Sharing Our Writing: Inspiration or Intimidation?

I’ve posted a bit about our environmental essay project (with the companion media component), noting how I have assigned myself the same project as they are doing it, too. The idea is to make my own writing more visible for them, so I am constantly sharing out how things are going and using the comment feature in Word to share my reflections with the students. My aim is also to have them assess me with the rubric I will be using to assess them. How interesting will that be, eh?

The other day, I finally finished my essay on Fuel Cell Technology. I shared it with my students yesterday, stopping many times as I read it out loud to talk “outside the paper” about approaches such as “loaded words,” use of background information and plagiarism, how to form an argument, and summarizing thoughts with some final points.

I am hoping it helps them as writers, although I had to remind them that I have been writing for years — sometimes, professionally — and my essay is merely an example, and not necessarily the model. No, that’s not right. I guess I am worried that my essay might intimidate, rather than inspire, my young writers.

I purposely did not “dumb it to down” for the classroom of sixth graders. I wrote as I would write about a topic, as a writer. But I know some of my kids were thinking, “I can’t write like that,” so I placed extra emphasis on them writing to the best of their abilities, and my belief if them as writers with something to say. Still, I have this nagging feeling that I set a bar some of them (not all, certainly) will have trouble reaching. I only got this feeling after I had shared, though.

I’m curious to know what you think about sharing our own writing with our students? Can it intimidate them? Inspire them? Do we “change” our writing to reflect where they are at, as writers? Or do we write as writers, and show them our skills? Please chime in. I need a little help thinking this through.

Anyway, here is my essay, with notes:
Fuel Cell Technology Essay (With Notes)

Peace (in the thinking),

All Poems Come to an End (for now)

I spent just about every morning in April writing poems. First, I would head to Bud the Teacher’s site, get inspired by the image that Bud would share, and then I would write. I’d often try to add a podcast, to give a little voice to my words, on Cinchcast, and after sharing the poem on Bud’s site, I would head over to our National Writing Project iAnthology site, for more sharing. There, we had about 20 people involved in the writing of poems. Not everyone wrote every single day, but there were a lot of poems being written, shared, talked about, and even used as inspiration for poetry responses (ie, one poem inspired another poem).

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I started to run out of poetic steam by the end of the month. I did. But I tried to write through those walls as best as I could, and while not every poem I wrote isĀ  a gem, there may be a few diamonds in the rough that could emerge as something better with a little work. My job now is go back, and see the poems through different eyes. What words are worth salvaging and refinishing?

My final poem for Bud was about coming to the end of PoemaDay.

I imagine my poems like leaves
falling behind with the seasons;
they burst into view
and become reborn again the following year
in the spring sunshine
of April
as something entirely new

Peace (in the poetry),

Discussion “Because Digital Writing Matters”

We’ve been having a great discussion about the book Because Digital Writing Matters on a closed social networking space for National Writing Project teachers. Our session leader is Mary, of the Prairie Lands Writing Project, and her experience with the book has been quite helpful in guiding our inquiry.
I’ve been trying to use podcasts as my own reflections, via Cinchcast. This is what I have been thinking about in our online forum when it comes to the book (which is great), our concepts of digital composition and the elements of professional development. We’re only on Chapter Three right now.
Defining Digital Writing:

Using Technology for Writing Revision/Editing

The ecology of the classroom

Peace (in the talk),