Sunday, March 11, 2007

Home from CLAS

I got home late yesterday after two days at the CLAS conference in Colorado Springs. Driving home on I-25 in the pouring rain was no fun, but the conference was wonderful. Highlights were Richard Peck and Naomi Shihab Nye's keynote addresses, and Jeff Anderson gave a very funny address about teaching grammar. I'm looking forward to reading his book, Mechanically Inclined.

I presented my workshop on using public speaking to assess student writing (and stop taking papers home to grade!) It was very well attended and I only came home with one of my sixty handouts. If I knew how to attach a file, I'd attach part of my packet here. (Bud?) In preparing for the workshop, I discovered that I have a twelve-step process to assess writing using public speaking, the first of which ought to be Admitting We Are Powerless Over Grading and that Our Lives Have Become Unmanageable. Keep It Simple...One Paper At A Time. In all seriousness, it's a great paradigm, as it makes it possible for papers to BE COMPLETELY GRADED by the time the student finishes presenting it orally to the class. Nothing left to do in prep period except, well, prep!

I'm so grateful to the CSUWP and to Bud for getting me up and running in the presentation game. It's really great fun and I made some nice connections with other passionate teachers. I saw lots of folks from the Denver Writing Project, the Rocky Mountain Writing Project and the Colorado Writing Project. Alas, no familiar CSUWP faces, though. Rumor has it that next year the conference is coming to Denver (at last!), so perhaps more of us can attend. I know more folks in my department will be inclined to come if they don't have to pay Broadmoor prices for lodging.

Best wishes for a relaxing and rejuvenating spring break!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

On Writing

I'm sitting in Mugs on College and Olive, reading Stephen King's book On Writing: a memoir of the craft and laughing hysterically. People keep staring at me, looking at me as if something, more so than normal, is wrong with me. I'm looking around the room for another regular that I know because I want them to read the passage about Eula-Beulah, the farts, the eggs, but no one I know is here.
Now that my computer is out and open, I'm no longer laughing, and people are no longer staring at me, I'm reminded of some of my own funny childhood moments, similar to Mr. King. Why not write about them?
Pick up the book. Once it's open, you'll only want to put it down so you can write.