Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2 Part II

   The afternoon is a haze of writing and reading but what I do remember is that after a productive meeting with my writing group and some more writing, Lorrie gathered us in the horseshoe once again for one of her fun grouping protocols. This time the puzzle's ranged from Bugs Bunny (my group), to Frosty, to Moses, to Eisenhower (if you were wondering, here is what an Eisenhower Jacket looks like):
Eisenhower Jacket

We discussed "Because Writing Matters" in groups and debriefed. It seemed that the consensus was that the book needed an update, as much of what it dealt with has become part of the language of schools and what is needed now are examples of implementation and what that looks like.  Last, we perused each other's Portfolio's and got to see the rich diversity of expression our class produced. My closing moment consisted of an intense piece and a a more lighthearted piece by everyone's favorite English teacher turned poet Taylor Mali.
   I am sure I speak for everyone when I offer a most sincere thank you to our mentors/teachers in the writing institute and express heartfelt gratitude for all the learning and creativity that we were lucky enough to bask in throughout the last  week and a half.  Enjoy your summers and don't forget to write!

Tuesday, July 2

Opening Moment: here is a link to Phuc Tran's inspiring talk on the dark side of the subjunctive mood and how the subjunctive and the indicative can unknowingly dictate our outlook: http://tedxdirigo.com/speakers/phuc-tran/.
Planning for August: the most important thing as we're preparing for the fall institute will be to meet in writing groups over the summer to discuss our work for the fall. Make some plans to get together, folks!
We spent the beginning part of the morning working in our mentor groups, allowing for much needed time to plan and create deadlines for summer work.

Title Help!

Greetings, Fellows!

Both Mary and Julie W. are going to be starting blogs as their writing path projects, and because of the vast number of blogs out there, they really need to come up with snappy titles just in order to register with Wordpress. Please help them out by commenting to this post with your genius title suggestions. Julie is going to be blogging about bee-keeping and Mary's focus is professional -- teaching and learning.  Let's make it a contest!  I will come up with some keen-fun and highly sought-after prize for you if you come up with the winning title.  Ready, set, TITLE!

Some random funniness

This was inspired by Lorrie's dry wit, but it is in no way a comment on her own skills as a cosmetologist.  Laugh away . . .

Monday, July 1, 2013

Optional Ways to Connect with NWP Educators This Summer

Hello, Writing Project friends -

As you recover from the first leg of your ISFI experience, you may want to consider participating in some programming the National Writing Project is co-sponsoring this summer. This stuff is entirely OPTIONAL (and no one would blame you for wanting a break from the Writing Project routine for a bit), but I thought you might like to know what's out there.   On the eve of the first portfolio due date, I imagine you're too swamped to read this too carefully--make a mental note and return when you're refreshed.  I cobbled together some information and descriptions from a series of NWP releases/updates that gives you a look at what's happening (disclaimer: I copied and pasted some sections of the text).

NWP has launched an Educator Innovator initiative that will work to connect educators—in schools and universities, libraries, museums, science centers, and community-based organizations—with a specially curated set of learning opportunities that support their interests in creative and powerful learning for the young people they work with.

The Educator Innovator initiative is part of an overall summer campaign, supported by the MacArthur Foundation, called the Summer of Making and Connecting. The goal of this summer campaign is to encourage a broad range of people to take the summer to engage in creative and connected learning – to make something, to learn a new skill in a new way, and to experience their own creativity and capacity in fields as diverse as the arts and engineering.

Of course, NWP has tons of information and resources to share with you. Here are some ways you can be involved with the Educator Innovator initiative:
  • Participate in Making Learning Connected, a Massive Open Online Collaboration (MOOC) that began on June 15th.  This is an excellent opportunity to network and collaborate on a wide scale.  Visit http://blog.nwp.org/clmooc to sign up.  It's not a problem to jump in midstream, and you choose the level at which you participate.
  • Check out the MacArthur Foundation's Summer of Making and Learning site (http://www.makesummer.org) and sign up to take advantage of the full range of possibilities.  
That's it for now.  So glad you're joining the network!


Bridging the Summer and Fall

We won’t all be together again until September 14th, but it is important to keep the ISFI groove going until that time.  However, we realize that you also need to enjoy your summer vacation.  Here are the (hopefully) simple expectations to complete between now and Sept 14.

  • Keep writing!
  • Meet with your writing group (in person or virtually) at least once before the 14th.
  • Keep up with the Path schedule you have set for yourself.
  • Be in contact with your mentor (at least once).

That’s it!  Hope you find it manageable.

Monday, July 1st

We started off the day with Seinfeld's take on "Bloom's Taxonomy"-Watch Here: You-Tube Video Our TMT was lead by Rebecca. She showed us some Book Trailers made by Animoto- an easy to use site that creates amazing videos. Be sure to check out how to sign up for the Educate version where your students can create longer videos for free. We got into our Writing Groups for the next hour. After that, Brigid took outside where we were able to look away from our screens for a little while and take in nature. We wrote observations down for 10 minutes and then wrote down our thoughts and questions. We were able to visit each spot and that person shared their thoughts and questions out loud. When we came back inside, we brainstormed ways to use nature with our students. Here are just a few off our list: take a historical perspective, have a student read their description of their spot and the rest of the class tries to find that spot based on the writing piece, develop similes and metaphors, write haiku and teach word choice, create a possible story that happened in your spot, simply observe outside and then choose a scene that could be used for laptop wallpaper.  Lunch time!

After lunch -- poetry!  Please share some of the poetry you wrote by posting it as a comment below.  The poetry speed dating generated some fantastic, engaged conversation; it was great to watch.  Poor Lorrie, she was again stuck with the less flashy lesson, but she made it flashy in her own way, with music and lollipops.  I love Lorrie's techniques for calling on groups (the group with the most years of teaching experience, the group with the member who has the most pets, the group with a member who has underwear and a bra that match, person who has been married the longest total number of years...). Then there was writing and question asking and preparing for the last day, with a poem from the Writer's Almanac to close.