To teach annotation of writing elements.

To promote the use of the elements of style within the students’ writing.

Over the course of time, students will begin to build a portfolio of personal anecdotes that will be the foundation for personal essay work.

Students are assigned the reading of the essay.

They are instructed to hi-lite and look up the definitions to unfamiliar vocabulary words.

Hi-lite passages, sentences that effective, interesting, well-crafted, confusing.

Come to class prepared to share a single sentence, phrase, passage.

In-class instruction:

Quiet Circle of voices: Going around the room, students read the selection from the essay. Students intentionally repeat any selection that has already been shared. No comments or analysis.

Discuss the selections:
Why did you choose your selection?

What repetition/pattern did you hear from your classmates? Why?

On Board: How does form (style) compliment content and vice versa?

What specific elements of style are contained within the selections you made?

Other places in the essay?

Writing Tools:

narrative voice            sentence pace                  language (vocabulary/diction)

use of verbs/adjectives                           dialogue

sentence construction                  anecdote                  verb tense

         italics                              poetry          circular writing                        metaphor

Periodic sentences

simile                                    tone                           mood



How is the meaning enhanced by the style? Where? With what?

Annotating a passage on the board:

I am in shock. First there is intense fever, which my father tries to break using lily leaves bound around my head. Then there are chills; my mother tries to get me to eat soup. Eventually, I do not know how, my parents learn what has happened. A week after the “accident” they take me to see a doctor. “Why did you wait so long to come?” he asks, looking into my eye and shaking his head. “Eyes are sympathetic,” he says, “If one is blind, the other will likely become blind too.”
Writing Exercises:

1. Complete the following sentence and write a paragraph that captures a moment in time of this age:

                                    I am ________________ years old…”

2. Look closely in a mirror at your face. Create a list of words that details what you see: use color, texture, mood words.

3. Create a conversation between you and a member of your family that best embodies your relationship.

4. Write a poem that expresses a question you hold in your heart about yourself.

5. Define your other self: an ambition, fear, passion, question that is hidden from sight.

6. I remember a time…
                        a place....

7. I do not remember…

8. A time when you were silent.

9. A time when you were silenced.


Now the work of revision begins. Open your tool box.

What specific writing tools did you use in your piece?

How do your tools reflect the mood and message of your piece?

What is necessary? What can you delete?

Where are you going?

These review questions vary depending on the genre of the essay: descriptive, argument/persuasion, metaphor.
Peer Review Narrative Essay

Please answer the following questions in complete sentences. Use the text for specific examples.

1.    Read the opening lines of the essay. How has the writer drawn the reader into the work? What voice is used in these first lines? Does the essay begin in a narrative voice?

2.    Consider the use of anecdote in this essay? How/where does the author use this tool to develop the intention of the essay? How effective is the anecdote in supporting the intention.

3.    What is the mood of this essay? Where is it most effectively developed? How?

4.    Has the author considered verbs and verb tense? How and to what effect?

5.    Has the author used descriptive language to show the intention of the essay? Where and why?

6.    Has the author considered sentence pace? To what effect?

7.    Hi-lite metaphor, imagery, language that supports the intention of the essay.

8.    Has the author considered audience? How?

9.    Annotate a specific passage in the essay for the writing tools within.

10.  Does author successfully weave the intention of the essay throughout the text? In one sentence, complete this statement:

This essay is about…

11. What suggestions do you have for the author to direct his/her re-seeing work?



Thursday, October 1, 2015

Beauty with a Capital B

Trying to keep the door open to writing:

Beauty with a capital B

So full and round with your
Soft mewing and articulate consonance
As if uttering your essence with great reverence



            When the light from the sky

Darkens with its own solemn call
And mornings hold the sound of owls
Long past the hour of rising

            We reach
For the paling repetition
Of color
Falling petals

from unopened buds

To gather into the earth,
Our hearts

            For Beauty

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 26, 1015

We returned to Bailey Hall for a day of presentations and a book discussion.  Here is the link to the video from S7 Airlines that I used on my opening moment on imagination and naivete.

Mary Lou started off the day with her presentation on Our Youngest Writers-Where Do We Start?
She walked us through the process of  how she  helps guide kindergarteners through the writing process by  generating their very own book.  First she helped us get into the mindset of  our youngest writers by providing us with props that helped us to understand the constraints, both cognitive and physical, of these very young writers.  With or without our props (Coke-bottle glasses, gloves of varying thickness, mittens and a giant pencil,) we were assigned the task of  copying the sentence, "I love my dad," writing with our non-dominant hand and with the wrong end of our crayons, reproducing the sentence using the opposite end of the alphabet.  We struggled, complained, discussed strategies and  downright shut down, just as might happen to kindergarteners in the classroom.  She then walked us through the process of writing a book.  She focused on 8 Kindergarten Mini-Lessons (see below Mary Lou's post) and by the end of her presentation we learned a lot more about our youngest learners and their challenges with a hands-on illustration of many of her mini-lessons and analysis of sample books.  Thank you, Mary Lou for a thought-provoking and fun presentation.  I understand you had been sick all week with bronchitis and this took some cognitive and physical effort on your part to present on this Saturday.

Ben followed with his presentation entitled, Wanna Argue About It?  Ben's presentation was on his instruction of rhetoric with multimedia in his high school classroom.  He began by helping us to understand our everyday use of arguments and why it is so important that all students-AP and otherwise, understand rhetoric.  He showed us Joliffe's Rhetorical Analysis Framework Design, as the basis for his instruction and how his students come to understand and recognize each component as they analyze rhetorical writing. He underscored and illustrated the meaning of syntax with his "I NEVER SAID HE HE HIT HIS WIFE, demo.  He then showed us Mary Ewald's letter and how his students learn that rhetorical writing can mean life and death.  We then were presented with various print media ads and in small groups, analyzed them for ethos, logos, etc.  Both print ads and video ads were shown and discussed and we were given a great basis of rhetoric and examples of projects on balanced letters, photo analysis (Ben's FaceBook page), the creation of PSA ad which the students produce before they ever write their first rhetorical analysis essay.  Thank you Ben for showing us the importance of rhetorical writing and your innovative and engaging multi-media approach.

Sue Van Wyck
Sept 26 Host

Friday, September 25, 2015

Kindergarten Writing Mini-Lessons

 Kindergarten Writing Mini-Lessons
 by Mary Lou Shuster
Here is the link for the individual mini-lessons presented during my workshop.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Welcome Back!  We began the day catching up with friends on summer fun, discussing the heat and humidity as we all headed back to school, and eating the variety of breakfast items and snacks provided by this weeks hosts, Diane and Ben.

Opening Moment: Meditation

Life in a Pond

You find yourself sitting in the middle of a huge lily pad.  It is early morning and the frogs are still singing.  There are dozens of water lily buds standing proudly.  As you look over the edge of your lily pad you see lots of small fishes swimming around.  When they see your shadow, they dive deep into the pond. The sun strikes the water and  you watch dozens of pink water lilies open and greet the day.

As you watch the petals unfold, you feel your heart open and fill with love.  You take a deep breath and watch as dragonflies drift by, just touching the surface of the water.  You watch water spiders dart around, seemingly walking on the water.  You are fascinate with all the different life forms that inhabit the pond.

As you watch in awe, you realize you are no longer sitting on the lily pad.  you are standing beside the pond and you smile at the gift you have just been given.

"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others."  Marianne Williamson

Team Building

Pass the bean bag Name Game
Rock Paper Scissors Shoot

Writing Time

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Portfolio Share

What a memorable experience!  The oral readings to the computer-based readings, looking at the diversity of work and thinking is splendid!
Even reading all the entries, knowing the people and what they've shared over the past week, brings the writing to life in magical ways.  To see pieces grow from infancy to maturing, reflections the desire and passion of everyone aspiring to write.
Well done work by all.
A pleasure to be amongst such incredible talent

Closing Moment on Closing Day

Naomi Shihab Nye

Shared a poem at the Boothbay Literacy Retreat offered by Kylene Beers and Bob Probst (Heinemann).  

This a chinese student who attended a school specifically designed to send Chinese students to Universities in English Speaking countries.

The poem was submitted and taken for "Flow."  This is a trifold placard (menu) that is given to patient's during hospital stays.  Some read these poems as the are patient's patiently waiting for food and their hospital stay to end.

The poem, the first one, is her first ever written in English.

 I use this poem as a reminder, that as well all depart ISFI for the summer, wondering if we may ever be published, just look around, your opportunity awaits you!

Please enjoy!



Kara reading "with passion"!

Many people asked to have a copy of this video of my friend's granddaughter reading her picture book. At the young age of 13 months, she demonstrates that if you read to children as soon as possible they do pick up on the Concepts of Print - i.e. books carry meaning, in order to read a book you turn the pages from left to right, your voice carries inflection as you read, a book is read from top to bottom and front to back. So many of our kindergarten students do not enter school with basic skills because they are not read to on a daily basis.

Kara reading "with passion"!

What to do with SMWP! (After the Institute)

Young Authors Camp
* one week camp (16-20 hrs)
* 8 Students minimum
* Writing marathon done with kids!
* Closing & Opening moments
*  Not just for struggling writers, open to all!!
* USM & SMWP does alot of the leg work for you.

Nurturing Self as a Writer
* Burnt Island Writing Retreat, Aug 4-6
* Chance to write alot, relax, be with like minded people, become one with nature.
* Chance to come up with ideas talking with other writers and teachers, over dinner and Bocce.
* $350 for three days (included a place to sleep & food. Unless you want to sleep in your car?)
* There is an octagonal table!

*Monthly Writing Group
*Meets a few times over the year, tries to be once a month.
*Opportunity to share the variety of writing.

Continued Professional Groups 
* Sharing work with others, spreading the SMWP "way"
* Building capacity for writing instruction
* What's not done that you can make possible!
* Chance to represent your school; show off your institute work.
* Conferences, mainly TC people, very positive.
* Modest stipend for offer workshops at places, institute facilitators, if asked.
* USM/SMWP there to back you for some entrepreneurship's?

* Study Groups, TC's can take the lead (empowerment) to answer questions, institute practice.
* Grass roots initiatives.

Check your e-mail.  Group e-mails will becoming!!

Saying good bye to writing time.

Can you tell we are all thinking about 12:15?
No, not lunch time... but the portfolio share.  Writing time has become an exciting dash of urgency as we try to make sure links work, presentation appeal is present, and the writing is enjoyed by all.
Good Luck everyone. Enjoy the ride!
A Fun use for Wordle

In My Classroom we use Wordle sometimes to make predictions about what we are about to read. Copy and paste an entire chapter into a Wordle, and have the students make predictions about what is going to happen in the upcoming reading.

In the beginning of the story, their guesses are all over the map. As they meet the characters and understand their relationships a bit more their predictions get scarily accurate.

Final Day

It's our final day of the summer writing project and Justin greeted our writers with scrambled eggs! As we wrestle with computer settings so we can share our final portfolios and battle with USM over registrations and our electronic evaluation, we prepare to share one last piece of writing. I look forward to hearing from this community of learners, feeling I know them all just a little more intimately, after hearing their learning biographies. I know my writing group - Kerstin with her quiet demeanor yet descriptive writing; Ben with his deliciously devious Demetrious Duke and Alex our deep, dark many-layered muse. Although we part now, we can look forward to seeing each other again in the fall - recounting more adventures and stories of our lives!
                                                                                         Mary Lou

Festive Final Day Atmosphere!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hi Mary,
This is for you:
“A friend of mine says that the first draft is the downdraft--you just get it down.  The second draft is the up draft--you fix it up.  You try to say what you have to say more accurately.  And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.” (p. 26, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott)
Wednesday, July1 afternoon

Revision Workshop with Leah & Anne

Shared thinking about revision, why it is valuable, and how to facilitate it
Generate ideas to use in your writing groups, with colleagues, and with students

Sharing -  "what does word revision mean to each of us?"

Sharing -  "what does revision mean to your students?"
     -noted difference between editing(mechanics)  & revising(words & ideas)
     -some give revision checklists
     -colored pencils for particular problems
Re vision - look at writing in new ways

Writing is a PROCESS

     -have students find acknowledgements by author

top, collaborate, listen
     -Stop occasionally to thick aout how your piece is progressing
     -Collaborate with friends and peers to improve your work
     -Listen to their advice and also to your own thoughts about the progress of your writing

How do you know if your writing is finished?
     -Is your piece--> raw extremely personal?
     -Are you still-->writing to learn?

But when the piece feels important, can speak to others, then it may be ready for revision

Remember to consistently ask yourself:  Is this piece of writing all it could be?

To the revisers:  Make sure to separate the writer from...............the writing

Make sure to create an environment where it is SAFE to SHARE
Honor your work:  REVISE

     -list #1:  essay content
     -list #2:  style, sentences, & grammar
     -Flipped Paragraph - compare 2 versions, example can help students see how sentence changes
          when important/powerful sentence is placed in a new location
     -narrative essay peer review
          -questions for peer to use after reading paper
          -revising for sentences and clarity
     -bless, address, press  
     -writer's questions can help reviser focus his attention
     -group revision - teacher sets up structure, writer/presenter pitches to group, group has protocol to
            follow, then presenter comes back
     -important to teach students how to give good feedback - words & body language important to
            practice in a safe place,  learn to interact positively in the world, model these ideas first before
            students begin to try this on their own

Group work - revising a piece
     -don't name writer by name
     -what moments stand out?
     -what type of mood does the piece describe?
     -most exciting, intense, or energetic sentence?
     -wait time - super important
     -monitor yourself
     -cue card might help younger student with sentence starter
     -ask "was that helpful?"
     -teacher needs to encourage attentiveness in readers

Divided into writing groups

Reading Discussion - "teaching writing" book talk, useful strategies
     -Write for Insight - teacher friendly, easy to flip through and find techniques to use
          -writing to learn - summarize the main idea of a lesson, have them switch pens to the opposite
            hand, makes us focus on using our hand than on what you want to convey, important to be
           fluent writers
     -After THE END
           -asking questions throughout the writing process
     -The Story of My Thinking, diverse reactions
           -kerneling, taking a small detail and expanding it
     -Write Like This
          -one idea was "evaluate and judge,"  focusing on having a real world purpose for writing
      -Craft Lessons
          -divided by grade levels, millions of ideas, all very good
      -Writing Reminders
          -much good information, type of book you go back to for different types of lessons
          -encourage students to be independent of us, useful  ideas before, during, after

     -longer writing time
     -how you can get involved with SMWP beyond the Invitational
     -hammer out your plan for your project with your mentor
     -portfolio sharing

Closing Moment - quote from This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. In this book the author shares how she became a writer.  The quote relates to how difficult it is for writers to make a living.


Our Digital Exploration

Coaching Conversations

Check out this link about  Coaching Conversations in Digital Spaces.
Coaching in the digital world
I found this in my Diigo feed.

An Amazing Book -This is a Story of a Happy Marriage.  By Ann Patchett.  A memoir that shows how Ann Patchett became a writer.   The reader experiences how she allows writing to become the focus of her life, along with her relationships.  Fun read. Thoughtful and entertaining.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Margi's Quote - "We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection."   Anais Nin

TMT - Screen - Cast - o - matic, Wordle, Printfriendly

*Ways to Use Wordle - note taking, good-bye to a student that is leaving, writing self-assessment, community building activity, predicting activity before reading a class book

For tomorrow - come with ideas about your final project, portfolios will be shared in a quiet manner, everyone will share one piece from their portfolio

Digital Writing - graphics, words, connection to world, blogs, tweet (secret language), texting (speech?), blogs, facebook, ibooks, ebooks, multi genre writing (one topic with different genres - each piece is moving a story forward)

*allowing students to write in different ways, the skills are still there
*teach the writing, teach the technology, lesson development still there
*different avenues for writing
*still using tried and true methods
*make writing public

*we need to meet students where they are
*needs to be culturally relevant
*the landscape of where students are writing is the digital landscape
*students writing more than ever, now

*as a teacher, what is the objective of lesson - tech based helpful or not?
*offer digital writing as a choice

*using technology in the classroom has different levels - more depth as time goes on - SAMR - "Swimming Pool" - Substitution, Augmentation, modification, redefinition

*personal and craft piece - both - building a writing community in the classroom - how to do that? we want them to put their work out there and make it public.

*Quiet Classroom - write, share, comment - everyone has a chance to share - introverts and extroverts

*Today's Meet - a running record  - literature writing, assign writing and then they can write right away. They can record their thinking right off and share later. CONVERSATION between kids, teacher
*Choose a room name, time, who can join?
*can ask a question - start off with responses
*writing lessons can be embedded
*write in full letters, rather than as texting

Socrative - quizzing platform
*can be used with DOL, exit tix, t/f quizzes, multiple choice quizzes, short answer quizzes.

Example of using Socrative - "Write the best alliterative sentence." Have everyone vote. Pick a mentor sentence together.

*can use at the beginning - help students to learn structure and refine it, practice

Beth Holland - writing 1.0 - paper  - story web, conferencing, write, peer edit, draft, etc.
writing 2.0- the same teaching points as 1.0, but now using technology to make the writing transparent, more public, gets more people involved in the writing process, can give a purposeful authentic audience

Thinglink - allows you to take a picture and create related buttons/links.

**Technology allows students to use the traditional writing process, but to make their thinking multidimensional. It also gives them the opportunity to share their work with the world and to engage in coversation about their work and the work of others. For the reader, it can make topics more engaging. It allows both the creator and receivor to engage in multiple learning styles.

An Attempt at a Haiku

I must have been inspired by the poets in my writing group.  When I woke up this morning, I was inspired to try writing a Haiku.  Here is my attempt:

His cool nose snuggles
Into the nape of my neck.
Damp as morning dew.

This little guy was also my inspiration -

Tim mentioned Susan Cain's The Power of Introverts and the quiet classroom.  Here is a link to her TED Talk ~ about 19 minutes long.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 30, 2015

Opening Moment (Julia)
This morning I began with the poem by Ashley Feton
Dining Fork to a Poem
Poems should be
Struck straight through the middle
Using the serving fork.

Yes, even the smallest poem.

They’re lengthy at times
and unwieldy,
and no one
truly knows what they mean.

Take that fork in your hand, my friend.
Do not be scared.

Make the poem squirm.
Make that thing bleed.
At the very least,
You’ll get a good story to write.

We then broke in too our writing groups and decides to Press, Bless, or Address one of our pieces. In my group. we discussed the importance of  appearance maintenance and the importance of selecting ones nail polish.
We then broke into reading groups where we discussed the five novels that we choose to read from writing authors.
  1. Discuss
  2. determine books “ selling points”
  3. create a brief presentation- highlighting the best features of the book as far as techniques to instruct writing. What can you take away for your classroom or yourself as a writer.
"Down draft, get it down Up draft we get it up, dental draft where you check every tooth to see if its decayed, has some cavities or god help us, healthy.” Bird by Bird

Says, Does, So what— ways readers can analysis a text.
reword, whats is he doing, so what why is the technique they’re using important

Group did not love their book. Could have been said in less words, but had a few good one or two liners.
13 drops of wine. Gave permission to write badly, lends ability to tell the truth in your notebook, physical world has a great impact on your perspective. Writing down the little things you may not make sense of.

On Writing Stephen King

Usefulness of it, first half is his memior after his accident. High school students may read this book because its an easy read and may like Stephen King they also liked the tool box in the writing box and book list at the end. If you want to be a writer, you have to read a lot.

Bird by Bird

Told an accecdote about a boy giving blood to his sister.

If You Want to Write
Be true to yourself and we all have a value. Be true to your creative outlet and it will produce good writing. Choose because it was an inspirational book on writing. She was a modernest, the shock of the new. She felt it was about passion and the value of communication. Writing is not a performance, but a generosity. Highly recommended.

Book of Days

Split up by month, meant to be read during each of the months. When you are writing, you always write the date and the topic at the top of the prompt. You will also find out that you will write about similar themes, this could be you working through how to solve a personal issue. A lot of writers write by hand for their own reasons. The muscular movement of putting script on the paper allows you to feel the movement of pen against paper. They also shared unique habits of famous authors and their “ everyday, day jobs”

We then had a workshop to practice Inquiry to see if this is one of the paths that we may choose.
By Lori King an academic support specialist at Yarmouth High School

Action Research vs Workshop is a great professional development opportunity because at its center piece is student learning.
paint chip poetry— trying to give them a work bank. Does it produce better results.

Is there something you want to see in your classroom that you want to see if there are any benefits to it?

Something you are already doing or can be completely new.

  1. Share the burning issue with the audience “ How does peer editing increase editing in my classroom"
  2. Present the revenant background information - might be only a paragraph. How did you come to this point.
  3. Tell us your intervention strategy—> Share research based reasons behind it. Just pull out the bites
  4. What were the results, was it good or not so good for your students? You likely want baseline data, but this could be tough by the time that you present. But you want something to compare it to. Exit slips, prewriting vs. final product, how did it progress. Can use pie charts, can be verbal. This is what happened, and this is what I learned.
  5. Call to action, what are your next steps? Share your insights could be a narrative or could be bullets.

When you are framing your questions, don’t do it in a way that can produce “ yes” or “ no” responses.
  1. You need to write a short report outlining the basic parts. Data can be qualitative or quantitate.

Front loading activities to Scarlet Letters- Dear Abby letters, front loading and providing historical background. And do check in’s with them as they are progressing. Did you start only in one class, or did you do it in all your classes. You don’t need to have a control group.

No bibliography required, but you could site the source. Use a Powerpoint or an iMovie to engage your audience.

Time constraints- 45 mins or less.

Lunch with Mentors

Kate Kennedy introduces our guest writer Eleanor Morse, author of White Dog Fell From The Sky  “The Real Deal”

Eleanor will talk about three things today:
  1. Reading from White Dog Fell From The Sky
This book is based in Botswana.  Eleanor spoke about how she ended up in Botswana
and how this book came to be.  She discusses the contrast of Botswana and South
Africa at this time.  Then sets the stage for the book and reads a few pages.
  1. Shape of my journey as a writer
  • Started with her parents-in different ways they taught her language is not to be taken lightly, words matter.
  • Schooling did not support her as a writer much (exception-Mrs. Allen-1st grade teacher-read a lot)
  • Moved around a lot as a child-she was on the outsider so became an observer
  • Lots of “odd-balls” in her extended family.  A lot of people who ask questions about the things they don’t know and are curious about.  Unconventional people who push the boundaries.  
  • I’m drawn to things I don’t truly understand.  Mysteries of the human heart as William Faulkner would say.
  • It was not until my early 40’s that I really became a writer.  Thought I could fit it all in, but it wasn’t possible with marriage, children, work.  Writing fell to the side before this.
  • Decided to do an MFA-to try to put writing at the center and talk with people about things I cared about.
  • First book-threw out about 450 pages, published another book, went back to the first and finished it
  • For many years I thought I had wasted those years between 20-40.  But I feel differently now.  I am a better writer for the years I wasn’t a writer.  I was a better writer because of the years I lived fully.  
  1. The process of writing
  • I never quite know what is going to happen.
  • It took me 3.5 years to write White Dog Fell From The Sky.  Another year for edits.
  • Some people don’t write until they know what the end is.  I have never written like that. I would be too bored if I knew what was going to happen.  I have a much more chaotic process.
  • My process is like how a black and white photo with that vague image as it develops.  It is shadowy.  A shadowy idea about a character or a scene.
  • I will write about this.  Sometimes it doesn’t make it into the book.
  • The characters are the vehicle for carrying a story.  Plot is not enough for me as a reader.  Characters are my partners as I write.  
  • Writing Exercise-characters.  Sit with your slip of paper and imagine this person.  Jot down a few things about him or her.  Then put them in a scene-where do you see them?  Sharing.  What were you thinking about?  How did you come to that?
  • She uses the phonebook or names.  There is also a website that puts names together.
  • Characters emerge
  • Snap judgements about people-we make our decisions quickly-even in real life.
  • What you just experienced is a start.  It comes out of nothing and you follow that string wherever it goes and you trust it will go somewhere.
  • The engine of a fictional world is built on characters.
  • Curiosity has driven every story I have ever written.
  • Two places we write from-memory and experience AND imagination
  • Sometimes you have to follow a character in a direction in which you do not want to go.  Part of integrity as a writer is doing this even if it is uncomfortable.

     4.  Writing Challenges
  • Finding time to write.  
  • Ability to hear and trust one’s own true voice.  Without qualifications.  To write well, one must speak the truth, and risk speaking the whole of it.  No one has your voice, you need to honor it.
  • Balancing writing and the other needs of one’s life.
  • Internal tension between dreamy writing self and the practical self.  Tension between what the world requires and what the writing life requires.

    5.  We ended with discussion and questions.
Be thoughtful about problem solving ways to build writing into your routine.

Writing Time

Ten Minute Tech
Julia shares Thinglink-Interactive Images
Works with iPads or Laptops

Kelli shares No Red Ink-Improve Grammar and Writing Skills
Diagnostics are here you can use to see what students need to work on
Also has grammar rules and practice activities that go along with these.
It is specialized for each student

Blog is rapidly getting updated-Lorrie’s materials are there in helpful links
Reminder to post and give feedback on Writer’s At Work
Digital Exploration
Afternoon Schedule has been modified-tomorrow Writing Outside Workshop is cancelled to make more room for Revision Workshop
Book Discussion-Teaching Writing

Closing Moment (Heidi)
"The universe is filled with magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow smarter" Eden Philpotts