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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...


Blogger Kristin DeLonge Graham said...

The thing that sticks out most to me today? Hmmm, I think it would have to be our discussion that started during our lesson on introductory phrases from Dawn. I had never really considered the fact that some lessons may "privilege" some students more than others. Certainly, I try to be equitable to all students in my teaching. However, our discussion raised some interesting points. Mainly, I need to consider if some of my lessons privilege one group of students over others. What does this mean? Am I teaching lessons that cater to students have had certain experiences? Are those students that may not have had those experiences at a disadvantage as a result? I don't think so, but it's certainly a possibility. It's definitely something to think about as I plan lessons in the future.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The thing that sticks out to me most today would be the fact that when I share an idea with someone in this group, an idea that is in its infancy and needs some guidance, I am always given an excellent direction to pursue. I had a baby portfolio idea in mind, I talked to Janet about it, and it has grown into a piece I am VERY motivated to complete, not just for my portfolio, but also for use in planning lessons in the future. I consistently get brilliant and inspiring ideas from the group!

2:07 PM  
Blogger Aubrey McClain said...

What sticks out most in my mind today - and really each day that we have been here - is that when a question is asked, at least one of us has a recommendation on what or who to read, experiences we have had ourselves in the classroom, or ideas that could possibly work. It has been a wonderful experience to be able to work daily with a bunch of writers who struggle with the same issues as writers and as teachers. I really think that because of the age diversity of our group and our experiences in our own classrooms, we have been immersed in ideas that range from the very young minds who are just learning to the more mature minds who have been at this a long time. It has been valuable to be a part of this diverse group who is always willing to share ideas.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Dawn Reed said...

Mentorship inspires. Today I have been feed by the thoughtful reflections of my colleagues. From discussions on teaching demonstrations, equity issues in teaching, videos to make us smile and various genres of writing, I am constantly inspired and amazed by such wonderful teachers. Thank you for the collaboration.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Aubrey McClain said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Miss Hayes said...

What sticks out to me the most from today is how well we all collaborate with each other. Whenever anyone has a question, she is comfortable presenting it to the group, and the group responds with thoughtful ideas and advice. I know my teaching has already benefited from each person here. I have received help, advice, and encouragement from these 7 women whom I have known for only a couple weeks. :-)

2:21 PM  
Blogger Miss Hayes said...

Amber said...

Time is an educator's long lost friend. During the school year, time is never nearby, and you are constantly struggling to find the time to do...lesson plans, revise lesson plans, revise models, find mentor text, grade papers, post lesson plans...the list is never ending. So the most striking thing about today is having the time to really experiment and revise lessons from my past, especially from a technology perspective. I have been able to really think and expand on what I have done in the past, and made it better with the workshop time we have had today for our portfolio. I was able to make some informational handouts that I had time to really revise and edit, and even was able to add some helpful visuals! During the school year time is a rarity, and I know my lessons aren't as well thought out as they could be. Today made me realize how time can help me become a more rounded teacher, and add more technology to my classroom.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Miss Hayes said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Bethany said...

Collaboration is important. Look at us at RCWP. Will explain on Monday

3:43 PM  

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