Hanging out with Steve, Scot and Betty on the National Day of Writing

I was lucky to be invited to chat with some friends about the nature of writing, in celebration of the National Day on Writing last week. Steve Moore and Scot Squires host a new website called Write on Through, and they invited myself and Betty Raye (of Edutopia) to talk about writing, the teaching of writing and our own writing. Through some strange tech quirk, Scot and Steve (a friend via the National Writing Project) never got their voices recorded, so you have to use a little inference to their questions. But they mixed it as best as they could and I think Betty and I come across as fervent believers in the power of writing.

As it should be …

Listen to the podcast

Peace (in the podcast),




What We Write: Students’ Perspectives and Ideas

Day on Writing 2012

This year, to honor the National Day on Writing, we created a massive block-letter WRITE on the back chalkboard in the classroom. During the week, students used colored sticky notes to share the kinds of writing they enjoy doing. It’s been pretty magical to see the WRITE fill up with ideas. I’ve also had my camera ready, taking images as the sticky notes were being placed.

Here is our Animoto video of our National Day on Writing responses:


Peace (with writing),


What I Write: Behind the Scenes

Today is the third day I am posting about this one single poem, as I lead up to pulling it all together into one multimedia project for tomorrow’s National Day on Writing celebration. The first day, I shared the text of the poem. The next day, I shared a podcast version of the poem. Today, my sharing was inspired by a small line I read from one of the NCTE tweets, suggesting that folks share their writing process along with their writing. Since I had used Google Docs to write my poem, I figured I could give a little tour of the editing and revising that I did while trying to write the piece.

Here, then, is my inside look at writing What I Write: An Archeologist of an Idea

I hope you’ve been writing, too, and that you will be sharing your writing or writing activities tomorrow for the National Day on Writing.

Peace (beneath the poem),


What I Write: The Podcasted Text

Yesterday, as part of the upcoming National Day on Writing, I shared the written text of a poem I wrote to celebrate the theme of “What I Write.” Today, I want to share out the podcast version of the poem. (Tomorrow, I will add another media component and then finish up on Friday with everything pulled together into one large digital composition).

Thanks for listening and I hope you get inspired to write.

Peace (in the poem),


What I Write: The Written Text

As part of this year’s National Day on Writing (which is Friday and Saturday — yeah, two days as one), I wrote a poem on the theme of what I write. I also began to toy around with various media, and will release a piece of my multimedia poem as the days go on. Today, it’s just the text of the poem. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you do some writing this week — yourself and with your students — on the concept of “what we write” in celebration of the National Day on Writing.

What I Write: An Archeologist of an Idea

What I don’t know
when I write are the mysteries of ideas –
the shadows filtering in from outside of myself
as some sort of jewel
half-hidden away in my consciousness demanding
from the perpetual over-thinking of just about everything.

And so, pen scratching paper,
fingers pounding keyboard,
skin touching screen,
the writer in me tinkers with these treasures that slowly unfold as
a singular phrase,
an inspiring song,
a passionate letter,
a sad story,
a shout-out-loud yelp into the wilderness of the world,
a poem — always, it seems, my mind comes back to me as a poem —
which circles back around on itself
until the grains of time get gently brushed away
and I, the writer, slowly emerge as an archeologist of an idea.

Peace (in the poem),


Vuvox: A MultiMedia Collage

I stumbled upon this site — Vuvox — the other day as I was reading a blog post about remixing in a college composition classroom. One of the students used this site to remix a graphic novel with a rap song. I decided to see I could create a media collage from last year’s National Day On Writing, with the theme of Why I Write. I used images from my classroom and a podcast collection that we created that day. Check it out and see if you can think of possibilities for the classroom.

Go to the Why I Write Collage

And let’s see how it looked embedded:

Peace (in the sharing),


What I Heard When Students Were Using our iPods

When we took part in the National Day on Writing, my students used our iPod Touch devices for podcasting. It was our first exposure to the devices this year. I couldn’t help but listen in to their discussions and a few comments stayed with me. So, I made a comic, not just because I think the comments are sort of funny (they are, to me) but also because the comments give us some insight into their thinking around using mobile devices in the classroom.
Using Our iPods: What I Heard
Peace (in the sharing),


What We Were Doing on the National Day on Writing

(Here is a slideshow of some students at work at their writing and podcasting)


(Here are some of the podcasts, taken from Cinch)It was a fun day of writing, reading, sharing and podcasting with our school’s iPod Touch devices yesterday, as my students used the Cinch audio App, and Twitter, and their own voices about why writing is important to them, to participate in the National Day on Writing.(We started the day by turning our Interactive Board into a Grafitti board, with them tagging the board in any way they wanted — within limits for school, of course)

It’s so interesting to watch them jump into the mobile device world, which they seem to navigate with complete ease (maybe that that is more thanks to Steve Jobs than it is to their abilities) and take on an unfamiliar activity. With Cinch, I gave about three minutes of instructions and then set them loose. Soon, all around the room, they were hooked into the iPods, reading and re-reading (and revising, too), as they listened to their own voice. Then, after they published it, we added them into the mix of Twitter discussions around the Day on Writing.

They felt like they were part of something bigger than our own classroom, and our own school. That’s a powerful learning experience all of its own.

Peace (in the sharing),