Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Recap of Our Live, In Person, Teaching Authors' Workshop

Last Thursday, five of the Teaching Authors were gathered together as April posted live from her hotel room at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield, Illinois. As April reported in that post, earlier in the day:
"Two magical, amazing and very smart professors from DePaul University--Roxanne Owens and Marie Donovan--introduced us and moderated our workshop, called Flabby to Fab-y: Writing Workouts to Shape Up Your Curriculum."
In case you weren't there, here's a recap of our presentation, which focused on the theme of exercise (inspired by our Writing Workouts): For the first half of our double session, we discussed common questions related to the five stages of writing:

Warm-up:   How do you prepare students (and their classroom) so they live and breathe and see themselves as WRITERS? (Esther)
Stretching    How do you help students generate/find ideas? (April)
Strength-training   How do you help students shape their ideas into compelling stories? (JoAnn)
Cardio          How do you help students find/create voice for the story? (Mary Ann)
Cool down   How do you motivate students to revise? (Carmela)
 Here's Esther, describing how to create an environment for growing young writers.

Then, for the second half, we offered "Personal Training" small group sessions with individual TAs. The attendees practiced hands-on activities to address these questions:

Esther:   How do you help motivate/engage reluctant writers?
April:      How do you help students discover topics that are meaningful to them?
JoAnn:    How do you help students create believable, well-rounded characters?
Mary Ann:  How do you teach students to incorporate specific details into their writing?
Carmela:    How do you help young writers “go for the burn,” inspiring them to connect with their writing on a deeper level?

 Here's JoAnn, discussing characterization with her small group.

We sure made those attendees sweat! But, judging from the feedback we received, they really did feel "Fab-y!" afterward. Here are a few of the comments:
"Excellent presentation!"
"They should offer this again."

"Thanks so much! You've given me a step-by-step process I can take back to use with my students."

"I can't believe that was two hours--the time went really fast."
"You're all so enthusiastic; your passion for writing really comes through."
"You were obviously having fun."
We really did have fun, as you can see from the photo below.
From left to right: Mary Ann, Esther, JoAnn, Carmela, and April.

We're hoping this will be the first of many Teaching Authors' workshops. To facilitate that, we've added a new link at the top of our Web page, just below our logo. If you click on "Workshops and Visits," you'll see information regarding how to arrange a presentation by one or more of the Teaching Authors at your school or conference. Do check it out!

There's also another new link at the top of our Web page labeled "IRC 'Top Ten Questions.'" That takes you to a page featuring the questions we addressed in our presentation, along with links to corresponding Writing Workouts. (Sorry, I haven't had a chance to post the full ten questions yet, but hope to get to it soon.)

If you receive our posts via email, I hope you'll visit our Web site to see these new pages. And if you're a new visitor to our blog who would like to receive emails of our posts, please see the box in the sidebar labeled "Receive Our Posts Via Email." You'll also see other subscription options below that, including via Google and Facebook.

Finally, if you attended our IRC presentation, please post a comment here telling us what you thought of it. We'd love to have your feedback!

By the way, if you're wondering who won our last giveaway, see my post from Monday. And don't despair if you weren't our winner--you'll have a chance to win an autographed copy of the most recently published Teaching Author book on Friday.

Happy writing!


Scotti Cohn said...

What a fantastic idea for a presentation! "You guys" have so much knowledge, talent, and experience to share, I expect you to headline a national conference before long!

Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford said...

Wish I could've been there. I just signed up for virtual workouts (of the physical exercise variety). Thanks for complementing these with some great brain food, which is sorely needed today!

Patricia Nesbitt said...

I would love to see this workshop offered at the next Mid-South conference as a Pre-meeting workshop. Interested attendees could pay separate fee and sign up to attend. We have a lot of teachers in our ranks. Plus your information applies to us as writers as well. Like Scarlett, I am pea green with envy that I was not there.

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Ladies. Patricia, if you know any of the Mid-South organizers, do drop them a hint, if you can. Many of those attending our IRC presentation hadn't heard of our blog before.