What a week! After our last week at the ISI, I’m again left wondering how to capture the experience. Before our final “shivasana”-like day, there wasn’t much slow down. Week 4 was like a crescendo to the NVWP ISI 2016.
This week’s presenters were eminently practical and applicable to my classroom. In fact, I had already planned to have my ENGH 101 students write “This I Believe” essays before Joan’s excellent presentation. Silly as it may sound, it was good to be reminded that students should interact with example essays before writing their own, and I appreciated that Joan lets students experience them orally and in written form.
I loved how Natalina’s presentation continued the idea of writing from pictures, which is now a theme from several presentations! Natalina’s writing inspires me to try new things, even if they’re the scary things like fiction writing (kidding…sort of). It was also fun to see the way our teaching ideas intersect: I did a descriptive writing prompt with monsters, too! I’m pretty sure her classroom is a super-fun, learning-rich place to be.
The authentic writing theme of Sara, Steph, and Jen’s presentations resounded deeply with me. Authentic writing is something I wrote about this spring [insert link], after the experience of having students submit poetry to a national contest. I learned in the process that “authentic” writing is difficult to define, but all of these lessons had great examples of students genuinely engaging with content and/or shaping the rhetorical purpose of their writing.
Sara’s chart of one topic turned into many genres of writing helped solidify and simplify my understanding of multi-genre writing. I can see immediate applications in my ENGH 101 course, as I challenge students to choose the best genre for their purpose (or best audience, etc). I loved our discussion, too–I think sometimes you all don’t realize what wealth of experience and instructional resources you hold! But in our discussion, I gained several new insights about how to implement authentic, multi-genre writing in the classroom.
“Tell them where to look, not what to see,” said Steph, quoting Carol Jago. What a powerful reminder that our students must be doing the thinking work! I loved the student-generated question demo, and while it may seem more applicable with older students, I can see younger ones learning to ask better questions, too, under guidance and metacognitive growth.
Jen’s presentation was equally as powerful, and I felt challenged afterward to use more online platforms for my students’ work. Her freewrites also got me thinking about the larger issue of audience and how audience affects our writing, which was a rich thought process that I enjoyed.
As I said in our roundtable discussion, I want to remain involved with the NVWP and foster these connections, but it was also comforting to be reminded by Sarah that it will always be here for us to come back to, even if we lose touch with the NVWP for a time. As I take time to process all that I’ve learned, heard, and considered, I’m challenged to consider Peter’s call for “missionary like zeal.” It challenges me and asks me to reconsider the current state of education and what I will do about it.
Thank you for your part in this NVWP ISI 2016; what a joy it has been to learn and grow with you! Thank you, thank you, thank you.