"Because I have known the torment of thirst I would
dig a well where others may drink."

Creating a Character Who Surprises Even YOU

Come create a real fictional character! Beard Building 9-11; “compass meeting” after.  

Music for Writing

The Bakerton Group and Underground Orchestra are new favorite groups: driving blues jazz, no vocals.  Music for an interior landscape.  Good writing music.  Have other nominations? (My question is part of my unconfirmed belief that if I only find the right music, writing will be easy). My hero Michael Pollan says in Botany of Desire that he’s listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I should try that.

Bakerton Group: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zGvq-ajQpo

Saturday Seven Valleys Writing Event for Educators

Time to Write for Busy People

The Seven Valleys Writing Project invites you join other educators for a morning of writing this Saturday (December 1) at the Beard Building in Cortland from 9:00-11.  Coffee and bagels start at 8:30.

 Dr. David Franke, writing and English professor at SUNY Cortland, will lead an exercise for building a fictional character.  Writers hot on the trail of a project may skip the exercise.  There will be time for writing, drafting, reflection and a read-out at the end.

 The Seven Valleys Writing Project will provide coffee and light breakfast foods.  Bring a notepad or computer to reignite your writing project. 

There is no charge for this event, but we ask that you pre-register at the MyLearningPlan link found here.







The real civics lesson

 John Brinckerhoff Jackson.  From A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time, Chapter 12,  “Looking into Automobiles”:

"If you love and respect your automobile…and if you depend on it for your livelihood, the automobile will reciprocate, as it were, and teach you many useful things: it can teach you to be accurate, teach you to use the right tools, teacher you to make decisions.  It cannot teach you the difference between good and evil, but within a somewhat restricted realm it can teach you the difference between right and wrong: between correctness and sloppy, dishonest work.  In a word, learning to be a good auto mechanic is learning to be civilized.”  John Brinckerhoff Jackson, from A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time,  “Looking into Automobiles,” 169.

Empty the schools and meet online

So I just returned from Philadelphia where my eldest was investigating a college.  At a rest area that sold everything American, I found a lonely kiosk that held brochures (“See the Dry Underground Lake” and “Wine Country Catfish Boil and Quilting Bee”).  One quiet slot held a brochure for “A Tuition-Free K-12 Cyber School.”  That’s right, this is a charter school where you can do the whole school thing from home.  Normal schools have a number of disadvantages, I learned.  They include:

• Expense/Scores Disconnect
• Ideological Curricula (?)
• Safety/Bullying Concerns
• Highly Politicized/Polarized
• School Districts (?)
• Lack of Parental Control
• Lack of Parental Involvement (?)
• One-Size-Fits All Mindset 

Now, this raises some interesting questions.  Apparently the “Cyber School” is cheaper (avoiding the “Expense/Scores Disconnect”) and allows you to avoid things: ideology, bullies, politics, school districts, other students, parents, and standardization.  People of different races, with accents, and those ideas you find frightful — all gone.  ”Turns out / You can make the earth absolutely clean” writes James Wright in his poem “Redwings.”  I think he was being ironic about how cool that is.

I never thought of “school districts” as a problem.  And it seems strange to avoid “uninvolved parents” by eliminating parents altogether.  But we know which non-present parents we don’t have to non-suffer from any longer.

This is of course the natural progression of things.  This PA system has actual teachers on computers at the other end, each of which has an unspecified number of classes.  This is indeed cheaper.  Imagine 200 students per teacher, essays scored by machine, and multiple choice readings.  You could “learn” a lot this way.  In some cases, it would probably be more effective than actually attending classes with other kids and real-time teachers.  But by eliminating all the risks, you end up with a kid who has no idea engage with other people — and people are risky.  I suppose you could have a unit on “working with people,” but something tells me it wouldn’t be the same.  

Learn at your own pace: no mentors to inspire you, no models, no peers slowing you down (or rushing you to finish).  Think of the taxes we could cut!

And it’s not a joke.  It’s actually here.



Soon I’ll be in Portland for a writing conference and workshop. I’ve not been interested in workshops since graduate school. I’ve been actively disinterested. But maybe my aversion is a symptom of my own flawed perspective, distorted by a lens which tends to magnify the negative and minimize the…



“I think the single most defining characteristic of a writer” – I found myself saying to a friend the other day, when she asked my thoughts on the teaching of writing – “’I mean the difference between a writer and someone who ‘wants to be a writer,’ is a high tolerance for uncertainty.”

(Source: themillions.com)


this afternoon, i got all gussied up and headed over to Olive Hill, to West Carter, for my very first solo writing workshop. i was a little nervous, as it’s been quite awhile since i wandered the halls of a high school and spent any quality time with teenagers. sometimes i feel disconnected. i…

(Source: lipstickhick)

Grant Wiggins’ blog
He is excellent, check him out!!

Grant Wiggins’ blog

He is excellent, check him out!!


Tags: 7VWP Writing