I debated for some time if I needed or wanted a preposition in that title. Should it be Connecting With NWP or perhaps Connecting Through NWP or maybe Connecting By NWP. All these things are true but don’t fully convey the idea that I’m trying to share here so I eschewed prepositions altogether.
I’ve written a lot about the impact of the National Writing Project on my professional and personal life and this point in the year when we are on the cusp of Invitational Summer Institutes, Summer Writing Camps, and a multitude of summer professional development programs throughout the United States (including CLMOOC 2015) it seemed a good time to share why educators should join (or renew their relationship) the National Writing Project network.
Last week’s Notable Notes argued that we can help you be the thing that you teach. While I was making a case for participation in our 2015 Morehead Writing Project Online Summer Institute, in truth this same argument can be made for every National Writing Project site and network (such as the Kentucky Writing Project) so this week’s Notable Notes will be devoted to sharing some of the reflections of my NWP peers to illustrate my point.
I want to begin this journey with a post written by Gail Desler who describes a moving story about her evolution as an educator and story teller. In “NWP 20, Hmong 40,” Desler writes about the beginning of her NWP journey (20 years ago) but then progresses to share her personal experience researching and sharing the stories of others to illustrate “the value and importance of telling our stories.” Learning how to share our stories and support our students to share their stories is a major part of our work. We tell stories to better understand ourselves and our world and as Desler’s work underscores – many times that storytelling has tremendous historical, social, and political implications.
Another powerful blog post that I want to share was written by Molly Adams who writes this about making: “We make sense. We make meaning. We make things for people to share or that we can share with others. We make stuff for people to quote. We make Truth, Power, Change. And we make it all, with just a pencil or a keyboard.” Writing is thinking and combining the two makes a powerful learning tool for both the teacher and the student as Adams writes in her piece “Reflecting on My Writing Year…Or “What I #Made in 2014.” NWP was about making long before the maker movement became a thing and so it is no surprise that we embrace it with our hearts and minds and hands.
I want to wrap up these notes with a post written by Mia Zamora about hacking our writing. She notes that hacking is about ownership, exploration, and experimentation. Hacking can be a very powerful form of learning and expression and one of things I love about CLMOOC and the maker movement in general is how hacking and making changes the power dynamic and expands our learning environments in exciting new ways.
What do you think about the power of storytelling, making, and hacking to change the way we learn, think, and live?