Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Slice of Life Day Seven: How I Began With All Write!!!

For my Slice of Life pieces I am writing about my 43 years of teaching.  Since I am retiring this Spring, I thought this would be a wonderful way to collect my teaching stories!

It all started on a warm October Saturday. The kind of day that you know isn't going to last very much longer with the winter just around the corner.  That is the day that I made the decision to travel to a neighboring city and be part of a group of teachers listening to Ralph Fletcher talk about writing.  We listened, we wrote, we shared.  Then the people who put this together gave us a challenge.  They were looking for 20 educators who would like to be part of a project that would train them to be able to teach writing.  They would be trained throughout the school year, a couple days a month, by JoAnn Portalupi...Ralph's wife.

I couldn't wait to get home and fill out the application.  I couldn't wait to get to school the following Monday to get permission to send it in.  I couldn't wait to be part of the 20 educators. 

That did happen.  We gathered together on an icy January evening along with the coordinators of the program.  We were 20 promising writing teachers who were the original All Write!!! group.  We met with JoAnn in a nearby school and watched her weave her magic in two different classrooms.  We were hooked!

I went back to my second graders and told them, "Guess what!  We are going to write differently...no more prompts.  You get to write what you want and I will talk to you about your writing work."  They cheered.  Yes, cheered!  I had thought they loved to write the way we had been doing.  "Not really, Mrs. Douglas." they told me.  So we started writer's workshop.  I continued to learn from JoAnn and my new friends.  Then I was able to learn from Carl Anderson and Penny Kittle and Katie Wood Ray and Jeff Anderson and...

How blessed I have been to find my love of writing through these amazing teacher friends and national consultants!

3 comments:

Julie said...

How exciting! I am going to All Write for the first time this summer and I can't wait. I participated in the Summer Institute with the Columbus Area Writing Project and fell in love with teaching writing all over again. Thanks for sharing!

Julie

Anita Ferreri said...

WOW my heroes....they are my mentors for sure...even though I only know them through the pages of some well worn books....thanks for sharing

MaryHelen said...

I never heard how you began with AllWrite!!! So special. I love how you are collecting your ideas from your years of teaching. Thanks for your comment. Yes, the kids are growing. I am literally the shortest in my family now. :)