Authenticity and the Teacher-Writer

teachers-write

I appreciated the article “Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next” because on one hand, it opens up the very real idea that teacher writers are somewhat models for their students. Today, more than ever, students are shying away from the act of writing as if there is only one type of person that can do it and do it very well. Teacher-writers sort of shed light on the fact that writing can be this sloppy mess that is improved over time. If the students have someone who is taking on the same challenge with them, it helps the students to feel as though they are not alone in the act. Also, I feel as though it is very important to have gone through something if one is going to then teach another about it. For example, in the writing center we ask that our writing coaches take Research and Tech before they can be hired as a coach. In order to better assist the student, it is crucial to not only know about a research paper, but to have written one as well.

In addition, the article brings up the very controversial idea of what/who a writer is/can be. The article is meant to rectify the misconception that teachers can’t also be writers, as well as acknowledge the texts that they have produced and show how they can work within different contexts. It seems so easy for those who are entering the teaching world form the other side. Is the field suggesting that authors can become professors and teach about their texts, but professors cannot switch over to then be writers and do both at the same time? The three phases when breaking down the history of a teacher-writer really puts things into perspective about how teacher-writers are viewed and their positons throughout time. It is important to know the work that teachers do because they contribute so much to conversations involving education, but are just not always given a space for their voices to be heard. This lack of acknowledgement can also definitely be on the teacher-writer’s part as well if they are not as confident in their identifying as a writer simultaneously while they identify as teachers. Are they putting themselves out there enough? If not, why and how can it be fixed?

 

write-authentically

Moving along, right off the bat when starting the article “Teaching Writing Authentically” by Carly Lidvall, I immediately thought back to one of the most commonly used articles for an English composition class, which is Gerald Graff’s “Hidden Intellectualism”. The article, in a nutshell, basically explains that students are more receptive and willing to write when it is something they are genuinely interested in. Lidvall pretty much confirms this idea by stating that “students also enjoy what they are doing and are not only motivated to write but are more successful in doing so” (Lidvall 3). In many curriculums, writing is nothing more than a have-to-do evaluative spelling and grammar check. I feel the fear of writing, then, is attached to poor instruction of the foundation, which comes from learning spelling and grammar etc.

Other than many students just seeing writing as some kind of a chore, those who are reluctant to write usually end up being the ones who did not have very good instruction in those foundation courses. I completely agree with Lidvall on the notion that students will be more receptive if they are introduced to writing in a way that showcases that it is real people writing for very real reasons. Authentic writing can be a myriad of things and does not have to stop with just the kind of academic writing taught in school. I wholeheartedly feel that if a theory like Dr. Zamora’s (writing as making and writing that can change the world and views/perspectives) is taught to students early on, they would have a very different idea about it and may be more open to writing. The goal is to just reframe the way that they think about it.


Writing Identity and Reflection in the Teaching World

The articles for this week focused on the use of "authentic" writing in teaching ("Get Real: Instructional Implications for Authentic Writing Activities" by Carly D. Lidvall) and the teacher as a writer ("Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next" by Anne Elrod Whitney, Troy Hicks, Leah Zuidema, James E. Fredricksen, and Robert P. Yagelski). I feel that these two concepts can, and should, go hand-in-hand.  If a teacher of writing is herself a writer, then students will have the opportunity to see and understand authentic writing on a daily (or however often the class meets) basis.

In Lidvall's essay, she says that "students must see [a] real, human reason behind their writing if they are going to engage in the writing process" (5).  What could be a better object lesson for this concept than a teacher who actively writes and publishes work in a variety of genres?  Although Whitney et. al. primarily talk about teachers writing and publishing in pedagogical research outlets, a teacher who does any kind of product-oriented writing with a purpose, a set audience, motivation, and a choice of subject matter (Lidvall 6-8) can lead their students through authentic writing activities.  For example, even if a teacher has only published poems, they are still able to speak firsthand about "real world [writing] situations" (Lidvall 3).  They've struggled through difficult prewriting and drafting situations, and they've felt the anxious pride of seeing their audience react to their work.  Such a teacher is likely to be more secure in his/her writer identity and be able to talk about parts of the writing process with greater credibility, authority, and ease.  In the words of Whitney and their team, they can "[be] authors in every sense: professionals who claim authority with their own words and their work" (Whitney et. al. 179)   Knowing that their teacher is also a professional writer, the students will see writing as a part of a real person's daily routine and professional life.  It makes writing that much more relevant.  Even if a teacher doesn't write for publication, they can use "personal pieces of writing [like] letters, postcards, drafts, [or] poems [...] to show students that writing is connected to the world, not just school" (Routman, 2000 as cited in Lidvall 15).  In other words, if a teacher has a writer identity and makes it known openly to his/her students, the students are more likely to develop a writer identity themselves.

Whitney et. al. emphasize the opportunity that writing as a teacher presents for reflection and growth, both as an educator and a writer.  As an example, they say that "personal and professional writing helped [National Writing Project] teachers claim identities as writers and make concomitant shifts in teaching practices" (Whitney, 2009b as cited in Whitney et. al. 179).  In order to write about their experiences and theories in teaching, teacher-writers must reflect upon them.  As we learned last week from Yancey's article, this reflection is a beneficial psychological process for not only the one doing the reflecting, but those with whom they share an academic field or daily contact.  By reflecting, writing, and sharing research with other teachers, teachers are able to help themselves and their community members to become better teachers.  They are also able to reaffirm or maintain their writer identities, which as I asserted above, will enable them to have greater authority in the classroom.

  

Writing Identity and Reflection in the Teaching World

The articles for this week focused on the use of "authentic" writing in teaching ("Get Real: Instructional Implications for Authentic Writing Activities" by Carly D. Lidvall) and the teacher as a writer ("Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next" by Anne Elrod Whitney, Troy Hicks, Leah Zuidema, James E. Fredricksen, and Robert P. Yagelski). I feel that these two concepts can, and should, go hand-in-hand.  If a teacher of writing is herself a writer, then students will have the opportunity to see and understand authentic writing on a daily (or however often the class meets) basis.

In Lidvall's essay, she says that "students must see [a] real, human reason behind their writing if they are going to engage in the writing process" (5).  What could be a better object lesson for this concept than a teacher who actively writes and publishes work in a variety of genres?  Although Whitney et. al. primarily talk about teachers writing and publishing in pedagogical research outlets, a teacher who does any kind of product-oriented writing with a purpose, a set audience, motivation, and a choice of subject matter (Lidvall 6-8) can lead their students through authentic writing activities.  For example, even if a teacher has only published poems, they are still able to speak firsthand about "real world [writing] situations" (Lidvall 3).  They've struggled through difficult prewriting and drafting situations, and they've felt the anxious pride of seeing their audience react to their work.  Such a teacher is likely to be more secure in his/her writer identity and be able to talk about parts of the writing process with greater credibility, authority, and ease.  In the words of Whitney and their team, they can "[be] authors in every sense: professionals who claim authority with their own words and their work" (Whitney et. al. 179)   Knowing that their teacher is also a professional writer, the students will see writing as a part of a real person's daily routine and professional life.  It makes writing that much more relevant.  Even if a teacher doesn't write for publication, they can use "personal pieces of writing [like] letters, postcards, drafts, [or] poems [...] to show students that writing is connected to the world, not just school" (Routman, 2000 as cited in Lidvall 15).  In other words, if a teacher has a writer identity and makes it known openly to his/her students, the students are more likely to develop a writer identity themselves.

Whitney et. al. emphasize the opportunity that writing as a teacher presents for reflection and growth, both as an educator and a writer.  As an example, they say that "personal and professional writing helped [National Writing Project] teachers claim identities as writers and make concomitant shifts in teaching practices" (Whitney, 2009b as cited in Whitney et. al. 179).  In order to write about their experiences and theories in teaching, teacher-writers must reflect upon them.  As we learned last week from Yancey's article, this reflection is a beneficial psychological process for not only the one doing the reflecting, but those with whom they share an academic field or daily contact.  By reflecting, writing, and sharing research with other teachers, teachers are able to help themselves and their community members to become better teachers.  They are also able to reaffirm or maintain their writer identities, which as I asserted above, will enable them to have greater authority in the classroom.

  

Creating a New Environment 2016-10-03 17:44:00


Hope Wilson 

Eng. 5020

Dr. Zamora

Writing Theory & Practice 

Blog 2

 

 

                                             The Many Ways of Teaching:

                                  Composition, Process, and the Product

 

The learned product has given birth to numerous great writers. For some students being introduced to the product and not the process has given them great rewards. Some students that are interested in writing will adapt to the product and research the process.  Everyone has “to equate one's view of the process with the overall aim of an approach" towards their desired outcome. (Fulkerson) The students who are not interested in writing will write to earn their desired grade. To the teachers “look at your composition program with the realization you are teaching a process, you may be able to design a curriculum which works” without teaching a product. (Murray) I have embrace the concept that all” students should understand the relationships among language, knowledge, and power", but unfortunately it is not always the end result. Encouragement is always part of the teaching regiment and is successfully achieved.

 

Dissecting great writers encourage the student's will to explore and immolate.  Educators “can dissect and sometimes almost destroy Shakespeare or Robert Lowell to prove it” as the students learn literature. (Murray) When reading students get to engage in mastery work that encourages peaceful moments. Students also get to experience joyful soul searching. Writing from the heart expands one's creativity as they explore adventurous settings.

Learning composition in the twenty first century is the accumulation of life learned lessons. It consist of numerous teachers concept of composition and their ability to immolate their accumulative life learned lessons and teach it in the time allotted. The perception is " what students wanted and expected from a composition course in college conflicted with what teachers using a critical pedagogy were mostly interested in: " first -year students typically enter composition with an idea of writing and an understanding of what they need to learn about writing that are dramatically at odds with the views and approaches of the teacher” causing conflicts with some traditional expectations. (Fulkerson) When exceptions are not met true writers will research their desired process.

Creating a New Environment 2016-10-03 17:44:00


Hope Wilson 

Eng. 5020

Dr. Zamora

Writing Theory & Practice 

Blog 2

 

 

                                             The Many Ways of Teaching:

                                  Composition, Process, and the Product

 

The learned product has given birth to numerous great writers. For some students being introduced to the product and not the process has given them great rewards. Some students that are interested in writing will adapt to the product and research the process.  Everyone has “to equate one's view of the process with the overall aim of an approach" towards their desired outcome. (Fulkerson) The students who are not interested in writing will write to earn their desired grade. To the teachers “look at your composition program with the realization you are teaching a process, you may be able to design a curriculum which works” without teaching a product. (Murray) I have embrace the concept that all” students should understand the relationships among language, knowledge, and power", but unfortunately it is not always the end result. Encouragement is always part of the teaching regiment and is successfully achieved.

 

Dissecting great writers encourage the student's will to explore and immolate.  Educators “can dissect and sometimes almost destroy Shakespeare or Robert Lowell to prove it” as the students learn literature. (Murray) When reading students get to engage in mastery work that encourages peaceful moments. Students also get to experience joyful soul searching. Writing from the heart expands one's creativity as they explore adventurous settings.

Learning composition in the twenty first century is the accumulation of life learned lessons. It consist of numerous teachers concept of composition and their ability to immolate their accumulative life learned lessons and teach it in the time allotted. The perception is " what students wanted and expected from a composition course in college conflicted with what teachers using a critical pedagogy were mostly interested in: " first -year students typically enter composition with an idea of writing and an understanding of what they need to learn about writing that are dramatically at odds with the views and approaches of the teacher” causing conflicts with some traditional expectations. (Fulkerson) When exceptions are not met true writers will research their desired process.

the authenticity of teaching writing in classrooms

In one of the opening lines in Carly Lidvall's "Get Real: Instructional Implications for Authentic Writing Activities," she clearly states that, "Student interest in writing begins once students see a real reason for writing" (3). In that sentence, she summarizes the overall meaning in her paper and study, in that without an authentic outlet or opportunity, writing will forever be a deplorable chore for a student. I couldn't agree more with Lidvall's efforts and analysis for the need for implementing a curriculum which can foster a real interest for students in writing; after all, writing is not just confined to the concept of an academic paper. Once you can make the student realize that, such as through the introduction of a classroom newspaper, students will let their curiosity for the subject take a natural course. Once they find the genuine want to write, it will hopefully carry on in "the bigger picture" of their academic, as well as personal, life.

What I liked most was the idea of a project that could be entirely the students'. While the paper became a newfound responsibility, it was not one that was a burden; instead, it became a creative, personal project that was entirely a reflection of the students' effort. Additionally, they wanted to put thought throughout the whole thing, from the caption of articles to the quotes to the content itself. They were authentically engaging in writing, as well as research - skills that would definitely translate over when tackling academic papers in the future, as well as to the process of making any creative project in general. I enjoyed that perspective. Additionally, it made me reflect on my own academic projects and papers, and how fun they can be when you harbor a genuine interest for the research and writing you are doing. It also made me think of some of my peers and their dread over writing papers - if they had the ability to change their perspective and think of it as fun, like the students from Lidvall's study, would they be able to find more interest in it? Or is that an idea they need to come to on their own, like how Lidvall suggests with the early albeit authentic introduction to the realm of writing?

To add to the idea of being able to inspire and encourage students to write, it is not only the students who have to be interested - the teachers do, too, which ties into the article "Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next." Ultimately, what I took from the article was that teachers who identify as writers need to continue to make their presence known in both the classroom and the world of academia. I don't know much about the politics of writing in the classroom, but it seems like teachers can be intimidated by mandatory curriculum and tight schedules, as well as have a general lack of confidence to identify themselves as writers and assert that in a classroom too. With both staff and students overlooking the concept of writing, teacher-writers shrink back; however, it seems to me the article suggests that teachers persist and be proud of their identity as teacher-writers, since they are important figures to being able to create and develop the ability to write in their classroom. Yet, if a teacher-writer is not as invested, then that genuine interest in writing that Lidvall discusses cannot come to fruition. If teacher-writers develop more ideas for helping writing in classrooms, as well as publish them to their teaching community (like Lidvall), that intellectual communication and camaraderie can start to tackle the "reluctance" that is writing. Ultimately, if the teachers lose sight of their authenticity of what their job can do, it reflects in the students - no amount of mandatory curriculum will be able to bring out the spark of genuine interest like a teacher can.

the authenticity of teaching writing in classrooms

In one of the opening lines in Carly Lidvall's "Get Real: Instructional Implications for Authentic Writing Activities," she clearly states that, "Student interest in writing begins once students see a real reason for writing" (3). In that sentence, she summarizes the overall meaning in her paper and study, in that without an authentic outlet or opportunity, writing will forever be a deplorable chore for a student. I couldn't agree more with Lidvall's efforts and analysis for the need for implementing a curriculum which can foster a real interest for students in writing; after all, writing is not just confined to the concept of an academic paper. Once you can make the student realize that, such as through the introduction of a classroom newspaper, students will let their curiosity for the subject take a natural course. Once they find the genuine want to write, it will hopefully carry on in "the bigger picture" of their academic, as well as personal, life.

What I liked most was the idea of a project that could be entirely the students'. While the paper became a newfound responsibility, it was not one that was a burden; instead, it became a creative, personal project that was entirely a reflection of the students' effort. Additionally, they wanted to put thought throughout the whole thing, from the caption of articles to the quotes to the content itself. They were authentically engaging in writing, as well as research - skills that would definitely translate over when tackling academic papers in the future, as well as to the process of making any creative project in general. I enjoyed that perspective. Additionally, it made me reflect on my own academic projects and papers, and how fun they can be when you harbor a genuine interest for the research and writing you are doing. It also made me think of some of my peers and their dread over writing papers - if they had the ability to change their perspective and think of it as fun, like the students from Lidvall's study, would they be able to find more interest in it? Or is that an idea they need to come to on their own, like how Lidvall suggests with the early albeit authentic introduction to the realm of writing?

To add to the idea of being able to inspire and encourage students to write, it is not only the students who have to be interested - the teachers do, too, which ties into the article "Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next." Ultimately, what I took from the article was that teachers who identify as writers need to continue to make their presence known in both the classroom and the world of academia. I don't know much about the politics of writing in the classroom, but it seems like teachers can be intimidated by mandatory curriculum and tight schedules, as well as have a general lack of confidence to identify themselves as writers and assert that in a classroom too. With both staff and students overlooking the concept of writing, teacher-writers shrink back; however, it seems to me the article suggests that teachers persist and be proud of their identity as teacher-writers, since they are important figures to being able to create and develop the ability to write in their classroom. Yet, if a teacher-writer is not as invested, then that genuine interest in writing that Lidvall discusses cannot come to fruition. If teacher-writers develop more ideas for helping writing in classrooms, as well as publish them to their teaching community (like Lidvall), that intellectual communication and camaraderie can start to tackle the "reluctance" that is writing. Ultimately, if the teachers lose sight of their authenticity of what their job can do, it reflects in the students - no amount of mandatory curriculum will be able to bring out the spark of genuine interest like a teacher can.

10/3 Teacher-Writer and Authentic Writing

Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next
By: Whitney, Hicks, Zuidema, Fredricksen, and Yagaleski

I thoroughly enjoyed this writing piece! When I first read the title, I had so many questions. What is a teacher-writer by the authors’ definitions? What is the teacher-writer by my definition? And before I read, I answered the latter. To me, a teacher-writer is someone who is not confined to either titles. I am a teacher and a writer. I believed a teacher-writer was someone who, to quote the text wrote to “walk the talk” of teaching writing, one of my beliefs that encouraged me to begin this writing journey. I also believe that I can both write to show my students I am a writer, but to also write for myself. While reading this article however, I began to revise my thinking, something I’m working on teaching my students. I did not view myself as an advocate or someone who will use writing “as a stance as a means of resistance to current reform efforts that disempower teachers.” But after reading this eloquent and powerful line, I was enthralled. HELL YES I can do that. I can use my writing in other ways to bring about change, or foster understanding of my field. For me this was an empowering moment, and through this feeling, I was driven to read the article from a new perspective.
Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next takes the reader through three different states of the teacher-writer across time. The article begins with “THEN: A Brief History of the Teacher-Writer” referencing researchers such as Atwell and Calkins, who view the teacher-writer in correlation with “process-oriented pedagogy” and writing workshop. The idea of teacher-writer grew to writing about inquiry and growing professionally. For example, we should write to generate knowledge of our field and increase our presence in research literature. Sounds a bit stiff to me: but it is a means of getting our voice out there. Although, when I first read this section I felt like it was more about showing face than what was being said. Today, we’ve moved into the third phase of teacher-writer, which is advocacy. This is where, as teachers, we should write as a form of resistance to the “measuring outcomes: and the market forces that are designing our education system. There is too much standardization, assessments, and privatization involved in our teacher, that our instruction has become less about the kids, even though we are told these “measuring outcomes” will help us address our students needs. Well, in a three week start of the school year, I have seen my students 15 times, and three of those have been required testing days. And in my spare time, I should analyze the data. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
It’s this line of thinking that made me realize teachers should become writers who get their voices out there. Be in an online blog, a newspaper column, or the PTO newsletter, it is our responsibility to write for the press, the parents of our students, and the public in general. I enjoyed how the article detailed different ways the authors are being teacher-writers as researchers and as facilitators of this conversation through multiple media. In essence, they are expressing how to co-create knowledge with other teachers, through various avenues such as blogs, the NWP, university courses, Twitter, and Google Hangouts.
It is important for us to claim our identity as writers and ask ourselves: What can our writing make possible and what are the constraints we’ll encounter? Are we fearful of how our writing will be perceived? Do we care? In essence, we have to BE writers. Simply put. Our writing and our experience writing and connecting to the world is what makes meaning, and what makes our writing meaningful.

49d9da07acf06ad615ae099ac4177a66.jpg


Teaching Writing Authentically
When I first looked at this piece, it seemed a bit daunting. My printer read 63 pages and I started to sweat. I was worried I’d be reading another dry piece, but instead, I found this reading to be a quick and practical. As someone who has used Lucy Calkin’s Writing Units of Study for two years now, the concept of authentic literature and the ten minute mini-lesson are incredibly familiar. I couldn’t agree more that student will benefit from real, authentic activities and grow as writers, but I have to disagree that Lucy Calkin’s provides this. Calkins is quoted as saying, “We cannot teach writing well unless we trust that there is a real, human reason to write.” While I agree, the reading then proceeds to talk about how Calkins believes we should find writing that is meaningful and bring that meaning to life. However, through studying her units, I do not feel she does this. For example, she wrote a unit on Investigative Journalism, geared towards her 5th grade students in Harlem. My 8th grade students in white suburbia cannot relate or participate in this unit authentically, based on how she has set it up. I think there is a fine line between teaching the curriculum and finding ways to teach authentically.
One point addressed in this article is the idea of writing for an audience/creating a product for an audience. I enjoyed reading this section because this is one of my weaknesses as a teacher. I have not developed a sense of audience with my students. I have found myself telling them who their audience “would be” but I realize that is not enough. Through sources such as Letters2thePresident, or other online sources, I am going to find ways for students to view their writing as an experience with others. But in putting student writing out there, I always wonder if we need the school’s permission, or the parents permission. That is something I’ll have to look into. I would love to have PD ono getting our students writing out into the world, where maybe other students can view it and start a dialogue about each other’s writing.
Another point that resonated with me throughout the reading was Lori Rog’s model of the mini-lesson where she states it could take four forms: modeled writing, shared writing, interactive writing, or guided writing. I feel that sometimes my mini-lesson is not a true mini-lesson and I run over time. This is because I try to do too much at once. I have found that my most successful lessons were the ones that were truly a mini-lesson and I got to spend more time conferencing with my students. Being able to provide individual or small group instruction has proved immensely beneficial and something I strive to include every day.
In addition to that, last week in class we addressed how we are moving towards a more technological approach to writing, and most writing done in today’s world is published somewhere online, or through a technological outlet. In reading this piece, I couldn’t help think about my curriculum and the traditional five-paragraph essay. We begin the year writing literary essays, which provides me time to teach the traditional structure of writing in the five paragraph format. As much as we are deviating from that, and as much as I want my students to experiment and take risks, I do believe they need to be exposed to this structure first. You can’t run before you stand and I want to give them a foundation to stand on first. However, my goal for this year is to find outlets or ways for my students to express themselves outside of this structure: through blogs, or videos, or podcasts, anything that feels more authentic and based on real world application.

MvmDrWOnph_1408927634837.jpg

10/3 Teacher-Writer and Authentic Writing

Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next
By: Whitney, Hicks, Zuidema, Fredricksen, and Yagaleski

I thoroughly enjoyed this writing piece! When I first read the title, I had so many questions. What is a teacher-writer by the authors’ definitions? What is the teacher-writer by my definition? And before I read, I answered the latter. To me, a teacher-writer is someone who is not confined to either titles. I am a teacher and a writer. I believed a teacher-writer was someone who, to quote the text wrote to “walk the talk” of teaching writing, one of my beliefs that encouraged me to begin this writing journey. I also believe that I can both write to show my students I am a writer, but to also write for myself. While reading this article however, I began to revise my thinking, something I’m working on teaching my students. I did not view myself as an advocate or someone who will use writing “as a stance as a means of resistance to current reform efforts that disempower teachers.” But after reading this eloquent and powerful line, I was enthralled. HELL YES I can do that. I can use my writing in other ways to bring about change, or foster understanding of my field. For me this was an empowering moment, and through this feeling, I was driven to read the article from a new perspective.
Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next takes the reader through three different states of the teacher-writer across time. The article begins with “THEN: A Brief History of the Teacher-Writer” referencing researchers such as Atwell and Calkins, who view the teacher-writer in correlation with “process-oriented pedagogy” and writing workshop. The idea of teacher-writer grew to writing about inquiry and growing professionally. For example, we should write to generate knowledge of our field and increase our presence in research literature. Sounds a bit stiff to me: but it is a means of getting our voice out there. Although, when I first read this section I felt like it was more about showing face than what was being said. Today, we’ve moved into the third phase of teacher-writer, which is advocacy. This is where, as teachers, we should write as a form of resistance to the “measuring outcomes: and the market forces that are designing our education system. There is too much standardization, assessments, and privatization involved in our teacher, that our instruction has become less about the kids, even though we are told these “measuring outcomes” will help us address our students needs. Well, in a three week start of the school year, I have seen my students 15 times, and three of those have been required testing days. And in my spare time, I should analyze the data. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
It’s this line of thinking that made me realize teachers should become writers who get their voices out there. Be in an online blog, a newspaper column, or the PTO newsletter, it is our responsibility to write for the press, the parents of our students, and the public in general. I enjoyed how the article detailed different ways the authors are being teacher-writers as researchers and as facilitators of this conversation through multiple media. In essence, they are expressing how to co-create knowledge with other teachers, through various avenues such as blogs, the NWP, university courses, Twitter, and Google Hangouts.
It is important for us to claim our identity as writers and ask ourselves: What can our writing make possible and what are the constraints we’ll encounter? Are we fearful of how our writing will be perceived? Do we care? In essence, we have to BE writers. Simply put. Our writing and our experience writing and connecting to the world is what makes meaning, and what makes our writing meaningful.

49d9da07acf06ad615ae099ac4177a66.jpg


Teaching Writing Authentically
When I first looked at this piece, it seemed a bit daunting. My printer read 63 pages and I started to sweat. I was worried I’d be reading another dry piece, but instead, I found this reading to be a quick and practical. As someone who has used Lucy Calkin’s Writing Units of Study for two years now, the concept of authentic literature and the ten minute mini-lesson are incredibly familiar. I couldn’t agree more that student will benefit from real, authentic activities and grow as writers, but I have to disagree that Lucy Calkin’s provides this. Calkins is quoted as saying, “We cannot teach writing well unless we trust that there is a real, human reason to write.” While I agree, the reading then proceeds to talk about how Calkins believes we should find writing that is meaningful and bring that meaning to life. However, through studying her units, I do not feel she does this. For example, she wrote a unit on Investigative Journalism, geared towards her 5th grade students in Harlem. My 8th grade students in white suburbia cannot relate or participate in this unit authentically, based on how she has set it up. I think there is a fine line between teaching the curriculum and finding ways to teach authentically.
One point addressed in this article is the idea of writing for an audience/creating a product for an audience. I enjoyed reading this section because this is one of my weaknesses as a teacher. I have not developed a sense of audience with my students. I have found myself telling them who their audience “would be” but I realize that is not enough. Through sources such as Letters2thePresident, or other online sources, I am going to find ways for students to view their writing as an experience with others. But in putting student writing out there, I always wonder if we need the school’s permission, or the parents permission. That is something I’ll have to look into. I would love to have PD ono getting our students writing out into the world, where maybe other students can view it and start a dialogue about each other’s writing.
Another point that resonated with me throughout the reading was Lori Rog’s model of the mini-lesson where she states it could take four forms: modeled writing, shared writing, interactive writing, or guided writing. I feel that sometimes my mini-lesson is not a true mini-lesson and I run over time. This is because I try to do too much at once. I have found that my most successful lessons were the ones that were truly a mini-lesson and I got to spend more time conferencing with my students. Being able to provide individual or small group instruction has proved immensely beneficial and something I strive to include every day.
In addition to that, last week in class we addressed how we are moving towards a more technological approach to writing, and most writing done in today’s world is published somewhere online, or through a technological outlet. In reading this piece, I couldn’t help think about my curriculum and the traditional five-paragraph essay. We begin the year writing literary essays, which provides me time to teach the traditional structure of writing in the five paragraph format. As much as we are deviating from that, and as much as I want my students to experiment and take risks, I do believe they need to be exposed to this structure first. You can’t run before you stand and I want to give them a foundation to stand on first. However, my goal for this year is to find outlets or ways for my students to express themselves outside of this structure: through blogs, or videos, or podcasts, anything that feels more authentic and based on real world application.

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10/3 Teacher-Writer and Authentic Writing

Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next
By: Whitney, Hicks, Zuidema, Fredricksen, and Yagaleski

I thoroughly enjoyed this writing piece! When I first read the title, I had so many questions. What is a teacher-writer by the authors’ definitions? What is the teacher-writer by my definition? And before I read, I answered the latter. To me, a teacher-writer is someone who is not confined to either titles. I am a teacher and a writer. I believed a teacher-writer was someone who, to quote the text wrote to “walk the talk” of teaching writing, one of my beliefs that encouraged me to begin this writing journey. I also believe that I can both write to show my students I am a writer, but to also write for myself. While reading this article however, I began to revise my thinking, something I’m working on teaching my students. I did not view myself as an advocate or someone who will use writing “as a stance as a means of resistance to current reform efforts that disempower teachers.” But after reading this eloquent and powerful line, I was enthralled. HELL YES I can do that. I can use my writing in other ways to bring about change, or foster understanding of my field. For me this was an empowering moment, and through this feeling, I was driven to read the article from a new perspective.
Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next takes the reader through three different states of the teacher-writer across time. The article begins with “THEN: A Brief History of the Teacher-Writer” referencing researchers such as Atwell and Calkins, who view the teacher-writer in correlation with “process-oriented pedagogy” and writing workshop. The idea of teacher-writer grew to writing about inquiry and growing professionally. For example, we should write to generate knowledge of our field and increase our presence in research literature. Sounds a bit stiff to me: but it is a means of getting our voice out there. Although, when I first read this section I felt like it was more about showing face than what was being said. Today, we’ve moved into the third phase of teacher-writer, which is advocacy. This is where, as teachers, we should write as a form of resistance to the “measuring outcomes: and the market forces that are designing our education system. There is too much standardization, assessments, and privatization involved in our teacher, that our instruction has become less about the kids, even though we are told these “measuring outcomes” will help us address our students needs. Well, in a three week start of the school year, I have seen my students 15 times, and three of those have been required testing days. And in my spare time, I should analyze the data. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
It’s this line of thinking that made me realize teachers should become writers who get their voices out there. Be in an online blog, a newspaper column, or the PTO newsletter, it is our responsibility to write for the press, the parents of our students, and the public in general. I enjoyed how the article detailed different ways the authors are being teacher-writers as researchers and as facilitators of this conversation through multiple media. In essence, they are expressing how to co-create knowledge with other teachers, through various avenues such as blogs, the NWP, university courses, Twitter, and Google Hangouts.
It is important for us to claim our identity as writers and ask ourselves: What can our writing make possible and what are the constraints we’ll encounter? Are we fearful of how our writing will be perceived? Do we care? In essence, we have to BE writers. Simply put. Our writing and our experience writing and connecting to the world is what makes meaning, and what makes our writing meaningful.

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Teaching Writing Authentically
When I first looked at this piece, it seemed a bit daunting. My printer read 63 pages and I started to sweat. I was worried I’d be reading another dry piece, but instead, I found this reading to be a quick and practical. As someone who has used Lucy Calkin’s Writing Units of Study for two years now, the concept of authentic literature and the ten minute mini-lesson are incredibly familiar. I couldn’t agree more that student will benefit from real, authentic activities and grow as writers, but I have to disagree that Lucy Calkin’s provides this. Calkins is quoted as saying, “We cannot teach writing well unless we trust that there is a real, human reason to write.” While I agree, the reading then proceeds to talk about how Calkins believes we should find writing that is meaningful and bring that meaning to life. However, through studying her units, I do not feel she does this. For example, she wrote a unit on Investigative Journalism, geared towards her 5th grade students in Harlem. My 8th grade students in white suburbia cannot relate or participate in this unit authentically, based on how she has set it up. I think there is a fine line between teaching the curriculum and finding ways to teach authentically.
One point addressed in this article is the idea of writing for an audience/creating a product for an audience. I enjoyed reading this section because this is one of my weaknesses as a teacher. I have not developed a sense of audience with my students. I have found myself telling them who their audience “would be” but I realize that is not enough. Through sources such as Letters2thePresident, or other online sources, I am going to find ways for students to view their writing as an experience with others. But in putting student writing out there, I always wonder if we need the school’s permission, or the parents permission. That is something I’ll have to look into. I would love to have PD ono getting our students writing out into the world, where maybe other students can view it and start a dialogue about each other’s writing.
Another point that resonated with me throughout the reading was Lori Rog’s model of the mini-lesson where she states it could take four forms: modeled writing, shared writing, interactive writing, or guided writing. I feel that sometimes my mini-lesson is not a true mini-lesson and I run over time. This is because I try to do too much at once. I have found that my most successful lessons were the ones that were truly a mini-lesson and I got to spend more time conferencing with my students. Being able to provide individual or small group instruction has proved immensely beneficial and something I strive to include every day.
In addition to that, last week in class we addressed how we are moving towards a more technological approach to writing, and most writing done in today’s world is published somewhere online, or through a technological outlet. In reading this piece, I couldn’t help think about my curriculum and the traditional five-paragraph essay. We begin the year writing literary essays, which provides me time to teach the traditional structure of writing in the five paragraph format. As much as we are deviating from that, and as much as I want my students to experiment and take risks, I do believe they need to be exposed to this structure first. You can’t run before you stand and I want to give them a foundation to stand on first. However, my goal for this year is to find outlets or ways for my students to express themselves outside of this structure: through blogs, or videos, or podcasts, anything that feels more authentic and based on real world application.

MvmDrWOnph_1408927634837.jpg