when more is more: failing up in a 30-day challenge

As a jumpstart in my writerly life, I am participating in a 30-day challenge to reflectively write at least 150 words and then post online. We’ve since expanded on the idea with international colleagues into #modigiwri. Join us and here goes! So, I’ve been failing miserably at the 30-day writing challenge to write at least 150 reflective words and post them. I have done better at responding to my … Continue reading when more is more: failing up in a 30-day challenge

mo(re) #modigiwri!

I do love how connections among educators and creatives can snowball (in a good way) online. Two days ago I elbowed my way into a challenge from Darlene Kriesel (@darlenekriesel) to write at least 150 words every day for 30 days. It reminded me of the collaborative energy that was generated in #clmooc and I wrote a post to that effect.

Now, just a couple of days later several people have responded by sharing, expanding, and branching out on the idea. The energy is just bubbling over!

So, one of the branches came when Kevin (@dogtrax) reminded me of our first real online exchange as colleagues. We engaged in a conversation by sending each other multimedia posts we had created, and we also posted reflective process notes about how we had created our multimedia artifacts.

We used the hashtag #modigiwri to stand for “more digital writing.” (We had just finished the #digiwrimo [digital writing month] and didn’t want the conversations to end!) That was in 2012! Time flies. Well, yesterday Kevin went on a hunt for the conversation and posted what he found here: Searching for Curation: A Nearly-Lost Conversation about Digital Writing. In looking back, he realized the conversation was never rounded out…and it looks like it’s time!

So, we’re inviting you to engage in a combo of these two challenges, writing digitally every day to jump start your writing… and sharing and responding to others who are doing the same!

The writing can be about anything and come in any form. Use the hashtag #modigiwri if you want to help people find your posts!

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Why am I whistling while I work?

I am participating in a 30-day challenge to reflectively write at least 150 words and then post online. Here goes!

I am going to let you in on a little secret. I’m writing an academic piece right now…and it’s really easy. That’s not something that is often said by me or in the circles I run. So, it has come as a bit surprise to be honest. I don’t know exactly what the difference is, but I have a good guess. I think there are at least three components:

  1. I don’t go back to work for a bit.
  2. I have text to start from, and I mean not just an outline, but developed text that has been tested on others.
  3. I am saying what I really want to say.

Let’s break this down (with the help of some 90s hits). I want to see if I can replicate this in the future, because I will probably not get this exact mix of components again.

Continue reading “Why am I whistling while I work?”

Say True Things: 5th Graders On Audiences On and Off the Grid

A couple of years ago, I posted about talking to my niece and her fifth grade class about audiences on- and offline. This week, in a graduate course I am teaching, the topic of teaching about online interaction and audiences with elementary students was raised...and I realized I never hit "post" on this companion post. So, here is a major #tbt to something that has been sitting in draft mode for too long.

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to talk with a fifth grade class about audience using a mini-lesson and guided practice that is probably familiar to many teachers.  We then extended that discussion into considering what writing for an audience means in contemporary times. The young people in that class shared great advice for the demands on writing in a digital, networked age.

Audience Offline

We started our conversation with a guessing game comparing two texts that were talking about a pair of shoes online:

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banner_shoe

We talked through the criteria the school was using in on online writing platform and saw that depending on the audience, every aspect of a piece of writing might change depending on the audience.

Message Continue reading “Say True Things: 5th Graders On Audiences On and Off the Grid”

Sticky post

Learning Flows at Queens Paideia School

Today I had the opportunity to visit the Queens Paideia School for the second time this year. An instructor at the school, Tim Fredrick (a good friend and a great writer), had invited me earlier this year to check out the multi-age, open design in action. Within just a few minutes of being at the school again, I was reminded of how positive and pleasant the learning flows felt in the space. Along with time and space divisions typical of schools, such as small reading and writing groups and individual work cubicles, teachers and young learners moved to different areas through the open spaces around the school rooms in different allotments of time.

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No. Don’t Surrender. Leverage.: Creativity in Scholarly Work

I was just talking with a colleague in the throes of dissertation writing. She’s right in the middle of the mess that is trying to thinking new thoughts. And though she was trying her hardest not to show it, she was feeling downtrodden, and at a loss as to what to do about it.
(And then today I serendipitously came across a series of tweets that animated what I saw behind her calm exterior. Press play and enjoy.)

Then she said something that I’ve heard (and said myself) a hundred times:

I just need to trust the process, right?
I need to surrender to it.

It rang so false, so hollow, so hopeless. This was someone deeply invested in a complex effort trying to grab at something secure. 2015/01/img_59031.jpgAnd surrendering to some amorphous process was her only solution? That’s no solution. I wondered: What is this “process” that’s supposed to solve everything? Letting time pass as we continue to “plug away” at the same old tasks? (You know what they say about that.)

Leveraging “the Process”

Rather than surrendering to this amorphous process (which I am now thinking is just code for feeling lost and ready to give up), I think we could do better to leverage it.

Continue reading “No. Don’t Surrender. Leverage.: Creativity in Scholarly Work”

Write. Create. Make.: A solution. Not a resolution.

I’ll say it. My 2014 Year in Review from WordPress is sad, just sad. And though the graphics are fun (thanks, WP), my work on this site has not been fireworks worthy. Let’s just take my 2014 Posting Patterns as an example…

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Click image to see the complete pitiful, sorry excuse for a report.

Posting patterns? Pretty pitiful. I didn’t have a “posting pattern.” I was in an avoidance holding pattern. Sure there was a lot going on this year, but I don’t need excuses. To be blunt: The sustained intensity of the dissertation processes in concert with the massive amount of other critical and creative…and really exciting…scholarly work I had been engaged in for the last couple of years had left me a little tired, a little wrung out to dry, and thus, a little hesitant to engage in any kind of writing, creating or making that was not absolutely, utterly necessary. And yet, I’ve missed it, and I’ve missed the rush, the spark, the energy I get while writing, creating, and making in order to keep writing, creating and making.

So, what am I going to do about it?

Write. Create. Make.: A solution. Not a resolution.

Continue reading “Write. Create. Make.: A solution. Not a resolution.”

What Do We “Let the Page Be”?

Today I came across this recording of the spoken word piece by Bonafide Rojas called “In Front of the Class.” In it, he describes a group of youth who, at first glance, may seem hopeless. He says to the young people:

Let the page be a doctor.
Let the page be a therapist.
Let the page be a lover.

Let the page be your enemy, punch it in the face.
Let the page be your best friend
who will never stab you in the back.
Let the page be your Prozac.

Let the page be your hip hop.
Let the page be your rock and roll.
Let the page be that fancy ride you’re always talking about.

Let the page be that bling, bling on your wrist.
Let the page be the underground beat you’re about to rip.
Let the page be your autobiography.

This week I will be speaking with the NYU’s ELL (English Language Learners) Think Tank, a consortium of teachers from across New York City. One of the first things I am going to do is ask us to (re)think the typical definition of writing that we see at work in our schools, and particularly the limited ways we talk about writing when working with those who are learning English. What do we “let the page be”?

photo (5) 2For the young men I got to know while researching how young men develop as writers, “the page” was all of the things Bonafide Rojas listed, and more. At some point during the two years that I traced their writing practices, each of the young men dealt with particular social tensions like for one young man, trying to make sense of having an abusive father, and for another young man, being considered by some to be “too White” and by others as being “too Latino.” To make sense of these social tensions, each of the young men independently turned these literal issues into figurative literary tropes through writing.

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Dummy Runs and Schooled Writing

In December I had the pleasure of joining a group of 5th graders in the high desert mountains of Utah. That week, my niece, Alaina, and her classmates had just asked their teacher if they could have time to write to children in Newtown, Connecticut after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. In a discussion with Alaina about how she decided what to write about, … Continue reading Dummy Runs and Schooled Writing

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Dangers of the Single Story and Teju Cole’s Small Fates Series

“Show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.”

“It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power.”

“All of these stories make me who I am, but to insist on only these negative stories is to flatten my experience and to overlook the many other stories that formed me.”

“Stories matter. Many stories matter.”

(Again, I have nothing to add. She’s said it all. And said it beautifully. I happened to watch this while working on my syllabus for the Literature and the Adolescent Experience course next semester. It was perfect timing for me. I hope it is perfect timing for you, too.)

Edit: I do have something to add…

Continue reading “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Dangers of the Single Story and Teju Cole’s Small Fates Series”