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What if, instead of complaining about the possibility of certain writers using text messaging language in their academic writing, we expected them to text with a purpose and even include it in multi-genre writing? What if we expected them to investigate, define, and honor the conventionality of text messaging language? What if, instead of teaching conventions from the front of the room, we invited writers to study how punctuation, mechanics, and usage function differently…

“I miss my house,” she told me. “I came here from Puerto Rico with my family, after the storm.” I nodded and laid my eyes on her build. “I never thought my house was that nice,” she said. “I thought it was really ugly. I never thought it was anything I’d miss.” She’d built herself standing next to her home. She’d built the hurricane, crushing down around her. She’d built her broken heart, her healing…

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my purpose lately. In September, my nest emptied. I miss my kids, but anyone who knows me well knows that I am crazy about my husband. We have an awful lot of fun together, and life feels much like it did when we first started dating again. I also love my work and the people that I get to do it with. Who gets to say…

This year found me recommitting to the work of daily documentation as a writer, a writing teacher, and a professional learning facilitator. This was a challenging and even overwhelming endeavor at times, but so very much worth the effort that I made. In fact, this project was so rewarding that I’ve already created new intentions for my documentation practice in 2019. These were my greatest moments of professional learning, and I wonder: If you were…

October found me in classrooms in and around New York State, facilitating lesson studies for writing teachers at the elementary and middle levels. This is some of the most rewarding work that I do, because the learning that happens is the result of studying kids and teachers at work together. Everyone is a learner in the context of lesson study, and this makes a difference. Whenever I lead lesson studies, my intention is to design…

One of the funny things about parenting as an educator is that often, your children teach you a great deal about things you think you already know a few things about. Take, for instance, protocols. “We’re doing these things called modules in my English class,” my daughter Nina explained over dinner one autumn evening at the beginning of her eighth grade year. And I’ll admit, my stomach clenched. I wasn’t well acquainted with the New…

My visit to Reggio reminded me that learning is a social construct. It’s not an accumulation of knowledge, but a construction of meaning that emerges from learners’ interpretation of the world. Materials matter, which is why several of my previous posts in this series focused on their thoughtful use.  As I listened and learned more throughout my tour, it was increasingly evident that the way we construct the learning environment matters as well. In fact, it…

This is the third in a series of reflections made upon my return from a study tour of Reggio Emilia schools. You may find the other posts here, as I complete them. Print is one language, but there are so many others, and when we offer children the option to learn and communicate with them, the understandings and theories they share expand far beyond the boundaries that print creates. And it does. I can’t tell…

This post is the second in a set of reflections upon returning from a study tour of Reggio Emilia schools. I’m linking all of the posts to this anchor page as they are published. My tour of the Loris Malaguzzi Center and Reggio Emilia schools included the investigation of dozens of diverse ateliers, or studios. Many were outfitted with the kinds of loose parts I’ve grown accustomed to seeing and working with in my own…

This was one of the first provocations that emerged from our morning conversations at the Loris Malaguzzi Center on that very first day in Reggio Emilia: How might we help learners create compositions that depend less on the hand and more on the power of conceptual understanding?  Composition: The word and how they used it struck me. Like so many others, it assumed a richer and far more complex meaning in that space. I know…