Day 8 – A Day Without Benko

Hey there!

It’s Day 8 blog post time with your girl, Alyssa.

What’s Due (September 15th):

  • Smagorinsky, Chapter 3 over “Teaching Fictional Narrative”
  • Twitter Collection #1 (by the end of class)

Unfortunately, our lovely lady of the hour (and 15 minutes), Dr. Benko, was unable to be with us. Well, she tweeted and typed on our Google Doc:


What a hoot.

While she was enjoying Kathryn’s Student of the Month ceremony, we were all enjoying Rachel’s day as instructor! You go, girl. (Sorry for the poor picture, but I wanted to be sneaky)


We then proceeded to take an incredibly adorable #BSU350 class picture (minus Dr. Benko…csakhoywcaakq5z

Now, onto the day in class:

We began actual class discussing our white/hover board drawings from Day 7 where we got into groups to try and represent scaffolding through image. This process is creatively titled “concept mapping” where our class illustrated the relationship between a. tasks, b. structured process approach to teaching writing, and c. scaffolding through the writing process. Whew! It’s a rather large love triangle to take in as a pre-service teacher AND illustrate with a dry erase drawing. Nonetheless, all of the groups successfully created a dutiful representation. This concept mapping was an awesome example of how to get our own classroom kiddos to react and respond to some of our own lesson plans in the future. It’s a refreshing way to get students involved in group work and participating in actively thinking work. To refresh all of you, these are the groups and their main drawing ideas:

  • Erin and Liv: a basketball scenario
  • Beth, Cassie, and Makayla: Driver’s Education
  • Alyssa (me), Brittany, and Emily: a house (being built)
  • Benji, Kaleb, and Kayla: Spa HQ

We did begin discussing these concept maps on Day 7, but our final thoughts were given on Day 8.

Our second main task of the day was discussing and working with the Smag Chapter 3 reading entitled “Fictional Narrative”. Yikes, something I am not entirely fond of, but must work with in the coming years as an English teacher. The activity conducted on a Google Doc ( was in conjunction with a specific example used in the chapter involving Ms. Alva’s “Stages” of instruction. Each group of people within our class was to summarize each stage and episode of Ms. Alva’s instruction and then connect the SPA (structured process approach) parts that we felt suited Ms. Alva’s instruction techniques. Easy enough, right?

Then came the meaningful part of this hashing-out of Smag. Everyone was extremely engaged with the reading for Day 8, which meant that some profound things were to be said. Kaleb immediately lead the class into a serious discussion of how people learn to write through not only practice, but discussion/talking as well. Kaleb went on to say, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard ‘people learn to write by talking, as well as by writing.’ That’s fascinating…” That is some deep and meaningful stuff right there. We don’t always think of the process that we all go through to learn how to write, but it’s so very true that talking is essential in how we go about writing. This very fact is demonstrated through parents talking to children, teachers discussing rather than barking, and so on. Rachel then shared a bit of insight on Smagorinsky claiming, “Smag is big on the process, not the product.” We then delved into creating areas – classrooms – and occasions – assigned writing time, free writing, etc. – in which our students would be able to participate in some authentic writing and a more authentic writing setting to be involved in. Beth suggested using music, dimming the lighting, etc. to help create more authentic writing spaces for students. Brittany chuckled and brought up turning on some Celtic/Irish music, dimming the lights, and squirting water at students to help them feel at home in the writing setting of West Ireland. In creating these awesome situations and classrooms where students are able to do some authentic writing, a writing teacher is able to find their joy. After all, teaching writing is all about helping kiddos become well equipped for the writing process they may or may not venture into whenever they please or are required to do so.

The rest of our time was spent on the Twitter Reflection assignment that was to be uploaded to the Google Doc folder ( This Twitter Reflection was the first one of the semester, and I gotta say that I think we are all getting the hang of tweeting for our class. Being able to create short snippets of thought in 140 characters or less is basically a lesson on understanding main ideas and concepts in a brief, meaningful way. I personally struggle with tweeting because I take a long time to explain and hash things out verbally and written! Though this is true, I found that my first Twitter Reflection was pretty darn good. Not only were my tweets meaningful to my learning experience, but also my mini reflections on each tweet were just as meaningful for me.

After we finished our Twitter Reflections, we were to take a step back through tweet. Here are some of the awesome mini take aways that people had:


UGH. I just love our class’s tweets. They are BY FAR the best tweets for a course I have ever seen.

Just a few reminders/tips/Alyssa Thoughts for ya’ll:

  1. Write everyday. (Thanks, Jill Christman, for getting this lodged into my head in ENG 406)
  2. Try doing half black tea and half black coffee for an extra caffeinated drink when you feel like death.
  3. Remember to let yourself enjoy something at least once a day. I don’t care what it is. Find a little joy each day that you can relish in.
  4. DO YOUR READING AND HOMEWORK. (This is really for myself, but I’m reminding ya’ll)
  5. Take a deep breathe…fall is in the air. With this in mind, keep yourself and your stuff clean. Wash your hands constantly.

Here’s some fun, recent stuff involving #bsuenglish:

September 14th was the first call-out meeting for the Alliance of Black and Latino Teachers. I have been a part of the club since my second semester of my freshman year. You definitely learn a lot of diversification within the teaching and education fields of work. It is a wonderful place where all people are welcomed and accepted. As of now, there

Pictured from left to right: Alyssa Huckaby – me (junior), Kayla Veal – Co-president (junior), Troi Genders – Co-president (senior), Jay Coles – Treasurer (junior)

are more people interested in the club than ever before. We have a lot of support from some English, education, and other departments…let’s keep the momentum going! The next call-out is on September 21st. Look out for emails and reminders online.

September 17th was the annual Indiana Teachers of Writing conference where teachers of writing gather and discuss the annual topic. This year’s topic was “What is essential in the teaching of writing?”. This topic allowed for some serious openness and rawness from some very talented writers and educators. There were three sessions in which educators

Pictured from left to right: Jacob Hudgins (senior), Emily Mack (junior), Audrey Bowers (sophomore), Alyssa Huckaby – me (junior)

were able to share some of their own ideas through presentations and round table discussions. The final presentation was about neuroscience and the act of learning writing on the spectrum. All in all, it was an incredible time and I highly recommend this conference to everyone!

A Resource for Writing:

So, I have been struggling with some authenticity in my own writing lately. I have been feeling down about my process and how I go about beginning, getting through, and ending my work with an essay or blog post. Nothing ever feels quite write; I feel like I’m always missing little flecks of golden thoughts from earlier in the day or in the middle of the night. Chances are that many of you do not have a notebook – not a diary or journal – where you keep thoughts and bits of you throughout the days. I, for one, have tried to do so, but have failed time and time again. I guess I just never realized that all I have to do is have the notebook and pen close by to capture some of my thoughts. I find this idea to be crazy-authentic for writers trying to capture every bit of their own thoughts versus struggling to grasp them at one writing moment.

I found this essay on Brevity – because I am obsessed with Brevity – that really captures this idea and brings it to life. The essayist, Randon Biggins Noble, shares her ideas and take-aways from taking part in this authentic writing process. (click on the linked Brevity in this paragraph to view)

Be prepared for Day 9:

  • Martin, C. N. (2013). Not every sentence can be great, but every sentence must be good.
  • Bring back three TIB essays and your draft of your own
  • You should each have around 20 tweets for #BSU350 by now

I’m sending you all hugs and signing out from this blog post.

See you in class!

— Alyssa Huckaby


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