Writing Really Feels Like A Process!

Reading the articles for this week’s reading on writing was interesting to me. I found them interesting because not only did I find a connection with the articles, but also because I came into agreement with various of the arguments and concepts being stressed.

First off, the article of Teaching Writing as Process Not Product, by Donald Murray, talks in detail about many teachers of writing teach this subject to their students and how they evaluate the writings. In this case, teachers often treat writing as a product and many times not a process, where their skills are normally honed and focused on the examining of literature. The focus on the writing of the students is based on what they have done and not so much on what they are doing, and how they are going about it (process). Students are similarly graded with this in mind, where their overall product is examined for a grade (grammar, correct vocabulary depending on the assignment, and others).

After talking about this, the article touched on the counter-argument that it should be like this, and that the writing of students should be seen as a process by teachers. And in this sense, teachers should listen then respond to their students writing. They also should respect the students writing not by standard grading measures, but rather by their engagement to their writing.

This is an argument that is easy for me to relate to as a student of writing, mainly because in the past, I have found myself many times being victim of inaccurate evaluation (of my writing) by a few teachers and professors. And I wished that my writing had been looked at in another way when being evaluated. During those these times, my writings (mostly academic papers) were evaluated in a manner that I felt was a bit unfair. More often than not, the person evaluating my works seemed to be paying more attention to mindless things, such as grammar, type of words used (which by the way, it my own built vocabulary), . But my overall message or context was often not taken into account as much. If I had to give it a percentage, I would say my message and context was the focus in their evaluations about 20%, while about 80% was focused on other factors. This was the case with one of my papers recently for a class of communication I am taking this semester. It was a 4 page paper, and after I receiving it back from my professor, I noticed how much he had circled, and X (ed) my sentences. But such correction, I felt, were not addressing my argument and message in the writing. It was more like: you didn’t write this sentence the way I would have, as your professor; you didn’t use the word or vocabulary I want you to use; you gave me more details and explanation that I wanted; you…. (the list goes on and on). The, he marked me a grade of in the back of my paper, which I felt should have been a bit higher.

So, yes, I have to find myself agreeing with this article on this topic of how often the student’s papers are treated (product) and how they are evaluated. It’s hard not to agree, when you are victim of it various times as a writing student.

In addition, I also found a connection with the other article of Bad Ideas About Writing (Writer’s Block Just Happens To People). This one seems to be on a different topic of writing, yet I was able to still find a connection to the first one. Despite being an article that I found to wanders off with ideas all over the place, there is a message which is argued. This message is one on how to deal with writer’s block: you facilitate writing by embracing the “blank page” and by playing with words and names. And by doing so, you negate the problem of writer’s block. This is because you will get into a writing process by actively writing or working with writing. This process is what I found in connection with the previous article. And it helps remind me that even when dealing with other issues of writing, you are still caught in a process. This process can be seen in so many ways. Some of my examples are when working on a major writing project. At first, I must brainstorm ideas and come up with a chosen subject, topic, decide on my audience, and so on. But doing so, might not come fast sometimes, and might require me to come juggle my ideas until I have what I want. And once this is done, then I work on the crafting of my writing. This part is not as simple as just grabbing a piece of paper and writing on it. Sometimes my ideas don’t come to me easily, while other times I need to feel inspired by something which will help facilitate my writing. Another example is that of when I’m stuck on my writing and I can’t generate any ideas or my writing just doesn’t seem to flow because I’m experiencing writer’s block. Often, I try practices like free writing to get out of it, but other times I simply need to just walk away from my paper and come back the next time. Other times, all I have to do is simply follow on a set amount of steps, which I have gotten used to from previous crafted works.

In this sense, I can see my own writing as a process; one that varies each time depending on certain conditions. As I have covered all of this, it is easy for me to see why writing should be regarded, taught to students, and treated as such. It is sometimes long, complex, and ever-changing, and it takes each individual though a different writing journey or experience.

The Writing Process & Bad Ideas about Writing

Fatima Muhammad

Blog #5

Reading and writing are two fundamental tools that are the bases to learning all subjects. In the world of academia reading and writing are important, however, also very problematic.   Students’ ability to effectively read and write is diminishing.  When addressing students’ ability to read and write, there are four main points that need to be addressed: the need to teach reading and writing simultaneously, there are some teachers that are unqualified to teach, too often writing is treated as a product instead of a process, and failure is an option that can leave to expertise.  
Description: Image result for certificate reading and writing

For too long reading and writing have been taught as separate skills sets.  Ellen C. Carillo states, “language arts instructors now teach reading and writing alongside each other.  They do so because research has shown that students learn to read and write better when they are instructed in both simultaneously.”  If you examine the table below, you will find six skills that are needed to learn how to read and write.  You will see that these skills are either the same or they complement each other. 

Skills needed to learn how to read Skills needed to learn how to write
Decoding Transcription
Fluency Reading comprehension
Vocabulary Planning, revising and editing
Sentence construction and cohesion Sentence construction
Reasoning and background knowledge Genre and content knowledge
Working memory and attention Self-regulation

            When all of these skills are taught to the students simultaneously, the student is literally empowered.  For example, when a student is assigned a writing assignment, he must conduct research so that he may have knowledge of the topic.  In order to perform the needed research he must first read.  As well, when a student is assigned a reading assignment he must understand sentence construction; a skill shared by both reading and writing.  Hence, reading and writing skills support each other.  Alice S. Horning and Elizabeth W. Kraemer, wrote in, Reconnecting Reading and Writing: Introduction and Overview,  This study shows that research and writing can and should be successfully connected through the application of strong critical reading and thinking skills to writing in a context of information literacy.” (p, 17)

 There are so many short cuts that a student can make when working on a writing assignment.  I’ve noticed that too often the student is more concerned with the product and not concerned enough with the writing process.  Donald M. Murray expresses, “writing is a demanding, intellectual process.”  I love that statement.  It motives me.  He list the three stages of the writing process as, (1)“prewriting, 85%, – awareness of the world, focus on the subject, research and daydreaming; (2)writing, 1%, is fulfilling the commitment; and (3)rewriting, 14%, is the mental and physical task of writing.”  Rewriting is researching, rethinking, redesigning, rewriting then editing.”  Writing is a journey.  Murray, “All writing is experimental.”   It is extremely important that teachers allow students the chance to explore their ideas, to experience the thrill of discovering new thoughts.  Murray shares, “When you give him an assignment you tell him what to say and how to say it, and thereby cheat him of the opportunity to learn the process of discovery we call writing.”  Students must stop and admire the flowers.  Then reflect on the flower in its early stage as a seed.  Next, picture the process that the flower went through to become beautiful.   Now apply scenario to his writing assignment and enjoy the process.  

A student enrolls in an online writing instruction, (OWI), course, because of the scheduling convenience it offers.  Then the student uses his parents’ and his hard earn money to pay tuition to a college/university, that unknown to the student, has hired unqualified professors.  It’s actually frightening to think that a student attends college to prepare for his adult life so that he can to fulfill his financial responsibilities; but instead he may graduate with a writing deficiency due to the fact that the professor lacked proper training on how to teach the OWI.  Beth L. Hewett states, “Effective online writing teachers need three types of skills:  they must be able to teach online writing; specifically in a digital environment, and primarily through written communication.”  Also, the college must value the OWI professors and the course. I was shocked to learn that English composition did not become a course until the late 1800’s.  Writing is the foundation of every course.  And it should not matter if the course is taught online or in a class, writing is absolutely necessary.  So why does the OWI seem to be less important than other English courses?  OWI professors need, “real professor training, better paid, benefits, an office, participation in staff meetings, internet access and access to the copy machine. Do you think this type of support will improve the quality if OWI instruction?

We hear this statement many times throughout our learning experience, “Failure is not an option.”  “Failure is not an option.”   To me this makes no sense, because failing is an option.  Failing is a reality.  Anytime we attempt something and we are not successful, that is a failure.  It’s just a natural process.  Failing should not be look upon with shame.  Instead, one should have a sense of accomplishment; because they tried.  And no matter the result, they were successful at trying.  Here’s a quote I’ve heard many times throughout my childhood. Thomas H. Palmer in his Teacher’s Manual, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”   Beth L. Hewett writes, “Students learn to write by having the opportunities to read, think, write, reflect, receive feedback, and write again.”  Sometimes repeating a step is part of the process that can lead one to becoming an expert. 

Bad Ideas about Writing and Writing as a Process as opposed to a Product

I found this week’s readings to be very interesting and informative.  We started with Donald Murray’s “Teaching Writing as a Process, Not Product.”  I loved this article for it’s overall message. You see, today, we live in a society where people do not care so much about the journey as long as they eventually end up at the desired destination.  Not saying that there is anything wrong with that, but I feel as though you ,miss out on something if you do not emphasize and appreciate the journey. As I read the article, I loved when Murray said “It is the process of discovery through language.”  Discovery is the perfect word to describe the process of writing in my opinion. Discovering your voice, discovering your thoughts, discovering your stances. Any way you look at it, the process of writing is about discovery and how we conceptualize those ideas into a finished product.  As far as the specific process, I really liked how Murray spoke about pre-writing, writing, re-writing. I feel like writing and re-writing kind of take away the spotlight from pre-writing. This may be the most important part of the entire writing process. It is the genesis of your ideas and how you plan to structure them.  It is almost kind of like a process within a process. Murray dictates that it is a process of focus. Focusing on the subject, audience, and a form, or vehicle, in which to mend these ideas together. Murray describes writing as the fastest and most intimidating part. That couldn’t be more true. I know for me the most difficult thing for me to do is get started.  Once you start, you are taking your ideas in the direction that you know want to and that can be scary. “What if I do not like what I wrote? This doesn’t seem to flow. What was I thinking?” This is where the idea of re-write becomes important. It is, as Murray describes it, a chance to reconsider all of the work that was done in the first two steps of this process.  This can be a tedious process. Having to read all of your work and trying to be as constructive and honest with your self assessment is a hard thing to do. This could because we are unsure how the audience we are aiming to connect with will perceive what we wrote. Naturally, allowing others to see a vulnerable side of you is daunting. As writers, we openly make ourselves vulnerable by putting our ideas and thoughts out in an open forum for others to judge and analyze. I think Murray does a great job of summing up this idea is “We have to protect the student, not for his product, but for the search for truth in which he is engaged.

All of the “Bad Idea” readings worked well the murray article I felt, but the one that spoke to me most is the Rubrics and the Oversimplifying of writing.  Trying to apply a rubric to student writing almost doesn’t seem fair. While I do see the utility in having that sort of standard and across the board cohesion, I think assessment should be more dynamic than that.  While the reading does pose some good points about how it can lay out the objective of the assignment and alleviate some sort of anxiety about what the students need to write, I feel like it is unfair to the student on the back end in terms of evaluation.  As we move along this journey in learning about the theory behind interacting with student writing, I am finding that I like the idea of the student having room to get really creative and think outside the box with their writing. Personally, I feel rubrics can inhibit those creative juices, although it is not lost on me how important it is to have a standardized method for evaluating across the board as a means of comparing student writing. 

“Failure is not an Option” really spoke to me.  In creative spaces, there isn’t a failure, only learning.  Conor McGregor put it best when he “win or learn.” Think about that.  There is no failure, just an opportunity to get better. And that is how I view writing,  As this constant growth and evolution of one’s self. In that, there is no room to dwell on failure.  What others see as a “failure” is actually a golden opportunity to learn and get better. It is equivalent to a football player who makes a bad mistake that shows up in the team film session.  Yes, maybe he failed in a literal sense in what happened on the tape, but it isn’t an overall failure as the player will now have an opportunity to learn and get better in the areas where he failed on the tape.  This almost goes back to the re-write stage murray mentions in his article. You make the corrections and move on.

Let me tell you, as a comedian, I cannot talk enough about writers block.  In many ways, it is the absolute bane of my existence. For me, the frustration stems from being so close.  Having 90% of an idea down and ready to go, but finding that last 10% can be an extremely daunting and frustrating process.  I really like the part of the article where they talk about the locksmith and his recognition of Calypso as the square and the round.  It made me think about how, in my joke writing specifically, you sometimes need to adjust your thinking and how you are processing the information.  It can be an oversimplification or a reimagining of sorts that helps pull you out of it. While I do not know how effective some of the modes discussed can be, I am very much looking forward to discussing this with my classmates and see how they deal with it writers block themselves. 

Writing Process and Bad Ideas about Writing

Ball discussed rubrics and how they can be either be too elusive or too confining. I agree that there is so much more to writing that what a rubric captures and that it can become to limiting to a student. Rubrics are also just another way for students to beat the system and just give teachers what they want for the sake of receiving a “good grade”. However, many schools require that teachers use some sort of rubric inside their classrooms. Ball discussed having students work with the teacher to develop the rubric in order to increase engagement and explain that while rubrics do include many key elements in writing, there are many more elements to writing than what’s just listed inside the rubric. But how do we get students to a point where they can go beyond the elements listed on the rubrics? How do students discover and use the unlisted elements?

Murray explains the logic behind teachers who view student writing as just a finished product and it makes sense. For years the thing I enjoyed most as an undergrad was reading literature, analyzing and thinking critically about it. So after being taught for years how to do this, its only natural that when someone becomes a teacher they bring this same sort of attitude and fervor when it comes to reading and student work. The word that Murray used was attacked, and as harsh as this word is, a lot of students simply feel attacked. Instead of being a coach that shows a student how to develop their writing, they pounce on the student and their paper and rips them to shreds. This is what leads to and feeds the dominant narrative centered around failure being this purely negative thing that you should escape. Once a teacher takes the attacking approach with a student’s writing they risk forcing that student inside a shell where they become afraid of writing the wrong thing. So the student doesn’t takes risks or try to be creative or imaginative anymore. Instead they simply learn what the teacher wants and gives it to them and begin to shy away from failure. Failure becomes equated with weakness, laziness, not being smart and etc. There’s also the notion that if you do fail then you MUST learn from it in order for the failure to have meaning. But as Murray discussed, this kind of thinking is wrong! He then goes on to discuss famous authors who all faced failure in some shape or form. And while I love the idea that even famous authors have failed but somehow still managed to succeed, I also don’t think that this should be the only example of the usefulness of failing. I think this message goes with earlier idea the Murray discarded as being incorrect, the idea that failure can only be good if you learn from it or become successful because of it. What if a student doesn’t even want to become a famous author? Do they not have the right to fail? Or what if a person faces all kinds of failures and wants to, but never become a famous author? Was their failure then a waste of time and therefore doesn’t count or deemed acceptable? I think its great to use examples of famous authors who also faced failure, but I also think its important to let students know that even if their writings don’t turn out to be world famous, it is still okay to fail.

Image result for writing process

I value the arrows presented in this writing process diagram. The arrows show that one could move in between the different stages whether it be forward or backwards. An earlier author mentioned the idea of the writing process becoming this linear model that only moves in one direction. The truth is sometimes during the writing process you may need to return to the previous stages and that its okay for you to do this. I fear that this concept is not being conveyed to students I’m afraid that the importance of the writing process has gotten lost and misconstrued in many writing classes. Viewing writing as a product instead of a process has seemed to suck the life, joy and overall discovery experience out of writing. Murray makes a note about his 10 implications and says all these implications require is, “a teacher who will respect and respond to his student, not for what they have done, but for what they may do not for what they have produced, but for what they may produce…”. And as Murray stated earlier in is essay, our students are not the literary writers we’ve studied and discussed in school, nor are their writings literary works of art…yet. It takes teachers who are willing to see the potential in what our students can do, and teach them the importance of process over product because if they cater to the process, then the results will show in the product. Then maybe one day they can create literature for future generations to one day study.

Teaching Writing as a Process … NOT a Product

When reading this article, I could not feel nothing but overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction that this elephant in the room has final been addressed! With writing being apart of history as we know it today, these are still a lot of issues as as educators fail to address, and within this article we definitely do address it. So what this topic we will be looking at in this article is *drum rolls* … The process of writing!

The first topic I would like to drop some discussion on is what I would describe as The Writing Cycle. I want to take step back not just start off by just directly talking about the students but us, their teachers. For too long we have always been too quick to point the at finger at our students and not take a step back at ourselves! As I was reading, I came across an interesting point about a writing cycle for teaches. So it goes like this (in order): Training teachers to teach writing – We use these tools to teach students – Students are usually confused by the instructions – teachers pass on frustration to these students on to the next teacher – the next teacher uses the most likely use the same teaching tools as the previous teachers. What I took away from this little cycle is that not we only do we need to look at the writing process of our students, but the process of how we go about teaching them! For the sake of both me not being able to make or finding a picture similar to this cycle I wanted to put in visuals, I am going to show you a very simplified version of what the teaching writing process SHOULD look like, to an extent (on the left side of this passage).

Another point I would like to address is the way us as English teachers should teach the process of discovery through language. Referring back to my World Englishes course, with America expanding as a melting pot and majority of world adapting English in some part of their lives, people perceptions of English in so many different ways. Of course we as educators want to teacher our students the traditional academic standard of writing, but we first need to come to a common ground.

The next idea to address is instead of teaching finished writing, we need to teach unfinished writing and the glory in its unfinishedness. Yes, this may sound a bit confusing to the average writing teacher. Why should we teach unfinishedness, it that not backwards teaching? We are not literately teaching our students to half effort their writing, but to be okay with not getting your writing done in one swoop. An example I would like to add in is when I do example reading log writings with my students. Our goal when doing this activity in small group is not to help them finish the log in ones sitting, but to get their ideas flowing so that they can finish the rest on their own. I then send the off with a document I created titled My Reading Log Checklist. This is to further show my student what I am looking for in their writing. Even after having small group with my little scholars, I do not just want to send them away with any confusion! Look back at my last post addressing the confusion of writing teachers instructions.

Name:

Date:

My Reading log checklist!

Before I put my reading log in the reading log bin,

Do I have:

Do I have my COMPLETE Heading? Do I have an OPENING sentence? Do I have TEXT EVDIENCE? Do I have a CLOSING sentence? OVERALL (Self Editing)
First & Last nameThe dateThe title of my bookIs my book fiction (Fake) or nonfiction (Real)?The question I am answering Did I restate the question I am answering?Do I have details in my opening sentence? (You should not!) Did I say, “In the book it said” or “According to the text”?Do I have at least 1-2 sentences of text evidence?Does my evidence support my opening sentence? Did I restate the question?Does my closing sound like my opening? Did I follow the direction on my sticky from Ms. P?Do I have punctuations? (. , ! ?)Did I answer the CORRECT question for my type of book?Did I check my log using the rubric

Hi 2nd grade friends! This checklist is to help you check that your log is complete. You all are young writers and are going through the writing process! The writing process is the steps you take to make a good writing and become a good writer. This is another tool to help you!

“He doesn’t test his words by a rule book, but by his life.”

I thought this quote and image would fit perfectly within the scheme of my next topic within this article: The Three Stages of Writing. When reading the article, I decide to look back at my writing process of my Fulbright journey targeting these three strategies.

Three Stages of Writing: Pre-writing (85 % of the writer’s time)

This is the part of the stage where you are gathering all your information, jotting down notes, understanding that there is no for sure idea and what exactly you are writing about. When looking back at my Fulbright writing journey, I had to produce two type of essays for my application process. For the sake of time and space, I will leave the link here to what exactly is a Fulbright … just in case you might be interested in applying one day ( https://us.fulbrightonline.org/ )! You can also refer back to some of my older blogs where I am in the Writing Retreat course that was dedicated into developing my essay. That summer course served as starting ground for my pre-writing.

Three Stages of Writing: Writing (1% of the writers time)

Many would think that the actual writing itself takes a enormous of time, but it actually dose not. After all the research, notes, videos, articles, and whatever else you used to gather all of your information, the writing feels like a breeze. I spent about an entire week of my summer course just doing research on my designated country I desire to do my Fulbright grant year in. It took me one sit down to get the first draft done. That was probably the easiest part of my Fulbright writing!

Three Stages of Writing: Rewriting (14% of writing time)

I can of digress with this percentage number, I would give it a little higher number like 30%. Again referring back to my Fulbright experience, my rewriting stage consisted of the following: 5 different drafts, a month of revision meeting with my Fulbright adviser, 4 different meetings with my school’s Writing Center, a couple of headache and tears, just to get th final efforts of finishing these essays. In total, it took me a 5 months to finish the two essays. Every essay varies on the type of writing process you take but it still sums up the generate Three Stages of Writing.

To end my little rant on this article, I would like to leave you with a few bullet points of ideas to consider:

  • How do you get a student do this process? (Three Stages of Writing)
    • Shut up and let them do it, instead of hearing it!
    • Be patient, it is called a process for a reason.
    • Respect our students as writers of the process. We are coaches and encourages!

Bad Ideas About Writing: Failure is Not an Option

Failure (noun): an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success:His effort ended in failure. The campaign was a failure.

This is the standard definition of failure when looked at on https://www.dictionary.com/browse/failure?s=ts. Within this article I would like to explore on a different perspective such as on an dominate cultural narrative: Failure = weakness laziness, and stupidity. Instead of shaming our students, or our own failures, lets rejoice and welcome all failures in every shape and form!

I want to first start off by giving use a few bullet point on the history of failure from the article:

The History of Failure

  • Mid – 19th Century
    • To fail in reading and writing is meant as a failure of moral fortitude.
  • No Child Left Behind Act: We are so desperate to make sure all of our students to feel belonged that we are sending them under prepared for the next grade. In the 7th grade this act began to take place and made me question should I even try anymore if they are just letting anyone move on to the next grade!
  • Innovations discovered by accident: Post it notes (I love these things!).

Another worthy topic I found interesting in the article is the claim that ‘It takes years – decades, probably of repeated writing failure to get the hang of the technique.” It took me years to realize that writing in notebooks works best for me when doing my initial writing. Unfortunately, I learned and acquired this skill on my own without any guidance, which is a major issue for our student writers. We put so much pressure not to fail that they end up being entirely scared to write, building that mental wall of: I HATE WRITING!

So again, because I am a fan of bullet points (I believe it is an easy way of getting points across without lengthy paragraphs) here are someone worthy topics that came across while I was reading this article.

  • People are afraid to write due to failure.
    • I hate writing, its not fun!
  • Even the grates are failures!
    • So how do we expect our students to not accept failure? We are being Hippocrates people!
  • Writing scholars do not use the word failure, but we should!
    • When was the last time you wrote paper without tossing your entire ideas away?
  • Failure is apart of the process! Just don’t dwell on it.
    • As I would like to stress, its apart of the process, not something to stay stuck in.
  • Manu Kapur: Are brains are actually wired for failure.
    • Its in our wiring, we not built to be perfect

Bad Ideas About Writing: Writer’s Block Just Happens to People

This mental block that we all place on ourselves, whether we want to or not, is what keeps us from the world of creativity we wish to thrive in. Unfortunately, be both an artist of both the liberal and visual arts I know this feeling all to well. Most recently I have been have been experiencing both a writing and art block, hence why I am still writing this blog at 12:32 am on a Monday morning. I took the time to write out all my notes for my assigned reading well before I needed start the block. I began to question my own intelligence and my status of grad students. But I then was reminded from the article that Jacotot believed that everyone – regardless of cultural hierarchy – had the capacity for equal intelligence. I decided to take a break from the world of academia and pick up my pencil and sketch pad. After doing a couple of sketches, I finally became inspired to approach my laptop! One can facilitate writing by embracing the blank page.

Bad Ideas About Writing: Rubrics Oversimplify The Writing Process

  • We have to stick together as educators!
    • Speak up
    • Give advice
  • Students can benefit from a rubric when discussed in advanced
    • Refer back to the beginning of my blog where I introduce My Reading Log Checklist
  • A rubric is also apart of the writing process
    • This would fit into the category of rewriting stage
  • Get students involved in the learning process

Process is not a Product: Bad ideas about Writing

This weeks readings touches bases with “Teach writing as a Process not a product” and “Bad Ideas about Writing“. Starting with process is not a product it teaches a student how to be a writer and to have their own unique, creative way with writing. Taking a side note: “How would I begin my students to start writing in the classroom?” Every language-arts or English teacher teaches a student structure. The students must grasp their own thoughts of writing regarding to this is a process not a product quoting from pg.4 “The process itself can be divided into there stages: prewriting, writing, and rewriting. The amount of time a writer spends in each stage depends on his personality, his work habits, his maturity as a craftsman and the challenge of what he is trying to say.”

Beginning as a writer, every writer has to begin to start somewhere with expressing their thoughts and opinions on paper. Another question comes to mind “How can you build your own creative way of writing?”. “To be a teacher of a process such as this takes qualities too few of us have, but most of us can develop. We have to be quiet, to listen, to respond.” We must respect our student for his potential voice. We are coaches, encourages, developers, creators of environments in which our students can experience the writing process for themselves.” Being in the education system as educators have to push the students to do their best when it comes to writing feeling free to see what the students are thinking and see how they process their way of thinking.

Following onto “Bad Ideas About Writing” there are four steps of this topic. but two where mainly in my focus Carillo, speaks on children that can’t read majority of students really can’t comprehend their work other than now-a-days students would rather tweet, text or play on their technology devices. AS a substitute teacher being in the classroom teachers would rather have student be put on a laptop rather than going over work probably that the student needs help in. Since I was in school if a student needed assistance they would ask the teacher but also there was a Human Resource teacher they’ve been a big help to the school systems. A human resource teachers is a certified educator that consentrates on helping children with physical or educational learning problems to develop their reading and writing skills.

Carr, “Failure is not an optionin any way of education I was taught this as a child, as my parents being educators in the school system my parents taught me to “Never give up” or “There’s always ways to do things another way.” When it came to writing it felt good to write what you wanted or beginning a writing assignment with ” What would you like to be when you grow up.” or “Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years.” Giving a students a head start to have access to writing but in most cases some students lack laziness. Growing up in the school systems as the reading as “No child left behind”. No child should be left behind in any way education is key to help succeed the students get extra help.

Bad Ideas About Writing & My Reflections on War In Translation.

Teach Writing as a Process not a Product was a interesting read. From the start of it a quote struck me: “Instead of teaching writing, we should teach unfinished writing, and glory in its unfinishedness.” Amazing! Where was this ideology when I was a young student writer? I like Murray’s idea of the writing process being about exploration and charting unknown territories. Makes it sound exciting, fun and like your going on an adventure. Which I believe writing is all about, or at least should be for students. Over the summer when I taught a Crafting the Essay writing class to incoming Kean freshman, I was taken aback by their feelings towards writing. Not just to writing a college essay but to writing in general. The question I posed was: What is your relationship with writing? Almost ALL of my students told me how much they hated writing. I shared some of this experience with you all in my reaction paper for my presentation on grading and feedback. But ill dig a little deeper in this blog. I was heartbroken to say the least. Each new paper I picked up and read made me cringe. One after the other almost all 25 of my kids talked of their disdain for writing. Some said it was due to the topic not appealing to them, or how they suffered from writers block, they didn’t know where to start and most heartbreaking was reading about the teachers who they believed let them down. Teachers who didn’t care enough to help them through it. Teachers who showed their indifference and disinterest in their students concerns and who pushed them further away from their potential in growing into budding writers. I was left saddened but determined to fix this problem as best I could. Hoping to touch each student and help them to learn to appreciate, not love, but hopefully not loathe writing any longer. I did my very best, and always made myself available to help tutor and coach them through our writing assignments. Even on my day off I came in if they needed me. So when I read this article I realized how much it appealed to me because of my experience this past summer. This notion of teaching students writing as a process and not a product is ideal! It should be implemented more! Another two quotes that resonated with me were: “It is the process of discovery through language. It is the process of exploration of what we know and what we feel about what we know through language. We have to be quiet, listen, to respond. We are not the initiator or the motivator; we are the reader, the recipient.” The article goes on with Murray and his 10 Implications. The ones I thought could really be beneficial to students were: Implication #1 where he says the students examine their own evolving writing and examine it as well as peer review their classmates work. Implication #9 this idea of allowing the student to explore writing in their own unique way and at their own pace. He acknowledges that every student is different and has different skill sets, so they should be encouraged to work through their writing processes in a way that benefits them. These are innovative ideas that I will put into use as a future English teacher. Xo

Rubrics Oversimplify The Writing Process. I have a confession to make! Shh! I never knew what a grading rubric was until I went to college. Is that weird?! I’m not sure but after reading this article maybe it was a good thing or was it? As with anything there are pros and cons to grading rubrics. Critics believe as stated in the article that the downside to rubrics is that they believe it is impossible to access a essay based on 4 or 5 or even 10 rubric categories. How could this encompass all the complexities of a students work? Doesn’t this have limitations, by solely focusing on the rubric standards? Sands then goes on to discuss the pros of grading rubrics which she believes as a teacher is a benefit because it significantly reduces teacher’s never ending workload of grading papers. The article goes on to state how research has shown that grading rubrics can be very beneficial to students when given to them in advance of a upcoming writing assignment. I must say that I agree with this! When I was a college student, believe it or not a junior I received my very first rubric in my Women’s Health Studies class. I was confused but then quickly relieved when I read through it. I read over it carefully and methodically and was pleasantly surprised! I felt like it was as good as an outline guide on how to write an essay. It was clear, concise and I knew exactly what my Professor’s expectations were for my research paper. This helped ease my anxiety. I think for most students having a set guideline of expectations is a benefit, which helps boost their confidence in their writing and also helps them to engage in discussions about the rubric with their fellow classmates and teachers which in turn can lead to important peer review skills that will help enrich their writing experiences throughout their education. I’m all for any tools that help students navigate the anxiety ridden world of writing essays. And if a grading rubric is one tool that helps students evaluate their work and boost their confidence, then I’m all for it! I know from personal experience it helped me tremendously in my undergraduate years and I have no doubt it can help aid many students and navigate them in the right direction. Xo

Failure Is Not An Option: “To fail willingly in writing is to be empowered by the possibilities that emerge.” LOVE IT!!! This is going on a Post It note on my mirror as we speak, right next to my other mantras and daily affirmations, right above: forget him he’s a jerk, and right under: you are beautiful don’t give up!! The start of this article uses strong adjectives with negative connotations to describe how people who fail are seen by others and society. We have all heard those terms before and maybe even at some point in our lives have been on the receiving end of some, ouchy!! It stings and yes failure sucks, and no one ever likes to refer to themselves as one. We also tend to harshly judge others who we may believe have failed in life. But what I have learned in life is that those so called failures are a blessing in disguise whether its in life or in writing. I know it sounds so clique but its true! I know it because I lived it! As some of you may already know, I’m a college drop out. I dropped out for 10 years before I decided to take a leap of faith in my mid 30’s and drop back in. You could imagine all the changes I had to deal with since the last decade I was a fulltime college student. Not only the emotions I had to deal with, which included anxiety, fear and self doubt. I would cry at least 3x a day, rushing down the nearest hallway to the bathroom with my head down so no one could detect my tears or my sorrow. To contemplating almost daily all the reasons why I suck and should just drop out again and give up. But thanks to an amazing support system and a lot of prayer, and I would like to think some inner strength on my part, I stayed the course. But not without some epic fails along the way. First one was my CPS computer course. Ugh! Oh vey! What a nightmare! I was consumed with anxiety! Technology had changed so much over the last 10 years. How could I ever do this?! The excel spread sheet that loomed over me on the screen was too much to bear, I swear I saw a little box and within the cell it said: NIVES SUCKS. The very first test I took in that class I received a 25!? Is that even considered a grade?! I was devastated but not as much as when I took British Lit I and received a 79 on my first paper. What!!? Say it ain’t so!? I was a English Literature major, this can’t be! Writing was my thing!! I ran out of the CAS tears in my eyes and called who else, my Mom. I remember the first thing she said to me as I wailed into the phone and told her that I received this horrid grade and her response was: “well it was your very first English paper in 10 years, relax you will do better next time.” Hmm. Ok maybe she was onto something. On that chilly Fall night standing outside the building crying into the phone, I certainly did feel like a failure. But she gave me the perspective I needed. Which is why this article and the idea of failure as a positive thing really resonated within me. In the end after a lot of help from my fellow classmates (love them, they believed in me) and of course prayer, I passed my CPS course with a B+ and as for my Brit Lit I class I ended up with a B+. I was upset yes, but I did work hard and I really earned those grades through a lot of blood, sweat and tears. If I didn’t struggle not only in those particular classes but also in my life, which is what led me off track to begin with, then I would have never learned from those mistakes and I would have taken things for granted. I’m forever evolving and discovering new ways of writing and approaching my life and the obstacles I may face in my education and in my personal life. I believe I’m a better writer today because of the past fails I experienced and probably will face again in graduate school at some point. But I know I’m stronger, wiser and more confident in my potential. What I found inspiring about this article and what I could personally relate to is this idea of how Carr says: failure=RISK, failure=INNOVATION and failure=CREATIVITY! YES, YES, YES!! Some of the most important inventions in science, medicine and even in the arts have come from creative and innovative people who failed but tried and tried again and here we are today reaping all the benefits. Xo

Writers Block Just Happens to People. Edmund Bergler aka the burglar was interesting to read about. I never knew who coined the phrase writers block. So this immediately peaked my interest. Carter writes about his own cure for writers block which he states we all face at some point in our lives (true). He says he does a great deal of research before he begins to write and this helps him from getting stuck in the writers block trap. I agree, for me the more I research the topic I’m given to write about the less anxiety I feel. I put the pen to paper and start to free write and my ideas begin to flow. Carter does more research into Bergler and in his findings he came across a journal from the library. Dennis Upper’s article was summed up in the title-“The Unsuccessful Self -Treatment of a Case of Writers Block.” The entire article itself turns out to be a blank page with a footnote that says: “it was published without revision.” HA!! I must say I laughed out loud when I read this!! Now on to the most important part of the article that I believe could help alleviate students writers block, and that is the idea of: EVERYTHING IS IN EVERYTHING!! So cool! Yes! I mean if you take the seriousness out of the first steps in the writing process, and insert some good ole FUN, then students can create some amazing works!! This idea of playing around with names is neat, I will definitely test it out myself, most likely for my upcoming argument paper in my World English class. I already can feel the blank, blinking computer screen staring at me and taunting me! GULP! Lets move on shall we?! I encourage you all to use my name to try this out! I mean you can go on for days: Knives, Nieves, Neeves or my favorite Knee-vez (which I actually do text to people who ask how to pronounce my name) So back to Bergler the burglar and this cool concept of everything is in everything. Carter says that if we just loosen up and play around with this concept of names, then our anxiety is reduced and we can begin to free write and at least get some thoughts down on paper! So the point is to never give up on that blank page! Write something, anything and play around with words! This is what writing is all about and those first few words we write down or type up could be the very beginning of a future masterpiece!!! Xo.

War In Translation: Giving Voice to the Women of Syria. FORCEFUL,COMPELLING, ALL-POWERFUL, DYNAMIC, COMMANDING, MIGHTY, POTENT. I mean my list can go on and on. THOUGHT PROVOKING and INTENSE! I hope you all visit the annotation site because I made some comments throughout which will give you more insight into my thoughts and feelings and I also tweeted some as well! I want to thank Dr. Zamora for introducing our class to #unboundeq and to this awesome Hypothesis/Annotation site! To have the chance to read and write along side fellow students from around the world and in particular ones in the Middle East, was an honor! Reading their heartfelt comments and thoughts on the War In Translation article was truly amazing for me! Being so far removed from this war torn land and the surrounding regions I never felt closer or more connected to their plight then I did when I was reading this article and writing right along side them. I know it hits much closer to home for them and many probably experienced the same terror and loss that Lina Mounzer experienced in her life, awful experiences of daily war that is hard for us to relate to here in the US. I’m ashamed to admit my biggest concern earlier today, before reading this was why the guy I went out with turned out to be such a jerk. Then I read this article, talk about change in perspective, shame on me. It was a harrowing story and now any time I see flashes of the war coverage in the Middle East in the daily news, in particular in Syria, or when breaking news flashes on my computer screen, I’ll have an entirely new perspective and feeling of empathy. I’ll listen a little harder, pay attention a little more closely, and pray even harder and more often for there to be peace in the Middle East. Xo