Still Seeking Sacred

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Looking at my one word for the year–sacred–I am trying to find how that will work for me tomorrow. You see tomorrow marks a new venture and a return to a sacred spot as I begin doing some work with KMWP, my local chapter of the National Writing Project.  I’m trying to figure out how I am going to work with teachers at the school level and where this is going to take my presentation. I’ve decided to change directions from focusing on content writing in working with social studies teachers to reclaiming the sacred in writing.

As I surround myself with other teachers who truly value the sacredness of certain practices in the teaching of writing, I will force myself to look long and hard and what I am doing right now and how I need to change. This is both scary and exhilarating to me, scary because I know I have taken the prepackaged units given to me and not done what I could and what I should to make them better and exhilarating because I am going to finally begin to put into action what has been tearing at my writing teacher soul this school year.  Questions I have to answer as I seek to find the wiggle room in the units provided to me.  

  • How can I add writing that isn’t text-based or is loosely text-based that will help each student find his/her own unique voice?
  • How can I loosen the shackles of the curriculum and seek the sacred in writing? I mean I have a provided unit, but I have some freedom.
  • In this age of collaboration and data and same page teaching, CC and district mandates, how can I find a way, in spite of it all, to do what is best for my student writers?
  • How can I do all I have to do but still create a space where writers will flourish?
  • How can I find the time and space for the sacredness of the writing groups?
  • Jim Gray, founder of NWP, writes of how writing project teachers find their niche in the teaching of writing. I want to find my niche, explore my niche, and yes, even (ugh!) scratch my niche. 
  • How can I help my students find a true audience when the summative tasks provided are essays written for me?
  • How can I help students still find that memoir that exists inside all of us and use writing not just for analysis, but also to  make meaning out of life?
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8 thoughts on “Still Seeking Sacred

  1. Those are tough questions and interesting to ponder as I head off to a 1/2 day of professional development devoted to looking at our assessments and the CCSS.
    Good luck in your journey to reclaim the sacred and do what is best for your student writers. Do keep us updated on your journey.

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  2. One of my favorite activities in the NWP class I took was taking a line for a walk. It gave me a starting place. As I listened to others read their line and comments I was able to make deeper connections, because of all the personal connections.
    Good luck in finding your own sacred self.

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  3. Maya,
    You begin with wonderful, reflective questions like a good TC. Even though the CCSS are trying to move us away from “I”, we need to embrace the I as often as possible and work around the limitations of the ed reform movement. Crack open Ralph Fletcher and jump in 🙂
    Bonnie

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  4. Really big questions! But important ones. I think that more people need to be asking these types of questions and less focused on the data in front of them.

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  5. Your questions are entirely applicable to any serious writing teacher. Thank you for choosing to promote the sacred nature of writing instead of just the results-driven end product. You’ve got me thinking. Good luck with your new responsibilities :). b

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  6. I love that sacred is your word for the year. I sometimes wonder if many people consider that word in their lives – it’s a concept that is so old, but it makes us new. Have you seen Corbett Harrison’s (Nevada Writing Project) work on “Sacred Writing Time?” He has an interesting approach.

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