National Writing Project, day 2

This morning, we had our huge gathering of teachers at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting come together into one crammed room (more than 1,000 strong). It’s always amazing to look out at that sea of fellow teachers and know we are all connected with our teaching and writing.

NWP Executive Director Sharon Washington told us about her own writing and sharing experience with one of the NWP Summer Institutes (OK, so it was our Western Massachusetts Writing Project) where she sat in with a writing response group in action during a visit to the the site. She shared a children’s story she is writing and admitted to being nervous.

“I took a deep breath and started to read … and I felt accepted,” Washington noted, touching on the community of writers and teachers that comes together during the Summer Institute. “My experience is not unusual. It is reflected … across the network.”

Washington explained the importance of the NWP ideals by sharing out the mission statement and vision statement, which reflects writing in the digital world as well as being grounded in the traditions.

Our Mission

The National Writing Project focuses the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of our nation’s educators on sustained efforts to improve writing and learning for all learners.

Our Vision

Writing in its many forms is the signature means of communication in the 21st century. The NWP envisions a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital, interconnected world.

Former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins was the guest speaker. As expected, he was funny and deep and insightful with his poetry, reading a variety of poems that touched on teaching, writing and kids.

I loved this quote by Billy Collins this morning:  “Usually, I don’t know where I’m going (with a poem) when I begin.” The poem creates itself and he follows along with the inspiration, he said.

In response to a quest, Collins explained how different poetry, with its freedom, is from prose, which requires exact meaning.

“Poetry’s a bird. Prose is a potato.” — Billy Collins

Now, I am off to dinner with a large group of Tech Friends.

Peace (in reflection),

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