Creative Writing Group 2
Should we read out loud?
In our creative writing group, I had considered whether or not we wanted to read out loud and the advantages and disadvantages of both. I actually discussed this with a member from my Istanbul group. He and I had always read quietly, because that is just how it happened. I knew all the advantages to reading out loud, but he said that reading a story before hand would give us time to thoughtfully consider the other’s writing and not just give a first impression.
This is a really good point and he and I had often emailed each other our writing before the actual critique. His writing and vocabulary was complex, and with him, silent reading worked, while I may have been unable to keep up in an oral reading. I predicted that some group members might not be fans of reading aloud or may have reasons to avoid in when reading a particular work. For example, I had once read Erase me, Erase me not, me only published short story, to an audience. It is written in a male voice and has an interested text feature. It uses strike over text to indicate socially inappropriate inner thoughts or Freudian slips. I really had a hard time reading the four letter words I had used, not only because they were taboo, but also because they had been crossed out for a reason, which would mean that the text implies they shouldn’t be spoken.
In our meeting group on September 9th, there was no cue to start reading aloud and we did not discuss it at the beginning. Simply, the first writer started reading. After critiquing her work, we all mutually agreed to read aloud as well. Of course, we all used our teacher’s strong reading voices as we read our work. It occurred to me that all three of us had certainly read a published text in front of a classroom. Had any one of us ever read our own creative writing in front of a class?
We also mentioned the possibility of sharing our writings with our students. The 6th grade teacher wrote from a young girl’s perspective (her own since it was a memoir), the high school teacher wrote from a middle-aged woman’s perspective, and the college instructor wrote from a college-aged homosexual male perspective. I, the college instructor, will not be reading my story in front of my class, and I doubt the other members would either, but one idea was to write a censored version for students. (I thought to myself, what is the fun in that?)
Summer Institute 2012
This July 18 teachers met for 12 days to think deeply together about the teaching of writing, primarily by writing ourselves and inquiring into classroom pedagogy. Teachers from elementary through college came together to think about our own writing histories, explore writing in multiple contexts from daybooks to blogs, and enter critical discourse around our own teaching practices. Six returning Teacher Consultants alongside twelve teachers participating in Summer Institute for the first time brought our classroom inquiries to the table by facilitating demonstration lessons (demos) to the group and collaborating to provide reflective insight for one another around the teaching we experience in demos. This practice of all participants and facilitators bringing our teaching to he center of professional development for non-evaluativecommunity-based critical reflection, is the center of building professionalization in Summer Institute. In tandem with this focus on teacher as leader, presenting classroom practice, and teacher as inquirer, questioning classroom practices, Summer Institute, and particularly the structure of demos, creates space for everyone to experience the writing process themselves and claim or reclaim our identities as writers, as teacher-writers.
The 2012 UNC Charlotte Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute participants were:
Tricia Barnes-Parkins, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology
Teena Boone, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Debbie Biggers, Charlotte Country Day
Lil Brannon, UNC Charlotte (site director)
Reynelda Brown, Whitewater Middle School
Renatta Dover, David Cox Road Elementary
Steve Fulton, Kannapolis Middle School (returning Teacher Consultant)
Sally Griffin, Forestview High School (returning Teacher Consultant)
Jessie Hill, UNC Charlotte
Mary Hooks, Cotswold Elementary
Tony Iannone, David Cox Road Elementary (returning Teacher Consultant)
Jennifer Lamay, Rocky River High School
Lacy Manship, UNC Charlotte (returning Teacher Consultant)
Christin McDowell, Cabarrus County Performance Learning Center
Melissa Morrison, Hickory Ridge Middle
Laura Redden, UNC Charlotte
Meredith Stewart, Cary Academy
Cindy Urbanski, UNC Charlotte (returning Teacher Consultant)
To learn more about this summer’s work, view the Summer Institute Collaborative Video Portfolio Project.