Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer Institute Orientation 5/23/09

Ten of us, all women, made our way upcountry to Kalōpā, Hāmākua to meet, greet, write, share, and take in the serenity of the park. It was also a time to orient ourselves to the shared journey of summer institute, as well as a time to think about our inquiry topic and vision for our classroom. All the women came with strengths, talents, a willingness to write and a desire to improve their teaching, so thank you! We are looking forward to a transformative summer experience.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NCTE Web Seminars for Fall 2009

NCTE is excited to announce the 2009 Fall Web Seminar lineup. Don’t miss another opportunity. As a bonus, you will receive a copy of the Web seminar on CD. This On Demand version offers the convenience and flexibility to share this quality professional development experience with colleagues any time.

Here’s just a sample of the upcoming Web seminars:
Supporting Beginning English Teachers: Induction, Mentoring, and Assistance
Tom McCann
August 12, 2009
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Administrators and School Leaders

Planning for Success in your Gradual Release of Responsibility Classrooms
Nancy Frey
August 19, 2009
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Administrators and School Leaders

Homework: To Assign or Not to Assign? What to Really Consider
Kay Haas, Stacy Kitsis, Buffy Salee, and Neil Rigler
August 26, 2009
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Administrators, School Leaders, and Teachers

Creating Your Digital Writing Workshop
Troy Hicks
September 17, 2009
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Middle, Secondary

Middle School Content Area Literature: Picturing the Possibilities
Mary Jo Fresch and Peggy Harkins
September 22, 2009
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Middle

Reach Out & Learn Something: Classroom Connections Wherever You Are
Bud Hunt
September 30, 2009
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. EDT
Audience: Secondary and Teacher Leaders

Storytelling 2.0: New Possibilities within a New Practice
Sara Kajder
October 21, 2009
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. EDT
Audience: Elementary, Middle, Secondary

Integrating Grammar into the Context of Writing
Jeff Anderson
October 27, 2009
Time: 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Elementary, Middle
Literature Circles in the Middle and High School Classroom
Katie McKnight
November 4, 2009
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST
Audience: Middle

Write from Wrong: Strategies for Addressing Student Plagiarism
Barry Gilmore
November 10, 2009
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST
Audience: Secondary
Reading Shakespeare with All Our Students
Mary Ellen Dakin
December 3, 2009
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST
Audience: Middle, Secondary

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Principals are Writers Too!

Lehua Writing Project is grateful for Art Souza, west Hawaii superintendent, for allowing Merle Yoshida and I to present a mini writing project workshop with his principals and SRSs (school renewal specialists).

We had a great time yesterday at NHERC as the principals participated in our memory box exercises, talked, wrote, laughed, ate, shared, wrote more, responded and reflected. We also were able to push again for investing in teachers, and the ways that Lehua Writing Project can help with the state's new literacy initiative.

The principals are also willing to model for their teachers by submitting their first draft writing that we did yesterday. We'll get it up soon. They felt that if they want their teachers to take this kind of risk, they need to lead. Ho'omaika'i!

In addition, the 4 complexes were able to get together and start talking about their vision of an excellent writer, not just for their school, but for K-12.

Please mahalo your principals for being so open and enthusiastic participants.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Unlucky Arithmetic for Teachers: 13 ways to raise a nonwriter

(This is a post from my blog Mana'o for Educators that I thought I'd share here) - Cathy

Did you have a journal? Were you a writer as a child? Did you lose that passion when you grew up? How long has it been since you, as an adult, have written for yourself -- not because you had to, or it was expected of you, or you were grading papers, but for the pure joy of writing?

Cathy Song, Hawaii's own "poet laureate" started writing at a young age. She says, "our family travels started my writing. I guess I was around nine years old when I decided I wanted to be the family chronicler." My own journey started with a Holly Hobie journal given to me when I was seven as a way for me to fill in the empty spaces left from my parents' divorce. My mother gave me a journal every year for the next 30 years.

Are we nurturing that passion for writing in our students? Or are we killing that passion with our focus on writing for testing, formulaic writing, and the unhealthy balance of reading first?

Choice Literacy, working off the text "Unlucky Arithmetic: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader" by Dean Schneider and Robin Smith came up with a list for teachers on sure fire ways that we, as teachers, can effectively kill the passion for writing in our students. Just some mana'o to think about.

Unlucky Arithmetic for Teachers: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Non-Writer

1. Tell children that writers write at desks, not under them and most certainly not on the carpet.
2. Correct all misspellings, including letters spelled backwards; Howe kaan wee reed mistaaks? Puuulease.
3. Squash the talk. Writing is for learning vocabulary and sentence structure. Talk is time away from thinking about their writing.
4. Absolutely, positively no writing-in-the-style-of another author. Children have to find their own voice.
5. Don't encourage drawing in writer's notebooks. They're for writing, obviously. If you allow drawing though, ignore the scribbles. There's no story there. Promise.
6. Once kids learn how to spell, throw out the markers and crayons. Only use pencil. That way, mistakes can be erased.
7. There is a time for reading and a time for writing. By no means mix the two. It can get confusing.
8. Limit writing on the computer. Serious writing only happens on the page.
9. Under no circumstances talk about the relationship between art and language in picture books. It's right there; they can figure it out, surely.
10. Lined paper is for writing, unlined paper is for drawing. Get it right. If you don't, who will?
11. Children are writers-in-waiting; you already know how to write so you don't need to keep a writer's notebook, they do.
12. Make sure children revise and edit on days set aside for revision and editing. There is a writerly plan - stick to it.
13. Avoid showing children your own writing (if you do it); they're more interested in published writing, not yours. Come on.

Want other ways to nurture the passion for writing in your students? Join us for the Lehua Writing Project summer institute. Send an email to Jeannine Hirtle ( or me, Cathy Ikeda ( Be nurtured, be validated, be a writer, grow writers.