Piasa Bluffs Writing Project


March 2012 Newsletter

February 29th Renewal: Writing, Inquiring & the Common Core

On February 29th, eleven educators came together at Cassens Intermediate School in Glen Carbon, IL, where the renewal was hosted by 2010 Fellow Valerie Morrisey. Several past ISIs (as well as some new folks) were represented at the ISI, which began with a quick-write responding to the question: What does learning look like? Attendees paired and shared, with many individuals expressing their beliefs that learning can embody many types of knowing and growing, not just reciting memorized pieces of information.

Next, Patti and Jeff, with the assistance of Ann, demonstrated an IIMP before leading the group in an exploration of the Common Core Standards. In pairs, participants brainstormed the actions of different people (scientists, writers, mathematicians, and such). Then, each pair selected the four most important verbs they had recorded and rewrote them on brightly colored pieces of paper, which were then displayed and arranged on the floor by group members, placing related words near each other. Observations were made that many of the words applied to multiple areas of study. As words were moved, new relationships became visible between the disciplines. The words also seemed to form a narrative arc, telling the stories of various areas of study.

After examining the actions of different learners, participants went on a gallery walk of the Common Core State Standards, leaving comments regarding each standards as they passed. Then, participants paired up and summarized the "thinkings" of others. Amanda made the observation that "students have to learn how to think before they can think to learn."

As the renewal came to a close, Ann helped Patti and Jeff reflect on their practice, asking them how they thought their demonstration went. Patti and Jeff both felt that the day went well, and that the activity would be great for CCSS staff development. Attendees also reflected on the day's events by participating in a second quick write, this time about the CCSS themselves. Patti ended by sharing her hopes that some of us had had a WOW experience. Ironically, WOW was the first word on my final quick write.

The next Renewal will be held Thursday, March 29, 4:15-5:40, in the library of Mascoutah Middle School. Our host will be Amy Shubert, a 2009 Fellow.

Summer 2012 ISI

Remember that amazingly "charge" you got from your ISI? Encourage a colleague to share the experience and join you in the professional community of innovative educators that form the PBWP.

Summer 2012 ISI Application

ASIA2 in Santa Barbara, CA

During the President’s Day weekend – February 16th-18th, CoLAb teacher- leaders from the Piasa Bluffs Writing Project – Southern Illinois University (SIUE), the Gateway Writing Project- University of Missouri, St. Louis (UMSL), The South Coast Writing Project – University of California, Santa Barbara, (UCSB) and the National writing Project (NWP), reconvened at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA) to attend the Advanced Spring Institute of the ARTS (ASIA II). This NWP-rich participatory experience was exploded to new levels by bringing into the milieu our dear colleagues and co-researchers Mike Murawski, Director of School Services at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and, Patsy Hicks, Education Director at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

You can read much more about this innovative experience on the Digital IS website HERE.

Share Your Teaching Practices

How have your teaching practices changed as a result of your participation in the PBWP? Share your story in an upcoming newsletter. E-mail Jessica Pilgreen for details.

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