building bridges with blogging: now connected to some great authors

This morning, I woke to the a Google Alert on my name to find that I had been mentioned in a recent post by author Vicki Spandel on one of her blogs.  I have written about some of Spandel’s work and also used it as a basis for my argument in my New Tech Network Annual Conference (NTAC) Ignite talk on how to avoid FRACKing around with writing.  (For even more FRACKing stuff, check out the page dedicated to the talk, complete with downloadables, etc..)

A fellow NTAC Ignite-er, Theresa Shafer, put together a very moving piece that I have used in my class and referenced at least once a week not that captures my fascination with this cross-country connection.  In “Bridges and Fences” Shafer asks our NTAC audience whether we will build bridges to new experiences or to new people or whether we will box our minds and our hearts in.   I am happy to say that this is one case where my bridge just made the world a bit smaller.  Little did I realize this past summer how a response to a book would turn into a blog post… and then turn into a University of Illinois Writing Project (UIWP) teaching demo… and then into an Ignite talk… and then turn into a bridge to the expert author-consultants visiting throughout the year to help our high school develop better writing instruction practices across the contents.  There’s the power of blogging and social media for you.

Hopefully, this could develop into a lasting relationship that benefits my students.  As a teacher on-the-ground, I’m constantly trying to translate the theory into better practice.  Further curiosity in Spandel’s Nine Rights of Every Writer turned into a SMART goal this year related to the culture of writing that I intend to build in my classroom.  I’ll be examining the first round of data from a Nine Rights / Culture of Student Writers survey I administered via Google Forms.  It’s not easy to teach culture per se, but perhaps knowing my students’ thoughts will give me fuel for my continued pursuit of getting them to see themselves as writers, not just students completing another drone task.  And now that I have the bridge over which to asks questions and dive deeper into reflection, my path will not be unguided.


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