Daily Log for Super Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Buffalo can be dreary, and this particular morning, our second Super Saturday for the writing project, was not an exception. Despite it being the first day of the long-standing Allentown Art Festival and that some had made commitments to attend fund-raising events that day, everyone was present for our session at Canisius. Talk of Father's day activities the following day, interspersed with other getting-to-know-you conversation, could be heard as fellows munched on treats of fruit, muffins, juice, danish, and coffee.

At 9 AM the official agenda began. Greg read a passage to us from the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, for the Reading & Response portion of the day (one of my favorite things, incidentally). Fellows followed this with 10 minutes or so of the response to the reading. A few people opted to read their responses aloud, including Katrina and Ruth. Thanks to them for sharing!

Following the R & R, we broke into our writing groups and dispersed to various places in the building, or outside (still dreary, but thankfully, no rain). First we discussed what a writing group is and how it might function. We agreed we might not all have a piece of writing every day to share (and not enough time if everyone did have a piece) so that would be fine. But we did discuss the responsibility to keep the group moving along by making sure we did bring pieces of writing to share consistently. Also discussed was the idea of using post-its for sharing of feedback. People seemed to feel this was a good idea. Several of us shared some writing as well: Scott- a piece on his dad/Ruth- a poem written during our poetry walk the last Super Saturday/myself- a poem about childhood.

Following a short break, we reconvened for Jessica's demonstration lesson on Golden Verbs (see 6 Traits for more on word choice). Lots of interactive activities, post-it notes, brainstorming, and numerous chances to write during the lesson. Several fellows again shared their pieces created during the lesson and feedback followed the lesson. One thing I personally found engaging and exciting about the lesson was how Jessica used picture books to facilitate thinking and writing regarding word choice. Thanks Jess for the great, well-organized demonstration!

Off to lunch. Still a bit dreary, but still no rain (yeah!). Tuna, roast beast (anyone know what I'm referencing here?), and turkey wraps, chips, soda and water and finally, yummy brownies. More conversation and before we knew it, back to Old Main, to finish the last half of the day.

The Web 2.0 portion of the day commenced, thanks to the creator of this blog, Mr. Malley. He showed some awesome videos ("Machine is Us" and "Blogs in Plain English"--see post below), demonstration of blogging and just general discussion regarding the exciting developments of social networking and collaborating on the web. And of course, how this might be of benefit to our students.

Next came our workshop development groups. Here we tossed about ideas for our demonstration lessons and how we go about constructing them. Some thoughts included lessons centered on historical imagination and writing, English language learners, multiculturalism, and storytelling. A few brave souls were solicited to present their demos the first week.

Another break, bathrooms, movement, conversation and final munching on treats before the conclusion of our day.

Red carpet inquiry--a project in which small groups of us will research and report on (via a video) an educational issue of importance. Brainstorming brought out all kinds of issues which people were interested in. The group then categorized these into the following areas:

  • Writing issues
  • New trends in education
  • Resource equity
  • Technology in the 21st Century classroom
  • Assessment
  • Discipline and Classroom management
  • Bullying and Building empathy
  • Relevant resources for the 21st Century reader
  • Students in Unique situations
Your mission for the first week of the institute (which begins on July 7th)? Complete the following:

  • Read "Because Writing Matters" by Carl Nagin and the National Writing Project
  • Read this blog post :)
  • Make note of your times for breakfast and log and blog responsibilities
Who's in charge of breakfast that first day?
  • Brenda-- bringing bagels, muffin-like items, and creamer.
  • Mark-- bringing juices
  • Brooke-- bringing various fruits
**Note that food needs to be brought for 25 people.

Day ended with no rain! Off to our respective evening activities.

Question: Do we have an email listserv that people can post to or email list of fellows so we can email each other if we have to? Thanks :)


ProfSeeman said...

You make some good points above.
However, I also think that this can be helpful to you:
Go to: http://www.panix.com/~pro-ed/

If you get this book and video: PREVENTING Classroom Discipline Problems, [they are in many libraries, so you don't have to buy them] email me and I can refer you to the sections of the book and the video [that demonstrates the effective vs. the ineffective teacher] that can help you.

[I also teach an online course on these issues that may be helpful to you at:
www.ClassroomManagementOnline.com ]

If you cannot get the book or video, email me and I will try to help.
Best regards,


Howard Seeman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus,
City Univ. of New York

Joel said...

Brenda, great post. Way to set an example, and thanks for the multiple links to check out.