Wendy's Writing Project Blog

To: My Audience February 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — uiwpwendy @ 3:18 am

In my efforts to develop more formal habits of a teacher-researcher, I have been joining die-hard UIWPers in reading Hubbard and Power’s The Art of Classroom Inquiry. It was proposed that each of us would frame a research question, collect data, and report the findings. We met to discuss where we were in the process two week’s ago. I shared a reflection I had written at November’s meeting, being no further along in my project. It reads as follows…

I thought and thought again about how I was going to weasel my way out of this one. My previous commitment to bring snack wasn’t the only reason why I returned. I know I am in a *safe* place, with a group who will accept where I am in the process– even if what means I am no further than I was when I walked out the door in October. I didn’t start my teaching journal like I was excited to do. It was overruled by other “must do”s. As I read the assigned Chapter 3 (just last night), the most profound learning was holding the time to do this as sacred.

Yes, there I sat after three more months. I was no further along in the process. I had generated 11 possible questions (some of them serious possibilities). I just couldn’t commit to one that I felt would be the most meaningful to pursue. It wasn’t until after our February meeting that I discovered why.

While I shared my lack of progress, two teacher-researchers and writers extraordinaire shared their thoughtful framework and plans for their research. Both have something that I’ve heard (and taught my second graders) was important. I just didn’t realize how important until I discovered that I don’t have it: an audience. My peers have an avenue for sharing what they discover. I do not.

I have been open to sharing my experiences as a writer with my students. Upon sharing my dilemma with my students, I never thought that they would offer a solution. Having communicated with Mr. Stone during their study of research, they bought into the hook that he would write about his research for other Science teachers. I tossed out a couple of audience ideas that didn’t excite me too much. They understood that I wasn’t ready for the step of writing for a teacher magazine/journal. An immediate light went off for many in the group. “Why can’t we be your audience?” they asked. My students have been a captured audience for my writing for years, but they’ve never asked to be my audience.

Can I use this invitation to get me thinking forward?

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One Response to “To: My Audience”

  1. I LOVE the idea of your initial audience being your students, and I think that clearly leads to the ultimate teachable moment, or set of teachable moments, for them.

    My inclination is to go into this with your students as your initial audience, but I think you will certainly want to jot down your thoughts from this point on because those thoughts have the potential to result in something great.

    Because the inquiry thing is new, but at the same time not so new, whatever you do does have potential for publication. If you are thinking national publication is more than you want to bite off at the moment, consider a state teaching journal.

    Being able to chronicle your inquiry project AND THEN chronicle your sharing of your inquiry project and any follow-up writing and activities involving your students will be unique and certainly worth sharing with a broader audience.

    Your affiliation with the NWP will certainly give you credibility. If you are inclined to write for a national teaching publication (elementary school, writing or English-oriented), chronicling your first entry into the world of inquiry, use of your students as your audience, and follow-up activities and changes in their writing/understanding of the writing process will be unique.

    If you decide you want to go with this angle, you’ll have time to assemble your article during the summer workshop AND have your supportive colleagues immediately at your fingertips to help with early drafts.

    Pretty ingenious, Wendy. Lots of potential!!!


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