Inside... Purposeful Writing

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					Purposeful Writing

A Publication of the San Diego Area Writing Project                                                                  Fall 2008

 Inside...                               SDAWP’s Position Paper:
 How I Came to Love
 Cara Owens . . . . . . . . 2

 SDAWP Log . . . . . . . . 6
 Amy Brothers
                                                                 Kim Douillard, SDAWP 1992
 Writing Marathon . . . . 7
 Becky Gemmell
 Heidi Paul                          The position paper is a long-held tradition in the San Diego
 Nancy Rogers                        Area Writing Project (SDAWP) Invitational Summer Institute (SI).
 YWC . . . . . . . . . . . 8-9
                                     According to Jayne Marlink, Executive Director of the California
 Paloma Acosta                       Writing Project (CWP), the position paper and its presence in sum-
 Camilla Elizabeth Aguirre Aguilar   mer institutes goes back to Jim Gray, the founder of the National
 Cinnamon Roy                        Writing Project (NWP). Many writing projects, both in California and
 Eugenia Tzeng
                                     nationally, still write position papers in their summer institutes, often as
 Sarah Turk
                                     a core piece and cornerstone of professional writing.
 Let's Walk the Walk . . 10
 Ted Hernandez                       The position paper gives teachers in the SI an opportunity to identify and
                                     explore beliefs about teaching and learning or other educational issues.
 Rethinking Native                   As they consider issues, weighing what others have said or are saying
 Language Use                        about the issue in a variety of contexts, and investigate their own experience and beliefs
 in Our Classroom . . . 11           through the writing, a position develops. In the safe, rigorous, supportive, and challeng-
 Shannon Meridith                    ing environment of the SI, they move their writing from an initial rant or bland descrip-
                                     tion to a carefully crafted articulation of the issue(s) and their point of view. This process
 Also included:                      allows teachers to discover and refine their position with an audience in mind—helping to
                                     define a stance that opens others to hearing their views. The position paper offers teach-
 Muse Box . . . . . . . . . . 14     ers a voice…building confidence and an identity not just as a classroom teacher, but as an
                                     educator who can make a difference and inform not only his or her own classroom, but
 SDAWP Notes . . . . . . . 14        the larger educational community as well.

 NWP Announcments . . . 14           Classroom teachers often find themselves awkwardly positioned in a profession filled with
                                     contradictions. Teachers are professionals who have achieved high levels of education.
 Publishing                          They have authority in their classroom to make decisions that are in the best interests of
 Opportunities . . . . . . . . 15    their students and their learning and are expected to make those decisions based on their
                                     professional knowledge. At the same time they are required to use particular materials,
 Dialogue                            give particular assessments, and meet predetermined standards for student achievement
 Call For Manuscripts . . . 15       as defined by national, state and local (district and site) standards, whether or not these
                                     are in the best interests of their students and their learning. The K-12 teaching environ-
 Calendar of Events . . . . 16       ment, in particular, doesn’t encourage teachers to articulate or publish the knowledge
                                     gained through teaching, classroom research, or their own investigations into teaching
                                     and learning. Knowledge about teaching and learning is often generated by educational
                                     researchers, many of whom have little practical knowledge or experience with classroom
teaching or with curriculum. These
contradictions often silence teach-
                                                                  How I came to
                                            love rhetoriC
ers as they see that their profes-
sional knowledge and judgment is
held in less esteem and is seen as
less relevant than “research based”
methods and mandated approaches.

The position paper in the summer
                                          Cara Owens ∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞
institute helps classroom teachers        SDAWP 2007
negotiate the contradictions inherent
in their profession. Through writ-        In 1997, I finally landed my first      For most of my students, academic
ing, teachers are able to articulate      adjunct teaching positions at San       writing was very new. Of course stu-
deeply held beliefs—beliefs they may      Diego City College and Southwestern     dents didn’t understand what they
not have expressed publicly before.       Community College. Fresh out of         had read, because I hadn’t taught
With the support and encourage-           graduate school, I was excited to       them how to read academic argu-
ment of the writing response group        have students read about issues I       ments. Somehow, in our class dis-
in the SI, they are able to construct a   thought were relevant and impor-        cussions, we would skip right over
reasonable case for their beliefs, con-   tant. I envisioned having wonder-       the readings and move on to what
sider other perspectives, and work        ful, in-depth class discussions about   my students thought about immigra-
through how they might mitigate           these issues. As I began to help        tion. While my students had some-
conflicting demands while main-           my students develop their voices in     thing to say, were engaged, and
taining their integrity as knowledge-     order to empower them as writers        were even passionate about immi-
able professionals. Opportunities to      and as citizens of the world, I ran     gration, at best, class discussions
rethink and revise their writing in       into one major problem. Many of         were just the students’ prior opin-
this atmosphere allow their think-        my students in my academic writ-        ions with no references to the texts
ing to deepen. Reading their writing      ing classes had voices, but I found     read, and usually not much in the
aloud and seeing their writing in         out the hard way that I needed to       way of substantiating their opinions
print lets them hear their own voice      help my students break away from        with reasons or evidence. At worst,
and learn the power it holds. At          our popular culture’s reliance on       class discussions were a free-for-all
SDAWP we see writing the position         a combative discourse style (think      of knee-jerk reactions, unfounded
paper as an essential part of growing     Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, and        opinions, logical fallacies that often
as a leader, a step toward finding the    George W. Bush) and move into the
powerful voice that teachers need to      discourse of academic writing.          In Possible Lives: The Promise of
                                                                                  Public Education in America, Mike
transform their profession through
their own knowledge and profes-           I remember that one of my first                  Dialogue
                                                                                  Rose works against the negative view
sionalism.                                semesters teaching I chose the topic    of teachers and U.S. public schools
                                          of immigration. Living and teach-                      Fall 2008
                                                                                  that Hirsch offers. Rose does this
Teachers in the SI write their posi-      ing in San Diego, immigration is a                    Issue No. 21
tion paper with publication in mind.      relevant and important issue for my     largely by changing the parameters
Publication begins informally in the      students and me. My classes at the      of the discussion. While he also
writing response group, expands to        community colleges were always          uses anecdotal evidence, he is care-
the full SI group, and is archived        very diverse with a large Latino pop-   ful not to universalize the stories he
in the SI anthology. These initial        ulation. As a new teacher, I would
                                                                                      Editors:           Stacey Goldblatt
                                                                                  tells. He uses specific examples of
stages often become the starting          assign my students three to four
                                          academic essays at a time to read as                           Jennifer Moore to
                                                                                  teaching practices that work only
place for more formal publication
with broader audiences. Publication       homework. My assumption was that            Page possibilities, not to univer-
                                                                                  suggest Design:        Janis Jones
in the SDAWP Dialogue gives teach-        they would indeed read them and             Writing Angel: Susan and not to
                                                                                  salize these anecdotes, Minnicks
ers a taste of working with an editor     understand them, and then we would      claim universal excellence. Hirsch,
and for an audience of knowledge-         have in-depth class discussions                      Published by the
                                                                                  on the other hand, uses anecdotal
able educators beyond those the           about the readings and about immi-                    San Diego Area
writer has met or knows personally.       gration. As Cynthia Brock writes,                 to claim universal decline
                                                                                  stories Writing Project at UCSD
Others go on to publish in edu-           she was alerted “to the seductive—      in U.S. public schools; this may be
cational journals such as NCTE’s          but potentially disastrous—tendency                         some,
                                                                                  compelling toDirectors:but it makes
Language Arts or English Journal          to assume that what I teach is what                    Makeba Jones
                                                                                  for sloppy and irresponsible argu-
or CATE’s California English. The         my children actually learn” (Brock,
                                                                                  ments. We Kim Douillard more ways
                                                                                                 need to find
position paper and the possibilities      2001). Reflecting back on my earlier
for publication take teaching beyond      teaching, this was me! Just because     to understand and expose this kind
the classroom and situate teachers        I assigned my students to read, did         UC San Diego
                                                                                  of argumentation. This is not to say
as active members of and contribu-        not mean they understood what they          SDAWP
                                                                                  that what Rose is doing is not valu-
tors to the larger educational com-       read. Yes, they may have read the           9500 Gilman Drive
                                                                                  able and responsibly developed--I
munity.                                   assigned readings, but could they           La Jolla, CA 92093-0036
                                          understand the subtle and nuanced       think it is; it is, however, to say that
                                                                                      (858) 534-2576
                                          arguments and rhetorical strategies     we need to broaden the kinds of
                                          the authors were using?                 responses made to such arguments.
                                                                                  how much it relies on anecdotal
 2                                                                                                   Dialogue, Fall 2008
included racist and sexist insults,    and reasonable argument, reason-          then asking them to discuss what
again reflecting our culture’s popu-   ing, and using appropriate evidence.      it is about, students are given a
lar discourse style.                   I hadn’t yet figured out a way to         text and asked particular questions
                                       help my students become thoughtful        to help them understand who the
In one of my classes that semester,    writers and participants in the con-      author is, what was going on at the
a student jumped out of his seat       versations that were taking place in      time the text was written historical-
and exclaimed, “I am so tired of       the academic world.                       ly and socially, and what motivated
all of these border bunnies jump-                                                the writer to write—which we call
ing across the border!” At that,       What changed? I started part-time at      context and/or “the rhetorical situ-
three Latina students jumped out of    SDSU as a lecturer in The Rhetoric        ation” (Bitzer, 1968). Students begin
their seats and one of them yelled     and Writing Studies Department            to learn that writing doesn’t just
back, “How would you like it if we     (DRWS). Yes, I was teaching at SDSU,      happen arbitrarily, but that writers
called you a ‘jungle bunny’ since      City College, and Southwestern like       write in a particular time in history
you are black?” I really thought at    many other community college writ-        and are prompted to write because
that moment that fists were going      ing instructors. At the time, Fall 1998   of something that is going on social-
to start flying! Luckily everyone      in DRWS, many changes were taking         ly, politically, and/or personally.
immediately calmed down as the         place in the curriculum and Student
first student left the classroom.      Learning Outcomes for each course.           My students
However, I felt horrible wondering     I started hearing terms used such as
what I had done wrong and what I       “rhetoric,” “rhetorical strategies,”       now had models
could do better. My students were      “rhetorical situation,” “argument/
engaged and some even passionate       claim, evidence, reasons, and war-        in their classes of
about their beliefs about immigra-
tion, which to me was great. But,
                                       rants,” “ethos, logos, and pathos.”
                                       As a comparative literatures major,
                                                                                  what they were
how could I teach them to articulate   these terms were foreign to me.
                                       Not only that, but they sounded
                                                                                   expected to do
their ideas within the context of an
academic classroom?                    mathematical and pretentious. I was          as academic
                                       intimidated. I couldn’t understand
    I hadn’t yet                       how looking at texts in this “rhetori-         writers.
                                       cal manner” would be interesting
    figured out                        to me let alone to my students. Talk      Students are also invited to look into
                                       about taking all of the passion out       a text in particular ways. After hav-
      a way to                         of reading and writing I thought. I       ing an understanding of the context
 help my students                      would find out that I was wrong.          of the text, we can look at the text’s
                                                                                 claim, sub-claims, the evidence, and
       become                          My department defines rhetoric as
                                       follows: “Rhetoric refers to the study,
                                                                                 reasons. I have found that breaking
                                                                                 down a text paragraph by para-
    thoughtful                         uses, and effects of written, spoken      graph, or groups of related para-
                                       and visual language.” But what does       graphs, helps students understand
   writers and                         this mean to me as a writing instruc-     what a text is doing in each section.
                                       tor? This is what I had to figure out.    By doing this “charting,” students
  participants in                      Using rhetoric, my teaching started       are able to see what rhetorical strat-
the conversations                      to be about what a text was doing
                                       in terms of rhetorical strategies, or
                                                                                 egies a writer is using. In many
                                                                                 ways, looking at one text closely
that were taking                       strategies a writer uses, instead of      to see how an author makes an
                                       just focusing on what a text is about.    argument was very similar to using
   place in the                        This took a willingness on my part        mentor texts. But rather than hav-
                                       to rethink my teaching practices. It      ing my students copy the author’s
academic world.                        also required many wonderful col-         language and style, I was show-
                                       leagues taking the time to answer         ing my students how other writers
Student writing suffered from the      my endless questions, showing me          create an effective argument. My
same sorts of problems. Even when      what they did in their classes and        students now had models in their
students were engaged with the         how they scaffolded their assign-         classes of what they were expected
topic and had something to say,        ments. I also attended in 2003 and        to do as academic writers.
their essays were mostly a series      2005 the summer Reading Institute
of prior opinions, often unfounded     for Academic Preparation (RIAP)           Late in my RWS 280 class, we had
and illogical and lacking any sort     hosted by SDSU. Both RIAP sum-            three readings on whether or not
of reference to the texts we had       mer institutes gave me invaluable         torture was ever justified. For me,
read. I was discouraged because        lessons on how to teach students          as well as my students, this was a
even though I was getting stu-         to read and write academic argu-          very important and emotional issue.
dents engaged and my students          ments.                                    One of my students, Kelly, was very
were developing their voices, I was                                              pro-torture, perhaps related to her
unable to teach them the skills and    So what does this look like in prac-      having a husband in the Marines in
tools they needed that would help      tical terms in my writing classes?        Iraq. I could see that this would be
them succeed within the context of     Well, instead of handing students         a touchy issue since I am very much
academic writing: making a valid       a text, asking them to read it, and       against torture. But here’s what

Dialogue, Fall 2008                                                                                                  3
happened. Instead of arguing our         the most part. Of course students         enemies, just like Johnson explains.
points back and forth and letting our    were able to give their opinions, but     Therefore, using torture would be
egos get in the way, we focused on       they were much more grounded in           counter productive and could have
the texts. As a writing instructor, I    the texts we had read, and articu-        devastating results."
want students to explore issues and      lated in a more thoughtful manner.
come to their own conclusions, so        Most surprisingly about this for me       Although Pilar’s writing at this point
by sticking to what a writer is doing    was to see how by focusing on what        may be “clunky,” trying to incor-
in a text, we had opportunities to       the text was doing, students under-       porate each author’s text we had
discuss torture that were safe. Even     stand much better what the text is        read to help formulate her opinion,
though students disagreed with           about in their discussions and in         she is able to express herself and
other students and me, we could          their essays                              keep herself grounded in the texts.
keep going back to the texts.                                                      However, her voice gets a bit lost.
                                         By focusing on what each writer
What did our discussion look like
then? We had three articles: 1)
                                         was saying and doing, students were
                                         able to write sophisticated essays
                                                                                      He is engaged
Naomi Klein’s “Torture’s Dirty           discussing the readings and articu-         and passionate
Secret: It Works” where she argues       lating their opinion on torture as
that torture is a bust for an interro-   well. For example, Joe, in one of our      about the topic,
gation tactic, but for social control,   class discussions said, “Even though
it works, unfortunately; 2) David        I agree with David Gelernter’s posi-       and he is able to
Gelernter’s “When Torture Is The
Only Option ...” which argues that in
                                         tion that torture should be used
                                         in extreme cases, I find that his
extreme cases in order to save lives,    evidence is weak. He relies on fear-         his ideas and
torture should be used; and 3) Larry     based emotional appeals rather than
                                         solid and factual evidence.” Another        stay grounded
      Students were                      student explained, “In Naomi
                                                                                       in the texts
                                         Klein’s Nation article, ‘Torture’s
      voicing their                      Dirty Secret: It Works,’ she begins
                                                                                      we had read.
                                         by telling the story of Maher Arar
         opinions by                     who was wrongly detained and tor-
     incorporating                       tured. Arar’s story, to me, is a very
                                         real example of what can go wrong
                                                                                   In Rorik’s essay, he actually argues
                                                                                   strongly against torture. His voice
        the texts we                     when we think it is okay to torture.”
                                         Students were voicing their opin-
                                                                                   is strong and clear, and, for the
                                                                                   most part, he stays grounded in the
    had read! More                       ions by incorporating the texts we        text. In his response he is arguing
                                         had read! More importantly, stu-          against Levin’s argument from “A
       importantly,                      dents were voicing their opinions         Case For Torture,” which was the
                                         in much more rhetorically sophisti-       final text given for students to read
      students were                      cated ways.                               and analyze on the spot for the prac-
      voicing their                      As for their writing, I discovered
                                                                                   tice final:

         opinions in                     that students began to think like         "I also disagree with his [Levin’s]
                                         writers. They began to understand         methodology, his idea that the end
        much more                        that they as writers make choices         justifies the means. This is a dan-
                                         in their writing as to what kind of       gerous thinking process that in his-
      rhetorically                       rhetorical strategies they can use to     tory too many people have used.
       sophisticated                     express themselves. Students still
                                         had their voice and passion, and
                                                                                   Stalin and Mao murdered and tor-
                                                                                   tured millions to create their utopi-
            ways.                        they were able to articulate their
                                         ideas in relation to the texts we had
                                                                                   an systems. How many people dose
                                                                                   [sic] Levin suggest we torture to
                                         read. For example, in a practice          save others? If we were to disregard
C. Johnson, ex-CIA officer’s, “... And   final, a timed-writing, Pilar writes      the rule of law, as he suggests, we
Why It Should Never Be One” who          how she feels about torture: "Like        would destroy everything that we
argues that torture never produces       Klein’s argument, I do not believe        represent [….] One must recognize
reliable information and that rela-      that implementing torture as a form       his [Levin’s] argument for what it is.
tionship building works much bet-        of punishment is correct. I also don’t    It makes us no better than a crimi-
ter. Our class discussions focused       believe in the use of torture func-       nal to treat them [terrorist suspects]
on identifying who the author is         tions as an interrogation tool since it   in the same capricious manner ter-
and why he/she is writing, what his      doesn’t guarantee a truthful answer.      rorists treat civilians."
or her main claim and sub-claims         Gelernter’s argument persuaded me
are, and whether or not they were        to believe that perhaps there are cer-    Rorik’s voice is strong and clear in
convincing. We also comparative-         tain situations in I which mild forms     this example. He is engaged and
ly evaluated the evidence of each        of torture, no physical or cruel pain,    passionate about the topic, and he is
author. The discussion is never          may be acceptable to save lives and       able to articulate his ideas and stay
about whether or not the students        prevent atrocities. Nonetheless, the      grounded in the texts we had read.
agree with the authors or me, for        use of torture will only create more      By looking at the texts as mentor

4                                                                                                    Dialogue, Fall 2008
texts (as well as texts that they would later have to
write about) with my class, we could see how each

one of the authors formulated his/her argument,
explain his or her reasons, and use evidence. My
students began to understand how other writers
write, and how they made choices as to which
rhetorical strategies to use. My students not only                  SDAWP Fellows
understood what each author’s text was about, but
they had “mentor texts” of how to express their
                                                                     Summer 2008
ideas and opinions. I now believe that I not only
empower my students to express their voice, I also
believe that I empower them to successfully par-
ticipate in academic conversations about important        Margit Boyesen                   Patricia 'PJ' Jeffery
issues. They need this to succeed at the university        Ada Harris Elementary               Hickman Elementary
level in the kinds of thinking and writing they are              Cardiff                        San Diego Unified
required to do.

     I now believe that                                     Janna Braun                        Sharon Larry
   I not only empower                                     San Diego Mesa College           Montgomery Middle School
                                                           SD Community College               San Diego Unified
 my students to express
their voice, I also believe
                                                          Callie Brimberry                     Anne Leggett
that I empower them to                                   MAAC Community School                 Madison Elementary
successfully participate                                  Sweetwater Union High                Cajon Valley Union

        in academic
  conversations about                                   Cheryl Converse-Rath                       Lisa Muñoz
                                                            Encanto Elementary                  Miramar College
     important issues.                                      San Diego Unified                 SD Comunity College

More importantly, my students are better prepared
to participate in the world around them. At the end       Shannon Falkner                          Dinah Smith
of the semester, Rorik came up to me after class          Coronado HIgh School                CPMA Middle School
with a big grin and told me “I can really look at
an essay and figure out what someone is trying to              Coronado                        San Diego Unified
say. I was never before able to pick out someone’s
argument and evidence. Now I do it all the time. It’s
really cool.” I couldn’t be happier!                          Lisa Harris                      Kelly Thomas
                                                         Olivenahin Pioneer School          MAAC Community School
Works Cited:
                                                              Encinitas Union                 Sweetwater Union
Bitzer, Lloyd. "The Rhetorical Situation."
Philosophy and Rhetoric. 1 (Jan 1968): 1-14.
                                                         Stephanie Hubner                    Lauren Wilensky
Brock, Cynthia. "Serving English Language
Learners: Placing Learners Learning Center                 Mar Vista High School              San Diego Met High
Stage." Language Arts 78:5 (2001): 467-75.                  Sweetwater Union                   San Diego Unified

Gelernter, David. "When Torture Is The Only
Option…" LA Times 11 Nov 2005.
                                                              Janet Ilko                      Marla Williams
Johnson, Larry C. "…And Why It Should Never Be             Cuyamaca Elementary              San Diego State University
One." LA Times 11 Nov 2005.                                 Cajon Valley Union                        CSU

Klein, Naomi. "Torture’s Dirty Secret: It Works."
The Nation 30 May 2005.
                                                                              Susan Yates
Levin, Michael. "A Case For Torture." (1982)                                 Bay Park Elementary                               San Diego Unified

Dialogue, Fall 2008                                                                                                      5
       SDAWP Log July 3, 2008
                                                                                     feel overwhelmed now, preparing to
                                                                                     face future traffic? I discover that this
                                                                                     website, new to me, made someone
        Amy Brothers—SDAWP                         2007                              very rich. I think again about my ca-
                                                                                     reer. I’ll never get rich as a teacher.
                                                                                     But wait. Today we agreed upon a
As I look over my notes of the day to     give some continuity to the begin-         basic belief that money cannot buy
write this log, I ask myself, “What is    ning of this day.                          happiness. We had a really rich day.
the purpose of a daily log? We were
all there, participating.”                Ted’s demonstration requires us            "There are no corners in
                                          to tap into some core beliefs, as he       this writing institute"
The dictionary states that logs are       shares ways he helps high school              —SDAWP Leader, Summer 2007
written to record performance or          seniors know themselves better in
progress. The performance was ac-         order to write more compelling per-
cording to schedule. Journaling,          sonal statements. Student writing          I hear this
sharing, demonstrations, food, writ-      shows improvement from the be-             from my seat
ing group discussion, reflection,          ginning to the end of this work. We        in the circle:
announcements. My log could be a          find unity around a basic belief, and       visually exposed,
terse list to show our work. But the      again demonstrate our diversity as
                                                                                     thoughts hidden.
progress—if we could quantify the         we share our own writing.
progress of our professional think-
ing during these days, it would be…       Trish shares her use of technology         I write in corners.
a very big number.                        and visual images to engage stu-           I'm a corner thinker.
                                          dents in curricular content. We hear       I speak out when
I am struck by the diversity of pro-      students’ poems connected to photos
                                                                                     I've gathered my thoughts.
fessional practice, and yet the grow-     and see the words made into mov-
ing feeling of unity in this group. We    ies. We see possibilities for helping      I don't cut corners;
teach at very different schools, from     all students build knowledge about a       I inhabit them . . .
elementary to university levels. Our      topic, using images, words, and mu-        habitually sit quiescent.
students are poor or rich, English        sic. We add to our knowledge, and
speaking or English newcomers,            write about the Trail of Tears.
struggling with literacy or not. We
                                                                                     Am I a mouse, quivering?
come from different places, diverse       Ted says, “I kept thinking, there’s        No. Timid has never been
experiences, and disparate ideas.         got to be a way to get more [of their      a part of my profession.
                                          stories], so I began using ‘This I Be-     I'm boldly quiet in my
The morning binds us together as          lieve.’” Trish says, “I saw the movies     corner of the world.
we listen to journals: Kendra, Su-        made without movie cameras, and
san, and some others formed some          said, ‘I could do that.’ Now that I know
sort of slippery bond yesterday after     what can be done, I know what ques-        Wait!
digging in messy trash, looking for       tions to ask.” Again we are unified         The world
Kendra’s wallet. I feel thankful for      in our common goal of sharing and          has no corners.
a group that sticks together. Linda       learning. Both Ted and Trish have          Its textured face
shares relief over projects finished.      picked up an idea—a radio program,
My stress level spikes as my mind         a computer program—and modified
                                                                                     forms varied habits
runs over my list… at some point I        it for use in their classrooms. Both       of mind and endeavor,
will feel relieved, too. Cara writes of   have connected us to new possibili-        which we trim
clearing the clutter from her mind,       ties for our own classrooms. We go to      into submission.
and I remember to breathe. Trish,         lunch with minds already full.             The innate curiosity
a technological explorer, shares
that the first time she surfed the net     During our writing response group,
                                                                                     of learners
was like being swept away by a tidal      we marvel at the value of sharing          is circumscribed;
wave, and I renew my appreciation         our words and getting feedback. We         an artificial geometry
of the willingness of this group to       respond to poetry, an abstract, and        subduing the natural
take professional risks. Allen shares     position papers. We begin in the text,     landscape of learning.
thoughts of riding public transporta-     work our way out to laughing and
tion, contrasting train culture with      telling stories, and then return to the
bus culture. I think of how teachers      text. Are all the groups such a won-       I am a quiet gatherer.
touch the world, both in and out of       derful mix of challenge and support?       Someday
the classroom. Iris shares a story        Although our writing voices are quite      I will gnaw through
close to her heart—her son’s mar-         diverse, our unity toward purposeful       the woven lines
riage—and I think of intersections,       shaping of words is inspiring.
crossroads, and wonder where we                                                      that
are headed after these few weeks          Reflection and announcements at the         tie learners down.
together. Linda shares her “caught        end of the day bring us back togeth-                             —Amy Brothers
poem” log. Our words, gathered            er. The clean-up begins. Traffic gets
from yesterday into a unified poem,        checked on… should we

6                                                                                                       Dialogue, Fall 2008
                                                                                  My watch said nine o'clock on the
               SDAWP: Writing Marathon                                           dot. The Spring Writing Marathon was
                      Balboa Park—Spring 2008                                    supposed to start and we had three
                                                                                 participants: Warren and me, the hosts,
                          ppppppp                                                and Warren's girlfriend, Iris, who was
                                                                                 obligated to be there.
          On May 3, 2008 SDAWP members convened with hosts Becky
      Gemmell and Warren Williams in Balboa Park to share writing time           I thought to myself, "What a big waste
   together. Writing Marathons, which were started by Richard Louth as part      of time. We'll just cancel and go
     of the Lousiana Writing Project's Summer Institute, are becoming part       home."
     of the Writing Project culture. We are currently looking for volunteers
     to host writing marathons for SDAWP. We thought it would be fun hold        But then I would've missed out on a
    them in differcent parts of the county so that we can have opportunities     beautiful day in Balboa Park. And to
           to explore areas that may not be familiar to all of us. Please        do what? To clean my house and run
     contact the SDAWP office if you are interested in hosting a marathon.        to the grocery store?

                                                                                 If no one had showed, would I have
                                                                                 stayed there to wander around and
                                                     Butterfly Garden             write on my own? Probably not. So
                                                       Balboa Park               even though our group was small (we
                                                                                 expanded to seven by 9:20), it gave
                                                    Wrapped in a garden          me a sense of purpose and of safety to
                                               of stone and trees and flowers     explore, to write, and to take a break
                                                   hummingbirds whiz by          from the daily drudgery.

                                                 Still on the stone bench        We all need to take a break from the
                                             bird songs drift in on the breeze   daily grind and make time to write.
                                                    butterflies float by           Otherwise, are we really practicing
                Writing                                                          what we preach?
                                                  Monarchs mostly now                                   —Becky Gemmell
I almost didn't come today,
                                            foreshadowing Kings and Queens                                 SDAWP 2001
Not because Balboa Park is faraway
                                                 of summer Shakespeare
(because I love Balboa Park)

But because life is so hurried,                      Sun filters down,
I worried                                       I'm carried off in a dream,
this was just one more thing.                   wrapped in butterfly wings.

However come I did                                              —Nancy Rogers
and I got to know Iris and Warren,                               SDAWP 1994
and remember that writing is not painful
but a necessary cerebral cleansing and

now I am washed.

—Heidi Paul
SDAWP 1998

Dialogue, Fall 2008                                                                                                     7
     S                                                          The Other World
     U                                                                (a class poem,

                                                                    YWC grades 7 and 8)

     M                                                     My foot sinks into the beige-colored sand

     E                                                     Callused feet assault from day to day

     R          riters’                                    I could taste the salty air and
                                                                   hear the rhythmic sound of

                                                                   the crashing waves
       2                                                   In the burning stand, a crab sits

       0                                                           ready to attack
                                                           Diving down, grabbing grainy
       0                                                           handfuls of sand, and
       7                                                           feeling it trickle through
                                                                   your fingers
                                                           Silver flash of fish in the water
                        Keep Guard
                     by Paloma Acosta, Grade 12            Sunset stretching in an
                                                                   endless line
     He guards his precious collection,                            across the horizon
     even from the soft, delicate rays of sunlight.
                                                           A new world starts
     He can't possibly understand that his myriad
     of knick-knacks and strange assortments                       beneath
     are considered trash flavored trash by the skeptical           beyond
     eye, devoid of imagination.                                   below
     To him, he protects priceless treasures.
                                                                   the ocean's surface
     But to the rest of the world, he keeps guard over

         Ode to Horses!
      by Eugenia Tzeng, Grade 4

    When I wake up
    first thing in the morning
    I look
    out the window
    Oh! My!
    You are a beautiful horse!
    Looking right in my eye!
    It must be a dream
    Of a horse with eyes
    that blink perfectly
    and a bumpy back.
    Oh, what a beautiful,
    perfect, amazing
8                                                                                   Dialogue, Fall 2008
                                                                           A million metal bugs,
                                                                           hustling under a
                                                                           rustling, polluted breeze.
                                                                           It's 8:14 and they're already
                                                                           paranoid and rushing
                                                                           on their concrete sea,
                                                                           to get where they need to be.
                                                                           Fumbling between 91.4 and 101.3
                                                                           and their morning routines,
                                                                           never noticing the miracles in
                                                                           the sky of God's jeans.
                                                                           A washed out denim dream,
                                                                           the color of Omi's eyes,
                                                                           ripped and leaking golden ink
                                                                           onto a strawberry field,
                                                                           a quilt of green and singing trees,
                                                                           onto an infected society that
                                                                           injects and rejects
                                                                           and collects
                                                                           everything with their machines.

                                                                            by Camilla Elizabeth Aguirre Aguilar,
                                                                                                        Grade 11

                                          Rainbow Revelations
                                         by Cinnamon Roy, Class of 2007

                    Red is a fire truck cling clanging its way to a house engulfed in flames.
                          Orange is a racer back worn-out shirt dripping with sweat.
                  Yellow is a water polo ball soaring past the goalies fingertips into the net.
             Green is an evergreen forest slowing fading while gasoline seeps between its roots.
                     Blue is a crashing wave whose foamy fingers carry surfers to shore.
           Indigo is a starry starry night in which galaxies swirl and stars meander across the sky.
                  Violet is a morning glory proclaiming its beauty to other garden flowers.

                                         What is a Poem?
                                         by Charlie Mann, Grade 5

Dialogue, Fall 2008                                                                                             9
 Let's Walk                                                                         Aha. A teacher can best mine writ-
                                                                                    ing from students by writing him-
                                                                                    self. I can create an environment
 the Walk                                                                           where students write by writing,
                                                                                    too. I already write daily. But if I
                                                                                    write daily with my students, mod-
 Ted Hernandez,                                                                     eling behavior and craft, they might
                                                                                    begin to think like writers and work,
 SDAWP 2007                                                                         as Graves states, “in a state of con-
                                                                                    stant composition.” And if I take a
Remember the saying, “Those that          cator, he is constantly growing and
                                          cator                                     further step, working toward pub-
can, do. Those that can’t, teach?”        ex
                                          expanding his knowledge.                  lication and public exposure of my
A small cadre of educators at my                                                    work and voice, my students might
school, constructing a Visual and         I write daily. But I seldom share         see the validity of their efforts and
Performing Arts Academy, one of           my work with my students. At this         their writing becomes authentic. I
our site’s small learning commu-          summer’s San Diego Area Writing           will be walking the walk, and my
nities, are out to prove it wrong.        Project (SDAWP) invitational,             classroom becomes a garden of
They do not see teaching as discon-       Rebecca Gemmell told a similar            voices.
nected from the activity we teach.        story. She then demonstrated how
They are writers, painters, teach-        she began to write with her students      This premise is not bound to writ-
ers. They write. They paint. They         in her English classes, creating a        ing teachers. We are historians. We
teach. They believe if we’re going to     strong writing community, and how         are scientists and mathematicians.
talk the talk—that is, persuade our       their writing improved dramati-           We are travelers. We are students.
students that our subject is valid        cally. Kim Douillard demonstrated         It doesn’t matter what we teach
and essential—we should walk the
walk. In other words, we need to
be prepared to do what we ask our                  We are historians. We are scientists
students to do.                           and mathematicians. We are travelers. We are students.
Too many teachers, I am included,                   It doesn’t matter what we teach
are inauthentic in our approach.                     or what grade level we teach.
I teach English and my students,
seniors in high school, create web
pages, construct power points and         how she journals and reflects with        or what grade level we teach. If
make presentations, read their            her elementary school students,           we ask our students to perform a
poetry aloud and in public, and           also building a strong community          task, we must be prepared to do
write in pressure situations. I do        of writers. Last year, when she           the same. We must be prepared to
none of these. I did some, once, as a     moved away from that process, her         expose ourselves, just as we ask our
journalist, and that experience is an     students’ writing suffered. She will      students to expose themselves. By
invaluable aid for me as a writing        write with her students again this        doing this, we are not only model-
instructor. I refer to that experience    fall. They are walking the walk.          ing professional behavior, we are
with my students, but it’s not the                                                  growing professionally and person-
same. I need to do more. I should         It is not like the saying, “Those         ally. Let our students know we are
participate in what I’ve asked them       who can (write), do. Those who            walking the walk. They will only be
to do; it not only models, but it         can’t (write), teach.”         It has     the better for it.
builds community and gives assign-        become, “Those who teach writing
ments authenticity.                       must write.” In their book Inside         References:
                                          the National Writing Project, Ann
Art teachers do this all the time. I      Lieberman and Diane Wood state,           Lieberman, Ann and Diane R.
watch in amazement as Ron Moya,           “Thus, writers are the best teach-        Wood. (2003). Inside the National
a painter and one of my colleagues,       ers of writing simply because they        Writing Project.New York: Teachers
moves about our campus and the            are involved in the practice of writ-     College Press.
community surrounding our site.           ing.” They go on to quote a Writing
Wherever you see him, he has his          Project teaching consultant, “Well,       National Writing Project and Carl
notebook. He’s writing or drawing.        I think number one is that if I’m         Nagin. (2006). Because Writing
He’s visiting galleries. He’s begun to    a teacher of writing I have to be a       Matters: Improving Student Writing
show his work again. (He’s not just       writer.” In the book Because Writing      in Our Schools. San Francisco:
referring to when he used to show.)       Matters, researcher Donald Graves         Jossey-Bass.
He teaches his students to observe        says, “If kids don’t write more than
the world as artists and to constant-     three times a week, they’re dead,         Gemmell, Rebecca. (2007). No
ly think about composition. When          and it’s very hard to become a writ-      More Boring Lit. Analysis Papers!:
it clicks for them, he says, “Now         er. If you provide frequent occa-         Encouraging VOICE in Student
you’re thinking like an artist.” In his   sions for writing, then the students      Writing. San Diego Area Writing
life at school and in the community,      start to think about writing when         Project.
he models this skill. He walks the        they’re not doing it. I call it a state
walk. More importantly, as an edu-        of constant composition.”

10                                                                                                   Dialogue, Fall 2008
                 Rethinking Native
  m                    Language Use
                in Our Classroom
                                                                                        Shannon Meridith
                                                                                                   SDAWP 2007

“When they use their native lan-          He already knows how to negoti-          to compare within the “comprehen-
guage in the classroom it becomes         ate the many functions of language       sion,” “analysis,” and “evaluation”
a crutch.”                                within a different culture, and he       levels of thinking.
                                          brings that knowledge to the class-
How many times have those of us           room table when he begins to learn       Any objections to a linguistically
who work with English learners, or        English, if we choose to let him.        experienced and flexible student
for that matter, those who follow the                                              with high level thinking skills?
English-only political debate in our      So why should we, his teach-
country, heard this tired compari-        ers, make this choice? By pro-           In addition, the ability to compare
son? What’s so bad about a crutch,        moting native language use at the        and contrast two languages gives
anyway? Is it that we automatically       same time that a student acquires        a bilingual person a higher level of
associate the word “crutch” with          English, we allow for significant        what Ben-Zeev (as cited in Baker,
the word “injury”?                        cognitive achievement. Drawing on        1996, p. 136) refers to as “commu-
                                                                                   nicative sensitivity.” Baker explains
     I’d like to suggest that under no circumstances                               “communicative sensitivity” as a
                                                                                   heightened awareness of when to
           is a student’s native language harmful

                                                                                   use which language:

                to his learning, nor is his lack                                   ‘They need constantly to monitor
               of English proficiency a deficit.                                   what is the appropriate language
                                                                                   in which to respond or when ini-
                                                                                   tiating a conversation (e.g. on the
Let’s consider the crutch by itself.      the research of Jim Cummins (as          telephone, in a shop, speaking to
Doesn’t it give someone with a leg        cited in Baker, 1996, p. 139), Baker     a superior). Not only do bilinguals
or foot injury time to heal? Doesn’t      summarizes three ways to explain         often attempt to avoid ‘interference’
it provide her with continued mobil-      how bilingualism and cognitive           between their two languages, they
ity despite her injury? If so, why        advantages seem related. “The first      also have to pick up on clues and
does the metaphor seem to demon-          explanation is that bilinguals may       cues when to switch languages.
ize crutches along with native lan-       have a wider and more varied range       The literature suggests that this
guages? A crutch is an invaluable         of experiences than monolinguals         may give a bilingual increased sen-
source of strength, as is one’s native

language. The use of both is to
provide time, balance, safety, and                ...teachers must stop thinking of a
healthier progress in the long run.
To remove native language leaves
                                                student’s native language as a “crutch”
the learner vulnerable at best, and
in the worst situations—without a
                                               —something temporary and throw-away,
voice.                                           needed only by an “injured” person.
Both crutches and native languages
are shortchanged in this metaphor,        due to their operating in two lan-       sitivity to the social nature and com-
spoken so often in irritation, impa-      guages and probably two or more          municative functions of language’
tience, or intolerance. More impor-       cultures” (Baker, 1996). Second,         (Baker, 1996).
tantly, we don’t consider the harm        he explains a switching mecha-
done when equating an English             nism. “Because bilingual children        To allow for these positive out-
learner with one who is injured.          switch between their two languag-        comes, teachers must stop thinking
I’d like to suggest that under no         es, they may be more flexible in         of a student’s native language as
circumstances is a student’s native       their thinking” (Baker, 1996). The       a “crutch”—something temporary
language harmful to his learning,         third advantage, he claims, is that “a   and throw-away, needed only by an
nor is his lack of English proficiency    bilingual may consciously and sub-       “injured” person. Evidently, a stu-
a deficit. In fact, he’s an entire lan-   consciously compare and contrast         dent on his way to bilingualism is
guage ahead of those of us who are        their two languages” (Baker, 1996).      in better “linguistic health” than his
“highly educated” but monolingual.        Bloom’s taxonomy places the ability      monolingual counterparts!
Dialogue, Fall 2008                                                                                                   11
Despite my awareness of the poten-       in English, a neighbor’s quick trans-     when we’ve accustomed ourselves
tial advantages of bilingualism, I       lation is an efficient way for all stu-   to calling all of the shots, to mak-
used to be part of the “crutch” camp     dents to gain the same background         ing the most important decisions for
of thinking. I could justify why         knowledge and be able to move             them.
students should have marginal use        forward collectively.
of their native language in content                                                Since the perceived threat of native
areas other than English, since the      Though moving ahead with the              language use often originates from
content is more the focus than the       same knowledge base might seem            our own fears, not from any substan-
language. But in English class I         a desirable situation in our class-       tiated concern that it will impede the
believed that since the content was      rooms, there is one major obstacle        content being studied, it is critical
the language, English should be          in the way: our own anxieties. We         that we learn to accept our own dis-
used at all times by everyone. That      might worry that when we let stu-         comfort. Stephanie Jones, in study-
puts everyone on an equal footing,
I reasoned.
                                             Though moving ahead with the same
In reality, the English language is
only “the content” of the English
                                        knowledge base might seem a desirable situation

class in the broadest sense. There
are many sub-contents happening
                                             in our classrooms, there is one major
within that subject area. Let’s sup-        obstacle in the way: our own anxieties..
pose that we’re discussing literary
terms like metaphor and imagery.
While an English Learner might           dents use their native languages,         ing the alternative language prac-
struggle to articulate the purpose of    we’ll no longer be able to con-           tices of young girls in a high-poverty
such devices in English, she could       trol them. We are warned in our           U.S. neighborhood, asserts that, “far
certainly learn what they mean in        teaching credential programs and          from a harmonious, predictable, and
her language if we allow for a           by our administrations that without       shared vision that the idealized con-
quick translation. Won’t that get        classroom control, all may be lost.       cept of classroom ‘community’ might
her on an equal footing with her         How can we be expected to control         evoke, classrooms that open spaces
classmates much more efficient-          students when we can’t even under-        where students’ multiple ways with
ly? Won’t it be easier for her now       stand what they’re saying? What if        words are centered and engaged
to learn the English words, since        the animated Korean conversation          in meaningful, productive learning
the concepts are already in her          is really about the overhead mark-        are often sites of conflict” (Jones,
head? Additionally, the classmate        er stain on Mrs. Merideth’s face          2006). We often equate “peaceful-
who translated or explained the          instead of the theme of the book we       ness” in our classrooms with “quiet.”
words to her has just reinforced         just read?                                Learning, however, means active—
his own knowledge of the vocabu-                                                   and at times loud and confronta-
                                                                                   tional—meaning-making. It is natu-
                                                                                   ral for conflict to exist as students

        Everyone benefited from the exchange,
        E                                                                          struggle not only with language
                                                                                   meanings, but with their beliefs and
           even the teacher, who can proceed                                       identities and those of others. This
        with the lesson knowing that metaphor                                      conflict, as Jones suggests, might
                                                                                   very well be productive and even
     and imagery were introduced and understood.                                   necessary.

                                                                                   The strongest conflict of all, though,
lary. Everyone benefited from the        I’ve come to realize that whether         may be within ourselves—the recog-
exchange, even the teacher, who          or not I allow this dynamic in my         nition and acceptance of our discom-
can proceed with the lesson know-        classroom is more about my own            fort in allowing students the free-
ing that metaphor and imagery            level of comfort, or discomfort, than     dom to use their native languages.
were introduced and understood.          about wildly subversive students          In addition we risk conflict with our
                                         scheming in their native language         colleagues when advocating for this
Most of us have studied a new            while I look on helplessly. Middle        practice. We then need to articulate
language at some point in our aca-       schoolers are seldom subtle, and          why the crutch metaphor is so faulty,
demic history, so we might recall        body language says a whole lot. I         for surely they will summon it to their
that the only—though significant—        have had to learn to live with not        defense. Not only does the metaphor
barrier to communication was our         always controlling the conversation,      misconstrue the true intention of the
lack of words, not an inability to       and at the same time I trust my           crutch as well as the condition of the
think or reason. We had only to ask      instincts about what students seem        language learner, but it wrongly sug-
our friend, or a teacher, or consult     to be discussing. This, of course,        gests that the metaphorical “it”—the
a dictionary, to arrive at where we      means sharing some of the control         native language—should eventually
needed to be, at least temporarily.      with the students, and letting them       be replaced or put away. First lan-
The same is true for my students.        be responsible for their own use of       guage use should be able to support
When my lesson grinds to a halt          native language in their learning.        the acquisition of both English and
due to a few misunderstood words         It’s pretty intimidating, especially      content area subject matter as long
12                                                                                                    Dialogue, Fall 2008
as needed, and thereby become a           When I returned home I was a much
partner language of power and sup-        stronger and more confident speak-
port. It is the foundation of English
learning because it’s the backbone
                                          er of Spanish because I’d used all of
                                          the tools at my disposal, especially         SDAWP
of an English learner’s thinking. It      my first language, to move me for-
is one of the most powerful tools—if      ward. Why would I deny the same              NOTES
not the most powerful—in the acqui-       opportunity to my students?
sition of subsequent languages.                                                    Congratulations
                                          And unlike me, most of our stu-
                                                                                   Laurel Corona (SDAWP ’77) has
Shall we then consider a student’s        dents have not made the choice
native language a tool rather than a      to live here, a country that is for-     published a book (St. Martin’s
crutch? After all, we love the tools      eign to them, but rather are here        Press) entitled Until Our Last
of our trade, don’t we? Teachers          by circumstances outside of their        Breath: A Holocaust Story of
may disagree on methodology, but          control. Many may be here for the
                                                                                   Love and Partisan Resistance.
most of us are passionate about our       remainder of their lives, which gives
content area, and will do almost          them an added incentive to learn the     Check out her website at www.
anything to help students learn that      language of power in our country— for more infor-
content. We’ll set chemicals on fire      English. Using their native lan-         mation about this book and her
in our science labs, recite poetry on     guage throughout this process ini-       forthcoming novel set in Venice in
tabletops, play a version of class-       tially provides them with balance,
                                                                                   Vivaldi’s time.
room baseball to review before a          with a feeling of security, of knowing
test, and toss out Jolly Ranchers         something in a setting of too many
as students volunteer their correct       unknowns.       According to Jones       Kudos
answers. We use all of the tools          (2006), “their being positioned as       Christine Sphar has co-authored
at our disposal: dictionaries and         knowers within a space where they
                                                                                   two books published by Math
thesauruses, calculators and graph        are routinely positioned as lacking
paper, microscopes and beakers, to        in knowledge opens up the possibil-      Solutions: Supporting English
make learning more effective and          ity that they may want to learn mul-     Language Learners in Math Class
explicit. In fact, we are our own         tiple ways of speaking about topics      K-2 and Supporting English Lan-
most powerful tool. Would we deny         of interest.” So their native language   guage Learners in Math
students our own knowledge and            not only helps them learn what they
ability to explain a concept if we        need to know about their new lan-        Class 3-5. The books provide
saw it was needed? If not, then why       guage and country, but it actually       specific strategies teachers can
would we preclude the use of native       keeps them motivated to do so.           use to help English learners suc-
language as a tool to move students                                                ceed in math class. The lessons
forward in their learning?                When we honor that language, and
                                                                                   guide teachers in developing stu-
                                          the culture in which it’s embedded,
There is no such thing as true immer-     we show students that we welcome         dents’ proficiency in English while
sion in the target language, for that     and accept them as they are. We          also developing their mathemati-
would mean the elimination of our         send the message that English is not     cal understanding. In addition,
thinking and feeling lives, which         intended to make them over into a
                                                                                   teachers will learn how to modify
naturally and automatically happen        new person, but give them a tool
in our native tongue. Never, when         to successfully negotiate the aca-       existing math lessons to support
living abroad, was I forced to exist      demic and professional demands of        students with varying degrees of
in only the language of the host          their new world. By valuing where        English language proficiency.
country. There were many times            they come from and the experi-           The books are available for
when I was required to speak and          ence and knowledge that they bring,
                                                                                   preview and purchase at
hear the language of the country,         we build a trusting relationship in
but my knowledge of words and             which they’re more likely to follow
language use in general, from years       us to new places of learning and
of speaking my first language, eased      risk-taking. We also increase the        Birth Announcements
this process. I don’t mean that I was     probability that our students will
                                                                                   Jennifer Pust (SDAWP ’03) and
constantly translating from one lan-      continue to feel pride and respect
guage to the other when speaking          for themselves, their home languag-      husband Michael welcomed a
and listening. In most communica-         es and cultures, and in turn be able     baby boy, Noah Michael, on
tions, though, aside from the briefest    to extend that respect to the vastly     April 21, 2008. Jennifer has relo-
bits of small talk, there was uncer-      diverse citizens who make up this        cated to Los Angeles and teaches
tainty for me to negotiate, and that      country. Baker affirms that “those
is when everything I know about my        who speak more than one language         at Santa Monica High School.
first language bridged communica-         and own more than one culture
tion to the second. In order to make      are more sensitive and sympathetic,      Sarah (Curry) Ogus (SDAWP
an instant decision about how to          more likely to build bridges than        '03) gave birth to Elizabeth Eden
participate appropriately in an act of    barricades and boundaries.” (Baker,
                                                                                   Ogus on May 29th 2008. Con-
communication, I had to draw on my        1996)    This bridge-building origi-
first language knowledge of context       nates in our classrooms, where we        gratulations Sarah and family!
clues, cognates, voice inflection, etc.   allow and encourage the native lan-

Dialogue, Fall 2008                                                                                                     13
guage to be a bridge to English, and
perhaps more importantly, a way for
them to show who they are and what
they know.

Often referred to as our home lan-
guage, our native language is the
                                              c MUSE BOX
center of our identity. It is how we
express our deepest emotions and            “Books aren’t written—they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of
show our most intimate connections
to the world. Gonzalez (as cited in         the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t
Jones, 2006, p. 116) writes that “the       quite done it.”—Michael Crichton
interweaving of language ideologies
and emotion for children cannot             Since becoming a young adult novelist, I’ve struggled with both the inter-
be overemphasized. How language
                                            nal editor (the one that reminds me anything I write is not worth reading)
connects with formations of identity
and community for children is at            and the external editor (the literal woman in New York who line edits my
the crux of the language wars that          manuscript and nudges me to find things like the “emotional trajectory”
rage on.” When we remove—at any             of my characters). The bottom line is that published writing goes through
point in their education or lifetime        some sort of filter that either deepens or alters the intentions of the writer,
—peoples’ facility to use their native
                                            but in the end, strengthens the piece so it’s ready for its reader.
language, we literally rob them of
their ability to fully communicate
who they are, where they are from,          That said, find a piece of writing to which you are willing to commit
and what they feel and believe.             yourself. Either start fresh, or go back to a piece that’s been niggling at
                                            you. Read it aloud, without pen in hand. Next round, grab your pen,
It need not be a war, though not in
                                            mark all over it. Ask yourself questions about it. Save it and start it anew.
our classrooms. Yes, we might have
to engage in the battle, in the con-        Then read it aloud again until you’re ready to share it with someone.
versation, outside of our classrooms        Then share it and allow someone else to use the pen. The process can be
to justify why we allow the use of this     painful, but it is worth the outcome. If we don’t revise, we don’t have the
tool. But inside our classrooms we          pleasure of seeing a piece of writing reach its potential. Allow yourself to
can let the conversations continue,
                                            watch it grow and change and most importantly, don’t stop when you’re
live with our discomfort, and create
a safe—if at times overly animated,         ready to give up.
conflicted. and even off-task—envi-
ronment for our students to make
sense of their learning without giv-
ing up any part of who they are.                             NWP Announcements
We must lay aside the notion that
our students’ native languages are                     Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future
a short-term support, and recognize       For high school teachers and mentors who would like to capitalize on young people's
the rich and lasting permanence of          interest in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, Google and the National Writing
those languages in their lives. And        Project have teamed up to create Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future.
we must move beyond simply rec-       
ognizing those languages. We must
encourage their use, celebrate their                     Join the Conversation about Who is a Writer
beauty, and create new metaphors to       What do people write and read every day? What makes people feel they are writers,
understand them.                          or not? Through online video, audio, and print texts The National Conversation on
                                          Writing hopes to encourage a discussion on these questions. Members of the NWP
References                                       community are invited to join the conversation about who is a writer.
Baker, C. (1996). Foundations
of Bilingual Education and                          Start Planning for the Annual Meeting in San Antonio
Bilingualism. Clevedon:                       Make plans now to attend this year’s annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas,
Multilingual Matters Ltd.                  November 20-22. Online registration for workshops begins September 2. Check the
                                                         NWP website for regular updates and information.
Jones, S. (2006). Language with an          
attitude: White girls performing
class. Language Arts, 84 (2),                                  Writing Matters: What's Your Story?
114 – 124.                                Writing Matters offers online writing instruction for middle schools. It features genre
                                              studies, animations, lessons, publishing tools and professional development.
                                          TheWriting Matters portal is set up to provide teachers access to lessons plans, class-
                                           room visual and an online location to collect, evaluate and publish student work.

14                                                                                                            Dialogue, Fall 2008
                                         es and possibilities should we be
     English Journal                     exploring? Who is the assumed                    Call for
          NCTE                           audience for these standards, and
                                         how do the standards benefit or
                                         constrain teaching and learning in
        For the Fun of It!                                                                Winter 2009 Issue
                                         diverse settings? What are the ten-
   Deadline: November 15, 2008           sions between skills and knowl-                Submission Deadline:
                                         edge? How do these tensions serve               December 15, 2008
Do you remember what attracted           teachers’ and children’s agency in
you to the field of English? Was it      knowledge production? How do we
your escapist forays into other lands    respond to standards in education
                                                                                          From Fear to
through reading? Dreams of writ-         based on our political and ethi-                  Confidence
ing the next Great American Novel?       cal obligations to our students? We
Fascination with famous speakers         invite submissions addressing these        Although we may read aloud
who moved the world with their           questions and other issues related         and expose students to the inspir-
words? Whiling away the hours            to English language arts standards.        ing possibilities of the written
with a dog-eared comic book or pop       For submission guidelines visit:           word many of them, and per-
novel? Indulging your ego with your             haps many of us, grow up with
own angst-ridden poetry? Playing         write/108999.htm                           a real distaste for writing and
your favorite songs again and again
                                                                                    a lack of confidence about our
to hear and appreciate every word?
Creating a famous Web site? You're             Language Arts                        ability to write effectively and
                                                                                    correctly. We fear it more than
lucky. Now that you teach English,                 NCTE                             we love it.
you get to indulge these pleasures
                                                                                                         —Mem Fox,
with your students and call it work.
                                         In each issue, we will feature a final                       from her essay
Since people learn best through
                                         page called “In Closing . . . .” This is           Learning from Learning
play, there is an argument to be
made that all teaching and learning      a one-page format (750-word maxi-
                                         mum) that could take the form of a         In many ways, as teachers,
should be fun. What do you teach
that you and your students find          poem, essay, conversation, journal         we’re trying to undo fears,
to be a great deal of fun? Please,       entry, short story, or visual art with     insecurities (and unfortunate-
no Jeopardy!—style test reviews          caption. The focus is on the voices        ly, dislikes) our students have
or mnemonic devices for naming           of educators who have recognized a         about writing. What techniques
the parts of speech. For this issue,     shift in perspective, perception, or       or resources do you bring into
we seek enjoyable, creative assign-      practice—in their school, their dis-       the classroom that inspire your
ments that engage students in gen-       trict, or themselves. We hope that         students to write? How do you
uinely high-level learning in any        readers will look forward to this          imbue your students with a
area of English language arts. For       feature because it prompts them to         sense of confidence about writ-
submission guidelines visit: www.        remember and rethink. For submis-          ing? What are some books, sto-       sion guidelines visit:       ries, poems, essays that you
forauthors.htm#articles                  pubs/journals/la/write/109012.htm          find effective in catalyzing stu-
                                                                                    dent writing? What is your own
                                                                                    story about learning from your
      Language Arts                         Classroom Notes                         learning that has brought you
          NCTE                                 Plus NCTE                            closer to feeling an affinity for

        Locating Standards               Classroom Notes Plus, NCTE’s quar-
                                                                                    Dialogue would like to receive
    in Language Arts Education           terly newsletter of practical teach-
                                                                                    your work or the work of your
     Deadline: January 15, 2009          ing ideas for the middle and second-
                                                                                    students. Submit a story of
                                         ary school level, invites descriptions
                                                                                    student success, a strategy for
Many professional organizations          of teaching practices for consider-
                                                                                    implementation, or a personal
across content areas have estab-         ation. We ask that submissions be
                                                                                    essay on your teaching experi-
lished standards for teaching and        original and previously unpublished
learning (i.e., NCTE & IRA, NCTM,        and, in the case of an adapted idea,
NCSS), providing the framework for       that you clearly identify any sourc-
                                         es that deserve mention. Please be         Email all manuscript submis-
state and local curriculum develop-
                                         aware that any student work needs          sions, suggestions, letters to
ment. In this issue, we are interested
                                         to be accompanied by statements of         the editor and Project Notes to
in exploring the impact standards-
                                         consent by the student and his or her or
based education has on preK–8 lit-
                                         parents.For submission guidelines
eracy education. How do you relate
ideas, contents, and reflections with    visit:
standards? What curricular absenc-       journals/109277.htm
Dialogue, Fall 2008                                                                                                  15
     Calendar of Events                                                San Diego Area
                                                                       Writing Project
      Extended                         Writing Across                         Makeba Jones
    Conversations                      the Curriculum                          Kim Douillard
    About Writing                           Grades K-16          

        Grades 1-6                                                        Associate Directors:
                                           Workshop Series
                                                                             Karen Wroblewski
       Workshop Series                         SDAWP             
       SDAWP/SDCOE                     October 7, October 14,         Gilbert Mendez (Imperial Valley)
                                       October 21, November 4   
  October 21, November 18,
   January 13, February 17                 4:45 - 7:30 p.m.                Young Writers’
       4:00 - 7:00 p.m.                                                Programs Coordinators:
                                                                               Divona Roy
 For registration contact Karen         2008 Summer             
  Wagner at 858-292-3782                  Institute                         Christine Sphar
                                           Follow-up sessions
                                                                       NWP Technology Liaison:
      Promising                          September 27, 2008                    Jennifer Cost
       Practices                           1:00 - 4:00 p.m.        
                                                                              Christine Kané
   Fall Conference                        January 10, 2009
                                        8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
       October 15, 2008                                               Senior Program Associate:
     Marina Village Resort                                                   Carol Schrammel
                                            For more information       To contact the SDAWP office,
        San Diego, CA                   regarding SDAWP programs,          call (858) 534-2576
     8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.                   visit our website at       or email
    Contact Kristen Gall at                                                Visit our website at
                                          or call the SDAWP office
                                             at 858-534-2576.

San Diego Area Writing Project
                                                                                       Non-Profit Org.
University of California, San Diego                                                     U.S. Postage
9500 Gilman Drive, Dept. 0036                                                               PAID
La Jolla, CA 92093-0036                                                                San Diego, CA
                                                                                      Permit No. 1909
                                                                                        LA JOLLA, CA

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