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MAKING Writing

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Paper is one of my favorite love languages. It’s different from clay or LEGO or watercolor or wire. If you’ve been around for a bit, then you know how much I adore making writing with natural elements too, but paper? Let me tell you why paper is so special to me. First, it’s everywhere, and it’s free. It’s also incredibly dynamic. We can crumple, tear, fold, and stain it. Paper has texture, and when…

Yesterday was my work anniversary! One year ago, I accepted a position as an instructional designer at Daemen College. I’ve been designing a sociolinguistics course that I’ll be teaching remotely soon as well, and I get to teach advanced composition again! If you would have told me one year ago that my life would look anything like it does today, I wouldn’t have believed you. And I’m profoundly grateful for where I am right now.…

My interest in loose parts play evolved out of the discoveries I was making through my own action research in the years prior to the release of my first little book, Make Writing. You can read more about that work by visiting any of these posts if you’re interested. These are a few that I find particularly revealing, as a reflective practitioner: Writing Ideas at Play (2010) Research and Writing in Kindergarten (a series) (2011)…

“I just ordered my first box of those weird under eye gel patch thingies that everyone from Rachel Hollis to Oprah to Brene Brown seems to be sporting on social lately,” I laughed, leaning away from the screen. “I mean, if Brene uses them, they have to be good, right?” “Do they sell them in extra-strength Covid-size?” my friend asked. “There is no eye gel patch thingy made for this moment,” I admitted. “But buying…

This week’s post is written especially for those who are making writing with their students and eager to elevate the quality of what writers build, before they help them transition to print. What do I mean by MAKING writing? Well, this is what I mean.  And why would we do this, anyway? I offer some brief thoughts on this here. —————————————————————————————————————————– If you’ve been experimenting with making inside of your own writing workshop or classroom,…

“Because she laughs so much, and when she laughs, it’s like music,” she explained when I asked her why she’d built a series of music notes to represent her grandmother. Fifth graders were developing characters for their personal narratives in that day’s writing workshop. “What kind of music?” I wondered aloud. “Gospel,” she said, without hesitation. “Her laughter is big and loud and rockin’. It makes everyone stop and listen. Yeah, it’s definitely gospel.” I…

This week, I had the opportunity to make and write personal narratives with writers and teachers from Fieldstone Middle School in North Rockland, New York. And I thought I’d share that process with you, so that you may iterate on it and share your own ideas and work back with the rest of us. We’ve been talking about narrative writing all month in my Facebook group, Building Better Writers, and I know that at least…

An important note, ahead of today’s post: There are different kinds of writing workshop teachers, in my experience: Those who are wanting a clearer path, those who are walking one (often in very good company), and those whose rich and varied experiences have called them to wander a bit, even as they carve a careful course for their students. And in an ideal world, with their students.  Those are the workshop teachers whose wisdom inspires…

I’ve spent this entire week traveling all over Alberta, Canada. I’ve worked with primary and intermediate level teachers, and I’ve worked with middle and high school teachers. I’ve worked with English and Science and Social Studies teachers. I’ve worked with French teachers. I’ve worked with Math teachers. And I’ve also worked with ELL teachers. They support the Hutterites who live in their communities. Those children were born and raised in Canada. German is their first…

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome teacher-librarian Melanie Mulcaster to my little corner of the web. Melanie has made a home at Hillside Public School in Mississauga, Ontario. I had the great fortune to meet her in person last summer, and we became fast friends. I’m honored to feature her reflections about making, reading, writing, and documentation here today. Please follow her on Twitter and drop by her blog to get to know her better. Making…