Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Getting Ready for Summer!

OK, so my title may be a little pre-mature. However, it is actually the truth. As many of you know, I am currently working on my Middle Grades Master degree through Appalachian State University. This summer I am excited to say, and super happy to brag about, that I am getting the opportunity to participate in the Writing Project Summer Institute through UNCC! Whoop whoop! The program does not occur until the first three weeks of July (July 1-19), but we got an early jump on things this Saturday at our orientation.

Getting to UNCC by 8:30am Saturday (can I tell you I was absolutely nervous?), I was excited to see how things were going to go this summer. We had a lovely little breakfast with coffee and bagels while we got comfortable and familiarized ourselves with other members of the group. At 8:30 we began with a super cute name introduction that had all individuals say their name with a movement to help us remember each other. I, being the girls basketball coach here at Cramerton, decided to pretend like I was shooting a game-winning three and say my name. P.S. I am definitely stealing this idea at the beginning of the year in August for my kiddos. It helped us get out of our nervousness and into some personality traits of others.

After we all introduced ourselves we went over the basics, the routines, and the pieces of our Summer Institute. We all received a little special present from the Writing Project, our daybooks! Have I mentioned that I absolutely love notebooks? I will write down anything and everything, so this daybook was like the best thing ever! In this daybook we are to keep thoughts, ideas, writings, and activities that we will do throughout the institute. It's like everything for three weeks kept in one nice little journal; I'm obsessed! We used it throughout the entire day.

One thing that I thought was really interesting during the day was a demo that was presented to us. We looked at the differences in gender roles in media and current popular culture. We began the demonstration by writing down a few notes about what popular culture influences us currently in our lives. Then we caught a video from a father and his view point on teachings of gender through media. The guy was Colin Stokes and I was astonished by some of the valid points he made during his presentation. Check him out here! During the video we communicated our thoughts and feelings through sticky note discussions (another awesome idea I'm stealing for my sixth graders!); basically we wrote our thoughts down on sticky's and shared them with those around us and avoided talking during the video. After the video we were given some popular articles steaming from Colin's twitter feed and separated them into categories on their purpose and points. Check out our web:

Then we came together from our three groups and shared what we found. It was interesting hearing the differences in opinions and thoughts throughout our groups. I really think personal age, gender, and family dynamics altered people's thoughts.

My favorite, and I think most powerful part of our orientation on Saturday was our closing activity. It was called word explosion (have I mentioned I'm stealing things from Saturday to use in my classroom?). We read a poem together, then as the reader was reading the poem for a second time, we wrote in the margins what words spoke to us and what our interpretation of them were. Then the third time the reader read the poem, when she read our word, we would repeat it, and then say what we wrote down. It was very confusing to understand the directions, but once the poem was being read, it was so powerful and influential. I feel as though the entire group got a better understanding of the poem, each other, and emotions through this activity. I believe it was an awesome way to relate the poem to the individual reading it. I loved it :)

After Saturday, I have to say I am even more excited about July coming (not only because it is anniversary time for Zack and I ;) ), but because I didn't think I could be more excited for the Writing Project Summer Institute. I feel as though I learned and was exposed to so much within those six hours, that I can only image what thirteen days will do for me! P.S...here is the updated Sarah daybook :)


  1. I did SI in 2011, and I love reliving some of these activities! Thanks for sharing the video though, that was new, and something I'm very interested in as well. Have a great summer!

  2. Congratulations! I love the ideas you have gleaned already and can't wait to read more of them. I may borrow some of those ideas as well!

  3. Thanks Jessie! We did have an awesome time and I can not wait until July to fully get working together. Hope you have a fabulous summer also, and I'll be keeping the world updated on #unccwp through the Blog!