Saturday, November 10, 2007

Demo Workshop

We are all here… again… at Mugs.
AI is in session. (though E.Jason is missing due to a forensics emergency – someone must be dead)

We begin with Natalie asking questions for the first session of the morning.

Question #1 – actually Renee’s question… but secretly hidden under Natalie’s protection… “How can we regulate the amount of people in each session at the CSUWP conference?” Natalie actually doesn’t care about the answer… but it is an important discussion…

- We will be inviting pre-service English teachers (at ½ price) to help fill it up. We are aiming for 50 people but we don’t know what that will look like.

- We also will be inviting CSUWP fellows (for free) to help “fill” the sessions for their benefit as much as ours.

Question #2 – Can outside teachers assist in presentations?

- No… we want all presenters to be Fellows.

Question #3 – What will the conference format look like?

- opening session with Administrators and Participants with Cindy et al.
- 2 sessions (5 presentations per at 75 minutes each)
- each fellow will only present once (except E.Jason who will present a beginning and advanced session on blogging)
- 3 Elementary teachers (fellows) are being invited to present

After the first session of questions, we broke up into our inquiry groups to work on demos in general (agendas, format, activities, etc.) and Deadline Drafts. The rest of the meeting was individually focused.

No other formal meeting of AI will be scheduled but it is highly recommended that Inquiry Groups meet sometime during the next two months to help each other get ready for the conference… godspeed.

Deadlines: Please plan on completing your work and sending it by…

Dec. 1st: Abstracts of demo due to Cindy (

Jan. 7th:
Deadline for Final Drafts – Your final draft must be e-mailed to Cindy ( and Natalie (

Text of Abstracts/Drafts must be in the body of the e-mail… NO attachments!

Jan. 26th: the Conference… you should plan on being there

Good Luck Out There...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Example for description & outline

An example of the presentation description and outline as requested by Cindy.

Content Writing: utilizing a structured activity

Presentation description:
Explore an easy-to-grade pre-writing strategy that can help students focus on details and organize their thoughts. Participate in a hands-on activity that will help you understand how the pre-writing process can enhance your own curriculum. Brainstorm ideas for utilizing a structured activity in your classroom.

(5) Introductions
(5) Why write outside the English classroom?
- helps students put ideas in a different context
- practice for CSAP
- connections to pre-writing and other pre-activity cognitive activities
(5) What does the teacher need to know?
- Pick your battles! Don’t try to do everything
- This strategy will help focus on the details and;
- focus on organization of ideas
(7) Outline of the research project.
(20) Do the hands-on critical analysis activity
- focus on the details (10)
- focus on the organization (10)
(7) Review the concepts of detail & organization – debrief on activity
(10) Brainstorm how this might work in other classrooms – determine the specific skills on which you want to work, i.e. I worked on capturing details and organizing ideas into an essay format
(*) If time allows – design an activity that will work for you

Conference Talk...

After reading an excerpt from the book “Teaching on Equity” by Carol Tateishi over lunch, we spent the early afternoon on discussing the implications for our site and the upcoming Jan. conference. Tateishi discusses her Teacher Research Program developed out of the Bay Area Writing Project. It presents a model of where Cindy would like us to eventually be as a writing project when it comes to teacher research (this seems to one our weaknesses as a site).

As the discussion of how possible it will be and the AI’s position within the establishment of the TR Groups, we eventually got into the guts of the AI goals… the Jan. Conference.

We then stepped into the argument phase, often created by Rebecca starting something and sitting quietly pretending she had nothing to do with it.

Topic: Deadline Drafts (1500-2000 words)
Title = Specific Question being answered
1. How I became interested in my topic
2. What my research looked like
3. What I found out through my research
4. How this continues to be important in my classroom
5. Suggested Resources (Annotated Bibliography)
6. Contact and Blog Information
7. Personal Information

Topic: Next Meeting - Demo Workshop (Nov. 10th, 8-12 at Mugs)
What you need…
1. Draft of Working Paper (for Booklet)
2. Session Description (50 words)
3. Demo Agenda (with times included)

See Natalie’s blog for examples of agenda and description.

An all=in-one document will be given to conference participants including AI information, specific session paper and CSUWP information.

We are done for now... thanks for reading or listening or thinking with us.

Inquiry Groups

The morning of the AI mtg focused on our Inquiry Groups.

After the Inquiry Groups met… we reported out on how we are doing with our research and how

Natalie… now knows how to organize her data for her research. Cindy and Rebecca took care of it. She obviously had a lot to say (it is Natalie), but she isn’t sharing with the big group right now. Her session description is on her blog… she is better than the rest of us.

Stacey… was struggling with what to concentrate her research on, although she is really interested in research on team teaching, is going to stay focused on how to create writing groups. Her ideas of norm creation, “speed dating”, and different types of writing groups (autonomous, semi-autonomous, and disfunction junction). Cool ideas, sounds like a great demo.

E. Jason… is still working on how to properly use blogs in the classroom. He’s looking at expanding his blog work (on Lord of the Flies) to include the new reality show “Kid Nation”. As we talked, we basically created E. Jason’s demo… if he pulls it off, it will be awesome… teachers

Cindy… is continuing her book club research and trying to bring them into having controversial conversations as they participate in their clubs. The inquiry group helped her return to why she does what she does… “Teaching students to read, process, and compose texts in discerning ways.”

Rebecca… is feeling guilty about slacking. I’m not. As for her demo (about book clubs), she’s putting together her ideas including a mini-book club. As always, she is on top of things.

Jason… is still focusing on his blog stuff and will be joining forces with the other Jason to present different ways of utilizing blogs in the classroom.

Steph… realizes that she does NOT have to be the egomaniac sage on the stage. Her perspective on how her demo will go changed a lot through the inquiry group discussion. She has amazing ideas as a teacher, but is now starting to realize that many others will want to her what she has to say. Her demo, focusing on the teaching of poetry, is coming together though she feels much of her data will not be available for the conference. We say… who cares?

AI Morning Pages at Mugs

Saturday Morning, cool breeze outside, coffee in hand, and we begin the AI again.
Its been a couple of months but we seem to be ready to dive in...
so don't bother testing the water... pinch your nose and jump...

It seems that it would be easiest for me to be the daily scribe…
So I will…
And I am.

This morning begins surprisingly on time… all present (except for our sickly Renee) who is probably reading this at some point. A circle of laptops and a search for plugs… Morning Pages has begun….

We look at bit dorky in a coffee shop… we either are sharing ideas with the world or we are battling to the death on an online videogame battlefield… maybe Halo or another shoot-em-up game. I imagine if that were the case that somehow Rebecca would win. She seems the most shrewd and tactical. Also I also think that she would secretly enjoy it.

The Morning Pages prompts…

“Where are you in terms of project, blogging?”
“What do you need to move forward (books, resources, friendly feedback)?
“What’s one thing your Inquiry Group could help you with today?”

Follow the links to the personal blogs (on the right hand bar of this page) to see morning pages from the AI fellows answering these questions.

As we move on past morning pages, we are jumping into inquiry groups… to focus on help each other focus on our issues and questions we have come up with. Based on reading the posts from everyone, it seems that everyone is moving forward but, not surprisingly, a little slow at the beginning of the years. All of us seem to be hoping for the same thing… for this meeting to jumpstart our work this year.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

"Ideation" and the pursuit of writing...

Last Friday my pre-service Art Education students started their practicum at the Lab School. One observation I made as I walked from room to room was the number of students who included a pre-writing or writing activity in their initial lesson plan. I talked with Dr. Patrick Fahey (he teaches another methods class that students take at the same time as the one I teach) to see if he had noticed this as well. I was pleasantly surprized to discover his observation had been the same as mine - we both observe our students in their practicum, they write the lesson plan for his class. He has long talked about the concept of "ideation" where students engage in brainstorming activities prior to the art-making process. Many times "ideation" is a writing or pre-writing activity which makes sense because we're talking about narratives in both applications, it just happens that one is literary and one is visual. His feeling was that the inclusion of the "ideation" process was a result of my reinforcing the writing in my class, which reinforces the same concept in his class. Interesting....

Also, I've posted the 50 word session description as well as the presentation outline on my blog.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ya gotta love sticky note data!

Hellooooooo - hmmm, I hear a big echo out there. Not sure anyone is listening but I've always managed to do a pretty good job talking to myself, so here I go again.

Well I'm onto stage three in my project. Completing the pre-writing critical analysis hands-on activity was exciting. My students were fully engaged and seemed to do a good job. I haven't had time to sort through the data, but in completing the process I realize that this is a valuable art activity with easy accountability and opportunity for good group interaction. So far it appears to be a success - and one student got excited just because she loved the idea of using sticky notes!