Tuesday, June 24, 2014

TCRWP Day 1: I'm writing about writing!



At long last, I have arrived!
Teacher's College, Columbia University
New York City, New York


My brain hurts.  Yet, at the same time, my heart and soul are just so full of joy and inspiration.  The first day of the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project June writing institute just concluded.  As I reflect on the past seven hours, I think about all of the wonderful pieces of wisdom, know-how, knowledge, information, and tid-bits I could share.  However, I know that good writing focuses on one topic, so that's what I'll do, I'll focus on one topic.  If you want to see all the juicy tid-bits and words of wisdom from throughout the day, head to Twitter and see the #TCRWP hashtag.  You should really do this- so many wonderful gems have been posted!

So, I shall now focus on my one topic:  Writing about writing.  Actually, it's really about writing an information piece with an audience in mind that will be useful to me. This is my task for the week as part of Mary Ehrenworth's 3rd-8th grade session on information writing. This is what I will do.  By the end of the week, I will have a finished piece of information writing that I will use in my work as a literacy coach with teachers this coming school year.  

I am going to go through the writing process this week.  Essentially, all of us in Mary's session will experience what we ask of all of our students each day in the writing workshop.  How can we truly teach writing if we have never experienced the process ourselves?  So, now I give you my first reflection of going through this process...



After much wonderful discussion with my small group (who I already love), the group as a whole, and with Mary herself, she invited all of us in the room to think of a few possible topics for our writing pieces.  I came up with three potential ideas:


After coming up with these three ideas, I noticed I wanted to write a how-to for teachers.  These three concepts were things I struggled with when I first started with the Units of Study.  In fact, I found them all quite challenging for a while.  After some thought and discussion with my writing partner, Holly, a middle school teacher from Wisconsin, I decided to focus on my second idea: mini lessons.   I'm certainly not an expert with mini lessons, but I know I can help other teachers figure out how to navigate, deliver, and implement their mini lessons in a direct and concise manner.  

After we came up with our idea, Mary asked us to just write.  We wrote for 15 minutes before we shared.  I'm hesitant to share my writing thus far, but to truly experience what my students go through in the writing workshop, I need to feel some of that vulnerability.  So, here you go, the start of my piece:



After I reread the start to my piece a few times, I feared I sounded preachy.  Good information writers present information in an interesting way to help their readers come to conclusions on their own.  Did I do this?  I expressed this to Holly.  She said it's not preachy at all and that she loved it!  Then, I reminded her that we obviously share the same opinion.  So, with Holly as my reader, I may have in fact been preaching to the choir.  

My piece of writing has a long way to go- as does my learning and connection  making here at Columbia this week.  I am just so thrilled for all to come in the week ahead!  Already, I'm sad it will be ending in four days.  

There's much more to come, friends!  Stay tuned! 

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to learn more! LOVE Mary Ehrenworth! And I'll be there for Reading Institute in August, so I'm looking forward to hearing more about writing!

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-Christina

 
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