Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Podcast #15 -- Craig Moyer

We're back. Podcast 14 is working through some personal difficulties -- so we're moving forward. Craig Moyer is an elementary school art teacher. In this podcast, he shares two very serious poems and a humorous story involving a dictionary and various states of undress. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Who qualifies?

I met a wonderful woman at a conference recently who is very interested in NWP training, but is not currently teaching, and hopes to teach at the university level when she finishes her dissertation next year. Can college professors do NWP training or is it available only to K-12 teachers, administrators, counselors, etc.?

Sunday, July 17, 2005


I'll be taking a week-long vacation beginning today. Podcasts will resume in full force when I return. There's lots of good stuff coming . . .please be patient!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Podcast #12 -- Kim Penn

Yup. If you've been paying attention, you've noticed that podcast 13 came before podcast 12. That's because of new math -- and because of the speed at which some files transfer and some don't.
Kim Penn is today's podcaster. She's perhaps the most polite of our group -- I especially love the "thank you's" at the end of each of her pieces. I know that you'll enjoy her writing, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Podcast Vacation

Just a quick note to let you know that I've been on a bit of a computer vacation. Podcasts will resume tonight or tomorrow.

Chillin' in Telluride

I am here in Telluride with my family (my husband works at a theater company here in the summers). On Saturday we leave him here and head southwest to LA for some grandparent time. It is breathtakingly beautiful here, of course, and (along with Crested Butte) was the site of origin for much of my poetry last summer. I am not writing a poem a day anymore. My muse is so complicated in motherhood, daughterhood, wifehood. I've written some, but the lack of structured writing time (not to mention daily prompts and sources of inspiration) makes it harder. I also feel some guilt about abandoning the daily poem practice...that's the thing about a practice, I guess. When you DO it, it's great and when you don't, it isn't. My poetry blog is attracting readers, though (come read if you haven't yet) and having an audience is a great motivator. I hope everyone else is finding some down time and resting those teaching muscles. It's hard to relax on vacation while being so inspired (post-institute) about teaching at the same time.


P.S. Julie's still posting on the E-Anthology. Check out her rewrite of Laundry Day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

This'll only take a second

This is too good not to share. Hope y'all are up to good things -- come and blog about them!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Guinness Book of Me: a Memoir of Record

The Guinness Book of Me: a Memoir of Record
Record Setting Drive to Taos!
Steven Church of Fort Collins, Colorado drove in record time to the Taos Summer Writer's Conference. Reporters on the scene say he completed the drive in a mere 5.5 hours. This record has not yet been confirmed, but is baffling nonetheless. At present, there is no information about the amount of Chex Mix this notorious trencherman consumed while setting this record. We'll keep you posted.

CSU Writing Project Summer Institute 2005

CSU Writing Project Summer Institute 2005
I'm in withdrawl from the CSU Writing Project. It felt so good to spend a month with a group of lifelong learners. I learned a lot from all of you about myself as a teacher, writer, and general human being. Thank you for being such amazingly real people.
The more I think about education, the more I realize that what we have done is revolutionary. I believe that a movement like NWP could elevate the teaching PROFESSION like nothing else. Just think what could happen if teachers began sharing their expertise like other professionals, i.e. doctors and lawyers. It could change the world. So, don't read too much of Eggers' new book, because we don't want anyone dropping out. The world needs us!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Podcast #13 -- Rebecca Fox

In today's podcast, Rebecca Fox shares a series of unfortunate dating experiences. You'll enjoy it, I promise.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Podcast #11 -- Julie Meiklejohn

In today's podcast, Julie shares two poems. You'll enjoy how she plays with words.

Poetry in your classroom

Check out Billy Collins' website that highlights a poem a day for use in high school classrooms. I found it on the CLAS site. He is a featured speaker at next year's conference...see you there?

A little slow, but eventually I get there...

I just realized that the list of calls for manuscripts at the side of this blog are calls for manuscripts! Wow, what a great resource and a generous thing to compile and share, Bud. Muchas Gracias.

Good Questions

Clarence is a Canadian educator. I read his blog regularly. Today he writes:

Knowledge is something that many students think is a compiled mass of stuff that they need to memorize and fill their heads with. It is not necessarily something they feel they need to understand, expand upon, or comprehend. To many students, it is finished.

Science Magazine has compiled a list of 100 questions that science needs to solve. 100 big questions for this century. Interesting. What else is interesting is this essay they have posted In Praise of Hard Questions.

The essay explains how hard questions, many of which seem unanswerable push us forward. They push us towards novel ways of thinking, new ways of looking at problems, and ask us to stretch what we feel we are capable of. This would be valuable reading for students (if of course I was not enjoying my second day of summer holidays :) ).

As is equally true in classrooms as in a hard science research lab:

"Unsolved mysteries provide science with motivation and direction. Gaps in the road to scientific knowledge are not potholes to be avoided, but opportunities to be exploited.

"Fundamental questions are guideposts; they stimulate people," says 2004 Nobel physics laureate David Gross. "One of the most creative qualities a research scientist can have is the ability to ask the right questions."

Science's greatest advances occur on the frontiers, at the interface between ignorance and knowledge, where the most profound questions are posed. There's no better way to assess the current condition of science than listing the questions that science cannot answer. "Science," Gross declares, "is shaped by ignorance."

The idea of classrooms being learning communities, where students are pushing the boundaries of their knowledge, and of knowledge in general is one we need to pursue. Classrooms as places of research, of dialogue, of knowledge creation is powerful, gives education relevance, and moves ideas to centre stage in classrooms.

It would be interesting to compile a list in a classroom with students of what they feel the gaps are in their knowledge are. Would they feel there are gaps, or does schooling knock ideas of creativity and curiousity out of them?

NWP E-anthology Participant Survey

Here's the link to the participant survey for CSUWP participants. It'll be up for two days.

UPDATE: Two days came and went. If you'd still like to participate in the survey, log onto the e-Anthology.


Originally uploaded by Bud the Teacher.

Tired. But almost home. Hang in there, gang -- two days to go.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sock Puppets

Couldn't resist posting this short video from Craig's log today. I like sock puppets. I hope you do, too.


I've been using Flickr to host the photos that I'm taking of the Summer Institute. I discovered this morning that some folks are using Flickr to host creative writing written in response to photos. Check out flicktion. Click on a photo to read the caption. Some are clever short captions. Others are entire stories. Most are pretty good and the pictures are interesting. Might make for a good writing exercise for your students.
Maybe you can start your own Flickr account (it's free) and write some of your own flicktion. What else are folks doing with ptohos in their classroom?

A Concern

So I've been on the hunt for other Writing Project blogs. I've found a few healthy ones, but I've found an awful lot more "sleeping" or down right dead blogs. It's kind of sad to see writing project sites with dead and dying links and blogs. I know that teachers get busy, and that we all have grand plans that fall by the wayside.
But please. Please. Don't let this blog die.
Many of you are signed up as contributors. Many more of you have expressed an interest. If each of you found the time to make one post or comment every week or two, this blog can stay healthy.
Please. Please. Don't let this blog die.
There are others who aren't in our group who do read this blog. Perhaps they find ideas for their classrooms here. Perhaps they enjoy watching another group at work. For their sake, and ours, please. Please don't let this blog die.
Okay. That's enough groveling. For now.

Podcast #10 -- Rachel Church

Rachel the Podcaster
Originally uploaded by Bud the Teacher.

This is Rachel Church reading a short story for our podcast. She's sitting outside at Tamasag, a retreat center where the CSUWP spent the day before the 4th of July weekend. The sounds of birds and nature combined with her reading voice make for a great podcast.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Teacher's Voice

Megan B. shared this with us this afternoon:

The Teacher’s Voice is a small press literary magazine which contains poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction that reflect the multifaceted and varied American teacher experience. We publish creative writing that ranges from the idiosyncratically personal to the broadly socio-political: work that makes connections between the two gets special consideration. We look for writing that takes risks and is critical without being overly self-indulgent. The American education system has a myriad of problems and some stunning successes that teachers know intimately. Our goal is to provide a literary journal for these very same teachers to creatively communicate their perspectives.

Each fine collectable hardcopy is 8 ½ by 5 ½, 60 pgs., printed on recycled paper, with ivory linen card cover, and saddle-stitched. The bulk of circulation will come through subscriptions, but we plan to place The Teacher's Voice on many independent bookstore and library shelves around the N.Y.C. metropolitan area and other parts of the country.

We are open to all inquiries and are calling for strong poetry especially from teachers. We hope to make The Teacher's Voice the most welcoming literary journal for those committed to education. If you would like to submit work online or by mail, please see our submission guidelines or query:

Grateful appreciation goes out to our subscribers and we trust that more will offer their support by ordering a copy or subscription. Our survival depends on readership support and we ask that readers consider donating an inaugrual year subscription to their local public or school library. Library copies are laminated and reinforced. Such donations will be acknowledged in our Winter 2005 issue.

Submit. Submit. Submit.

Blogging Resources for Your Classrooms

Julie and some others were asking today about the ethics of blogging with kids. I've blogged with kids before, with great success, and I intend to blog with them in the future. (Hmm ... I've never conjugated the word "blog" before -- but it's kind of fun!)
Anyway, if you're going to blog with students, which is still a rather gray area in a lot of places, it's probably a good idea to involve your administrators and parents. I'm sure you knew this already, but better safe than sorry. I've got a wiki where there's lots of stuff that might be useful to you in terms of sample policies, permission slips, student activities and other handouts and conversations.
Check through the links and see what's useful. If you need something that you can't find on the wiki, let me know and I'll track it down for you.
Better yet, go ahead and create what you need and then share it with us on the wiki.

More reading

If you've got a minute, here's another good article on blogging teachers.
Of course you've got a minute. You're here at the blog, instead of working on all the stuff that's due this week. So you must be done.

Kylie's First Post

Smelling Grandparents

Beautifully damp
rich soil spirits oust
meanicing dust devils.

Quiet softens
convening chorals of insects
being conducted
beneath the oaks.

Path guided
lighted by friendly winks
from lighting bugs.

Heart dancing
flowing with floating stalks
bushy buds bout knee high.

Life swirls from life
condensing in soft
melodic scents,
creating my soul.

Bad Writing

MSNBC referenced National Writing Project this morning in an article about how bad writing is leading to money issues in trying to educate state employees properly. Interesting reading... at least it would be if the piece were written well. Ironic. Though, the author did use the word "befuddles". Check it out.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Podcast #9 -- Nicole Herr

Originally uploaded by Bud the Teacher.

Nicole's poem and this photograph go together. Enjoy them both.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Poetry Blog

Hey everyone...

Bud's influence was finally too much for me, and I've created my own poetry blog. I know just enough about what I'm doing to be considered dangerous, but the fun of the NWP E-Anthology and the CSUWP blog convinced me to set one up. Check it out.

Hope everyone's enjoying the four-day weekend. Lots of house cleaning happening in between naps at my casa...

Friday, July 01, 2005

What Will's Learned

Will Richardson blogs at Weblogg-ed. He's one of the bloggers that inspired me to try a lot of what I'm doing with blogs. He's also been at it longer than most, as he's just recently celebrated his fourth birthday as an educational blogger. I'd encourage any of you interested in learning more about blogging with your students to check out his website. No, really. Go there now. It's chock full of resources, and they're all good ones. Here's a recent list of Will's "lessons learned" about blogging and students:
  • Weblogs are disruptive. I think that's what I find most intruiging about this technology is the way in which it changes much of what it touches. Weblogs disrupt the notion that the best way to deliver curriculum (or publish the news, or run a campaign) is the same way we've been doing it for eons. It's not.
  • Weblogs are personal. It doesn't matter what I blog about, I leave a piece of my soul every time I blog because I'm always feeling the reader on the other side of the screen, imagined or not. I'm not just putting words out there; I'm putting a part of myself, and even though I've been doing it for four years now, each post still feels like a risk.
  • Blogging is thinking. I know I say that all the time, but if you're not expending some brain cells when you blog, you're not blogging.
  • Blogs take work. They need to be nurtured. They demand attention. It really is like planting a seed and then consistently tending to its growth.
  • Blogs are not for everyone. Although I wish everyone had a blog, I can understand why many choose not to.
  • Blogs are as flexible as your imagination. I'm still amazed by the different ways teachers are employing this technology in classrooms, and I still don't think we've even begun to realize the potential.
  • Blogs are a risk, but not as much of a risk as some would suggest. Common sense tells us to protect our students and to teach them appropriate use, and by and large, most kids play by the rules.
  • Kids love comments. I know Anne said this as well, but it's so true. And they also think they know what this blog thing is about, which they really don't from an instructional sense. And therefore
  • Teaching blogs to students takes a plan. What do you want to achieve? What can you do with a blog that you can't do some other way? Effective use of Weblogs in the classroom comes when teachers have planned well.
  • Blogs empower students and move control away from teachers. It's something that at first takes a while to get used to, but to not see blogs as expansive is to limit their potential.
  • Parents like blogs, the ones that take an interest, at least.
  • I've learned more about teaching, about communicating, about the world, about technology, about community from blogging than anything else I've done.
  • Podcast #8 -- Rhys Roberts

    Rhys Roberts is today's featured podcaster. He reads a piece about his grandmother. Simple, yet powerful. Enjoy.