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Archive for March 24th, 2015

SOL #24

SOL #24

Pay attention to your fantasies, daydreams, and self-talk. What are they reinforcing? What purpose do they serve? Do you believe that some feelings are more “you” than others are? (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 189)

Self-talk. Is that my enemy? I do this all the time.

We finished phase one of testing, and I read this post from one of my students.
The writing part is hard for me because I never learned how to start it or conclude it the way my class did.

I teach gifted pull-out, so she didn’t get the formula for writing.
Am I wrong not to teach the formula?

In the fall of 2014, not six months ago, I received the prestigious Donald Graves Award for the teaching of writing, and yet, I still question my methods. That is the curse of my personality type, self-talk. But I have to question, what is the real issue here?

I realize that the formulas offer comfort and confidence. While my student knew the answer to the prompt, she froze when faced with a blank page. How do you begin?

Even though I know that the best writing for my students is writing they choose, I realize that I need to provide the safety net. The additional practice in formulaic writing.

Today when I came home from school, a new magazine was waiting. The Spring edition of Cultural Vistas, a publication for the Louisiana Endowment of the Arts. My long time mentor Ann Dobie was featured in an interview by my friend and writing group colleague, Dianne Dempsey-Legnon. When I went through the Summer Institute for the National Writing Project of Acadiana in 1995, Ann was the director. This is what she said about her time as director.

It was a magical time… I have seen changes from teacher-centered to student-centered classrooms. Another monumental change is from feeding information to students to allowing them to discover it on their own which is far more dynamic and lasting. –Ann Brewster Dobie, Ph.D.

I will not give up the belief that students need to discover through writing rather than spitting back information within a set format. But I will look for ways to make my beliefs and the new reign of testing co-exist. I owe this to my students who count on me.

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