National Day on Writing 2011

Aug 26, 2012   //   by cbethel   //   National Day on Writing, Outreach, Outreach  //   //  Comments Off on National Day on Writing 2011

In Fall 2011, the Tar River Writing Project, the University Writing Program, and the English department at ECU joined with colleges, universities, schools, and communities all over the country in celebrating the third annual National Day on Writing (NDOW). Through the efforts of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), October 20 became a federally recognized day for celebrating writing in all its forms.

Two Pitt County Schools accepted our invitation to celebrate the National Day on Writing at ECU. Jennifer Anderson brought seventy-two fourth grade students and three teachers from W. H. Robinson Elementary to campus that Thursday morning, and Rob Puckett of J. H. Rose High brought over 90 high school students and 6 teachers that afternoon.

Director and TRWP member Stephanie West-Puckett transformed the First-Year Writing Studio into a one-day Digital Studio to offer our visitors a place to explore four online writing tools:  Storify, Xtranormal, VoiceThread, and Wordle. English graduate assistants, who normally help our first-year students negotiate the complexities of the writing process, demonstrated their flexibility by helping students negotiate these new technologies. The Digital Studio provided a space for elementary and high school students to compose fun and original works, engage in thoughtful discussion about copyright, and celebrate their creativity.

Thanks to Dean of Academic Library and Learning Resources Larry Boyer and Assistant Director of Public Services Mark Sanders, we were able to host multiple events in Joyner Library. In the morning, volunteers Sam Settimio and Jewell Williams introduced young writers to Beedle the Bard, as Will Banks performed a selection from J. K. Rowling’s Tales of Beedle the Bard for several groups. Following the reading, students participated in a writing marathon during which they wrote their own tales.

In the afternoon, high school students were captivated by Rick Taylor’s readings of an excerpt from The Princess Bride. They were so inspired that one group requested more time to write at the cupola before moving into the Digital Studio. English faculty member Randall Martoccia contributed Halloween-themed prompts designed for students in both age groups. In another session, we introduced the high school students to two professional writers, who are also graduate students in the English department. Brandon Sneed, a sports writer, and Amber Carpenter, a political poet, volunteered their afternoon to engage in a fruitful dialogue with our visitors about what it means to be a professional writer.

We also established two student writing exhibits in Joyner:  a gallery sampling in the study area beside the circulation desk and a full gallery in one of the library conference rooms. Assistant Director of the University Writing Program Kerri Flinchbaugh curated the National Day on Writing Gallery with help from volunteers Jenn Sisk and undergraduate student Jaden Little. Works on display included several issues of The Rebel and Expressions, two of ECU’s publications that showcase student writing, as well as academic, professional, and personal writing samples from the graduate students working in the First-Year Writing Studio. Joanne Dunn brought her first-year composition students to view the gallery, and they enjoyed reading student work and contributing short videos to the National Writing Project’s “Why I Write” campaign.

While students enjoyed all of these activities, the favorite activity of the morning was the graffiti wall they built at the station led by Cyndi Gibbs, an art instructor from Coastal Carolina Community College. Three graduate students – Therese Pennell, Michael Brantley, and James Cardin – volunteered more than half of their work day to make this potentially messy station a success. Students enjoyed learning about using symbolism to express themselves, collaborating to create a unified collaborative work of art through writing, and playing.

In light of the successes, we’re starting early with grand plans for next year. We would like to expand the celebration to include lunch for students so that we can bring them to campus for the entire day, which will provide more time for them at each station and a greater variety of writing activities to engage in. We also want to spread the celebration campus wide and include more events for on-campus and distance education students. Click here for the latest news on the NDOW 2012 celebration.

Please help us celebrate by donating time, resources, or some of your own writing to make ECU’s Second Annual NDOW celebration a success!

To volunteer your time:  For NDOW 2012, complete the volunteer registration form. To volunteer for other activities, send a message through the Contact Us page. Include the event and times for which you are interested in volunteering.

We are in the process of rebuilding the Tar River Writing Project Virtual Gallery.

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