CRWP’s November Feature Spotlight

Congratulations to Troy Hicks for being CRWP’s  November Feature Spotlight. Read about Troy below.
Troy Hicks Portrait (2018)
Fortunately, I can say that I have been part of the Chippewa River Writing Project since it was just a vision. As I was finishing my doctoral work and had already established relationships with others in the National Writing Project, the idea of bringing an NWP site to CMU was part of that conversation when I was hired. To that end, my most memorable moment with CRWP came when I got the call, on my birthday, that we would, indeed, become a site, a reflection I shared in a post for the NWP Archives (http://our.nwp.org/november-10-2008/)
Working with students and helping them build their arguments, through both words, sentences, and paragraphs as well as through images, sounds, links, and other multimodal elements. As writers work, they discover what it is that they really want to say, and then they begin again. Mentoring students through that process is both a challenge and a joy, making those moments in writing conferences and when offering feedback some of the most powerful experiences for me as a teacher of writing.
In the past year, I have been pleased to co-author two books with CRWP colleagues. In February, Jeremy Hyler, Wiline Pangle, and I celebrated the release of Ask, Explore, Write!: An Inquiry-Driven Approach to Science and Literacy Learning (https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780429275265). Then, in June, my book with Andy Schoenborn, Creating Confident Writers: For High School, College, and Life (https://wwnorton.com/books/9780393714166/null) hit the shelves. For both of these projects, I have been fortunate enough to learn with and from my collaborators, and we continue to think about how best to support student writers, from middle school through high school, and beyond.
At the moment, my favorite author is educational technologist Neil Selwyn. His books (such as Distrusting Educational Technology <https://www.routledge.com/Distrusting-Educational-Technology-Critical-Questions-for-Changing-Times/Selwyn/p/book/9780415708005>) and articles (such as Postdigital living in the age of Covid-19: unsettling what we see as possible <https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42438-020-00166-9>) remind me that, for all that it can do, ed tech continues to become more and more problematic. His critical stance is one that I find helpful as I try to frame my own arguments about when, why, and how to use technology for teaching and learning.
Focus your feedback. It is in our nature to want to give students lots of feedback, as we are likely a bit geeky in that way, craving tons of response to our own writing. However, too much feedback can be overwhelming for writers, and a drain on you. Provide timely, specific, goal-oriented feedback at various stages of the writing process, and model the kinds of writerly moves that you would expect students to emulate. In doing so, you are helping them “feed forward,” putting those ideas into practice.

Strategies for Asynchronous and Synchronous Instruction in Elementary Grades: Session #3 of the CRWP 2020-21 Webinar Series

Strategies for Asynchronous and Synchronous Instruction in Elementary Grades Cover Slide

In our webinar on November 17, 2020, North Branch Elementary School teacher — and one of CRWP’s newest teacher consultants — Lyndsay Young discusses strategies you can use with your kids for both whole class, real time teaching as well as solo, any time learning opportunities. A master of active learning strategies with technology, Lynsday discusses her use of engaging teaching tools such as Nearpod, PearDeck, Padlet, Conceptboard, and Flipgrid.

Throughout the session, Young discusses her reasoning for choosing PearDeck, which includes both ease of use for her students and the ways in which this tool can be flexible in a variety of settings, from elementary teaching all the way to college level instruction. PearDeck is an add-on for Google Slides that allows you to create live interactive activities that can be used for formative assessment, to prompt discussion, to invite written response, and provide even more live engagement tools. Moreover, she talked about how to make PearDeck as a “student paced,” asynchronous lesson for students who are absent from the live lessons. 

Within PearDeck, Lyndsay integrates a number of other tools to streamline student work and activities in one place. Padlet, a collaborative space for brainstorming and curating resources can be integrated easily. In a similar manner, Conceptboard (an interactive whiteboard that is also a Chrome extension) allows you to have activities and engagement works with sticky notes and jigsawing. Young also discusses how to use Flipgrid for asynchronous activities to continue student learning and interaction. 

PearDeck — in combination with these other great tools — might be the game changer you are looking for! 

Here are some of the resources shared during Lyndsay’s presentation:

Additional Resources:


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Using Break Out Rooms Effectively in the Writing Classroom: Session #2 of the CRWP 2020-21 Webinar Series

Using Break Out Rooms Cover Slide

In our October 20, 2020 webinar, Chippewa River Writing Project director and Central Michigan University professor Dr. Troy Hicks (@hickstro) presented ideas on how to use break out rooms effectively. Dr. Hicks challenged us not to worry or think about what meeting platform we are using, but how we want to use our breakout rooms. 

He asked us to begin to begin to think of our activities as “anytime learning” (asynchronous)  and “real time learning” (synchronous). He presented us with important questions such as:

  • What do we value?
  • What can we do to make the most of the precious time we have with our students?

Dr. Hicks introduced the Harvard Project Zero’s Thinking Routines Toolbox and the National School Reform Faculty’s Protocols for collaborative work and small group discussions. He had us consider how we might blend these ideas with popular activities and literacy structures such as the 4C’s Collaborative Writing Activity, KWL charts, Venn Diagrams, Jigsaw reading, Save the Last Word, probing questions, and more, all giving us a great example of lessons to make the most of our time with students. 

This session was packed with great activities, ideas, and resources for how to better use your real time learning experiences with your students in break out rooms this year!  

Here are the links to the resources shared during Dr. Hicks’ presentation:


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CRWP’s October Feature Spotlight

 

This month we would like to congratulate our October Feature Spotlight, Teacher Consultant, Jeremy Hyler. Below you can find more infoJeremy Hylerrmation about Jeremy. Feel free to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Instagram.

Twitter: @jeremybballer

Instagram: jeremhyler40

I currently teach at Fulton Middle School in Middleton, Michigan, and have been teaching for 22 years.

I have been with CRWP for 10 years now. One of my most memorable experiences was being able to travel to Kansas City and work with like-minded writing project consultants from across the nation. They were so innovative and creative. It fed my inner learning soul and I wanted more. It kept the fire alive for me to keep teaching. 

My favorite thing about teaching writing is watching the growth in my students. When you see a student go from thinking they can only write two or three sentences, and they eventually find out they have it in them to write paragraphs and even pages of writing.  Seeing their confidence makes all the late nights grading papers worth it. 

My most recent work is Ask, Explore, Write. The work was a collaborative effort between Dr. Hick, Dr. Pangle, and me. The book is about science and literacy.  It is a result of all the great work that has been done with our Beaver Island Institute. As a teacher-writer, it is yet another example of what I can share with my students about the writing process. I love being able to share with my students my writing and the struggles I go through as a writer. I want to be able to relate to them and let them know writing is not easy but can be rewarding. 


 

 

 

 

My favorite author is Jon Gordon because he has a lot of wisdom to share about life and being a great leader. Right now my favorite book is Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. That book has taught me so much about stepping back and not getting in over my head. I have learned to say no to projects and other tasks that I have been asked to do. I must first, do the work I have well before trying new things. 

If I had five or six words for future teachers it would be: Do what is best for students!

Too many times I see others who have their own agendas and don’t always do what is best for the students who are in front of us every day. Keep the students at the center of the decisions you make in your classroom.