Day 4 — You’re a Writer, Harry

I hope everyone has enjoyed their long weekend!

Here’s a summary of what we did in preparation for and on Thursday (9/1):

-In preparation for class, we read Cutler’s “To Teach Effective Writing, Model Effective Writing” and Kittle’s “Writing Giants, Columbine, and the Queen of Route 16” and brought back the three TIB essays.
-Penny Kittle even responded to Brittany’s tweet!
-We briefly touched base on blog sign-ups, and the order for blog posts is as follows: Erin, Cassie, Emily, Alyssa, Liv, Kaleb, Beth, Brittany, Kayla, Benji, and then Makayla (exact dates can be found on the Google Doc).
-We then broke into groups to discuss the Cutler and Kittle pieces (making sure to tweet something about one of the questions from the LP), starting off with comparing Cutler to Dean; as I floated, a big idea I heard on this was that Cutler read like the ideas from Dean but put into approachable, numbered steps.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.22.09 AM-When discussing Kittle (more of her writing can be found here, if you all are interested!), I heard discussion about feeling more comfortable as a student when teachers make mistakes, showing and telling, and practicing what we preach when it comes to writing instruction.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.22.39 AM-Another discussion about Kittle raised the question of what makes a writer — are we writers if we only make notes for ourselves on post-it notes? It can be hard to consider ourselves writers when what we do write doesn’t fit our pre-conceived notions of what being a writer means, but writing along with our classes is one way to work towards being comfortable enough to call ourselves writers.

-Following this, we moved back to looking at TIB essays, and Dr. Benko highlighted parts of the chart from Tuesday (where we focused on the craft of the essays), explaining that these were key features of the kind of writing we’d be doing in our own TIBs (e.g., metacognitive, descriptive words, puts us there, grab attention, a punchy life lesson, emotional and realization, and connectivity).
-Dr. Benko then posed this question for us: What’s different about the three pieces? One answer? Each piece was about very different things. The main similarity between the three, however, was that they each were a critical essay with their own voice and topic. This served as a jumping off point for us to discuss the This I Believe assignment (assignment sheet is on Blackboard, but the dates are wrong in the document).
-Highlights from this discussion are that TIBs are meant to be podcasts, they don’t need to be about teaching but must be about something you care about, and we must be willing to have the class listen to these. We’ll have multiple opportunities for feedback before recording our podcasts and turning in the final version, so don’t be afraid of your first draft sucking! (All first drafts suck.)
-The rest of class time was devoted to working and brainstorming ideas for our essays, talking with a partner or group about what we had written (and emailing our topics, questions/concerns, and needs to Dr. Benko), and we finished class with an exit ticket in preparation for our next class — “What do you think it means to be college and career ready IN WRITING?”

Thinking ahead:
-TIB drafts are due this Thursday, so at least start thinking about those; if you’re stuck, Dr. Benko has a way to get started on Thursday’s lesson plan. Your writing territories will also be useful for inspiration/thought-generation!
-Readings you’ll need to have done for Tuesday are Indiana’s seventh grade writing standards (pages 4-6) and the Framework for Success in Post-Secondary Writing (pages 4-11— not only the executive summary!).
-I sent out an email on Thursday about applications for NCTE — if you didn’t get this, let me know!
-The annual conference for the Indiana Teachers of Writing is next Saturday; I’m probably going to go (and I think Alyssa and Emily are definitely going), so it’s something to consider!

Next up is Erin!

—Rachel
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