Friday, September 14, 2012

Dead Authors & Ducks
EMWP Summer Institute 2012

Angela Knight

The summer institute commenced with two elementary school teachers, three middle school teachers, three high school teachers, and three college-level instructors. It ended with twelve writers, four dead authors, three rubber ducks, one virtual dog show, and one anthology.

Daily writing prompts were brought to us via pictures, music, and words. They left us via poetry and prose, laughter and tears. Demonstration lessons began with nervous teachers in front of an audience of professional strangers, and each one ended with a teacher consultant speaking in front of a appreciative audience of colleagues. Writing marathons took us to art museums, Depot Town, cemetaries, libraries, and botanical gardens.

Book groups challenged us to think differently about the teaching and assessment of writing, reshaping our philosophies and reformulating our instructional techniques, right there in the middle of the Student Center, in the middle of summer. Mini-lessons taught us how to create QR codes, how to self-publish, how and why to participate in NaNoWriMo, how to rethink our classroom seating charts, and how to find dead authors* for writing collaboration. We were taken on digital scavenger hunts and rewarded with rubber ducks. We were fired up and ready to go back to our schools and share our writing and our selves-as-writers with our students; we woke up in the mornings but did not curse the alarm that interrupted the extra sleep that we craved to compensate for academic deprivation, all in spite of the fact that it was still July. Now it is still early in the morning, and some of our students are as comatose as the writers with whom we had been able to collaborate. *

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