Why We Write at the Western Massachusetts Writing Project

Yesterday, I played a small role in the orientation day for incoming participants of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project Summer Institute. It was a day for orientation and for folks to begin connecting with each other. There are 17 teachers who will spend almost all of July together, sharing teaching ideas, launching classroom research projects, writing and offering peer feedback, and coming together as a community.

My role as technology liaison was to bring them all onto our social networking site for the Summer Institute. We returned to Ning, although I know changes are afoot with the company. Next year, we won’t be with Ning, I am sure. But yesterday, they were all quickly signed up as members, creating profiles and exploring our private network. No one in the room had used or heard of Ning, but almost everyone is on Facebook, so the concept was easy to understand (which is different than just a few years ago. Believe me!)

We had a writing prompt ready for them: Why do you write? Their responses were powerful on many levels, so I took what they wrote and put it into Wordle to create a collaborative word cloud of their ideas to share with them at our site. It’s pretty nifty. (see above or go here for the large image).

Tomorrow, I’ll share out the results of the same prompt when I used it at an executive board meeting of the WMWP folks. (hint: we made a video collage of our responses).

Peace (in the writing),

  1. Pingback: Why We Write: WMWP Responds | Kevin's Meandering Mind

  2. Kevin – Did you put people’s entire papers into the wordle to create your word cloud? We are in the 2nd week of our summer institute here in southern Nevada, and thinking about what this project might look like here. It’s a baby step into incorporating technology into our summer institute.

    • Hi Ruth
      Yes, I took all of the responses to the prompt (which were done online at our Ning network site) and dumped them into Wordle and created the image. Good luck!

  3. Thanks Kevin – I was a bit worried about the amount of text that I would be dumping into wordle…didn’t know if they had a limit. Evidently not. 🙂
    BTW – I’m loving your blog. I actually woke up last night thinking about blogging, and writing, and how now I have a new standard to attain. 😉

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