December 23, 2013
I have seen this meme on others’ blogs (Book Journeys and Teach Mentor Texts among many others) but this is my first time participating. I figured that now that I am officially on holiday break as of last night, and my main goal is to put a dent on my to-read stack, why not? Here’s what I am currently reading as well as what’s next up on the list.
For my “work reading”, I am browsing through Regie Routman‘s Writing Essentials. I am looking for good pieces of it that I can share with my pre-service teachers.
I am also nearing the end of my every-odd-numbered-year re-read of the Harry Potter series. I recently blogged about my love of Harry Potter on the Nerdy Book Club blog and why I re-read this series every other year. I am trying to finish before 2013 is out and I am very close. I am at the very end of the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Last night I had to stop because I was getting to the crying parts and I didn’t want to get all emotional before bed.
Next up on my to-read list is Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent trilogy. I bought this back when it came out, but it’s been sitting on my Kindle app ever since. I have heard mixed reviews about it (and even some spoilers), so I hesitated to get started. But who am I kidding, I have to read the end of this story. That’s what I’m starting after Harry Potter.
Also on my to-read list is a different kind of book: Fantasy Life, by Matthew Berry. I am an avid fantasy football player– I have been playing for 10 years! Matthew Berry is an ESPN analyst whose fantasy football podcast I listen to daily during the football season. He wrote a memoir of sorts about his life playing and making a living off of fantasy football. My husband read this book and loved it, and he reads about 2 books a year, tops. So if he recommends it, it must be good.
So that’s it for my first IMWAYR post! Let’s hope that once the semester starts again I can keep it going!
December 21, 2013
Regie Routman, writing instruction
I get to teach a writing methods course next semester that I am really excited about. A whole semester devoted to teaching writing! In my professional life, I taught social studies but we wrote A LOT in my classes. And not just writing-to-learn, but historical fiction, opinion pieces, and perspective writing in a lot of different genres.
I am currently searching for a textbook for the course and I have been reading and skimming through some key texts to find a good one. I was browsing Writing Essentials by Regie Routman today when I came across her chapter on writing in front of your students. Pedagogically, I understand why this is sound advice. Students need to see you struggle with writing because they learn better from watching someone work through it as opposed to seeing a perfect product. I liken this to cooking shows on TV. They always start mixing ingredients for a minute and then magically pull out a perfect, finished product. Nobody ever tells you what happens if the sauce starts looking funny or if your cake won’t rise in the middle, which is of course what always happens to me. I need to watch someone struggle to learn what to do when I inevitably get stuck.
Clearly, I want to tell my pre-service teachers to write in front of their students. But maybe that’s not good enough. Maybe I need to write in front of THEM! After all, I already know I need to model writing instruction and I already know I want them to write and write and write. So I guess I better put my money where my mouth is. I got this amazing idea to actually compose a few paragraphs that I need to add to a journal manuscript in front of them. They can then see my process and I can think aloud all of the stuff that goes on in my head when I write. And it’ll be authentic. It’s not a piece that I made up to write for their benefit– I actually need to do this.
Like Regie said it would, as soon as I thought of this cool idea, it immediately scared me a little. Which means I will absolutely be doing it. I welcome any tips for those that regularly write in front of their students. What’s the experience like?
December 12, 2013
I have been struggling to get into a groove of my new space– my literal new living space, my work space, my geographical space, and my head space. Being a professor now and free of the dissertation has been very liberating, actually. I had a fear that I would never have another idea again after spending so long with the dissertation, but luckily the opposite has been true. Ideas about writing projects have been coming fast and furious and I haven’t been able to lock them down into actual words.
One lazy Sunday morning reading Twitter in bed, I started reading tweets about the #nerdlution hashtag from the @nerdybookclub group. By the time I had made breakfast, I had committed to my #nerdlution– setting a goal to do every day for 50 days from Dec 2- Jan 20. To me, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get back in the game–by forming a habit. Like many others, I chose to write every day for 50 days. This is a combination of a resolution and a revolution– the #nerdlution.
I have been tweeting my progress (@AnnieWhitlock) and I have been amazed at what I have accomplished so far. Since Dec 2, I have written and submitted one journal manuscript, outlined another one, and revised a long dormant one. I have finished two syllabi for next semester. I revamped this blog and wrote an upcoming blog post for the Nerdy Book Club blog. I have also been reading about writing, which is only helping put me in the right/write frame of mind. I am on a roll and momentum is building!
Join the movement!
December 12, 2013
a new focus, the beginning
The last time I posted on this blog was right after my dissertation defense. It should be no surprise that after that, I went on a bit of a writing hiatus. I finished my dissertation revisions, revised another journal article that had an Aug 30 deadline, and then… that’s it.
The last few months have been full of life changes. I sold my favorite house in West Michigan and moved across the state to the Detroit-area, leaving friends and family behind. I started a new job as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan-Flint. I am teaching new classes to new students and a new place in a new city. It was a lot of sensory overload and my writing fell by the wayside.
Now that my first semester is wrapping up and we’re facing a new year, I am starting to get into the groove of my new life and back into writing. This blog has a new focus–it’s going to be about all of my writing projects as opposed to just the big dissertation one. I still am going to blog about my writing process, but hopefully it’ll be more comprehensive that my dissertation musings. “The” year of writing becomes “A” year of writing, as I’m going to check in with yearly writing goals here too.
I am getting settled in. Time to grab a (metaphorical) pen.