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.

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.

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.

MvmDrWOnph_1408927634837.jpg

The Importance of Being…Authentic – Blog Post #2

Everything about this week's assigned reading "Teaching Writing Authentically" by Carly D. Lidvall was thrilling to me. As I expressed in class last week, I want resources, and Lidvall has provided a gold mine of tools and resources within roughly sixty pages. The first thing that struck me as being interesting about this reading is that it is the write-up of a student's capstone experience, which made it seem much more accessible.  I graduated with my bachelor's degree not too long ago, and I knew students who had to do this kind of write up to summarize their experiences student teaching, and so I was immediately interested to see the experiences that Lidvall chose to report on.

I completely agree the assertion that Lidvall makes in the first paragraph of her abstract, that "Student interest in writing begins once students see a real reason for writing" (3). Although I am not a teacher, I can easily think back to my time as a student, and I remember it being far more interesting to write when the topic was something that piqued my interest. However, I have always had the propensity to express myself through writing, and this is not the case for every student. This is all the more pertinent when a student is less prone to pick up a pen and write. I believe that a student is going to be far more interested in writing when he or she realizes that the writing experience doesn't have to be painful. Not all writing is book reports on required reading, or essay answers about the themes in books that he or she never cared about to begin with. Although there is merit in book reports and analyzing themes, truly effective writing instruction should inspire students to see the possibilities beyond school.

This brings me to my next thought, which Lidvall also addressed: relevance and real-world use. As I mentioned in class last week, I like when things can be practically applied. Although I love theory, I am happiest when I can read something, apply it in real life situations, and see results. For this reason, I appreciated Lidvall's proposal that "writing instruction in schools should closely model the writing found in real world situations. Authentic writing activities attempt to replicate the writing that students experience in the real world. I couldn't agree more.

Authenticity in writing instruction is a fascinating idea, and a way in which I would try to introduce writing to a group of students. Kids are born to ask questions and not stop asking until they receive answers, and I can only imagine the questions asked when faced with certain assignments:
"Why do I have to do this?"
"How will this ever affect my life?"
"Why do I need to know this?"
There are very real reasons to write. Every day of their adult lives, people make money by drafting proposals, editing documents, writing articles, movie scripts, books, etc. The options are endless. Although, regardless, not every student is going to be interested in writing, I agree strongly with the idea of teaching authentically. This approach may teach a kid that it is possible for him to express himself, or that a talent she has has real-life applicability.

This article provided a wealth of helpful information, strategies, and techniques to improve authentic writing instruction and create supportive environments to inspire interest in writing. Reading through, I appreciated Lidvall's note that writing instruction is not one-size-fits-all, and that writing instruction should vary: "Teaching authentically means meeting students where they are and teaching them from that place" (10). This, in my opinion, is crucial. Not every student learns in the same way, and it may take serious work from a teacher to attempt to engage different students in different ways. Writing is deeply personal, and not every kid is going to respond in the same way. Some may be more resistant.

I particularly enjoyed the section regarding "Rationale for the Curriculum," because this section struck close to home in regard to my own interests. Lidvall used the example of a student newspaper as "an authentic form of writing that enables students to write for an audience, learn a variety of formats, and write about issues that are important to them" (18). Throughout my college career I worked on the student newspaper, and this experience opened my eyes to the points of view from students of all majors and worldviews. When someone wants to say something, and they want a platform on which it will be displayed, students newspapers are valuable resources. I loved this case study, because I feel that students of all ages would be able to appreciate the newspaper platform. I personally have watched students, myself included, come alive when given the opportunity, and I found the newspaper case study to be fascinating. As Lidvall walked through each step of her thought process, objectives, goals, lesson plan, and materials, I found myself growing excited and wanting to try this out myself. Authentic writing instruction is such an exciting idea, and I feel that this example is a fantastic resource. This is an excellent example of everything I could want to gain out of this class and use for my own.

"Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, Next" by Anne Elrod Whitney, Troy Hicksm Leah Zuidema, James E. Fredricksen, and Robert P. Yagelski provided an interesting tie-in to the first article. Whereas Lidvall focused on making writing an authentic process for the student, this article gives more attention to the teacher's job as a writer, so as to keep them up to date and relatable to the students they teach.

I agree with this mindset as well. I believe that the worst thing a teacher could do is to lose touch with his or her students, and fall into the mindset that the assignments are only to be given and graded. As in any career, a great professional is the one who practices and is constantly working to improve him/herself. Whitney et. al. focused briefly on the "Then" history of teacher-writers, before moving on to the primary focus of the article, the "Now," and where teachers have found their role in recent years.

In recent years, there have been movements toward collaboration between teachers, to foster mentor environments, where teachers can connect with other teachers and receive support as researchers as well as educators. In addition to support, teachers involved in such programs find collaboration opportunities, where they can "co-create knowledge" (179). I find this idea to be interesting, because I think it could work as a way to keep educators sharp. I like the idea of teachers working together to help each other improve, because learning is an on-going experience. Just like writing authentically is important for students, it is also important for the adults who guide them. I very much liked the idea of "teacher-writers being authors in every sense: professionals who claim authority with their own words and their work" (179).  

Although I originally found this article to be much drier than the first, I found it to tie in quite nicely in regard to the idea of authenticity. When I find myself in a teaching position, it is very important to me that I stay relevant, publish, and collaborate with other educators to be the best teacher that I can be, and help my students in every way possible.





The Importance of Being…Authentic – Blog Post #2

Everything about this week's assigned reading "Teaching Writing Authentically" by Carly D. Lidvall was thrilling to me. As I expressed in class last week, I want resources, and Lidvall has provided a gold mine of tools and resources within roughly sixty pages. The first thing that struck me as being interesting about this reading is that it is the write-up of a student's capstone experience, which made it seem much more accessible.  I graduated with my bachelor's degree not too long ago, and I knew students who had to do this kind of write up to summarize their experiences student teaching, and so I was immediately interested to see the experiences that Lidvall chose to report on.

I completely agree the assertion that Lidvall makes in the first paragraph of her abstract, that "Student interest in writing begins once students see a real reason for writing" (3). Although I am not a teacher, I can easily think back to my time as a student, and I remember it being far more interesting to write when the topic was something that piqued my interest. However, I have always had the propensity to express myself through writing, and this is not the case for every student. This is all the more pertinent when a student is less prone to pick up a pen and write. I believe that a student is going to be far more interested in writing when he or she realizes that the writing experience doesn't have to be painful. Not all writing is book reports on required reading, or essay answers about the themes in books that he or she never cared about to begin with. Although there is merit in book reports and analyzing themes, truly effective writing instruction should inspire students to see the possibilities beyond school.

This brings me to my next thought, which Lidvall also addressed: relevance and real-world use. As I mentioned in class last week, I like when things can be practically applied. Although I love theory, I am happiest when I can read something, apply it in real life situations, and see results. For this reason, I appreciated Lidvall's proposal that "writing instruction in schools should closely model the writing found in real world situations. Authentic writing activities attempt to replicate the writing that students experience in the real world. I couldn't agree more.

Authenticity in writing instruction is a fascinating idea, and a way in which I would try to introduce writing to a group of students. Kids are born to ask questions and not stop asking until they receive answers, and I can only imagine the questions asked when faced with certain assignments:
"Why do I have to do this?"
"How will this ever affect my life?"
"Why do I need to know this?"
There are very real reasons to write. Every day of their adult lives, people make money by drafting proposals, editing documents, writing articles, movie scripts, books, etc. The options are endless. Although, regardless, not every student is going to be interested in writing, I agree strongly with the idea of teaching authentically. This approach may teach a kid that it is possible for him to express himself, or that a talent she has has real-life applicability.

This article provided a wealth of helpful information, strategies, and techniques to improve authentic writing instruction and create supportive environments to inspire interest in writing. Reading through, I appreciated Lidvall's note that writing instruction is not one-size-fits-all, and that writing instruction should vary: "Teaching authentically means meeting students where they are and teaching them from that place" (10). This, in my opinion, is crucial. Not every student learns in the same way, and it may take serious work from a teacher to attempt to engage different students in different ways. Writing is deeply personal, and not every kid is going to respond in the same way. Some may be more resistant.

I particularly enjoyed the section regarding "Rationale for the Curriculum," because this section struck close to home in regard to my own interests. Lidvall used the example of a student newspaper as "an authentic form of writing that enables students to write for an audience, learn a variety of formats, and write about issues that are important to them" (18). Throughout my college career I worked on the student newspaper, and this experience opened my eyes to the points of view from students of all majors and worldviews. When someone wants to say something, and they want a platform on which it will be displayed, students newspapers are valuable resources. I loved this case study, because I feel that students of all ages would be able to appreciate the newspaper platform. I personally have watched students, myself included, come alive when given the opportunity, and I found the newspaper case study to be fascinating. As Lidvall walked through each step of her thought process, objectives, goals, lesson plan, and materials, I found myself growing excited and wanting to try this out myself. Authentic writing instruction is such an exciting idea, and I feel that this example is a fantastic resource. This is an excellent example of everything I could want to gain out of this class and use for my own.

"Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, Next" by Anne Elrod Whitney, Troy Hicksm Leah Zuidema, James E. Fredricksen, and Robert P. Yagelski provided an interesting tie-in to the first article. Whereas Lidvall focused on making writing an authentic process for the student, this article gives more attention to the teacher's job as a writer, so as to keep them up to date and relatable to the students they teach.

I agree with this mindset as well. I believe that the worst thing a teacher could do is to lose touch with his or her students, and fall into the mindset that the assignments are only to be given and graded. As in any career, a great professional is the one who practices and is constantly working to improve him/herself. Whitney et. al. focused briefly on the "Then" history of teacher-writers, before moving on to the primary focus of the article, the "Now," and where teachers have found their role in recent years.

In recent years, there have been movements toward collaboration between teachers, to foster mentor environments, where teachers can connect with other teachers and receive support as researchers as well as educators. In addition to support, teachers involved in such programs find collaboration opportunities, where they can "co-create knowledge" (179). I find this idea to be interesting, because I think it could work as a way to keep educators sharp. I like the idea of teachers working together to help each other improve, because learning is an on-going experience. Just like writing authentically is important for students, it is also important for the adults who guide them. I very much liked the idea of "teacher-writers being authors in every sense: professionals who claim authority with their own words and their work" (179).  

Although I originally found this article to be much drier than the first, I found it to tie in quite nicely in regard to the idea of authenticity. When I find myself in a teaching position, it is very important to me that I stay relevant, publish, and collaborate with other educators to be the best teacher that I can be, and help my students in every way possible.





Making Writing Authentic


 This week’s readings on authenticity are quite well paired. The article entitled, Teachers: Then, Now and Next illustrates the importance of teachers continuing to develop themselves professionally as writers in their field. Our second reading, Teaching Writing Authentically brings the work that teachers are doing in their own lives into the classroom; Lidvall encourages teachers to help students find a purpose to write just as teacher-writers also do.

I feel connected to idea that teachers are advocates and should use writing to promote what is happening in their classroom. The reading states that “writing can change perspectives that shape teaching practice” (179). In my experiences within the professional educator community, I have found this to be true. For example, Twitter is a popular source for educators to write and advocate. Some teachers share links to their blog posts while others share key take-aways in just 140 characters. These writings allow teachers to reflect on their own instruction as well as create a community where best practice can be discussed and evaluated. As a result, teachers are sharing the day-to-day informal research that they do in their own classroom and creating a public body of knowledge that drives the field forward. My own teaching practice has been shaped by the resources I have found on Twitter as well as the Twitter Chats that I have participated in. As the article states, the next action for these teacher-writers should be to leverage their collaboration to become even more powerful advocates within the field.

While teachers are writing with goals ranging from reflection to sharing to advocacy, Lidvall’s article, Get Real: Instructional Implications for Authentic Writing Activities makes it clear that students also need such a relevant purpose to their writing. I have noticed a theme thus far in our readings that appears again in Lidvall’s work. First, students need to write about a subject of their choice. Second, they need a real audience. The combination of these two will increase student interest in writing in turn leading to them becoming better writers. I fully agree with Lidvall’s argument. I am reminded of The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell. Ms Gruwell’s students were such a success because she was able to give them a real reason to write. What they wrote had meaning outside the classroom. Her example should be one that we all imitate as much as possible.    

As teachers, we need to realize how writing is changing in the digital age. For instance, the last time that I wrote a 5 paragraph essay was in high school. This is not the type of writing that our students are doing yet we spend much time instructing it. Our students are sending emails to teachers, writing captions on Snapchat and texting. As teachers, we need to expose ourselves to their world. Our responsibility is to find out what writing is important in today’s society and adapt our teachings to meet the skills our students need. I commend Lidvall for starting a classroom newspaper that models such real world skills.

As an educator, I appreciated the practicality of Lidvall’s article. From the detailed lesson plans to the inclusion of the materials, Lidvall provided teachers with a curriculum that can be implemented immediately. There needs to be more of this within the field. Often teachers are told the goal - make writing authentic - without any support in how to get there. I find that teachers are not necessarily opposed to this goal but struggle to find ways to accomplish it. Lidvall’s materials give teachers the starting point that the need. As I write my lesson plans for the week, I am keeping this idea of making writing authentic in mind and striving to find ways that I can connect my students to a world outside our classroom.

Making Writing Authentic


 This week’s readings on authenticity are quite well paired. The article entitled, Teachers: Then, Now and Next illustrates the importance of teachers continuing to develop themselves professionally as writers in their field. Our second reading, Teaching Writing Authentically brings the work that teachers are doing in their own lives into the classroom; Lidvall encourages teachers to help students find a purpose to write just as teacher-writers also do.

I feel connected to idea that teachers are advocates and should use writing to promote what is happening in their classroom. The reading states that “writing can change perspectives that shape teaching practice” (179). In my experiences within the professional educator community, I have found this to be true. For example, Twitter is a popular source for educators to write and advocate. Some teachers share links to their blog posts while others share key take-aways in just 140 characters. These writings allow teachers to reflect on their own instruction as well as create a community where best practice can be discussed and evaluated. As a result, teachers are sharing the day-to-day informal research that they do in their own classroom and creating a public body of knowledge that drives the field forward. My own teaching practice has been shaped by the resources I have found on Twitter as well as the Twitter Chats that I have participated in. As the article states, the next action for these teacher-writers should be to leverage their collaboration to become even more powerful advocates within the field.

While teachers are writing with goals ranging from reflection to sharing to advocacy, Lidvall’s article, Get Real: Instructional Implications for Authentic Writing Activities makes it clear that students also need such a relevant purpose to their writing. I have noticed a theme thus far in our readings that appears again in Lidvall’s work. First, students need to write about a subject of their choice. Second, they need a real audience. The combination of these two will increase student interest in writing in turn leading to them becoming better writers. I fully agree with Lidvall’s argument. I am reminded of The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell. Ms Gruwell’s students were such a success because she was able to give them a real reason to write. What they wrote had meaning outside the classroom. Her example should be one that we all imitate as much as possible.    

As teachers, we need to realize how writing is changing in the digital age. For instance, the last time that I wrote a 5 paragraph essay was in high school. This is not the type of writing that our students are doing yet we spend much time instructing it. Our students are sending emails to teachers, writing captions on Snapchat and texting. As teachers, we need to expose ourselves to their world. Our responsibility is to find out what writing is important in today’s society and adapt our teachings to meet the skills our students need. I commend Lidvall for starting a classroom newspaper that models such real world skills.

As an educator, I appreciated the practicality of Lidvall’s article. From the detailed lesson plans to the inclusion of the materials, Lidvall provided teachers with a curriculum that can be implemented immediately. There needs to be more of this within the field. Often teachers are told the goal - make writing authentic - without any support in how to get there. I find that teachers are not necessarily opposed to this goal but struggle to find ways to accomplish it. Lidvall’s materials give teachers the starting point that the need. As I write my lesson plans for the week, I am keeping this idea of making writing authentic in mind and striving to find ways that I can connect my students to a world outside our classroom.

On reflection and writing….

UnknownThank you to Andaiye for kicking off our “Discussion Lead” series with a thoughtful engagement of both Yancey’s piece  Reflection in the Writing Classroom and Jaxon’s thoughts  on “One Approach to Guiding Peer Response.”  Andaiye’s opening questions and later freewriting exercises were very useful in exploring the importance of reflection in overall learning.  I think there are inherent differences in “writing your way to discovery” verses engaging in oral discussion, and in some ways, we started to explore those distinctions together during Andaiye’s presentation.  Sometimes discussion can only take us so far.   It seems to me that reflection as a powerful engine for authentic learning requires a significant time commitment.  The problem of time constraints (in an academic context) remains a significant challenge for current educators as we attempt to incorporate writing process into our academic curriculum(s).  A need to cover content in the allotted time seems to trump any in-built reflective process.  I suspect that this will be a recurring issue that we must try to troubleshoot together:  How can we design learning experiences where reflection becomes more habitual and ultimately has an important role to play in shaping how students learn how to learn?

reflection-11-500x375Writing instruction is clearly THE critical interface for reflection to become a “habit of mind”.  It is evident that writing-to-learn methods are profound roads to learning, yet we struggle to find the time to model this on a regular basis.  In this way, Jaxon’s peer guided protocol is very useful – she has her students take on this reflective stance for writing outside her classroom time.   She guides her students to prepare a critical memo of their own writing work, while simultaneously, students consider peer writing through her guided protocol.  It is a way of incorporating the reflective stance into student experience, and it still leaves some classroom time for other pursuits.

What is up for next week?

-Stephanie will present both 1. Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next and also 2. Teaching Writing Authentically.  Please read her two selected articles and blog your response/reflection to the readings for next Monday.  You should remember to add your thoughts about your own sense of learning priorities for this class at the close of this week’s blog post.  Also, please remember to tweet your blog or any related material to our class hashtag is #WritingTheory.

-In the second half of class, we will continue to open up an initial discussion of what is possible for your shared project.  We will pick up where we left off as we reflect together and brainstorm early possibilities regarding your preferred learning outcomes.  We will also start an early consideration of what form a collaborative project might take.

See you soon!!

Dr. Zamora