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Common Core State Standards and PAWLP Continuity: TIEing it All Together

by Janice Ewing

      Saturday PAWLP days are a mix of interwoven threads. On October 12th, several of us  started the day at 9:30 with our iPad study group, facilitated by Judy Jester. This is a group that started meeting last year, with the goal of trying out and sharing our experiences with educational apps. We decided that this year we will each pursue an inquiry of an app that seems useful or interesting and will report back to the group at our next session, on November 9th. Any interested PAWLP folks are welcome.

       At 10:00, a few more participants joined us and we transitioned to our regular Continuity session. Since we didn’t all know each other, we started out by introducing ourselves and explaining what had brought us to the session that day. The reasons seemed to fall into three categories: gaining more information about using technology in education, sharing ideas for writing in personal and instructional settings, and experiencing the boost of energy renewal that comes from PAWLP get-togethers. This led me to the acronym TIE: tech, ideas, and energy.

       We shared some broad topics that we might want to explore this year, including teacher leadership, social justice education, the elements of effective presentations, and the rationale for why teachers of writing need to write. Several people followed up on these ideas in their freewrites, and a lively discussion followed the reading of each piece. We encouraged participants to consider developing these seed pieces for publication.  (PAWLP offers many opportunities to publish: through the blog, the e-journal, the newsletter, and Twitter.) We rounded out the Continuity session by reading and responding to an article about the opportunities and challenges facing teachers who assume formal and informal leadership roles among their colleagues. We began to weave together the threads of social justice and teacher leadership as an area of interest to several of us.

       At 11:30, some of us stayed  for lunch and our CCSS session. Lynne Dorfman and I facilitated an analysis of the role of poetry within the Common Core. This is a controversial and often misunderstood area, because poetry is not listed among the types of writing in the writing standards. We explored the reading and writing standards to find out where poetry is addressed, directly and indirectly, and found many connections, including: text complexity, close reading, word choice, sentence structure, fluency, alliteration, and rhyme. We read a variety of poems and examined how they might be used as mentor texts to facilitate reading and writing at a variety of levels and subject areas. And, of course, we wrote poetry!

       All in all, we had a wonderful day of technology, ideas, and energy. Please join us for any or all of these sessions on our next PAWLP Saturday, November 9th. If you have a piece of writing in progress or a presentation that you would like to try out on a supportive audience, feel free to bring your work for feedback.

         The consensus at our October meeting was to continue the conversation we started about the intersection of teacher leadership and social justice education. Is this a topic that is of interest to you? Please share your thoughts on this, or any other topics that you would be interested in pursuing through Continuity.


???????????Janice Ewing is an adjunct for Cabrini College and a co-director for the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project. Janice co-facilitates PAWLP’s “Continuity Days” and this blog. She is an avid reader and writer, and especially enjoys writing poems.

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