Monday, May 8, 2017

A Day in the Life of the Writing Project...

It's almost time for the Central Texas Writing Project! Last weekend, a group of teachers, professors, and authors gathered at Texas State University for our first pre-institute meeting. We gathered to share food, make introductions, and learn a bit about how the Writing Project works.
                                                "my mom holds her accent like a shotgun, 
                                                 with two good hands. 
                                                 her tongue, all brass knuckle 
                                                 slipping in between her lips
                                                 her hips, all laughter and wind clap."

The day began with a poem by Denice Frohman. Her poem, "Accents," set the stage for our journal writing time. After we had several minutes to write, we opened up the floor and got to hear from several brave teachers. Participants used Denice's poem as a springboard that turned into stories about their mothers, words they remember from childhood, stories of pain and strength, and the love of a family. Author's chair is one of the most special parts of any writer's workshop, and especially of the Writing Project.

Next, I got the opportunity to model a demonstration based on the book A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen. I've blogged previously about this gem of a book. We focused on kindergarten writing goals, invented spelling, and how important student ownership is in the writing process. The teachers put themselves in the place of 5 & 6 year old writers and practiced writing from a student point of view.

During lunchtime, the teachers met with their coaches to work on preparing the demonstration lessons that will be presented during the Writing Project. This time allows the future teacher consultants to match their classroom practice with behavior and education theory. They get an alternative viewpoint, a new mentor, and the encouragement of someone who has been through the Writing Project experience before.

We ended the day much the way it began. We watched a brief video on the What's Your Sentence project by Dan Pink.
After the video, we all reflected on the day, the video, and wrote our sentence. We shared our sentences around a circle, with bold statements about the teachers, men, women, and people we wanted to be. We wrote of how we want to be remembered, who we want to influence, and the children we hope to affect.

If you ever want to be a part of a professional development experience that will change your life, please look into a local Writing Project site. I cannot wait to get started!