2023: Craft and Community

What’s New? The National Writing Project played an important role in the teacher I am today. My journey with the National Writing Project began at a Morehead Writing Project Summer Institute. The National Writing Project cannot solve every classroom challenge, but participating in a Summer Institute can offer you the support of an amazing lineage of teachers. If you are looking for a transformative professional development experience I strongly suggest checking out the Morehead Writing Project’s 2024 Online Summer Institute! Every National Writing Project Summer Institute is a powerful learning experience, but this specific OSI is probably my last so if you have always wanted to write and learn with me then this is it!

Original: 2023 was a year devoted to writing craft and writing communities. While I faced some professional challenges, it was also a year of tremendous privilege and joy. Even with my privilege, I am worn down and worried about the future and wonder if I will be as excited about the advent of 2025 as I am about the advent of 2024. Despite all the challenges of 2023, focusing on writing craft and writing community has brought me through those trials whole – if a bit more battered and worn. I hope the lessons I learned in 2023 can help you in 2024.

I wrote 15 blog posts in 2023. While the majority of my posts (not surprisingly) focused on supporting the writer’s craft journey, there were also a number of posts about writing in community and how I prefer that community of writers should function to support the journey:

Focusing on the writer is key

Updating the list of poems I use to inspire and teach writing as well as support reflection really raised the level of writing and discussion in my classroom this fall, but the struggle was real as you can see in One Poem to Rule Them All, A Poetic Invitation (to the third power), and High Voltage Warning. I cannot tell you how much joy this journey brought to me personally as well. Win-win-win! While my slant essay journey began in 2022, I leaned in even more in 2023 and have zero regrets. I returned to my roots with a celebration of the 6-word story. But the two posts that make me proud are Conversations About Problems and Solutions and Believe the Writer. Every class meeting my students and I have conversations about our writing and how we can write a better world.

Finding community is essential

I hope I can convey to others how much joy I get from creating a community of writers and how writing together every class meeting helps us grow as both humans and writers. I wish every class community could experience this feeling. Of course, my ungrading journey continued with the highs of Landing Softly for some and others experiencing a Last Mile Problem, but as I noted in The Ungrading Journey Continues I have a plan for that thanks to my professional learning network. I also leaned into Writing Reflection and Social Contracts in 2023 and will do it again in 2024.

Add zest whenever you can

Reviewing my 2023, I feel even more confident in my choice of Zest for 2024. Everything I did in 2023 could be uplifted and improved, but no major overhauls are needed. How do you feel about this transition from 2023 to 2024? What questions and concerns are you bringing from the old year into the new?

In 2022 I focused on community, authentic writing, and themes and those ideas remained central to my 2023 classroom with my posts focusing most often on craft and community. I wonder what shifts 2024 will bring to my praxis? I am still excited about supporting the journeys of the writers in my classroom and creating a joyful community, but I hope I can add more zest to our learning experience in 2024. Where have you been and where are you going as a human, writer, and teacher?

The less

Image by Christel SAGNIEZ from Pixabay

Author: Deanna Mascle
#TeachingWriting and leading #NWP site @ Morehead State (KY): Passionate about #AuthenticWriting, #DeeperLearning, #PBL, #Ungrading, and #HyperDocs.

2 thoughts on “2023: Craft and Community

  1. Deanna,
    I feel like such a fledgling writer – especially compared to you. I do not write as often, nor as deep, nor with so many links to so much more writing. I’m awed by your skill. (Heck, I had to look up “praxis!”)
    Anyway, you ended with a question I feel I can answer. As a writer, I write to document. I read to find, and I write to note, keep, share, and hopefully learn. The end of 2023 introduced me to a book called TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Cheryl Strayed. I then bought myself a new journal. (I have a small gratitude journal – documenting! And I have a larger journal I used to only write in when I was upset…) This new journal was going to be me writing to me – like the advice columns in TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS. My inner thoughts seem to have a lot of answers I don’t listen to. Sooooo… that’s how my writing is evolving this year. I’m enjoying writing with a question and finding the answer(s) – that are sometimes surprising, even to me! – as I write.
    THANK YOU for all you share – it makes a difference in my life and I can’t even imagine all the students you’re reaching. Cheers to your ZEST in 2024!

    1. I love your new journal idea. I often write in response to a question or idea. Don’t write every day but more days than I don’t! My favorite thing is to write with a group. I love when we share writing about the same question/idea from a variety of life experiences.

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