During the writing institute today we talk about acronyms. We talked speaking up and looking down. We talked instruction and assignments. We talked about following "our artists" -- observing them work, documenting their process and writing about the experience. Art students who are also here at the Atlantic Center for the Arts working to create pieces over the ten day institute.
The specifics of our assignment was revealed and we talked about strategies we could use to accomplish the work of writing. Two strategies took center stage today: Carol Santa's R.A.F.T. and P. David Pearson's Gradual Release of Responsibility G.R.R..
I love using R.A.F.T. for writing, but you know what I love most about Dr. Carol Santa? She has wilderness experiences (including horses and a barn and kids and mountains) every day. When she spoke there might have been mention of llamas too. She co-founded a school in the wilderness! She and Dr. John Santa founded the Montana Academy, a therapeutic school with an integration of services and curriculum, in 1997. The campus addresses the needs of whole children, whole teenagers. These needs including fitness, friendships, academics, therapeutic and medical. After listening to her talk about the academy at NCTE one year, I put it on my bucket list. What a gift, the spark that brought be back to that teaching dream today.
Another back in time moment came during the discussion around the gradual release model. This one sent me back to my classroom, to the day my district came out to video tape me teaching. I wrote about the model and the video taping here.
For all learners, initiate and veteran, kid and adult, apprentice and master, learning is a process. It is a moving forward and a moving back. It is remembering and constructing. What we bring to the table sustains us. It nourishes us and engages us. What we bring to the table, our attitudes, our experiences, our hopes, our expectations, our dreams, our supplies-- the ephemera of process and product--matters.
I've been taking pictures of tables for a few months now--still exploring the idea, but here are a few of the artists' tables from our time spent hovering on the edges of creation today.
P.Y.P. - Primary Years Program of the International Baccalaureate
T.A.G.- talented and gifted
M.Y.P - Middle Years Program of the International Baccalaureate
A.T.L.- approaches to learning
R.A.F.T.- role, audience, format and topic, a writing strategy developed by Carol Santa
D.R.A.P.E.S.- dialogue, rhetorical questions, analogies, personal experience, examples and statistics, a writing strategy developed by Barry Lane
Works CitedBarnes, D., Britton, J., & Rosen, H. (1971). Lan-guage, the learner, and the school (rev. ed). Har-mondsworth, England: Penguin.
Lane, Barry, and Gretchen S. Bernabei. Why We Must Run with Scissors: Voice Lessons in Persuasive Writing 3-12. Discover Writing Press, 2001.
Santa, Carol Minnick. Content Reading Including Study Systems: Reading, Writing and Studying across the Curriculum. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 4050 Westmark Drive, Dubuque, IA 52002., 1988.