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#MakeWriting

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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.…

Last week, I started a conversation that I promised to continue throughout this month, one post at a time. It’s about privilege, power, and print inside of our writing workshops and classrooms. Where we’ve been, where we need to be going, and what I’m trying to do, in order to help people get there. My ideas are a small contribution. I know this. I have much more to learn and others have so much more…

Last week, I had the great fortune to coach research and information writing in Melanie Jones’s kindergarten class at John T. Waugh Elementary School in Lake Shore, New York. We were most interested in taking the Next Generation English Language Arts Standards for a drive by diving into play-based learning and exploring the effect that it had on rigor. First things came first, though: we needed an audience for students’ work! Thanks to my vibrant…

Earlier this week, I shared this matrix for designing rich learning experiences, and a bunch of people asked what each dimension of the 2×2 might look like inside of a writing workshop. So, I made this tonight. I’m traveling a bunch this week, so this post is short and late, but it’s up! I’m wondering how it sits with you. How might your students pursue rich learning experiences of their own? Come talk with me about this…

When I wrote Make Writing in 2015, I’d just finished a lengthy action research project that focused on engagement in the writing workshops that I led. That project began long before the maker movement took the education world by storm, but by the time I was culminating the findings, the connection was clear: inviting kids to make in workshop was a powerful game changer. More than mere distraction or a path away from the writing process,…

I’ve spent much of the summer working with teachers who are eager to integrate making and writing but uncertain where to begin. This is what I tell them:  I tell them that making must elevate writing, otherwise it will merely replace it. And writing matters. I tell them that we need frameworks that help us see how making and writing can connect inside of our classrooms and workshops. Making writing looks like play, but it’s purposeful.…

Like many educators, I reserve July for relaxing, reading, and research that will fuel my learning and work throughout the new year. And like many educators, August turns my attention back to the teachers and students that I support. It’s been a good break, but I’m happy to be blogging again and eager to share some exciting news! First, I’ve signed two new Hack Learning author agreements with Mark Barnes, and I’m hard at work on each manuscript. The…

Ten years ago, I founded a wonderful little writing studio in my very own community. Every week, and for weeks at a time in the summer, I’ve worked with kids and teachers from all walks of life there. Our space has evolved in response to their ever-changing interests and needs, but one thing has always remained the same: Our studio is a place where we make writing. We’ve been fortunate to write in many different…

“What’s a break it box?” Kevin asked, calling my attention to an overflowing black bin on the bottom shelf of our mobile makerspace. This five tier structure on wheels serves as a catch-all for recyclables, loose parts, and whatever craft supplies we currently have on hand. “It’s a box full of stuff you can rip apart and repurpose,” I told him. “People donate the things inside. I think there’s an old toaster and a broken…

Integrating making and writing experiences may not seem very difficult, but in my experience, making this marriage worthwhile requires some careful planning. It takes nothing to dump a pile of loose parts on a table and challenge kids to build, but I wonder: How many of them would build straight through an entire class without pausing to compose a single line, though? Those who are responsible for teaching writing are wise to consider this reality. Many…