It is past time to do this, I know, but I am finally going to post a few thoughts about the National Writing Project’s annual meeting, which was held last month in Philadelphia.
A highlight for me was, as you might expect, to hear Billy Collins read some of his poetry. If I had ever heard poetry like his when I was a kid, I would have loved poetry instead of hating it! His poems are wonderful, of course, but his deadpan delivery was hysterical. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time.
Another highlight was seeing my writing project friends from Louisiana – Richard Louth and his wife, Doris, George Dorrill, and Tasha Whitton. I also got to see Pennsylvanian Heather Harlan, who did the Advanced Institute with us one year in Louisiana. ow, though, I also have other “old” writing project friends — people I met last year like, Charles Nelson. And then, there also the new friends I made this year — people I hope to see and catch up with again next year in Orlando.
I attended sessions on developing a web presence, on living and learning with new media, on teaching the new writing, and on language and dialect diversity in the writing classroom. All four were great. The one on teaching the new writing really made me think about how I am teaching writing — and reading and everything else. I have seen my students respond to posting on their blogs this semester. I want to do more of that next semester. But I want to move beyond that, too. After that session I went to the one on new media, where we looked at how young people use media and where learning takes place there. This got me thinking about providing my students with a way to really go deeply into a subject that they are interested in, to “geek out” as the paper we read talked about. I don’t think I can do it for spring, but I want to try to pull something together for summer. It could be very interesting.
After all the learning and thinking, Saturday morning was spent writing. Richard Louth got us off to a good start. Then I went with four women to walk around the city and write. It was great!
I really did come home refreshed and rejuvenated. And brimming with ideas for the work I do for the writing project here in New Mexico and the work I do in my classroom. I can’t wait till next year!
(Portions cross-posted on the HPWP blog.)