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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Janet's Collaboratively Written Log Report on Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our 21st Red Cedar Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute, is composed of 6 outstanding secondary teachers of writing, RCWP Co-director Dawn Reed, and myself.  I am humbled daily by the amazing insights each participant offers as together we attempt to improve our practice as writers, as teachers of writing, and as teacher leaders.

In lieu of an individual log report, I am inviting each of our participants to join me in commenting on the most important thing they feel they learned today.  I'll add my own insights at the end.

This has been a day, like most, punctuated by food--literal and figurative.  We began with an amazing homemade bread and fruit bowl (watermelon, strawberries and blueberries!  YUM!) that Kristen made for us.  Lunch was a collaboratively developed salad bar.  Salad greens, cheeses, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and a variety of salad dressings were complimented by animal crackers; a whipped cream, chopped apple and candybar fluff; and chocolate chip cookies.  All afternoon we were able to graze on these leftovers and the miniature candy bars that Mitch, who is facilitating WIDE PATHS: Digital Writing Workshop, shared first thing in the morning.

But we have fed one another figuratively as well.  From short consultations on pieces of writing and teaching demonstrations to check-in's on portfolio progress, we were busy, busy campers.  We looked at children's books and their ability to break complex aspects of grammar, syntax and usage down to manageable chunks for our students.  We adopted a critical stance on language usage, and talked about colleagues whose life work has been devoted to trying to make school a more equitable, accessible place for students often marginalized.  We applauded Mandy's film trailer and film review log report that once again, pushed the log genre envelope, and we discussed the cookbook that hasn't yet materialized though it remains on our minds (usually accompanied by stomach growls).

Teachers came to this institute with the knowledge, skills and dispositions that had already helped them achieve "outstanding" teacher status, but they also brought with them the humility, critical and creative thinking skills, and desire to better serve their students and country that will keep them in the vanguard throughout their careers.  And now a word from them...