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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in writing

Posted by on in General

writing a book

Yes, you can write a book, or another. It really starts with desire, a strong sense of purpose and a lot of tenacity. I'm on the 'another' category and it's feeling really grand to be completing the project, although every day I say I'm done and it's never quite. But close enough tonight. I admit to a strong sense of accomplishment! 

Sometimes you just have to test yourself, push yourself beyond limits. Some limits, maybe most limits are self-imposed. For example, I never got my doctorate. I had plenty of degrees and certainly, the degree of life. But I always wanted that doctorate and never did it. I had a bunch of valid at the time reasons. Until tonight I never considered that a regret, and still don't. 

I was honored to be a servant leader, school principal in a very challenging, soul fulfilling situation. Grants, community boards. So busy. There was no nearby university program, I had four kids at home, etc. What I did instead was fulfllling to my strong sense of life purpose. I kept helping the kids! That's what I was supposed to do. And so I did. But now I wonder, despite the distance, despite the time away from our school and our home, why didn't I make that extra effort? 

I always knew my primary purpose in life was to write. I wanted to be a professional writer. Back then women most likely had two careers to pick from, teaching and nursing. My mother, an avid reader, and father, a businessman suggested I should teach instead, for the security. Truth. Like watching an old t.v. show.

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Posted by on in General

At school, we have a new program that allows teachers to monitor students as they work online.  One cool feature allows us to simply shut down a student if he is not on the assigned site for the day.  It is fun watching their reactions to being instantly blocked.

Another great feature allows me to go directly into the document that a student is creating and to join the student in the writing process.  I can add feedback, and I can also help guide a student’s writing in real time.

“Joaquin” is one of my best writers.  I’ve known that since he was a little kid in my fifth grade class.  One of his stories that year was about having a superpower.  The boy wrote about being able to capture all the terrorists in the world and then making them all work at McDonald’s.  After a few days of working the fryer, they all surrender and promise to go home.  Joaquin, the superhero, is celebrated as his neighbors throw a party with ponies and pinatas

Much to the boy’s dismay, I think I shared that story with every teacher at the school.  At the start of this year, I asked him if I could read his story to the class.

He looked at me in disbelief.  “No!” he squeaked.  “You still have it?”

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Posted by on in General

writing

Micah was the last to leave my reading class this morning at the college. He is one of twenty high school juniors taking my class for dual credit.

I had written an online compliment for one of his assignments, letting him know that his writing was fantastic and definitely superior to the work of the other students in class. He waited until the rest had left and then quietly thanked me for the positive feedback.

For the next twenty minutes we dove into a conversation about writing - about things that anyone who does not spend their every waking minute playing with words - would not understand.

It was like I was talking to my sixteen-year-old self.

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Posted by on in Vicki Davis

bigstock-Notepad-and-keyboard-of-a-comp-23284547.jpg

In 2001, when I was a junior at Brimmer and May in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts—an independent school where I now also teach—my academic writing benefited tremendously from one-on-one instruction. I learned to write concisely, think analytically, and consult credible sources to deepen my insights.

It’s nearly impossible to overstate the role my mastery of academic writing has played in my success, not just inside the classroom, but also as an education reporter, and most importantly, as a teacher. Clear writing reflects clear thinking, no matter the type of writing, and I have my high school teachers to thank for instilling that lesson in me.

But much has changed in over the 12 years since my graduation, and I’m now excited to serve as Writing Center Director, helping my alma mater embrace technology to help students master not just writing, but also other 21st-century communication skills.

To help set myself on the right tack, I recently read Reinventing Writing: The 9 Tools That Are Changing Writing, Teaching and Learning Forever, by Vicki Davis, a full-time teacher and IT Director at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia. Davis also founded and runs The CoolCatTeacher, one of the Web’s most successful teacher blogs, which, along with Westwood’s Technology Program, has received copious accolades and national recognition.

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Posted by on in Studentcentricity

 Wring Sponsored

What do Taylor Swift, The Hunger Games, and Snapchat have in common? The answer is: they’re all big in pop culture for teens and tweens. That makes them likely topics for papers, should you invite your students to write about what matters most to them. But are these topics going to require your students to dig deep? Will these topics inspire them to express themselves as only they uniquely can?

To explore this topic, I invited educator Vicki Davis to Studentcentricity. Vicki teaches writing. In fact, she’s passionate about it and is the author of Reinventing Writing: The 9 Tools That Are Changing Writing, Teaching, and Learning Forever.

Vicki told me she wants her students to “wow” her and that typically can’t be done with subjects they can simply Google. Nor is she likely to get them to “wow” by simply instructing them to write about whatever they want.

I encourage you to listen to our discussion. During it, I asked:

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