SDAWP Reunion

This morning, my SDAWP (San Diego Area Writing Project) cohort had a reunion since finishing up our Summer Institute back in July.  It was great to see everyone again and to catch up with each other’s lives.  Then, the real work began.  Our opening writing prompt asked us to tell how the Summer Institute impacted our pedagogy and/or us personally.  I realized that going through SI has connected me to other educators, authors, etc. through social media.  I mentioned in my writing that I would have never ventured into the world of Twitter or the blogosphere if it weren’t for my involvement with the SI.  I realized that I do not need to be isolated within the confines of my classroom walls.  I can learn about what other people are doing in theirs, and I can share what I am doing in mine.  Kim Douillard, director of SDAWP, helped me realize that my tweets and blogs are not only read by the few followers I have, but they go beyond.  People who like what they read can retweet to their followers and so on and so on.  One of the reasons why I did not want to even participate in social media is because I thought I had nothing valuable to say or offer.  I always felt no one else would want to know about my learnings or observations, but that is not true.  I have learned that something I do can inspire someone else.

The second way that SI has affected me is that I realize I have leadership potential.  I have a new-found confidence.  As a result of my learnings, I decided to go for my administrative credential.  The SI challenged me to think about how I can affect change.  What can I do to change the world?  That to me is exciting.

Interestingly enough, the last part of our morning was spent on talking about leadership.  What does it mean to be a leader?  Can anyone be one?  How important is good leadership?  We had awesome discussions in small groups and whole group.

I really enjoyed the morning.  It was just what I needed to focus me on my goals.  It has allowed me to rethink what I am doing in the classroom.  It has reminded me that it is okay to take risks.  Be fearless and not fearful.  It was just the kick in the pants that I needed to get me going again.  I feel motivated and energized.  Thanks SDAWP!

National Day on Writing

Happy National Day on Writing.  Sunday, October 20, is the National Council of Teachers of English fifth annual National Day on Writing.  Although it’s the fifth annual day, this is my first year participating.  Since it falls on a Sunday, I have decided to celebrate with my second grade students on Monday.  Click on this link for more information about the National Day on Wriitng.

The NCTE theme this year is writing to connect (#write2connect).  They encourage us to think about all the ways we use writing to connect with others.  So, I started to think about all the ways I use writing to communicate.  I realized that I use writing to communicate everyday.  Some of my writing is formal.  For example, I just started work on earning my administrative credential.  There are a lot of on-line assignments I need to complete.  Many of the assignments need to be formally written.  There are formating rules that need to be adhered to and there are topics that need to be addressed.  There is always a grade or score tied in with this type of formal writing.

I also do a lot of informal writing.  Not a day goes by where I don’t email someone.  It could be parents of students, coworkers, friends, or family members.  In fact, I email more than I actually talk on the phone.  I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing.  But, it is what it is.  I still think that talking face to face or phone to phone is best.  However, I understand that email is a necessary tool in my every day life.

Just like I use email every day, the same holds true for another example of informal writing.  That would be texting.  Of course, I don’t do this while driving.  And most times, I have my ringer/alert tone set to mute.  So, I don’t always know when I am getting a text.  It is frustrating to many of my friends because this is one of the ways they like to communicate with me.

Thanks to the San Diego Area Writing Project (SDAWP) I have my own Twitter account.  If it wasn’t for SDAWP I don’t think I would even think about joining Twitter.  However, I follow many of my writing heroes like Jeff Anderson, Kelly Gallagher, Regie Routman, Ralph Fletcher, and Donalyn Miller.  I also follow my favorite authors like Sharon Creech, Judy Blume, Georgia Heard, and Patricia Polacco.  I can also keep up with my SDAWP friends and share resources.  I did not realize that Twitter could be a valuable tool.  I get a tremendous amount of great ideas from educators everywhere.  Twitter allowed me to dip my big toe into the pool of social media.  As a result, I am also on Instagram, and I have this blog.  Thanks, Kim (SDAWP Director), for giving me a little nudge!  🙂

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Writing is something I do every day.  On Monday, I hope to get that point across to my second graders.  Writing is not just something you do in school.  Writing is everywhere.

SDAWP Fall Conference 2013

This morning I spent a wonderful morning at University of California San Diego (UCSD) attending the San Diego Area Writing Project’s (SDAWP) Fall Conference.  I was able to attend 2 amazing workshops, but the best part about the morning was going through it with my friends.  Four of my colleagues from work were able to attend this morning’s conference as well.  I am so fortunate to have people at work that I can share ideas with.  We can talk about how we are using the new information we learned with each other.  It’s nice to have others around you who “get” it.

The other thing that I enjoyed from this morning (besides the workshops) was seeing my SDAWP friends from the Summer Institute.  I was able to reconnect with friends I made and ask them how their school year was going so far.  It was like a reunion and there were many hugs given during the continental breakfast before the workshop began.  In a few months we will be getting together again to plan the SDAWP Spring Conference.  I am sure it will be a lot of hard work, but I know we will also have fun because we get to work with each other once again.

As far as the workshops went, I attended a workshop lead by Aja Booker, teacher from San Diego Global Vision Academies Middle School.  Her workshop was called Writing Strategies to Support Complex Text.  Wow.  I thoroughly enjoyed her presentation.  Aja gave us strategies we could use in our classrooms tomorrow.  The strategies she shared will help students gain a deeper understanding of challenging and difficult text.  Even though the presentation was geared towards 3rd-8th grade, I believe I can adapt what she shared to meet my needs in 2nd grade.

I also attended a workshop given by fellow blogger, Barb Montfort (Wear the Cape).  Yes, I finally got to meet her in person!  I have been following her blog, so it was nice to talk to her in the flesh.  Her workshop was entitled Embracing Uncertainty:  Exploring Digital Tools for Digital Writing Purposes.  As educators we would not wait to teach literacy.  Therefore, we should not wait to teach digital literacy either.  I learned something about mindset from Barb.  There are two kinds of mindsets-fixed and growth.  When you are of a fixed mindset, you avoid challenges and give up easily when faced with a problem.  You find reasons why something cannot be accomplished and you ignore useful negative feedback.  On the other hand, people with a growth mindset embrace challenges, persevere, look for people who can support them, and listen harder.  I realize I want to be of a growth mindset.  Barb encouraged everyone to embrace technology, especially when it comes to digital writing.  I, myself, would have never considered getting a Twitter account or even starting a blog.  But, here I am.  Thanks to SDAWP Summer Institute.  Here is a picture of my friend embracing Twitter.

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If you are still wondering if you should get a Twitter account, here is an informative article written by Kim Douillard, director of SDAWP, entitled Why Not Try Twitter?

It was an eventful morning.  It reminds me of what I need to do next in my classroom with writing.  Once again, I am energized.  I cannot wait for the Spring Conference!

Keeping In Touch

I love that saying, “Keep In Touch.”  Think of how many times you have said it.  Then, think of how many times you have followed through with that promise.  It is not easy to do.  We all get busy sometimes.  I have often heard people say that life got in the way.  What holds us back from keeping in touch with people that we have made a connection with?

This month I used the phrase, “Keep in touch” several times.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to get together with friends who went through the San Diego Area Writing Project Summer Institute.  We wanted to meet and discuss what we learned during the institute.  And, we wanted to share how we would use our new learning in the classroom.  I had been looking forward to meeting with everyone, because I knew it would provide motivation for the start of the school year.  For  me, this is in less than two weeks!  I appreciated the energy that was generated at this meeting, and it reminded me of our work over the summer.  I feel blessed to know these people who are such knowledgeable educators.  The best part is knowing that it won’t be difficult to keep in touch with this group.  I am actually looking forward to meeting again once the school year has gotten underway.

Earlier in the month, I went to my 30 year high school reunion.  Yes, I said 30!!  I have to be honest and say that I have not kept in touch with many people from my high school years.  I have one good friend that I talk to and that is mainly because our daughters are best friends.  I ended up going to the reunion with this friend and her husband.  The reunion turned out to be fabulous.  It was fun seeing old friends that I hadn’t seen since the 20 year reunion.  It was harder recognizing some people this time around.  I spent a lot of time looking at name tags to help me remember who was who.  I am happy to say that time has been kind to many of us.  The interesting thing about the evening is that even though I hadn’t seen these people in 10 years, there was an ease in our conversations.  It was as if we were still back in high school chatting at lunch.  It really felt great to see everyone.

As we were leaving the reunion, everyone was hugging each other and promising to keep in touch.  Then they would ask, “Are you on Facebook?”  Unfortunately, I am not.  I do not know why I am resisting getting on this social network bandwagon.  I guess I’m not willing to invest any time into it.  But, if I am really serious about keeping in touch, I have a decision to make.  Should I or shouldn’t I get on Facebook?  In the past, I would strongly refuse.  However, now I am not completely closed off to the idea.  For now, I am happy being Facebook free.  If anyone wants to keep in touch they can find me on Twitter and Instagram.  Or, you can just pick up the phone and call me (if you have my number).  I think this is the best way to keep in touch.  Nothing beats real life interaction.

You Have To Start Somewhere

I am new to the world of blogging.  I have read other people’s blogs and decided to write one of my own.  I have no idea how often I will write, but if I know this blog is hanging over me, it will give me a reason to write often.

I am a 2nd grade teacher, and this summer I became a San Diego Area Writing Project fellow.  During this invitational summer institute, participants were encouraged to write daily.  I enjoyed discovering the possibilities through writing since I did not see myself as a writer before the institute.  When the summer institute was over I vowed to continue the routine of writing daily.  The institute ended  almost four weeks ago, and sadly, I have only written in my journal two times.

Another thing SDAWP fellows were encouraged to do was to sign up for social sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram .  I decided to join Twitter and Instagram.  I started participating in the “Photo A Day” challenge started by the director of  SDAWP.  This challenge is something I have enjoyed doing and have been able to post consistently.  The photo challenge this week was on #curves.  So, when they presented a new challenge I thought it would probably be best to start a blog.  That way I could write down many of my thoughts and ideas.  The new challenge will be about mentor texts and how we use them in our classroom.

Here I am now.  A newbie in the blogging world.  But, I had to start somewhere.  I think the hardest part so far was trying to think of a title for my blog!  I had different titles to start, but this one stuck.  Pink is my favorite color and the term tickle me pink means to be very pleased.  I hope that people who visit are somehow pleased and entertained by what I have posted.  And, I in turn will be pleased for having done so.