by Lynne R. Dorfman
Watch the stars and see yourself running with them. ~Marcus Aurelius
When you surround yourself with positive people, do you feel more positive yourself? Who are the positive people in your life? I know that one of the reasons I get up early on a Saturday morning and travel the 50 minutes to the Writing Project for Continuity Days is to feel the energy and be surrounded by “rays of light.” It sounds like I am exaggerating, but really – I assure you I am not. These Writing Project fellows are my support group – always encouraging, challenging, validating my accomplishments and my goals. They love coming together and sharing. There is an easiness, a feeling of home.
As I walk into Room 200 in Main Hall on the West Chester University campus, I think about my good intentions and my commitment to the Project and our goals. As I participate through writing and talking and listening and sharing, I nurture my mind with great thoughts. I am reminded of all the wonderful PAWLP gatherings for spring and summer and look forward to PAWLP events like the unbook club – where you can participate without reading the book first and then consider if you want to read it. How cool is that! Or the March 2nd PAWLPDAY that will feature Matthew Kay, Writing Project fellows, and an author panel. Taking turns to tweet for PAWLP, attending courses, or teaching for the Young Writers and Readers summer program for students – there are always possibilities!
It’s good to wish for and look forward to the wondrous things in life. ~Mary Smart
by Kelly Virgin
In Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas a little boy literally interprets explanations of memories and brings a collection of objects to his aging neighbor. At first the neighbor, Miss Nancy Allison Delacort Cooper, thinks the boy is strange, but then as she handles each object she begins to remember…
This story of friendship proves how powerful objects can be in provoking strong and vivid memories. With this in mind, my students and I spent a week observing the tangible in hopes of triggering the intangible.
My life is like…
Students spent some time twisting and bending a piece of wire into a shape that is representative of them or significant to them in some way. Once everyone had shaped their wire, we studied a quick mentor text titled “My Life has Been like a Basketball Game.” Finally, students wrote about how their life has been like their shape. Students conjured up memories to explain and make connections to musical instruments, game controllers, pets, vehicles, etc.
By Kelly Virgin
It is estimated that 2 million blog posts are written everyday. That is over 10 million per week.
The sheer amount of content makes learning about and teaching this writing task daunting. Nevertheless, my students and I faced this challenge head on as we worked together to craft and publish the first of what will hopefully be many posts on our new blog – khscreativewriters.edublogs.org. The following is the step-by-step approach we used to get comfortable and confident with blogging.
Step 1: Write!
Before I introduced the blogging writing task, I wanted students to have a wealth of ideas to pull from for their first posts. So, we spent a few class periods writing to gather ideas. First, we curated expert lists. Students had five minutes to list as many topics they considered themselves “experts” on. After we listed and discussed some of our expertise, we returned to the items and brainstormed types of writing we could do on the different topics. For example, one student who considers himself an expert on backpacking realized he could write a how-to guide or keep a journal of his backpacking trips.
Another list we created Read more
“Write down three words that come into your mind when you hear the word ‘transition’.” This is how we opened our first PAWLP Continuity session of the fall season. (You might want to list your three words now.) The follow-up suggestion was to simply share the three words with a partner. What naturally emerged, though, were extended and rich conversations about the reasons and feelings behind the words that were listed. We then asked participants to highlight the one word from their list they would be most likely to write more about. This encouraged everyone to reflect on which of the words held the most energy, significance, or tension for them. (If you have written down your three words, you might want to highlight one now.)
In our whole group sharing, people thoughtfully shared a variety of reactions to the idea of transition. One way of looking at the responses is that they could be categorized according to a binary of positive, e.g. exciting, new, opportunities, and negative, e.g. uncertain, overwhelming, scary. I’m wondering how else we might organize them, though.
Some people highlighted the word that seemed to encompass the others on their list. Others chose the one that stood out for one of the reasons mentioned above. Each of the words that was shared, whether it was the highlighted one or not, represented a story, or multiple stories, waiting to be revealed. Within the layers of those stories are questions waiting to be explored. (Look at your highlighted word again. What is the story behind it? What question or questions does it raise?)
by Lynne R. Dorfman
As new technologies, new staff, and new initiatives cycle through every district’s education system, change is inevitable. While teachers and administrators are approached with changes, appropriate response is vital for successful implementation. Choosing to respond rather than reacting to change will enhance the success of any endeavor. When you react, it is easy to feel helpless and frustrated, but if you respond to change, then you accept what is and choose to let it affect you positively. Three rules that will help create a positive experience with change are:
1. Be clear on how you want to handle change.
2. Set realistic goals for change.
3. Let change open new doors and point us in new directions.
By Paige Britt
As a writer, one of the most difficult parts of my process is time. There’s never enough of it! How do I finish my never-ending to-do list, both at work and at home, and find the time to write?
When I first started getting serious about my writing, I thought my time had to be spent, well, writing. Butt in chair, fingers on the keyboard. If I wasn’t writing—filling that white space with little black letters, watching my word count rise—then I felt like I hadn’t been productive.
I had taken what I’d learned from the corporate world and applied it to the writing process. In one of my jobs at an Internet startup, I had to log everything I did each day in fifteen intervals. I was constantly on the clock, trying to achieve measurable results.
When I started working on my first novel, part of me felt like writing was supposed to be that way, too. That I had to work fast and be efficient. But then one day my husband brought home a book by Brenda Ueland called If You Want to Write. In it she said, “The imagination needs moodling–long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.”
Dawdling? Puttering? Moodling? Did I really have permission to do that?