Teacher? Writer? Then check out this resource…

Teacher & Writers Collaborative supports creative writing programs at community sites and schools in NYC and surrounding communities. They rely upon funding from individuals, corporations, foundations and government to continue their amazing work. They also–which really brings me to this post–publish a wonderful digital newsmag, Teachers & Writers Magazine which is free to you and an amazing resource. Subscription to their digital mag is free (through they would love your contributions).

Follow the link above and see what the January issue offers, and while you are there, explore the archives. You will not be disappointed!

TedED interview with girl with Asperger’s

Excellent TedED interview!

She’s highly successful, a recent speaker at a 2015 Women’s Conference, an undergraduate student, and she suffers with Asperger’s. This is a compelling read, for her words as well as the excellent resources she suggests/provides. Found this on my twitter feed; so glad that I did!

My top 5 reasons for keeping a writer’s notebook…

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…Seeing your life as Story can be the heart of finding your identity

…Our identities are ever-changing–shift-shaped by who we meet, where we work, where we live–the predictable and unpredictable events, the connections we make

…Looking back on our lives, we don’t see what and how we have lived in an orderly, linear sequence. Our look-backs break events into related chunks that can become Story. Some of of our lived-experiences we can name: happy, sad, hilarious, crazy, puzzling–others are harder to label

…A writer’s notebook can hold the raw material from which your Stories will emerge

…Every lived moment has potential for a writer’s notebook entry

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Brown Girl Dreaming…

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..catching up on some blog entries….

Brown Girl Dreaming, the award-winning novel by Jacqueline Woodson, is so many things to me. As a teacher, I see the countless possibilities for deep discussion, thoughtspots for writing, endless possibilities for visual and emotional expression. As a writer, I am invited into the genre of memoir in powerful ways.

I had recently purchased BGD when I was coincidentally asked to visit an Encountering Cultures class at the college, to share my thoughts on keeping writer’s notebooks. I’ve been writing snippets for several years about my two grandmothers; BGD quenched my thirst to continue my memoir piece on my grandmothers. I shared snippets of my memoir with the Encountering Cultures class and invited them to choose a powerful place in BGD and write. They did; their sharings were amazing. BGD is memoir at its best.

I assigned BGD to my preservice literacy students last semester. They met in book club groups to share the novel. They brought responses to their groups—an open-ended assignment for which I encouraged their imaginations to soar.

While you cannot enjoy their descriptions (so compelling) of their responses, you can view them below. Without question, they were as captivated by this wonderful novel as I.

 

Brown Girl Dreaming Animoto

No Words? No Problem!

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Wordless picture books, believe me, are for ALL ages! In class, the preservice teachers shared wordless picture pictures in small groups. While it would seem a picture book without words would target early childhood or elementary, my students saw (and suggested!) the possibilities for middle grades and high school students. Here’s a short list of their thoughts:

Reading comprehension:

-Even without words, students sequence a story line…Great way to develop what is often referred to as a Story Mountain, where the plot is developed from problem through climax to solution…Inferencing possibilities-no limit!…the strategy of Synthesis!…Summary!…Monitoring Comprehension!  We worked all semester with Ellin Oliver Keene’s Mosaic of Thought, 2nd ED Unknown where seven reading comprehension strategies are presented. I like to save the Wordless Picture Books day for the end of the semester, after students have worked separately with each of the seven strategies (monitoring comprehension, activating schema, inference, questioning, visualizing, determining importance, synthesizing), so they see how each strategy is at work in comprehending the story line of a book with no words.

Writing:

-Students could work together to sketch out a story sequence…to sketch a character map…to add words to each page…the possibilities are endless–

What I enjoy best about this day in class is the conversations in the small groups. The swapping of thoughts, the AHA moments, the laughter, the questioning…IF you teach middle or high school, wordless picture books are a wonderful resource!

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