Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Switching Modes and Positive Feedback

sols_5-years_w1Visit Two Writing Teachers for more of the Slice of Life weekly challenge.

Also - if you have a moment - check out my guest post for School Library Journal's Connect the Pop blog. "Harnessing Fandom to teach the Hero's Journey" Loving Star Wars and Harry Potter is good for education!

As some of you know, I spent last week at a conference for gifted education (though the overall focus is on enrichment pedagogy, so it works for more than just gifted educators). I got my master's degree through UConn and ended up coming back every year for this conference. I also volunteer, and one of my big jobs is to attend the Keynote sessions and write summaries for the conference newsletter.

Loving Teachers Write!
I had started out this summer focusing on fiction writing, so it was a huge change to head back into a more journalistic style. I was also surprised to see how my note taking and writing changed over the course of a single week. My first few sessions I quickly jotted down pages of notes into a spiral notebook, circling and starring my favorite quotes. Halfway through the week I transitioned to taking notes on my computer before writing it up. By the end, I was able to begin composing as I took my notes. The best part of taking notes on my computer was being able to effectively live tweet during the sessions, as I could just copy and paste into TweetChat. I loved seeing my twitter friends interact with my learning - live.

Spending a week doing this writing definitely caused me to lose steam on my fiction WIP, but I'm trying to wrap my head back around Cassie and Meghan's tale so that I can get back on track. I wonder if students also find it difficult to switch modes, or if it's partly because I'm just not used to it.

There were unique challenges to writing in this format. I was trying to capture some of the details from the session, along with the spirit of the speaker. Taking pages of notes and distilling them down into less than 400 words was tricky, to say the least. Yet the positive feedback I received from friends and colleagues was very reinforcing. It reminded me that not everyone loves to write. Not everyone has that drive within them. Doing this job last year was what enabled me to discover my voice again, and propelled me to dive back into writing, and for that I am immensely grateful. 

I'll be posting my summaries and other information from my conference over the next few days. Stay tuned if you are interested in a keynote by Peter H. Reynolds (author of The Dot and Ish), transforming math instruction, motivating students, and more.

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