Saturday, October 28, 2006

NWP Writing Retreat

We're in Branson, Missouri at our first National Writing Project Professional Writing Retreat. There are fifteen of us. The windows in the meeting room face Table Rock Lake, and the fall colors are beautiful. I'll post a picture. The focus of the retreat was to write for professional publication. At first, I was a little nervous that no one would come when I said we needed to write about our teaching and our classrooms. The experiences in our summer open institute (a satellite of GKCWP) tended to be more writing rooted in our personal experiences.

Actually, the focus on professional writing created a drive and ambition--and a professionalism to the writing that we did. It's 2:00 p.m., and we won't leave until 8:00. Ginny, from Willard, leaned over to me and said we needed a couple of more days.

I could have been worried that we didn't have 20 people, but like I told Laura, we are small but powerful. We are just trying to grow and create leaders for our site. I felt like Laura--worried that there was not going to be enough people, but when I saw everyone in their small writing groups--hunched over the tables, writing and books in front of them, participating in intense discussions, I knew that we had exactly the right group. It was perfect.
Here's an overview of our writing:
  • Ginny is writing about her reluctant readers and writers in her junior and senior applied communications class.
  • Laura is writing about talk in peer writing conferences.
  • Joe is writing about his college composition course (Writing II) and his experiences teachingit this summer.
  • Karin, a new creative writing lecturer at a local university, is writing about teaching her courses.
  • Beth, a college professor, is researching and writing about her experience teaching a senior English class at a rural high school.
  • Larry was recording his experiences as a first year teacher.
  • Connie wrote about the lessons she learned for all students based on her student with Asperger's.
  • Alicia wrote about self-regulated learning in a writing classroom.
  • John wrote about his first year experiences with crazy parents.
  • Kelly wrote about how journal writing and writing a healing.
  • JoAnn wrote about her class of all boys in an experimental writing class she organized.
  • Barb wrote about the blogging that was going on in her classroom.

The food was wonderful, and the schedule was beautifully arranged. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful fall day. The work felt so productive.

No comments: