You are on page 1of 9

Fall 2009

Down by the River
The Newsletter of the Tar River Writing Project East Carolina University Volume 3, Issue 1

Upcoming Events
Dec. 5, Teacher Inquiry Project session Jan. 29-31, Leadership Team Spring Visioning Retreat March 24-27, NWP Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C. July 5-30, TRWP 4th Annual Summer Institute You know when you see a picture of yourself, and you just don’t think it looks like you…You see it differently; you see yourself in those surroundings differently. Well, I recently saw a picture of me. I was tagged in it, if that means anything to you. It meant something to me. For one of the first times in a long while, I had no needs that had to be met. I sat- rocked, rather- on a slanted, second-floor, southern sanctuary overlooking a sleepy one light town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Dillsboro nestles among the whispering trees, but among those tress, those short streets and dainty shops, and animated by (an) existential crisis, we talked. We laughed; we listened, debated and gazed; daringly admired, shared, and planned or plotted. We delighted in theory and dedication, politics and principles, inquiry and definitions satiated by the intoxication. We wrote.

The ECU TRWP joined the UNC Charlotte WP in Dillsboro for a weekend writing retreat, September 19-21, 2009.

Teachers Teaching Teachers Volume 3 | Issue 1 | Fall 2009 I Won’t Write a Poem by Wendy Mumy I won’t write a poem. Farrell 2 . I’ll write when I’m ready! I’ll write what I need. Words flowing through me like water Filling me. Don’t plead. by Wendy Mumy Don’t force me. "Neither Man nor god is going to tell me what to write" . It eases my soul. making me whole. It takes too many words! You say I should write a memoir? Craziest thing I ever heard! For writing is a personal matter. Don’t cajole. Teacher made me write an essay. That’s just not my bag. You can’t make me! I won’t write a songWon’t let the music take me! I won’t write a skit. The miserable hag! I refuse to pen a novel. Don’t beg me.James T.

Oct. I was surrounded by complete and total blackness. mountains. running my hands along the smooth rounded walls. I will not forget the sensation of descending a staircase knowing that in only moments. walked toward me. The walls curved in such a way that I was made to walk slowly. I think they would like to publish these books! -Jane Gardner I have conducted four district writer's workshop trainings in Craven County ( June 22. -Ms. I was pushed through the final curve of the hall.) I drifted in the current . I knew a complete connectedness to everything I want to be. searching intently. A low yellow light shone upon a massive marbleized stone. and each singularly but together brushed the stone. walking away with tears in my eyes. Passing through a soft fabric curtain. an illusion? I reached out to the stone. News and Notes After spending a summer in Japan under the direction of John Tucker of ECU's Asian studies program. deliberately. identity. I think this is a result of the core classroom teacher's inspired work and a couple of selfmotivated kids. As I touched it. until they too began to block my view of whatever it was that I had seen.Teachers Teaching Teachers Volume 3 | Issue 1 | Fall 2009 Upon Exiting the Temple By Alicia Datz A tale of spiritual awakening Again. I was the darkness. who are finding additional support and guidance from the librarian and me. and everything that I am vanished. have been. and said in attempted English. on February 17th. praying silently. 6) that serviced 104 teachers. He stepped around his table. darkness would consume me. Texas to refine AVID strategies. reaching for meaning. “a rebirth through the womb of Buddha. Alicia Anne Datz We have several excited fourth graders in my rural elementary school who are currently writing children's books and illustrating them based on The Diary of a Wimpy Kid. buildings. I could see the hand of a friend. and city of Kyoto below.” I again bowed and said thank you. (Despite the presence of my peers. I stood on the porch of the Buddhist temple looking beyond the wooden structures. I was moved to tears. and am.without expectation. I have also been asked to present at the Accountability Conference in Greensboro. finger tips gracing the hard cool surface. It was an instant in which time. July 28. I participated in the 2009 TRWP Summer Institute. with sincere gratitude. I attended an AVID conference in Dallas. but those fingers and palm did not belong to any one person. with hand on my heart I bowed looking at him. place. and surfaced into the light. Nov. it moved me deeply. As I ascended the staircase. As the people behind me reached out for the stone. I cannot pretend to know why I was moved to tears. A Japanese monk met me at the landing. they were like mine. and as I stood on the top step. and I emerged slightly changed. I participated in a continued Asian studies program offered in conjunction with NCTAN. 12. I am currently working with NCDPI on the English I Essential Standards Committee and continue to serve as a Writing Advisory Consultant with NCDPI. I walked barefoot on a cold stone floor. Furthermore. as I my fingers reached out. I do not really remember them with me. today I was moved by an experience so beyond the finality of language. then pushing to the surface of understanding for a brief moment. specifically Critical Reading in the classroom. -Mike Tart 3 .

. sans possibility of rejection. Of course.it is fun. and her significant other. I think your hardy group has been taken by the writing muse! After observing you for the last few years. Junior). I think of teachers as dedicated. but less productive. I chose Jane Goodall. I'm being off-task but was moved to share something I wrote this morning. but it culminated in writing a free verse poem. So here it is. You put your heart and all your feelings into it. isn't it? You positively glow each evening with the desire to share at least some of what you have written. Richard.tool using. with no formal training. which I decided to do in her voice. I believe the effect is more lasting and more positive than a perhaps more restful. tranquil Britain. I realize that creative writing is part of the summer program. Nancy’s excitement to share her writing with someone outside the group and Richard’s response to Nancy. Had "Grub" (Hugo. I received a PhD in Cambridge for my work. our only son. I use it. all. I just wanted to offer praise where praise is due. still. plus the obvious benefit of peer review. a National Geographic photographer. If your writings are indicative of the volume and variety coming out of this class. I will skip for you the various steps of the lesson. I went back to Africa with the savings I stuffed under the rug To study Chimpanzees. My discoveries of our primate similarities Family bonding. and was most intrigued by what I found out about her. early on. but still. You are always enthusiastic. It is a pleasing though to now also picture your group of teacher-writers doing something for enjoyment and fulfillment. then husband and wife.. I needed the wild to find My tools My community My passion.  Dear One. I owe a lot to the Leakeys. I think you will all leave the class renewed. adding voice to the written work. My mother flitting nearby. and impressed with how you have spent this rather large block of your summer "vacation". but as writers themselves. Louis and Mary: They saw something in the shy secretary That led them to invite her on a dig for Origins in East Africa. we feel. so I did.. Love. I think you each encourage one another in a spirit of fun. then I would say someone has done an admirable job of bringing opportunity together with motivation. Catapulted me to a quiet fame. but this writing adventure has leveraged your interest and creativity to a higher level. and I believe many of you will try to stay in touch for some time to come. as a result of this morning's homework. and the [homework] entailed reading about a famous scientist and jotting down 10-15 facts about her. How long would it have taken you to have done all this writing on your own? You have inspiration and time set aside to focus on the writing. A writer's paradise! Well done.eating omnivorously. I didn't fit with my civilized parents My hedge-lined surroundings of tame. I was the first to slowly gain acceptance to Their lives Their communities Witness their passions.Teachers Teaching Teachers Volume 3 | Issue 1 | Fall 2009 Dear Flicka. use of the time could ever have been. I fell in love and I never wanted to come home. “Jane Goodall” by Nancy M. “bringing opportunity together with motivation” 4 . West We are all animals. The first time. We became lovers. I am proud of you. Nancy West. Drew Hugo. at 26. that passion. I found a voice to speak for Chimpanzees. Another teacher's [demonstration of writing instruction] involved integrating science and poetry. hard working and serious about their craft. and I knew I was one. And so. Eventually. they wouldn't even let me close! I had to go it alone. To share that fame. Richard Letter from a Spouse The following is a letter exchange between a participant in the 2009 TRWP Summer Institute. captures what many have called the “transformational” process participants experience as they begin to celebrate themselves not only as teachers of writing.

Let us know how we can get the word out to your district.Teachers Teaching Teachers Volume 3 | Issue 1 | Fall 2009 County Breakdown of SI Participation Craven County Schools Pitt County Schools East Carolina University Nash-Rocky Mount Schools Martin County Schools Greene County Schools Hertford County Schools Private Schools Fayetteville State University Wilson County Schools Edgecombe County Schools Beaufort County Schools 9 6 6 5 5 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 “We'd love to see all counties in our coverage area represented in our Summer Institutes.” Carteret County Schools Lenoir County Schools Pamlico County Schools Jones County Schools Wayne County Schools Halifax County Schools Bertie County Schools Washington County Schools Community Colleges 5 .

ongoing schoolbased support to incorporate technology into 21st century learning. skills and knowledge—that makes local improvement efforts possible. and private funds. • Nine studies conducted from 2004 to 2007 across NWP sites in diverse geographic regions of the country show statistically significant and greater gains in writing performance for students whose teachers participated in NWP programs. • More than 100. Executive Director of NWP. • NWP sought $30 million in funding for FY 2010. The weekend’s docket of speakers included Sharon J.Teachers Teaching Teachers Volume 3 | Issue 1 | Fall 2009 Research Excerpts • NWP was first authorized by Congress to receive federal funding in 1991..C. Leslie Fenwick. • Former NC Senator Elizabeth Dole (R) signed the NWP Dear Colleague letter in 2008. and the U. each spring to lobby Congress for continued funding for our work.8 million in local funds. Over a three-day period in April. with 70 percent staying in the classroom throughout their careers.S. circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to fellow legislators. • Independent national scorings of student writing from the studies show that NWP students’ improvement outpaces that of students in carefully constructed comparison groups. • Representative Bob Etheridge (D) signed the NWP Dear Colleague letter in 2008. George Miller and Todd Platts. Virgin Islands as members of the House and Senate spoke passionately about their support of the NWP felt surreal. Puerto Rico. Online Collaborative Writing Spaces. Dean of the School of Education at Howard University.” As for us. We know fully the impact NWP has on teachers of writing and on our students. professor of English at The Ohio State University. D. • Congress allocated $24. listened to research demonstrating the positive effects of NWP on teacher participants and their students. Jonathan Bartels. NWP provides teachers with high-quality.C. REPRESENTING TRWP IN WASHINGTON. Each NWP site leverages its federal contribution with a combination of state. Senator Richard Burr. 6 . John Suralik. • The NWP Legacy Study shows that 98 percent of NWP Summer Institute participants remain in education until they retire. Todd Finley. Department of Education. NWP sites raised $23. and NWP Teacher Leadership. of the Committee on Education and Labor. Creating a Climate for Equity. who spoke about the nection between literacy and the public good. On the train ride home. and I met with Senator Kay Hagan’s office.C. co-sponsored NWP reauthorization legislation in 2001 as a member of the House of Representatives. Prior to our visit. Dr. local. and Jacqueline Jones Royster.3 million for NWP funding in FY 2009. and participated in roundtable discussions on topics such as Teacher Transformation. D. Will Banks. In 2007-08. Jennifer Sharpe. NWP SPRING MEETING REPORT By Terri Van Sickle Seated in a room of the Senate building with hundreds of teachers representing over 200 local writing project sites from all 50 states. we offered peer reviews of Todd’s in-process technology article and put on an impromptu writing sprint as we took in the sights through our Amtrak windows and reflected on the work we accomplished on Capitol Hill. D. making it one of the most cost-effective programs supported by the U. Stephanie West-Puckett.000 individual educators each year are reached through NWP local professional development. asking them to sign in support of continued funding for NWP in FY 2010. they argued persuasively that “The NWP is the only federal program that focuses on the teaching of writing. Washington. Culturally Responsive Literacy Practice.. • NC Republican. How interesting it is to be a part of our nation’s legislative system at work! Part of the work of the Tar River WP is to join with members of other NWP sites from around the nation in Washington. The federal investment in the NWP has contributed to dramatic improvement in the writing skills of millions of students.S. Family Literacy Programs. In their letter. • NWP provides the capacity—the people. Ethical Issues in Teacher Inquiry. we needed no persuading.

I've established wiki's for my English classes! The kids really enjoy it. the more advanced of the two strands. Windows Movie Maker. or a five-day package is offered at a discounted rate of $100. and the majority of them did not know what wikis were until I introduced them. Projects have not been turned in. The computer-based strand will concentrate on using Microsoft-based software: Word. podcasting and videocasting. using a wiki. -Jennifer Smythe We’re in the process of using the Multigenre Project. the Spring Institute offered by the ECU TRWP technology team will address two aspects of technological needs: web-based and computer-based applications. but I'm excited about seeing the products! :) -Melissa Denton My students have worked to create Wiki book reports and to create an historical fiction civil war journal entries on antiqued paper. Many of my students love them as much as I do! TRWP really left me with lots of ideas.00 per class. News & Notes Since TRWP. will focus on blogging. Participants can choose any combination of session for a flat fee of $25. I've definitely spiced up my classroom. -Natasha Martin I'm taking my students to the Nasher Museum at Duke for a Writing Marathon using their exhibit "Picasso and the Allure of Language" as inspiration this Friday. social networking and web evaluation and advocacy. Students seem to enjoy researching and coming up with creative ideas for the project. Although in the final stages of implementation. Publisher.Teachers Teaching Teachers Volume 3 | Issue 1 | Fall 2009 Fall 2010 Technology Institute The Fall 2010 Technology Institute is a multi-day opportunity for educators to investigate and apply various technologies that reinforce 21st Century learning skills and Department of Public Instruction-recognized digital illiteracies and standards. and the intersection and use of these tools on the web. I've also integrated daybooks into the culture of my classroom. The wiki's have increased class participation and collaboration. -Danielle Lewis Ange 7 . Since last year. PowerPoint. Web-based applications.

thinkquest. Upon my return from Japan.kennedy-center. At one Zen Temple.Teachers Teaching Teachers Volume 3 | Issue 1 | Fall 2009 Featured Author Reflections on my summer trip to Japan Jane Gardner takes a look back at her trip to Japan with an eye for how the experience can translate into the classroom written in Japanese format: the words moved from right to left and moved vertically down the paper. One topic had something to do with the Moon and wind or earth—the exact words escape me. Try cooking up a Japanese dish and then copy a Japanese recipe or a haiku with your students— and see what happens when you simply change the format! Add some classical Japanese music to inspire your students or a slide show of a Japanese travel log or art work…? JaneGarner@ncisp. I saw poetry in the way the Japanese characters relate to each other. Writing itself appears to be an art form. over 200 matted calligraphy pieces by second to seventh graders was on display.htm by Jane Gardner 8 . as Observing fifth graders in a Calligraphy class made me want to write. I saw calligraphy created on beautifully handcrafted paper by adults.net Resources for teachers: http://www.org/3614/drawing2. I cracked up laughing. Sometimes the calligraphy looked like poetry and sometimes it simply looked like a bold work of art--I couldn’t read a word of it. The phrases students were copying blended poetry and philosophy together. the size of the framed pieces was enormous.org/content/2217/ http://library.artsedge. When I opened the delicate envelop. At the Kyoto Museum a few days later. The letter was well as the way I read the words. I presented a small package of beautifully illustrated thin rice paper stationery to a friend who promptly sent me a letter. The tone of the letter was totally entertaining! There were lots of white spaces instead of indented paragraphs! This switch in format changed the language patterns of the writer.

.S. Each site conducts a Summer Institute and sponsors Professional Development and Inservice Workshops during the school year. kindergarten to college.328. If you care about student writing and you’re interested in spending 4 weeks with some of the best teachers in Eastern North Carolina. and by conducting Professional Development workshops for teachers in their area. in any discipline will find a rewarding experience at the TRWP Summer Institute! The more diverse the participants and subject areas. participants stay active with the project by returning to their classrooms and engaging in their own teacher research. The Tar River Writing Project is part of a network of sites located in universities around the U.org http://www.328.trwp. across all disciplines. and students in their communities.4489 Email: info@trwp. Issue 1 : Fall 2009 You’re Invited to Apply! Summer Institute 2010 Any teacher. Greenville.org The TRWP Summer Institute is open to all teachers. Sites also design programs that address local issues and the particular needs of schools.trwp. investigating problems they’ve observed as seasoned teachers and considering possible solutions. the better the Institute.6674 Fax: 252.org Tar River Writing Project Co-Directors Will Banks & Todd Finley Associate Director Jennifer Sharpe-Slater Jonathan Bartels Terri Van Sickle East Carolina University 2210 Bate Bldg. After the summer is over.Teachers Teaching Teachers Volume 3. then the TRWP Summer Institute is for you! Apply Today! http://ww. teachers. K – College. NC 27858 Phone: 252.