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