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.