Thursday, December 14, 2006
I will be here every Thursday, starting January 5th, from 6pm to 7pm, to write. If people want to come and sit and write with me, great. If you want to bring stuff to workshop, great. I know the favorite part of everyone's S.I. experience is writing groups. An hour a week, writing, talking about writing, supporting local business. I'm perfectly content to sit and write, but should you want to dig out a morning pages piece you had during the institute or some other thing you wrote, I'd love to read it.
Happy Holidays, folks.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
As I've confessed publically, I'm trying to develop a new blogging habit, at first because I want to be a good model for my students--you know, the ole what's-good-for-the-students-should-be-good-for-the-teacher syndrome--and now because Bud's convinced me that there's something in it for me, too.
When I was working on my book, I always began my writing sessions with a ritual: cup of tea, passage from a writing book (e.g., Bird by Bird), entry in a journal I called "Notes to Self." Well, I finished the book, so I'm keeping the ritual while I'm working on a new one, but this time, I'm trying to blog the "Notes to Self" entry instead.
So here's where you come in as does my shameless personal request...
Will you read my blog and comment occasionally on my developing ideas?
I know your thoughtful responses will help shape my thinking as I write. And then, while you're there, feel free to check out my students' blogs as well. You'll find links to them in the blogroll on the right-hand side of my blog.
I doubt my students and I will maintain the habit if we don't get traffic, which those of you reading this have probably learned from experience. So if your blog is active, be sure to link up to it in your comments so that we can visit as well.
Bud's skein of yarn is coming to mind.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Two summers ago, I began every day with an hour walk around a golf course near my house in Toluca Lake. I listened to wonderful Mp3s I had carefully playlisted on my iPod. Then, I discovered iTunes listing of podcasts. I knew David Warlick so I downloaded his podcasts which were not too regular at first,but low-and-behold...here was a podcast listing that said nothing but CSU Writing Project. California chauvinist that I am, I thought it was from a California Writing Project...maybe up north. I cheerfully downloaded it, thinking...oh, I'll listen for five minutes then go back to my cooking show. But...that was not to be. I strolled the whole perimeter of the golf course, listening to story after story. I found the and the readings completely compelling. "It's voice, I thought...and it is communicating to me even though I don't know them, don't know where they are...it holds me fast." Very shortly I told Jane Hancock, the co-director of UCLA's Writing Project a bout this amazing opportunity for our writing project people. "We could put on a show too," I cried. However, I remained a voice in the desert until last fall when the NWP requested that UCLA appoint a TL. They did. It's me, and that is how I met you last Friday morning.
If I sound a bit over the top, it is because the listening to those writing project voices was my first understanding of how powerful podcasting could be. Today, when I scroll down the ever-growing iTunes list, I remember how vivid the realization was.
Our work is important. Your voice is important. This time we spend together writing and thinking and learning and teaching is important. The trouble is, we may never know how or to whom it matters. Except today. Thanks, Lynne.
Now -- who wants to podcast? I'm always eager to record your writing, or to help you learn to do so on your own. Just let me know, either via e-mail or through the blog comments.
Monday, November 20, 2006
All the CSUWP folks are safely back home from the NWP and NCTE conferences. In some ways, attending these conferences generate the same feelings you have at the conclusion of the summer institute. You're renewed, you're brimming with new ideas, you're tired and sleepy, you've seen firsthand what it feels like to make a difference, you're fat from all the snacks, you're tired and sleepy, and you're convinced you can conquer the world. (Did I mention you're tired and sleepy?)
As a site director, I get to have another great feeling, though. This morning as I was engaged in my annual begging session for more CSUWP $ from the department chair and dean, I was able to say with confidence that CSUWP is making a tremendous difference, well, pretty much everywhere. Did you know that over 530 teachers participated directly in CSUWP programming last year? When you think about how many kids those teachers teach, even a conservative estimate means we've reached about 21,000 students last year alone. Over 125 of them participated in CSUWP programs like Young Writers and book clubs.
And that's just locally. What was really cool at the conference was to see what a difference we're making nationally as well. You know, sometimes we get our noses so close to the grindstone that we forget that anyone notices or cares what we're doing. Sometimes we don't even notice. But here's where my pride and joy comes in. It was easy to notice this week as I saw Bud with all his groupies (one of them has already e-mailed me for his address. She sounded a little desperate like she had to reach him NOW. Creeped me out a little.); Emily, Tiffany, and Rebecca presenting their little hearts out at NCTE; Cameron taking notes as fast as he possibly could in NWP sessions and carrying laptops, luggage, and LCD projectors without being asked; Jaime Wood glowing as she talked about her new book and her new life as an MFA student in St. Louis; and Rhys Roberts, Stacey Brown, Darren Marshall, and Stephanie Rector soaking it all in. I was in awe just standing by and watching.
And NWP leaders and fellows around the country are noticing your good work as well. Trust me, in four short years, CSUWP is already considered a pretty amazing site.
That's why I am so very proud of all of you. And when I say "proud," I don't mean in a taking-credit sort of way. I mean proud that I get to know you and stand by and watch what you'll do next.
You all are rockin' the world.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Originally uploaded by Bud the Teacher.
Ran into a familiar face on the Exhibit Hall floor this afternoon. Jaime R. Wood, one of my classmates in the first CSUWP Summer Institute, was there discussing her recent book on multicultural poetry and middle school students, Living Voices. She graciously allowed me to shoot this picture.
Cindy O'Donnell-Allen, our director, also has a book out right now. The Book Club Companion is about, well, book clubs. I'm hearing good things about both.
Writers write. Writing teachers write. I'm so proud of our CSUWP authors. What have you been writing or reading lately?
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
9. Free coffee, bagels and spreads
8. Groupies coming up and asking for their picture with you (right, Bud?)
7. The accents
6. Listening to other amazing professionals talk about how they teach what they teach
5. Listening to other amazing professionals talk about how they teach what they teach
4. Need I say it again?
3. Getting lost in Cordelia Drive, which turned into Lane, which turned into Court
2. The great stories and conversations over dinner and drinks
1. Feeling the urge to make changes that will change lives
One hotel room, two double beds, four people, split four ways = 25 bucks.
Next year, it's in New York City.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Hey lovely peeps. I know you’re not going to believe it but we’ve started demos at my school! I'm surprised and delighted and once again very thankful for how the WP has influenced my career. It was scary - I was the first to give a lesson and frankly, rather than try to answer one of my many big questions I stayed on safer ground. I taught something I thought I was pretty good at but could use some tweaking. I was certain I'd get a bunch of criticism – I am a young teacher in the midst of many who are teetering on edges of their last “steps.” But I asked for stars and wishes – did I mention stars? – and I got them. I have useful ideas to take back to the class and we’ve begun a staff discussion that’s more relevant to my life in the classroom than most others I can remember. I’m even considering that a couple teachers might think of me as a professional – and that has been hard to come by teaching at the school I (barely) graduated from.
Y'all helped me realize some of my own potential as a leader and with the support of another fellow at my school I was able to not cave at the last minute. Now I'm looking forward to staff meetings on Friday. I think those close to retirement have a lot to offer me - now I'll have a chance to actually learn from them.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Got me thinking again about trying to have a combined WP event (cocktail party?) at the CLAS conference in March. Whaddya think, Bud?
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I'm looking for a few good (wo)men to present to Preston Junior High School faculty on one of our many inservice days. We're trying to incorporate writing across the curriculum and what better way to get science and math writing than with a real, live human! Anyone interested in presenting either their research from CSUWP or sharing writing prompts that they use in the classroom? I'm sure we could cover substitute pay and maybe even throw in a sassy, little coffee (not literally)... let me know!
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
We had a Mini-Marathon at my house on the 16th of September, and it was wonderful. I think my favorite line of the day had something to do with a diaper commercial and how it made someone's uterus ache. Good times.
We enjoyed coffee, lots of treats--it's a writing project function--and shared lots of writing, writing ideas, book titles.
If you are interested in hosting an event, please contact Kim Penn about doing so.
Well, here we go.
Today, we're going to be talking about learning networks, and how we can use blogs, podcasts, wikis, and other learning tools to create them.
We're going to begin today here, an article in this month's Edutopia Magazine. The piece is written by Will Richardson, one of my teachers in the edublogosphere, the learning network that I call "home."
After we've read the piece, I'd like for you to take ten minutes and use the comments section of this post to write your thoughts about what you've just read, as well as any questions that this raises for you and/or anything you're hoping we can explore further today.
I won't lie to you -- it's my goal today to convince you that every person -- student, teacher, administrator, parent, or otherwise -- is a person of value who can contribute positively to a learning network. We've all got a lot to learn from each others' experiences, knowledge, questions and concerns.
And today, we're going to look at some of the nuts and bolts of that sharing.
Everyone's network starts with two essential pieces -- your input device and your output device. For us today, Blogger is for output, and Bloglines is for input. While we're a "writing project," We'll start with input today, and move on from there.
By the time you leave today, hopefully you'll have created a personal learning network, as well as populated it with some useful resources for you. Then, it's up to you to become a participant in the networked world. After you're proficient, it's time to get your students involved.
Anything else we accomplish is bonus.
A few links we'll probably end up using (although we might not):
- Blogger and Bloglines Tutorial (We looked at this when we met in June. No shame in reviewing it. If you'd prefer, here's another tutorial that deals with the same issues.)
- Technorati (Google for Blogs)
- Podshow (Adam Curry's podcasting "network)
- Bailey crisis blog article from Rocky Mountain News -- Friday, September 29th, 2006
- Bud's Wiki (permission letters, odds 'n' ends, etc.)
- Placeholder Wiki for Today
- K12Online Conference
- Karl Fisch's Fischbowl - Did You Know?
- Bud's "No Good Thing is Easy" Reference. (Basic tech and blog/podcast info -- might be a useful read for you -- but I won't force anybody to read it.)
- Visual Thesaurus
Monday, September 25, 2006
What do you think? How would you like to spend that time? I'm particularly interested in your suggestions/opinions/concerns/questions/etc., if you're going to be in the group on Saturday.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I'm pleased to report that I'll be giving one of the keynote presentations for the first "K12 Online 2006" conference/convention/virtual meetup/really neat-o mashup of smart folks sharing interesting things. Please read the rest of this post to learn more and to see how you can participate.
Announcing the first annual “K12 Online 2006″ convention for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice. This year’s conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30- Nov. 3 with the theme “Unleashing the Potential.” A call for proposals is below.
There will be four “conference strands”– two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day, Monday - Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two-weeks. Each presentation will be given in podcast or screencast format and released via the conference blog (URL: TBA) and archived for posterity.
THE FOUR STRANDS ARE:
Strand A: A Week In The Classroom
These presentations will focus on the practical pedagogical uses of online social tools (Web 2.0) giving concrete examples of how teachers are using the tools in their classes. They will also show how teachers plan for using these tools in the delivery of their curricular objectives.
Strand B: Basic/Advanced Training (one of each per day)
Basic training is “how to” information on tool use in an educational setting, especially for newcomers.
Advanced training is for teachers who have already started using Web 2.0 tools in their classes and are looking for: (a) advanced technology training (eg. how to write your own blog template or hack existing ones), (b) new tools they can make use of in their classes, (c) teaching ideas on how to mash tools together to create “something new,” (d) a pedagogical understanding of how technologies such as Weblogs, wikis, podcasts, social bookmarking sites, RSS feeds and others can deepen learning and increase student achievement, or (e) use of assessment tools to measure the effectiveness of Read/Write Web technologies in their personal practice and with their students.
Strand A: Personal Professional Development
Tips, ideas and resources on how to orchestrate your own professional development online; the tools that support Professional Learning Environments (PLEs); how to create opportunities to bring these technologies to the larger school community; how to effectively incorporate the tools into your personal or professional practice; or how to create a supportive, reflective virtual professional community around school-based goals.
Strand B: Overcoming Obstacles
Tips, ideas and resources on how to deal with issues like: lack of access to tools/computers, filtering, parental/district concerns for online safety, and other IT concerns while trying to focus on best practice in the use of Web 2.0 tools.
CONVENORS & KEYNOTES
For organization purposes, each strand is overseen by a conference convenor who will assist and coordinate presenters in their strand. The first presentation in each strand will kick off with a keynote by a well known educator who has distinguished his/herself and is knowledgeable in the context of each topic. This year’s convenors and keynote presenters are:
A Week In The Classroom
Convenor: Darren Kuropatwa
Keynote: Bud Hunt
Bud Hunt teaches high school language arts and journalism at Olde Columbine High School in Longmont, Colorado. He is a teacher-consultant with and the Tech Liaison for the Colorado State University Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project, a group working to improve the teaching of writing in schools via regular and meaningful professional development. Bud is also the co-editor of the New Voices column of English Journal, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English. A consumer of copious amounts of New Media, Bud blogs and podcasts about his practice and larger educational issues at http://www.budtheteacher.com.
Convenor: Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
Personal Professional Development
Convenor: Will Richardson
Keynote: Ewan McIntosh
Ewan McIntosh is an educational technologist and teacher of French and German. Based in the Edinburgh area of Scotland he frequently works around the UK and Europe, leading student and teacher workshops and conferences. He is an experienced workshop facilitator in the area of Web 2.0 technologies in education across stages and curricular areas. Ewan blogs at http://edu.blogs.com
Keynote: Anne Davis
Anne is known for seeing the educational possibilities in the use ofweblogs with students in classrooms, having implemented wonderful ideasand weblog projects with students and teachers in K-12 classrooms and atthe university level. She currently works at Georgia State University inthe Instructional Technology Center in the College of Education as anInformation Systems Training Specialist. Her weblog, EduBlog Insights
is a co-winner of the Best Teacher Blog inthe second international Edublog Awards, a web based event thatrecognizes the many diverse and imaginative ways in which weblogs arebeing used within education.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
We’d like to invite you to submit a proposal to present at the conference. If you have something you’d like to share with the community, both people who are new to blogs and/or experienced bloggers please email the appropriate conference convenor above with your ideas. The deadline to submit a proposal (just the proposal, not the finished product) is September 30, 2006. One of us will contact you to finalize the date of your presentation. Your presentation may be delivered in any web-based medium (including but not limited to…podcasts, PowerPoint files, blogs, websites, wikis, screencasts, etc.) and must be emailed to your assigned conference convenor one week before it goes live, (see above strands) so that it can be uploaded to the server.
The conference organizers are:
Darren Kuropatwa is currently Department Head of Mathematics at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is known internationally for his ability to weave the use of online social tools meaningfully and concretely into his pedagogical practice and for “child safe” blogging practices. He has more than 20 years experience in both formal and informal education and 13 years experience in team building and leadership training. Darren has been facilitating workshops for educators in groups of 4 to 300 for the last 10 years. Darren’s professional blog is called A Difference ( http://adifference.blogspot.com).
Sheryl is a technology/education consultant for the National Education Association (NEA), the Center for Teaching Quality, SRI International, the Virginia Community College System, the Virginia Department of Education, the Miami-Dade Public Schools, and the Alabama Best Practices Center. She has had several journal articles and book chapters published, been featured on public broadcasting television and radio shows, and is a regular presenter at local, state, and national conferences speaking on topics of homelessness, teacher leadership, virtual community building, and 21st Century learning initiatives. Sheryl blogs at 21st Century Collaborative ( http://21stcenturylearning.typepad.com/blog/).
Will Richardson is known internationally for his work with educators and students to understand and implement instructional technologies and, more specifically, the tools of the Read/Write Web into their schools, classrooms and communities. A public school educator for 22 years, Will’s own Weblog ( Weblogg-ed.com) is a primary resource for the creation and implementation of Weblog technologies on the K-12 level and is a leading voice for school reform in the context of the fundamental changes these new technologies are bringing to all aspects of life. Will is the critically acclaimed authour of the best-selling book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Tools for Classrooms (March 2006, Corwin Press).
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Every year I'm asked by my friends why I choose to come back, why I give up 4 weeks of my summer (plus more during the school year) when I've already participated in WP. Didn't I get what I needed? Too many teachers see specific professional development as something they’ve already participated in. Once they’ve done it, they look for something else.
“I did that last year.” “I already took a class on that.” “I already know how to do that.”
But I see it differently. There is no end to my need (for myself and my students) to be a better writing teacher, to be a more thorough and thought-provoking teacher-researcher, to be a deeper and more self-aware writer. It doesn’t matter that I’ve “already tried it” or “already done that”. It’s greater than that. It’s bigger than just my views and limited knowledge.
For me, WP Summer Institute is rebirth, rejuvenation. I see it on the faces of the "graduating" fellows every year. Oftentimes, teachers need to know that they aren't alone. So much of our jobs is behind a closed door. And WP reminds me of this. I'm always looking for new challenges and experiences to keep me in teaching, a job I live for but am afraid I'll burn out on. The writing project is still that for me.
The SI that I was a Fellow participant in was a great moment in time when I realized that I could and would do more for kids in a way I never understood. But the 2 years I've returned as a staff member, I've learned more. I've seen a lot…
…humble teachers realizing how great they can be; master teachers passing on wisdom to young, energetic ones; The same master teachers humbling themselves in the midst of a extraordinary community. I've seen inexperienced teachers see that there is more to teaching writing than what their limited views afford them; all teachers gaining a greater appreciation and understanding for those grade levels they don’t teach. More than anything, I’ve seen people step outside their comfort zone in their teaching and personal lives and be truly transformed by the experience. Every year is a bit different but always incredibly powerful. I’ve always said that every person that enters my life, even for a short time, is there to teach me something.
So Thank you…
To Sherry for illustrating how much the primary grade levels can inform junior high and high school teachers in their teaching of writing.
To Beth for showing me how “collegial” one can be when speaking to adults or ordering food… and how to keep a sense of humor through diversity.
To Kat for reminding me why I still need to travel and how I can make my experiences just as powerful for my students.
To Dani for showing me the most important lessons our kids learn are the ones they get early in life. It’s my job, as a high school teacher, to support those lessons.
To Julie for reminding me how sacrificing those things that are the most important to you for greater experiences can be the most rewarding.
To Colleen C. for demonstrating to me that you can truly make a difference no matter what you are surrounded by as long as you are willing to take a risk.
To Colleen (Stan) for proving to me that peripheral friends can somehow, someway become amazing influences in your life.
To Tami for demonstrating to me that super organized people aren’t necessarily super annoying (which I used to believe)… and that connections with people can take an enormous amount of work or can be instantaneous.
To Donna for reminding me that a strong family is defined by the deep connections between people, not societal stereotypes or monetary possessions.
To Cameron for showing me that no matter how accomplished you are at something, there are always new challenges to undertake.
To Elsa for giving me a much greater perspective on the beauty and successes of the ELA community of students and teachers.
To Trudy for showing us how much we, the teachers, have to learn from the amazing adults that are a part of our students’ lives outside of the stereotypical classroom.
To Cindy for proving to me that Doctors and Professors don’t have to be arrogant and intimidating (though you do scare me occasionally).
To Nancy for showing me how humility, wisdom, understanding, empathy, and knowledge can manifest themselves in a single master teacher.
To Lindsey for reminding me that surrounding yourselves with honest, positive people can enrich your life and experiences.
To Natalie for teaching me how to share… or at least attempting to teach me how to share, something I should have learned a long time ago.
To Laura for demonstrating me how people challenge themselves in so many different ways in so many different arenas.
To Heather for showing me that those that listen first and speak later have the greatest wisdom.
To Liz for reminding me that “the best way to teach students” should be a conversation that all teachers continue to participate in, because there is no one perfect way.
To Gilda for reminding me how important and powerful a sense of humor is for a teacher… and for keeping me honest by flicking me off… three times.
To Jackie for reminding me how much I miss having you as part of my daily life.
To Cam for reminding me how much I never wanted an older brother.
To Megan for demonstrating to me how much love one person can spread around and give to so many others.
To Kyla for reminding me how important it is to laugh and cry in equal amounts as much possible.
To E. Jason for reminding me that teaching students to have an open mind and empathy is more important that any content that we teach to kids.
Thank you all.
See you soon…
Friday, July 07, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Just adding to Cameron and Heather's awesome log: You know you're in CSUWP when - you're blogging (even though you hate blogging) on the fourth of July. You really know you're in the project when you don't mind being late to the BBQ because you'd rather be reading and or listening to stuff you've read and or heard already.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
But to me, the WP Summer Institute is the culmination of it all, although those of us that stay involved know that none of it ever really ends. But this time of year, Tamasag and all, feels like our year is coming to a close. As we speak, we are revising next year's schedules, reevaluating the interview process, and reconsidering next summer's procedures, so as I said, it's really only the beginning of another year of progress. On friday of next week, our WP Fellows will grow to a number around 80 strong. And they are amazing teachers and people that will only help CSUWP continue to grow in a way that very few WP sites have grown, not this quickly and efficiently.
So 2006 WP Fellows... start wondering about, considering, and exploring the many different ways that you can come back to us and make CSUWP stronger. In all of the above programs, we are looking for people to help and lead, and since I will be asking you on Friday about your interests, start thinking about it now. Cindy wants you...
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Although we still have a few days left, our trip to Tamasag tomorrow is the beginning of the end in my mind. The time off will be nice when July 7 elapses but the time we've been here has been amazing.
Wednesday felt like a day of "things we NEED to know". From Elsa teaching us about writing in the ELA classroom, which offered more lessons on the ELA population than many of us have learned in years, to Nancy's demo on "How to Change the World" from a kid's perspective, not exactly a light subject but one that does inspire. There is little doubt that both of these amazing teachers do just that everyday.
And lastly... of all of the amazing author's chairs this year, and they have been powerful, profound, and escapist, Donna's struck the biggest cord with me personally. It is a piece (a book hopefully... one day) that NEEDS to be published, NEEDS to be read... by everyone. It will change many. It already has...
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Soon, she would grab her 98 bags, attach them to her body and her bike, and meet her friend Tami at the corner for a bike ride to CSU. This ride always changed her from the clopping to a bouncier walk. After the first few blocks, she was ready to take on all that personal and professional reflection that causes brain pain.
During the day, Liz and her 20 friends in the CSUWP, plus a few extra around the edges, would laugh together, learn together, cry together, and write together. They would stretch themselves to the edges of their comfort zones and feel safe doing it. They would support each other with stars and a few wishes, and work on changing their teaching and selves for the rest of their lives.
After school, Liz would pedal herself home, bags feeling just a little bit heavier, up the gradual incline known as Mountain Ave. where she would instantly change into her “get sweaty” clothes. From there Liz would jump in her car and zoom to a stinky, carpeted room filled with other people in their “get sweaty” clothes, lead by a woman with giant fake boobs.
There, Liz, her friends Natalie and Lindsey, and 40 other friends in sweatiness would punch the air, knee their imaginary enemies in the face, and squat down until they thought their legs would snap in half. The continued for an entire hour until finally they would drop from exhaustion and pose like people in prayer to stretch their backs.
Finally, after all this sweating, and a day of CSUWP, Liz would go home, feed her face and fall into bed. It was a full day and she was just going to turn around and do it all over again tomorrow. She continued this for four weeks and then taught and wrote happily ever after.
By the way, I'm so proud to be a part of CSUWP again this summer - what a great community - a talented group of positive, motivated people - and awesome writers, too. I shed tears over author's chair every day. Being around all of you makes me feel so good about our profession. Thanks for that attitude adjustment-
Author's chair: something everyone in the institute looks forward to each day, except for one day, the day they have to read. I love it for the standpoint that as an adult, I love being read to, but also because there are some amazing teachers here who are amazing writers. Some have been so funny, that my face and stomach hurt from laughing, laughing so hard I was crying. And some, have been so beautiful, so rich in emotion and human experience that I could feel the corners of my mouth being pulled down, one of the signs I'm going to cry, as tears leak onto my cheeks. It's scary for the writer, but such an amazing experience for the audience to be present for shared life experiences.
I feel so blessed to be in the presence of so many gifted teachers and writers, so many wonderful people who make the world a better place by who they are and all the lives they touch. Every day I learn so much, I laugh a lot, and occasionally, am brought to tears by the gifts people give to an audience of careful listeners.
Monday, June 26, 2006
A few busy days ahead and then... ahhhh... Tamasag.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
I hope week three finds everyone well -- and that good work is still getting done. For the benefit of our podcast subscribers, who can only receive automatically one mp3 per blog post, here's another link to Kyla's great podcast. Forgive the reposting, but our subscribers will be grateful.
So here are the only ones I have so far... A re-recording of Colleen's Suess Tribute and Kyla's childhood view of her grandmother's house. Both are fantastic.
The Education of Bertrand the Zirk by Colleen S.
My Grandmother Has Two Houses by Kyla C.
Or... Click HERE to get a stream of any and all of the podasts.
Now... if we could only get others to join...
Friday, June 23, 2006
Well the first of our "Summer Writing Workshops" (aka Open Institutes) is almost over. This has been a fantastic week. I knew we were going to rock the first day when we started piggy backing. Since then we have had all the typical writing project "quirks" - Laughter, clicking on a laptop, tears and food! The week has been so much fun, and we have some great people in the group. Including our own young writer, Bethany. She's going into fourth grade and has been writing and sharing on all of our prompts with us. We think she's ready for Summer Institute right now. She's sure teaching us a lot.
I hope next week's workshop goes as well as this week. I am really looking forward to it.
A big thanks to Cam for helping me out the first day. You were quite the success. Your 6 pack is coming soon. :) Although you did somehow manage to break the electricity in the room. The front outlets haven't worked since you finished presenting on Monday!
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Another day of Double Demos, but this group has adjusted extremely well. There is an air of collaboration and respect in the room that always builds over the four weeks. But this year, I am especially impressed. Although the CSUWP fellows have always been amazing, the excellence of this year's demos are a notch above. Though they are still pushing for constructive criticism, this year's participants haven't quite realized how well they are doing so far. Nine demos down and not one weak one in the bunch... not even close. The entire staff has been awed by this year's batch. So far so good.
In addition, I learned today that E. Jason has commemorated the Fort Collins Flood of '97 and everyone in town should hear his rendition. In addition, I learned that I will one day be reading Lindsey's children's book to my Mathphobic kids. Fantastic author's chairs.
This "class" is already quite accomplished... they just keep adding to their repetoire.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Natalie and Jackie both did amazing jobs of demonstrating constructivist, student-centered, interactive activities that kept everyone engaged. The teaching of personal writing in the form of "gift" poetry and the link between the past and present as part of a high school histroy classroom were both extremely powerful lessons that any grade level or content area can use. Thank you both.
The demos continue to be engaging, amazing, and inspiring.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
A wonderful, emotional, intense week of hard work and reflection.
Every year's SI has an aura to it... this year is no different.
cautious but willing;
Youthful and wise;
Energetic and patient;
Challenging yet supportive.
They are Boisterous in plain clothes.
A bundle of contradictions.
But that's what makes them so special,
They are many things, all things.
They are coming into their own as a class of Fellows
and there is little doubt that they will do great things.
Just keep watching...
Friday, June 16, 2006
The Education of Bertrand the Zirk by Colleen S.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
when my stomach felt like a sieve.
She sounded excited, nervous, tense
My intestines were getting dense.
She told me of all the had to do
(Think of something intestinal that rhymes with "do"- I'm not going to sink to that level).
I missed the WP jumping in
the brass knuckles, piggybacks, and gin.
Then I thought of something that made me mellow
I remembered I was STILL a fellow.
Although I can't promise I'll be consistent
I do promise to NOT be distant.
So may good things come your way
and I'll close with Namaste'.
I wish fortitude to all the new fellows - Greg Pierson
Get used to it, you all will hear it a lot if you continue at this pace.
Also... first podcast should be up soon... Thanks Colleen (Stan).
OK, I'm going to cheez out becuse this is my first blog posting ever! What a milestone. Now that I'm over that little moment, my brain really hurts too. In fact, I can't believe I'm sitting here blogging at all. I think it's secretly addicting. Who is Lizard? Lizard, identify yourself man, or woman, or whoever!
On another note, I was amazed by Kyla's Author's Chair this afternoon. Kyla, you blew me away with your honsety, the rich depth of your writing, and your ability to do humor, poetry, tragedy with equal excellence. Way to go girl!!
Have a great night, fellow fellows!
I talked about this really cool website in SI today, Writingfix.com. Great place for random prompts, ideas for left- and right-brainers, interactive writing activities, and tons of ideas for cross-curricular writing and assessment. Check it out.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Once your photos are tagged, then you'll automatically see them in the badge on the right side of the blog main page. Click on them to see them in full size.
Also, once your photos are in Flickr and you're registered as a blogger on this blog, you can click the "blog this" tab above your individual photos from Flickr. Then, you can write a blog post and put a particular picture right into the post, as I did with the "Trouble" post below.
This stuff, once you get the hang of it, is all really quite easy. I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures.
We had a little bit of home cookin' from Trudy, a dose of lesson learnin' from Tami, and hopefully there will be a lot of story publishin' for Colleen (or Stan if you prefer) in the future. Her first reading is poster-ready, a fitting partner piece to "Everything I need to know, I learned in Kindergarten". Her second was again, a great example of hilarious reality, of the Jackie Sp8 mold.
Another fantastic day focused on writing and sharing. Soon, the demos pick up and, although all else remains, the pace changes. Put your head up and arms out and get ready for liftoff.
This morning, Tami presented a Rockstar demo. on critucal reading and writing, using poetry as a vehicle to get to this important thinking. Well-paced, great activities, wonderful personality and chrisma, and great experiences. We shared and built upon each other's thinking, we shared ideas, explained wy we thougth what we thought, we were allowed to act like 7th graders--always a plus, I took advantage of this by poking my neighbor in the ribs--and we all felt validated through specific feedback from the teacher, and candy, and we were building something very important: we were feeling successful through the positive experiences we were having.
"A mind is like a parachute. It works best when it is open."
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Originally uploaded by Bud the Teacher.
Doesn't this look like trouble? Two enthusiastic teachers, two computers, and knowledge about blogging? I think so . . .
It was sure a pleasure working with all y'all today. I certainly hope that you found the time useful. Don't hesitate to ask if you have further questions or need help.
I'm looking forward to seeing the amazing things that you do. So are lots of others -- make sure to use this blog and the other tools at your disposal to share your good work.
Tami asked if I would share the electronic files in the packets handed out today. If you email me, I will happily send them to you.
The summer institute is a great place to take risks and try new things. I hope you'll take advantage of the opportunity to set some personal and professional goals for yourselves. You won't find a more supportive or inspiring environment in which grow.
Have a great month!
It seems that the word "spicy" has taken on a special meaning this year, also potentially leading to unwanted bodily functions. From my personal relations with the owner of a local Asian restaurant (take it as you will) to a possible theme for the upcoming anthology... as long as everyone agrees (good luck with that), "spicy" is the first word to penetrate our daily vernacular. I am just glad that I can provide a muse (or a victim) for the class to get ammo from. I'm sure others, people and words, will soon get the chance.
Anyways, the 2nd day has ended. Nancy gave me reason to believe that her storytelling would put me to sleep (in the best way possible). Beautiful, comforting, and compelling. Thanks for sharing with us all. As for Jackie, I know her all too well and saw the voice, humor, and imaginative storytelling coming from miles away. She is living proof that truth is always funnier than fiction. Keep writing Jackie, many need your voice. And both of you need to podcast. Your voice behind your words are what make them yours. Others deserve the experience of hearing it.
Thank you all for making over 6 hours a day in a cold basement room during my 2 months off something I would never consider missing.
"Do what you can with what you have where you are." -FDR
CSUWP fellows, you are the seeds of change. You are the leaders who will rise to the top and make the changes we desire possible. And, you'll write about it I'm sure. I am convinced Jackie should write a "Dennis the Matress Guy's Guide to Pregnancy." What better way to get through difficult, tough, and challenging times than with a laugh? And Nancy and Cam clearly have a gift for characterization and using sensory images in their writing. What can I say? I predict four powerful weeks of learning together. Thank you for sharing your writing, your experineces, and laughing along the way. It will be a spicy summer.
I hope everyone takes the opportunity to use the NWP E-Anthology. I love the "bless, press, address" protocol. It's risky posting your stuff, but it's worth it. Enjoy all the feedback you get, and give a little, too.
Monday, June 12, 2006
CSU Writing Project Website
NWP Website (Click on Member Login to access the E-Anthology)
Blogging & Aggregator Tutorial (Follow the steps, ignore the time suggestions)
2005 CSUWP Summer Institute Podcasts
Megan's Poetry Blog
The Wednesday Afternoon Poetry Club
Bud's blog (Look on the right side of the main page for the links to educational blogs that Bud reads regularly).
Tell your stories, CSUWP 2006 Fellows, both personal and professional. The world needs to hear them.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Sorry about the delay. I haven't moved into the world of high speed wireless yet. And using the old-fashioned dial up takes forever (no matter how I fiddle with image quality, etc.) But here is the one photo from our retreat I know everyone has been waiting for.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
- Finding the Writer in the Teacher is a week long workshop (June 19-23) on developing yourself as a writer in order to improve your teaching of writing. Here's a copy of the registration form with all the info you'll need.
- Writing in the Content Areas is a week long workshop (June 26-30) focusing on integrating writing into the work that you're already doing in the classroom. Participants will use some of their own curricular materials and will leave with some writing ideas they can take immediately back into their classroom. Click here for a registration form.
Monday, May 01, 2006
I made the drive up 287, over roads carved between powder red ridges of rock, and through the trees of the foothills. I had to resist the urge to stop at a few places, walk the sides of the roads and write, but I was already late and didn’t want to miss any of the conversations and writing ideas I knew they were already sharing. I stopped in a restaurant much like any small town restaurant you’d come across in the mountains: the air thick with the smell of fat and grease from cooking food, the smell of wood smoke, and the wind blowing the scent of mountain soil, pine trees down into my face before I walked in. I ate quickly, took note that there was but one beer on draft, paid and left.
I made my way over dirt roads, some damp, some powdery, to the cabin. I was greeted by several teachers, with things that I can’t repeat, when I finally made it.
Now, to protect the innocent, and not so innocent, I will use nicknames for all involved.
After bringing in all of my things, I, known as Token, joined Apple Pie, Light Switch, Brickhouse, Weekend, Uniquely Beautiful and Blue Eyes at the hot tub. We enjoyed each other’s company, a writing prompt, and took time to share. It took quite a long time to share, with all the bathroom breaks and stories.
With the prompt of, Write about a word you or your parents used that was not really a word, Brickhouse had me in tears with, “I think someone burped a Sami, because it sure smells like Job-ee.”
Blue Eyes with her gorgeous rhythm, her incredibly smart prose, read a story about how people in her family who didn’t use the correct alternative language.
Weekend, among the many stories she told, read a story about boys, their propensity of getting naked in their youth, and the many other strange things they do.
Light Switch, a nickname earned after drinking one particular beverage, ten of them, and then changing, and also feeling that change as quick as a light switch, read about the foolish things parents do and don’t say to their children.
I unfortunately can’t remember what everyone read—I too was a little…distracted—but remember laughing until my face and stomach hurt before moving inside. We ate, went back to the hot tub, and told more stories, read some poetry, and talked some more.
When the cold finally chased us inside, we made a fire, laughed at how foolish we all have been in our youth, told stories about our loved ones, and crawled into sleep. We all started in the loft, packed in, giggling like children, before we realized we wouldn’t get to sleep this way. Brickhouse went to another bed, and Apple Pie went to another one as well, her fear of heights getting the better of her. Uniquely Beautiful and Light Switch slept near me, and I, being the token male, had to make a crack after coming back from the bathroom if someone burped a sami, cause it smelled like Job-ee, and grabbed a few small laughs.
We woke with the smell of smoke still in the air, some of us not feeling very well, before cleaning up, trading big hugs and driving home.
I hope you can all make it next year. It’s like summer camp for big, dysfunctional kids.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
It was wonderful to catch up with everyone and to spend some time writing in such a gorgeous setting. We weren't there long before a certain TC's bra was flying from the flagpole and we were writing about all the skeletons in our closets. Who knew that teachers had such sordid pasts?
I'm working on revising a couple of the things I wrote and I'll post them here if everyone else will share, too. (Apple pie, please please post your confession...?) And by the way, Sue, that poem you were looking for on my blog is now posted there, just for you. I'm glad you remember it almost a year later.
Anyone interested in meeting to write together over the summer?
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Any chance someone who was there would be willing to share with us what the rest of us missed? I'm a bit out of the day to day loop of this summer institute -- but I know there are important stories to tell.
All CSUWP Teacher Consultants and current Summer Institute fellows are welcome to be authors on this blog and to publish CSUWP info here. If you'd like to contribute, please leave a comment or send an e-mail to: budtheteacher at gmail.com and I'll be happy to add you.
We're looking forward to your stories.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
But the Billy Collins story gets better. Ever so much better. Even better than the time I saw Tom Cruise at TCBY in Taluca Lake, California. Or the time I saw Paris Hilton at the California Pizza Kitchen in Beverly Hills. Or the time I saw Paris Hilton in a Tampa, Florida mall. (I think she was stalking me.)
Last night at the gala reception, I walked into the room feeling quite sassy (our presentation had just gone very smoothly and we got two more invitations to present at other schools.) Much to my surprise, Billy Collins was having a drink at one of the tables; I figured he had left town shortly after the luncheon. I wished that I had the nerve to go up and ask him all my questions about publishing poetry. I must have said that out loud, because Bud looked at me and said, “What’s stopping you?”
Wow. Great question.
“What the hell,” I thought. Armed with a vodka tonic, the most grown-up drink I know, I walked over to his table.
“Hey, Megan,” he greeted me.
“Holy-shit-he-remembers-my-name!” I silently gasped, all the while maintaining a very relaxed, hip, outer affect. (The fact that we were all wearing huge name badges may factor in here, but I like to think he remembered me from the time our eyes met when I asked him a question during the keynote address, or perhaps afterward when we chatted intimately at the book signing.)
ANYway, Bud and I ended up hanging out, having drinks with him and talking about publishing and using Poetry 180 in the classroom. After a while, the perky conference chairwoman announced that the line dancing was beginning. Billy Collins looked at us and said, “Shall we?” Next thing I knew we were out on the dance floor doing the Boot Scootin’ Boogie.
I thought that was as good as it could possibly get.
When I arrived at the conference this morning, I found that Bud had signed me up as one of only fifteen highly privileged people to take an impromptu master class with the Boot Scooter himself. During the class, I read aloud a piece I had just written, and he said it reminded him of Gertrude Stein. Me and Gertrude Stein in the same sentence. Thank you, Bud.
I can now die a happy woman.
I line danced with the poet laureate.
That beats Paris Hilton hands down, don’t you think?
Friday, March 10, 2006
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Regular readers of this blog probably know that one of the major ideas behind the NWP is that the best teachers of writing are those that are writers themselves. This teacher writing takes a number of forms, this blog being my primary writing environment. Others write poetry, professional articles, keep journals, write fiction, etc. But one end goal of writing is getting that work read, or published. (I've been having some interesting conversations lately about whether or not publishing via blogs is really publishing. What do you think?)
Megan, one of the CSUWP's group of pretty amazing teacher consultants, has put together a really handy resource to help folks who are looking for places to publish. Here's a link to her three-page spreadsheet of literary journals that accept either poetry, or fiction, or both.
What other handy "Where do I get published?" resources do you know about?
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Busy weekend, but it's that good, "good things are happening in our classrooms, let's share them" type of busy. I'm really looking forward to it. I hope I can record some audio and pass along our conversations.
One note -- we'll probably be giving that conference presentation on blogging in a room without Internet access or computers. We're thinking that we might use sticky notes as a metaphor for blogging.
How many of you are conferencing in areas without reliable Internet access?
(Cross-posted @ Bud the Teacher)
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Really. Go look and read already.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
PREPARING FOR THE 2006 NWP ANNUAL MEETING IN NASHVILLE ––
We hope you plan to join us in Nashville for next year’s NWP Annual Meeting, November 16-18, 2006. Due to space limitations, there will not be a call for session proposals for the 2006 meeting. Please consider proposing a session for the 2006 NCTE Annual Convention and keep in mind that the deadline for submitting proposals online to NCTE is approaching quickly: JANUARY 17.
I find it funny that NWP would plan a conference in a space where they can't accept proposals. Seems odd, doesn't it?