Friday, July 19, 2013

It's Not "Goodbye"...It's "See You Later"

Today was the final day for the Summer Institute at #unccwp. It was sad...I'll be honest. Ok, was super sad. I really am not ready for this to end. I think I was serious when Jashonai and I were "joking" about showing up Monday morning around 8:45am to UNCC in the Cameron building. ;)

I have done my reflection blog (my really thinking about my learning blog), and my what I'm going to miss and not miss blog, so today, in relation to the last day, I think I'll just post some of our makes? I don't want to get emotional writing I'll just going to make a hodge podge of "makes" from our adventure. Enjoy. :)

My KaKaw's group Prezi on our Inquiry.

This morning we made three word descriptions on our experience of #unccwp for Good Morning America.

This is my Tagxedo from my blog. I posted my blogs from #unccwp into the program and these are the highlights! 

The fabulous people I met through #unccwp. These are amazing individuals who I look to keep in touch with, work with, and collaborate with from now until forever. (Thanks Kendra for the collage!) I miss everyone already :(

Until next time....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Things to Remember

Well my #unccwp is coming to an end. I am super bummed. I would post about my learnings and understandings from the entire experience...but I did that yesterday (look at me...ahead of the game for once! Check out my wobbling here.) So, today I decided to make a quick overview of things I'll miss and things I might not miss so much from my time at #unccwp...

Things I Might Not Miss So Much....

- The squeaky chairs.

- The constant construction.

- The freezing room temperatures at times.

- The worst, most horrible, upsetting hill of all time.


Things I Will Definitely Miss....

- The calming circle.

- My ever-growing Daybook.

- The thinking and thought processing..."The Wobbling"

- The amazing group.

- And finally, but probably most of all, my ever-so-awesome-wonderful Writing Group.

Tomorrow is our last day at #unccwp for 2013. Again, I am super bummed. But I will take my thinkings, my experiences, and my friends that I made along my writing road. I'll post from our celebration (and maybe even a few tears) tomorrow.

Until tomorrow.... :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Possibly Getting Mind Boggled?!?

I don't really know where to start today. I thought today was great at #unccwp, just like everyday has been, but I think I am getting my mind pulled in thousands of directions. I think that I am learning so many great ideas! However, I worry about applying them in my classroom.

Here's what I'm thinking...I can definitely alter some of the demos that I have seen throughout our time together. I think they will definitely improve my students' writing. Specifically six-word memoirs from Jashonai, Body Paragraphs by Lil, writing choices and creativity from Erika, Jenny, and Tiffany, multi-media sources from Kim and Ashley, and Meredith's and Wendy's music inspiration. These were all super ideas and totally "tweakable" for my own classroom. I am so inspired and encouraged to get my kiddos this year and try some of these new strategies!
My huge DayBook as of today & some of my ideas for the tweakables :)
There are a couple demos that really got me thinking...and still thinking...and really wondering how, not only can I use it in my classroom, but just thinking and questioning the way to teach writing.

Kendra's good writing rules: Still thinking on this one! Kendra asked us what the "rules" are for good writing. It was mind blowing because my group made rules, but then didn't like where writing pieces fell into a ranking system due to the restrictions of our rules.

My group's good writing "rules."
Ben's bad writing: This one specifically relates to Kendra's demo because Ben had us write a "bad" paragraph. Therefore, in order for us to know bad writing...wouldn't that mean we know what constitutes "good" writing...and therefore, we would have to know what good writing "rules" to break in order to make it bad writing?
Now that is bad writing!
Tonya's and Mary Ellen's revision: Tonya's demo today really got me thinking about my wobbling yesterday between school writing and free writing. As I mentioned in my blog before, I thought revision was dumb. I change my mind. Tonya's explanation and demo today really showed me that revision can be enhancing writing and being deeper; not necessarily just looking for errors and mistakes. That really encourages me in the revision process, not only for me...but for my students. My thinking here though came from our discussion afterwards on the idea of transition sentences. Through the outlines, that we are instructed to use, we teach students how to write transitional sentences at the end and beginning of paragraphs. Therefore, with Tonya's demo today of cutting and pasting (done by partners) writing pieces back together...wouldn't the transition sentences "give it away?" Therefore, this wouldn't work to it's fullest potential?

My re-constructed letter by Jashonai
I think I am going to leave the #unccwp with more questions than I came with. Is that ok? Did I do this right? Not to mention I'm still bummed that I had to miss Sarah D.'s demo because of my classes Monday night. :(

Until tomorrow...I'll leave you with a peak into what my night (with reading materials, prezi fixing, and project instructions) looks like :)
Getting my homework on!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wobbling Just a Little

Ahhh, it's done, it's done! I honestly have no idea why I was so nervous today. I mean goodness; I teach my lovely little sixth graders everyday without getting nervous (OK, maybe the first day of every year I am a little nervous). But was a little ridiculous if I do say so myself?

I have to say though...I think the demo went really well!?! (, I think it did.) I think I wobbled (figuratively kiddos) more than I anticipated. I find myself REALLY not liking outlines; but then I find myself asking, what else can I do to help my students get their ideas down and written out?

In my demo I wanted to get our group to wobble with me. Wobbling about whether to use outlines, not use outlines, when to use outlines, if outlines are restrictive, etc? I like how Sally mentioned, during our after discussion, that outlines typically lead to students simply filling in blanks on a piece of paper. But, then Nick (who was in the Viking Group...with no outline) mentioned that his group had a lot of ideas, but were not sure where to begin? Therefore, I'm back wobbling. However, I do think that, as I was saying yesterday, Erika's list of suggestions from her demo would help get my students writing about their topic. Even if they create a comic strip, a letter, or even a chart or diagram...wouldn't that be similar to an outline? Their ideas would be getting down on a paper and then we could use that short writing to lead into a formal piece? I think that works...right? I mean, I think it makes sense.

Then, still in our after-demo conversation, Steve mentioned that he struggles when writing anything, even in his present day writing..So, by not giving an outline, are we preparing student writing for "real world" writing? Won't students struggle throughout all their writing as they mature? I still struggle with what to put in this wonderful-blog-thing I got going on...and I definitely struggle with where and how to start on most of my papers for my masters classes. Therefore, by not giving students an outline, would that be preparing them and helping them develop problem-solving skills when writing? Whoa, now my question is to research this more and possibly take this to a higher source? County-wide? Just an idea :)

Me doing my thing today! Demo Day!
Before closing out for today, I wanted to give you a real look at my wonderful writing group. They are fabulous and I am so thankful that the "Writing Group Gods" have placed me in this group. :)
Kim, Jenny, and Kendra down the left. Your's truly and Nick on the right. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Demos, Thinking, & Connections!

#HappyMonday! It has been a day. I began at the #UNCCWP until about 11:45am. It was, of course, a great way to begin my day. I really liked Erika's demo this morning about choosing which way to write and thinking about audience. Her demo really got me thinking about my demo (it's tomorrow and I'm already nervous!) about "school writing" and "free writing." It makes me think about outlines (which is what I'm highlighting tomorrow) and if they are really necessary? Erika gave us a huge list of ways to represent our thoughts on democracy and what it takes to be successful. Thinking about how you want to present your information allows you to think about your audience; therefore, are outlines necessary? I am anxious to do my demo tomorrow, and probably a good-bit nervous, but hoping to think more about this idea!
My graphic organizer and then letter!
Starting to map out my Inquiry thinking.
In my Recent Trends class today (the middle 1pm-5pm part of my day) we watched an interesting video about education and it's current state. I thought I would share it today since Steve shared a very similar video today on where good ideas come from. I thought it was interesting how two of my three classes included these little videos....Look at these connections :)

Until tomorrow...for a whole day of the #UNCCWP!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Friday Meets Writing Marathon

It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday...

Yep, I just sang that. Ask my kiddos...I sing to them every Friday. So of course I'll sing here (plus it helps that Wendy's demo today revolved around music and theme). Not to mention, Sally's Writing into the Day began with two songs on school that got us thinking about what we've learned throughout our "school" this week at the Writing Project.

A few moments from our day: We took our own little field trip. 
Our field trip to the library for Open Mic!
My fantastic writing group getting prepared for Open Mic! Yay Kim :)
Erika working the Open Mic! 
I began this post on is now Sunday afternoon and I am just getting back to it. I think I needed a little "break" from technology. I absolutely love technology and all the wonderful pieces of it...but even a girl like me needs a day to "de-tech" my life. I did participate in the Writing Marathon with #unccwp, only my marathon took place throughout the plans Zack and I had already made. Therefore, I think my post for today...well technically going to be about my writing marathon on Saturday (that makes sense right?).

Zack and I, as a married couple, are working on getting some life insurance...apparently it is kind of a big deal. Well, we had to have a physical scheduled. (Can you believe they actually come to your house to complete a physical to determine your monthly payments? Weird, I know). Well, needless to say our physical was scheduled for Saturday morning. Therefore, my Writing Marathon began at home, after our doctor visit. But it was a great start to my marathon because Zack, who is a wonderful husband!, made homemade biscuits, that we turned into sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits. They were fabulous!

Next, on our Saturday schedule was to watch one of Zack's basketball players get his game on at his AAU basketball game at a local Charlotte-Mecklenburg middle school. We drove out to Huntersville, from Gastonia, to catch this game...what else to do but bring my Daybook and continue my Writing Marathon? We made a scheduled stop at Starbucks (my favorite: Skinny Caramel Macchiato) and then arrived at the game. Now, this was difficult for me. I am a huge basketball fan...just ask the girls I help coach with my teammate Mr. Spargo. So finding my attention switching from writing to basketball to writing to basketball was continuous. John played great, Zack enjoyed seeing his players in another element, and I struggled completing writing or giving my attention to the game. I was torn to say the least. However, I feel proud of myself for taking my Daybook and getting at least a little writing completed during the game ;)
My Writing Marathon on Saturday! 
I have to say the writing marathon was a great experience and I look forward to participating again in the near future. I hope next time I can join my writing project peers at places like Amelie's and Smelly Cat Coffee...but until that time comes back around, I'll keep you posted with Week 2 of the #UNCCWP :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Think I'm Contradicting?

I was worried today that I may not have a big revelation that I am used to having throughout my experience at the Writing Project. It was not until 2:00pm that I had my big break through today. There were some mini thoughts and ideas (especially ones that I would use in my classroom: like our mapping an essay; or Kim's wonderful demo pointers) that came through, but it was in Ben's demo that my full revelation slapped me in the face. Revelation for Day 7: **There is bad writing.** 

The start of my day!
I feel as though I say that revelation with a sense of calm. There is bad writing...and then there is horrible writing. I would say bad writing would be forgetting the "rules" of writing and grammar. Sure, you can get your point across in writing without capitalizing letters, adding correct punctuation, and even mixing up your words' order a little (that's bad writing). But then there is horrible writing...That consists of missing the above "rules" and then totally not getting your idea across (this writing I think is rarely seen...but still happening). In Ben's demo today we were given multiple pictures for a period of time and told to write a sentence about each one as if they were in a story:

My one-line stories.
After writing all of our sentences we then circled our favorite three. Then Ben told us to write about one sentence (you would think it would be one we liked right? No, he told us to pick our weakest one!) as though it were an entire story. We had to expand on our worst sentence. Not only did we have to expand on the bad sentence, Ben wanted us to write bad (No...I'm being serious...he wanted us to write a story badly!). So that is what I did...

That's a little rough!
After we shared our ridiculous stories compiled of bad writing, I really got to thinking... Now those thinking's take me back to my post a couple days ago about grammar and overall good writing. By writing bad...aren't you really thinking about what good writing is? Because you are trying to do the opposite? By understanding what to put in bad writing, aren't you understanding what good writing is? Therefore, if you know what "rules" to break in order to create bad writing, then aren't there technically "rules" to good writing? I know I blogged about how rules are schmules...but I have to say that rules do exist. They couldn't not exist. Therefore, my revelation today is that there is bad writing...and therefore, there must be rules for good writing. I think that's pretty smart thinking, if I do say so myself?

Now time to get a jump on some homework for our accelerated Master's classes that are being crammed into a Second Summer Session at Appalachian State University. Trust me...I'll share when it's all complete!

Until tomorrow.... :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I Love My Job!

I'm going to start of my blog post today with my REVELATION from Day 6 at #UNCCWP. My revelation today came during Jenny's demo. Well, I have had this feeling, thought, and understanding for a while now, but Jenny's demo really made it sink in again and was my REVELATION of the day ...


Let me explain, Jenny teaches at a Montessori school and has a classroom of three to six year old kiddos. I do not envy her at all! I absolutely love little kids and they are precious, but I can not imagine the amount of patience it must take to work and teach these wonderful students. In reflecting on my own learning and education (Zack, my husband, and I have drastically different accounts) I realize that I do not remember ever "learning" how to sound out words to speak or write them. Of course I remember writing, learning to write sentences, learning to write paragraphs, and those types of lessons; but never really remembering how to sound words out. I think this is a tragedy. 

Zack on the other hand remembers learning to sound words out and spell phonetically like it was yesterday (does it count that his mom was a first grade teacher though?). His mom had him reading, spelling, and sounding out words like crazy! He is a 120% better speller than I am. He is probably 110% better sounder-outer of words too! Now, is this because he remembers learning how to? I mean don't get me wrong...I'm not horrible at spelling (maybe a little), but Zack is phenomenal at it! I do remember of course the "rules" (there is that word again!) of sounding words out...but there is a difference between Zack's ability and mine.

Zack, my wondeful-spelling husband, and I
So basically Jenny's demo got me thinking about how to help students retain these ideas and lessons. If the student retains this huge concept at a young age, do they become better spellers later? If they forget these teachings, or are like me and don't remember them specifically, do they loose some of these skills? In this case, should we teach it more often throughout school? Instead of thinking "Oh, OK, they got it...Now let's never really talk about it again." I think that thought in itself is absurd, so why does it happen? I feel like my questions are leading to more questions. Do we forget? Does that cause us to be less-skilled? Then why don't we teach it more frequently? (Geeze, my mind is getting tired!)

Scribing sentences originated from pictures.
Drawing and writing phonetically. this all relates to my revelation for the day: "I love my job." During Jenny's demo and thinking in the mind of a three to six year old, and then in the mind of a teacher of that age group. Again, these kids are awesome, they are wonderful, and they are the cutest little things :) But.....I do not believe I could do it. They intimidate me! I got overwhelmed just thinking about me doing these lessons in a little kiddo class. Sooo, I love my job. I love working in writing with my sixth graders and how they can express their ideas and thoughts, but still need assistance. I love that my kiddos can get their ideas on paper and just need some encouragement and coaching to make it "better" or more in-depth. I truly value preschool and elementary school teachers! They are awesome...just like their kiddos; but I think I'll stay in my 6th Grade World ;)

Until tomorrow....

Monday, July 8, 2013

Revise, Revision, & Review

#HappyMonday! This one is a long for me. Just enjoyed a lovely four day weekend basically with family and friends over the 4th of July holiday, and I'm beginning the week with a full day. The UNCC Writing Project gets back into swing this morning around 8:30am-ish. We love our time together writing until about 3pm-ish, then I'm off to Hickory for my accelerated Masters Courses through Appalachian State. Yep, it's Reading Course time from 6pm to 10pm-ish before I head home to repeat tomorrow.

So to start of today at the Writing Project, I really got thinking about revising writing. I'll be honest...I'm not much of a reviser. I think it is boring...shhh! I think it is a little silly to reread a piece of writing that you just wrote, looking for things that are "wrong" with it. Isn't that basically what you are doing? Going back through and looking for mistakes that you would like to fix? Or looking for areas that you want to make stronger and clearer because they weren't up-to-par in the first place? My philosophy (don't tell my students) is that if I would have wanted it to be better...shouldn't I have wrote it that way in the first place?

Ok, that was a little harsh. I should apologize. I'm sorry. Revising is good. We began the day thinking about revising using Katherine Bomer's Writing a Life. After reading her writing about revision I think that revising can be helpful. Revising helps us grow as individuals and as a reflector of our ideas. I think reflection helps us become better in our selves as teachers, educators, and overall people. When we reflect, we analyze our own writing, teaching, and ideas. Therefore, we keep was works well and remove what doesn't. I think that revision is beneficial. 

Now with that being said, I think it is difficult to incorporate revision into the classroom. I have always ran into the problem of encouraging students to revise their own writing. "But Mrs. Stadler, I wrote what I wanted to say the first time." There have also been struggles in peer-revisions. "But Mrs. Stadler, they don't like me so they won't help me." Or, "But Mrs. Stadler, they are my best friend and like everything I say." So I guess my revelation for today (not as "Ah-Ha" momenty as the previous days; but still legit) is **Revision can be positive.** I think my revelation has a slight 'hold-it-just-a-minute' feeling though. How do we incorporate effective revision for our students? We met Cindy Urbanski today who has fabulous revision strategies and ideas that I would like to incorporate within my classroom this year (see them below), but are there other revision strategies, even peer ideas, that are used? Suggestions please :)

Finally for today I will share my Storify about my writing history. Just a little about me and how I came to enjoy writing. Then take a look at the wonderful comments left by my fellow #UNCCWP ers.

Until tomorrow... :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Happy Birthday America!

I hope everyone had a great and fantastic 4th of July! I have to say that the 4th is one of my favorite holidays (behind Christmas, Halloween, and St. Patrick's Day...for all the decorations and family time of course). Every year my family (on my dad's side) get together at my Aunt Flo's house for a little reunion. It is a very relaxing-laid back weekend with swimming, fishing, eating, tie dyeing, and overall just fun with the family. We had a fabulous time and enjoyed the days we got to spend together!
Cousins Kathryn and Jason, then of course husband Zack :)
Zack and the parents avoiding the rain. Cody playing in his fort and
dad grilling out for dinner.
I love my family :)
Mom and sister enjoying the time. Little Alex getting his tie-dye on!
It's Sunday you know what that means. I am getting ready for week 2 of the Writing Project through UNCC :) I am so ready to explore writing more and become a better writer teacher and model for my students. If the next two weeks are anything like the three days we had last week...I am going to be worn out but loaded with ideas! I'm pumped; bring it on! :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Rules Schmules

Day 3 of the Writing Project….I believe I had another revelation. Before I begin, by default, I have put myself into a habit of showing the here it is:

Nice to meet your Michael!
Now, I think the idea that made me have my revelation today (I think I'm three for three now!) came in Kendra's demo (Follow her on Twitter!). First was FABULOUS, but it really made me think. She began with the big question "What is 'good' writing?" I wanted to immediately answer...mine (No, just kidding. I don't even think anyone reads it.). But the question really made the "teacher brain" Mrs. Stadler get her list going. I wrote down everything from grammar, syntax, complete sentences, logical flow, good organization, entertaining, etc. You know...basically the teacher answers. After our short brainstorming, we were organized into groups by forms of writers. We were each given a card with a person's name on it and we had to find other like authors to group up with. So of course, Meredith beside me gets Tupac Shakur. I knew who that was instantly! But, I got Michael Crichton...umm, cue the blank look? Apparently, thanks to my wonderful neighbors..I discovered that he wrote Jurassic Park! Never read the book, but I have seen the movie and that makes me like this guy!

After I found my group of authors, with familiar names like Nicholas Sparks (why couldn't I get that one?), we began on our assignment. We had to determine the "rules" of writing (I'm going to address this on my soap box a little later) and determine our Top Five Rules for "Good Writing." This took us awhile (so long that poor Kendra came by to warn us that the other groups were ahead of us and we may not finish). We finally decided that our "TOP FIVE" rules were:

1. Mechanics (Spelling, punctuation, etc.)
2. Flow & Organization (Logical progression, everything is in the "right" spot, etc.)
3. Captivating & Engaging (Does it grab the reader's attention?)
4. Purpose (Does it do what it is written for?)
5. Revision (Clear evidence that the writer worked on it, put in effort.)

 Then with our rules we were given seven pieces of writing (everything from song lyrics, to Shakespeare, to Crest Whitening Advertisements). We had to rank them in order, based on our rules, of "good writing." Well...that was more difficult than it sounded. We kept finding ourselves limited to our rules and what we really thought about the writing pieces. How does Shakespeare fall before Crest? Really, we had to be joking.

So needless to say...this is where my revelation came in today. My revelation goes a little like this: Rules should be followed, but there are countless rules. Now, before I go crazy teacher mode, let me explain. I do believe that we need to know "rules" as writers, but we do not necessary have to follow them without allowing our own voice to show. I do think that we need to have "rules" about the grammar in a writing, the organization in a writing, and the content. (I feel like such a stuffy teacher saying those things...but trust me it comes around) So while I was thinking about questions I had following Kendra's wonderful Demo, I asked "How and when do we decide what rules are appropriate to follow when we are writing?" Then I got to thinking, well rules would matter depending on the audience for our writing and the purpose we are writing for. So therefore, would the audience and purpose of the writing not become the most important "rules?" Depending on who we are writing for, and why we are writing...would that not change the way (grammar, syntax, etc.) in which we write? Would it not change who finds it engaging and captivating? Would we not then change the mechanics (maybe no punctuation, maybe no complete sentences)? ***REVELATION*** The rules we follow to create "good writing" depend mainly on who our audience is, and our purpose for writing. 

Proof: My Revelation!
For example: Lyrics are written for listeners of music and for the purpose of allowing listeners to connect to emotions. Plays are written for audiences who enjoy drama and for the purpose of putting on a show and story. Novels are written for audiences interested in various topics (science fiction, fantasy, how-to's...) for a purpose to entertain and have readers enjoy what they are reading. Thereforetoday at Day 3 of #UNCCWP, I had the revelation that audience and purpose are the main two "rules" for good writing, and the rest of the rules depend on the first two! Genius...I know ;)

Now, I am off to enjoy my 4th of July holiday weekend. My parents are in town (from Stafford, VA) for our annual Gardner family reunion at Aunt Flo's house. If you're lucky...I'll share some pics ;) Have a great holiday weekend yourself! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Donkey Kong Style-ish

It's on like Donkey Kong...Day 2 Style. Agenda...Check

So we are onto day 2 at the Summer Writing Project through UNCC (I'm telling you...if you have not checked out this site...What are you waiting for? It's basically the best thing since peanut butter). We discussed this new idea that I hadn't been exposed to before. This idea surrounds the "Single Story." We were introduced to this idea during our "Writing into the Day" opening activity. We were introduced to Chimamanda Adichie (Follow her on Twitter!). We watched her wonderful TedTalk video (I have mentioned this wonderful site before...there are countless amounts of inspirational and thought-provoking videos). So to stop my rambling about TedTalks....Chimamanda's video was about "Single Story" and the idea that people read a story and develop a sense of understanding on a whole population. Here is her talk:

So basically...if you didn't take the time to watch the video (you should have!), she mentions that often times people read stories and develop a sense of "understanding" about all the people like the character in the book they just read. I feel as though this is so typical. There are countless books all dealing with the same "type" of character. However, I believe that people typically fall into a habit of reading books that surround similar characters. People become interested in a particular story, and therefore, gravitate towards similar books dealing with similar characters and situations. Is this the right thing to do as a reader? Well, of course not...but it is entertaining and enjoyable. Who wouldn't want to read lots of books that they enjoy? I mean at least that would make sense.

I feel though that it is important for people, especially readers...specifically young readers, to become readers of lots of genres, characters, places, and times. Reading, or hearing through storytelling, allows us as readers to explore new areas of the world and the people that live there without having to leave our comfortable sun-room with our glass of cool sweet tea.I want my students to enjoy reading, but larger than that, I want my students to enjoy reading various genres. Even if they aren't the favorite style of writing to be reading, at least it is getting read. I want to encourage my students to read nonfiction, informational text, fantasy, realistic fiction, historical fiction, sci-fi, etc. I basically want my students to read anything and everything they can get their hands on! Read, read, and then read some more. Being exposed to the differences in writing will not only then de-myth the "Single Story" idea, but it will improve their own writing. By seeing and being exposed to model text and model writing, my students will become better writers themselves. So am I saying that simply reading more will remove "Single Story" syndrome, as well as improve writing? I believe I am. Wow! Connections ;)

I think that is a big enough revelation for Day 2 at the Writing Project. I'm ending this post blown away (weird that it is something I'm blown away by written by myself) and preparing for tomorrow's revelations!

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Summer Writing Time!

Whoop whoop! (This post is happier than last post...promise!) ;)

Today was my first day of the Summer Writing Project through UNCC. As I've been saying throughout my last few posts, this has been something I have been looking forward to for a while! We had our orientation back in May (check out how wonderful that was here) and today was our first official meeting and session to get this hardcore rolling.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte
We began the day with a couple super cool improv activities that dealt with our name game (as done at orientation) and a Yes, And game about personal space.

Our group reviewing the Yes And game. (That's me in the orange!) :)
After our introduction, welcoming, and improv games, we worked on our Writing Timelines. These were really cool. We had a few minutes to think about important writing events, activities, and teachers throughout our lives. I realized through this activity that I really do not think I have had much relationships with writing. Womp womp. That's a little depressing...But that's why I am here; to get more experience with writing and bring that enthusiasm to my students!
Here's my timeline of the top five writing events and moments in my life.

My Timeline
We added our Digital Timelines to the front board.

Group Digital Timelines

Interesting movements within technology for our group.
The activity that I really liked today and will definitely use within my classroom to encourage writing, brainstorming, descriptive writing, and overall comfortable-ness with writing was the Murray Cards.

My Murray Cards!
Murray Card instructions.
One thing that really got me thinking today that I would like to look into more are the generalizations that I made after my Writing Timeline. After we created our timelines, we really thought about what the best event was in our writing career, the worst, our favorite writing, when we feel done writing, and then generalizations that we could make from our timeline to other writers. The generalizations I made were "Writing is Personal," "Writing is a source of a release," and "Writing lets you into new worlds outside your own." I think these generalizations really hit me today out of nowhere! But I feel like they are very big revelations for today. I have fallen in love with blog writing and I really feel that these generalizations derived from this passion. I believe that if my students had their own blog (rather than the KidBlog that we have for the entire classroom) that they would become better writers. I am really wondering if putting these "positive" generalizations, that I came up with today, up throughout my classroom would encourage students to become writers of their thoughts and opinions. I also wonder if a personal blog for each student would enhance these generalizations and give students an opportunity to write how they feel, as opposed to the formal writing that is done in the classroom? Good questions...I know...but I'll have to wait until 2013 - 2014 school year to determine the answer?

The first day of the Writing Project was a huge success! I can only imagine what is to come throughout the rest of this week and the next two! Here's to becoming a better writer :)