Saturday, July 4, 2009

Katie Wood Ray! Yay!

Earlier this week I attended a Katie Wood Ray conference sponsored by Heinemann in Asheville. Five other colleagues from Lower School were there as well: Natasha, Tom, Kathy, Charlie, and Lisa.

It was fantastic! Inspiring, enjoyable, and full of good ideas for us to use to deepen and broaden our students' writing experiences. Having six of us there from our school gave us a chance to discuss the ideas together and consider how they related to what we are already doing at our school. The title of the conference was Developing Curriculum for Writing Workshop. A lot of our work focused on immersing our students in books and pieces of writing from specific genres as a way for them to learn about writing in these genres. There was also work on how to study the craft of a piece of writing and learn from that.

We explored books. Each table had a collection of books from a specific genre. I was delighted that our table featured some wonderful poetry books (I have added several to my wish list.) We saw video clips of teachers working with their students using the ideas presented. We did some work on our own, studying a genre, brainstorming our own topics for that genre, and choosing a topic. And then each one of us was asked to begin writing a piece in the genre we had been studying. After all, if we ask our students to go through this process, doesn't it make sense for us to experience it ourselves? Overall a well-thought-out experience for us with an inspiring guide.

I am left with a lot to consider, study, and mull over before school begins. And a lot to look forward to in the fall.

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