A Place to Bounce Around Ideas

Course Pack

Excerpts from Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones
Excerpts from Stephen King's On Writing (?)

Excerpts from Tom Romano's ZigZag
Excerpts from Don Murray

I'm assuming we would be fine with the copyrights since this is a course pack and would be one-time use. I'd like to make hard copies of this to put into the participants' binders. Any other ideas for excerpted materials?


Writing Response Groups

For this, I would like to see each group discussing the kind of feedback they would like from each other. However, I would also like to see a structure, a framework. Stephanie Anderson from Bad Axe High School has a great peer review process she has created, which has worked great. Let's get her to come in the first week and share her process.

Also, I'd like to see us as facilitators rotate amongst the groups and sit in on some sessions. Not necessarily to participate, but to observe, perhaps give some helpful advice in the form of a memo or something like that.

Mixing up the groups in Week 3 would be great to give the participants a sense of audience, and to help reinforce the idea that Elaine and Diane will be editing their pieces, too, when it comes time to assemble the anthology. Elaine would like to come in and talk to them once or twice about that, and I think we need to reinforce that idea of expanded audience awareness, as well.




I noticed last summer that some Writing Projects had their participants post their drafts on NWP's E-Anthology site to give one another feedback. I posted drafts of mine on E-Anthology, which was not required at all for us, and was surprised by the feedback I got, not just from my own SBWP folks but from participants around the country. There were three levels of feedback I could choose from, and I could even provide specific criteria I wanted addressed. It was great.

So I really like the idea of our participants posting a draft each week, so that the whole crew can have a chance to comment. This will also reinforce the idea of expanded audience.


Professional Piece

For this, I really want us to use Marilyn Brooks' and Bev Matulis' TE 601 Writing Instruction Resource. When I was a participant and returning fellow, the professional piece was handled in way too amorphous a fashion; I honestly hated it because there was little direction for it. The Writing Instruction Resource is individually driven by the teacher's own practice, and is inquiry-based research, complete with a project goal, and summary of their research, a teaching resource, and a professional response. We could have Marilyn and Bev come in and discuss this with the crew, and I could show them mine, which I have since used to good results so far.

Elaine is very much on board with this idea, and she's very enthusiastic about using this structure. I hope you will be, too, because we both think it will help make a weaker link of the SI much stronger. I'm crossing my fingers you'll be on board!


Teaching Demonstrations

Red Cedar Writing Project's approach to Teacher Demos is described in the PDF. Maybe we can "play" with this idea a bit (this article is the book I gave you).

This helps! I totally think we could make this model work. I actually wish we had done that last summer! Our teaching demo responses were a bit rushed and a tad superficial. I'm on board with this completely!

I'm not sure how to proceed here. Thoughts?


Guest Speakers

I've mentioned Marilyn Brooks, Bev Matulis, Elaine Hunyadi, and Stephanie Anderson. Who do you have in mind?


I'm thinking Troy Hicks is a real possibility. Also, I'm going to look on NCTE to see if we can get in on a pertinent interactive webinar. These are awesome and consist of high quality people.

I like the idea of bringing in Troy, especially since I'd love for us to incorporate elements of his book into the SI. NCTE webinars would be great, as well as some of the podcasts. I also noticed at NWP has some audio archives that could be quite useful. Tom Romano has become a bit of a personal hero to me, so I'd like to find something of his to share with our crew.

One more person to consider: Elaine Karls to talk about digital storytelling. I know you have good experience with that, too, so wouldn't it be great for you two to talk about that together?


Ideas from Meeting with Diane Boehm and Janet Rensch

A few weeks ago, I met with Diane and Janet to pick their brains about the SI and to get a sense of what they would like to see changed to help keep us in line with NWP expectations, etc. Below are highlights of what they recommended/strongly advised.

Personal Pieces. They both expressed a strong feeling that we need to put some parameters on the personal pieces. They both see the value of sharing personal stories of deaths, marriage break-ups, etc., but they have also received some feedback from administrators and supervisors that they were not expecting such personal pieces. I can see their point on that, considering the wider audience the anthology reaches. They suggested that the anthology pieces relate to teaching and/or writing somehow, which I think makes total sense, considering that the purpose of the SI is to emphasize the teaching of writing and administrators would likely be looking for pieces along those lines. (We could use Erin Gruel, Tom Romano, and plenty of others as mentor texts for that construct.)

They also suggested that we could encourage participants who want to create purely personal pieces to do so, and perhaps put together a website anthology just for that purpose. Creating a Weebly for that would be nice.

Technology. Part of why we were both chosen is that we are comfortable with technology and its role in teaching writing. They both said we need to make it an expectation that technology will be a part of our SI every day, and they're looking at reserving rooms where we can easily go between a traditional classroom setting and a lab (Brown would be ideal, according to them). They want us to pretty much require posting writing to e-Anthology, and we could even create a partnership with Chippewa River where we could exchange feedback with one another's groups.

Professional Pieces. They were on board with the Writing Instruction Resource model completely. They would like to make those resources available on SBWP website, as well. Very cool.

Guest Speakers. They were actually not too keen on having many guest speakers. Two or three tops, is Diane's preference. So we'll need to be very targeted on that.

Anthology Pieces. All the way through, we need to emphasize the audience and purpose of the anthology pieces, and that once the SI is over, Diane and Elaine need to edit the pieces. So what I think would be good is to bring them both in early on to explain that once the SI is over, there is one more layer to go.

Field Trips. They like the idea of field trips, but targeted ones, ones that make sense related to writing and teaching of writing. Roethke House is a favorite, and I have some pieces Roethke wrote about writing process and teaching writing that will help give better context to that visit. Coordinating with CRWP is a huge plus. Sites we visit count toward outreach, so that's a double bonus.

That's all I can really remember today, since my notes are in my office at work. I think I hit on all the major points. I'll add more if need be, once I get ahold of my notes.