Monday, July 2, 2012

Glazer Lorton Writing Workshop

Okay so I have never been the world's biggest fan of UM. For those of you who know me you know not to mention it overmuch because for some crazy reason I have never quite liked that school. But regardless I spent the past two weeks enjoying some of the efforts of the people who head up UM's School of Education and Human Development (as it is now called, more likely than not due to budget issues, but I won't get into that here either) in their Writing Workshop. I fell in love with writing again. For the past years it has always been something of a throw away activity for me. Between trying to figure out writing lesson plans, notes to parents, notes to principals, and so on and so on all the joy of writing went right out the window. Teaching writing felt like the world's worst chore and a most horrific type of punishment for myself and, more likely than not, my students.
This workshop opened my eyes to the idea that cookie cutter writing is not good writing and for the past few years that is what I had been doing in my classroom. It hurt at first to hear how horribly I had been short changing myself and my students from a quality writing education, especially when I used to love writing time so much. Each presentor and our facilitators gave good advice on writer's workshops as opposed to sentence frames, fun activities that would integrate creative and informative writing to my reading, science, and social studies activities. I have so much information that my mind is whirling even as I try to type quickly enough to cover the thoughts spewing from me. It has actually made me want to be a better teacher and to try again next year.
This is one of the projects we completed on nursery rhymes linking writing summaries to art and using words in art. Loved how great my team's turned out!

Some of the other teachers who attended the Writing workshop discussing something to add on their reflection sheets on our last day there. (I am not in this picture, I took it : )

I have to admit that the slump public education finds itself in has affected me more than I was aware of. So much so that it impeded my genuine love of presenting information and sharing it with my students. I would hate most days and went into work slightly nauseated as I thought of the ridiculous lesson plans I was forced to implement and only happy on special days when the lesson planning was all done by me and for my students engagement. I have learned that I need to do what I feel comfortable with and leave the restrictions behind me. I also need to plan for what will work best for me and my sanity.
So this summer I will be planning for next year (at least as soon as I am positive about which grade I am being sent to...Yes, I still don't know!). And I will be exercising my blogging muscles and practicing my own writing. As I love to tell my students, you only get better with practice. And I plan to get much better!!

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- Vicky