Friday, October 19, 2012, was a busy day for those of us at ECU, particularly those involved with the Tar River Writing Project and the University Writing Program! Beginning at 8:30 am, school children from area elementary, middle, and high schools poured onto ECU’s campus for a day of writing and fun. By 3:00 pm, we had worked with nearly 600 K-12 students.
Morning sessions provided a rich diversity of writing activities for your writers, ranging from scene writing session led by experienced theatre professor Hector Garza and a Halloween-themed spooky writing session facilitated by Jenn Sisk and Randall Martoccia, to Cynthia Gibb’s popular Graffiti Wall project and two robust Digital Writing Studios: Steph West-Puckett worked with the recently-popular “Hot Cheetos & Takis” video to let writers explore their own favorite foods and create raps for them, while Rob Puckett used Google maps to let writers explore some of their favorite places and share those through tagging a shared map.
Afternoon sessions, geared primarily toward high school students, offered similar additional digital writing activities, as well as a writing marathon led by Chris Bethel, and a series of breakout sessions where high school students could meet and interact with published authors. Students met with Jackie Drake, a former reporter for the Greenville Reflector, to talk about news writing; they also chatted with sports writer Brandon Sneed and fiction writer Christy Hallberg.
The gallery of pictures below shows how much fun we had during the day, which also included a visit from Dr. Who and his psychic paper!
What really made this year’s NDOW stand out, however, was the day of Professional Development that the TRWP TCs provided for the teachers whose classes came to write. While the students were out writing and moving around campus, accompanied by substitute teachers and NDOW volunteers, their teachers spent their days working on complex texts, genre conventions, and exploring the intersections among those and Common Core State Standards. Led by Caitlyn Ryan, Kerri Flinchbaugh, Danielle Lewis, and Stephanie West-Puckett, the two 3-hour PD sessions saw some very engaged and energized middle and high school teachers.
Evaluations were also quite positive for the day. One teacher noted in an exit survey, “I can count on one hand how many really useful staff development opportunities I have attended that were actually worth my time during my 28 years in the profession. This is one of the top 5!” TRWP was glad to have had the chance to provide PD in support of local teachers.