Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Arrrgh, Matey! Bringing a Close to Yearlong Professional Development with One Eye Focused on Next Year @writingproject

Yesterday, teachers, administrators, and literacy leaders brought a close to CWP-Fairfield's yearlong professional development funded by a NWP 2013-2014 SEED grant in support of High Needs schools. The year was spent building a writing community, organizing tools for life, exploring digital communication, and celebrating student work via digital modalities and spoken word. We had the extraordinary Kwame Alexander and Attallah Sheppard along for the ride, and they made the work memorable and special.

I channeled my friend Peggy Silva, too, who I met from Southegan High School when I was a first-year teacher. She shared that she and her colleagues often wrote end-of-the-year complaints and launched them out on a boat to be forgotten on water, so they could enter the summer worry free. We wrote of our 'Aaarrrghs' from the year and I burned them in my outdoor fire pit last night.

Each teacher received an eye-patch after they registered a complaint, and then we proceeded to create 600 writers' notebooks for the 2014-2015 school year. Coach, pictured here, has been a tremendous digital guru with his technology skills and willingness to always lend CWP-Fairfield a hand with the yearlong PD. Once finished, we entered a Mac lab and proceeded to explore IMovie and Photo Booth for next steps to bring visuals to our school-wide essays on teaching.

I tell everyone I meet that the faculty of Hill Central in New Haven is one-of-a-kind. They are ambitious, dedicated, witty, and alive with the skills needed to promote success with K-8 youth. Although the grant funds are spent, my willingness to collaborate with the school remains strong. We have solid drafts ready-to-go for the upcoming school year and the only thing left to do is to put icing on the cake.

With a new captain at the helm, Lillian Fontan, I'm sure things will kick-off another successful year.

With this burning, let bygones be bygones and teaching energy begin anew.

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