Thursday, October 12, 2017

I Needed To Drive, To See Leaves, So I Traveled to UMASS-Amherst Rather than SKYPE. Thankful

The dossier process, folding into fall semester, has had me locked at desks, on my writing chair, in my house, within my office, and nose to the screen. I was invited to present to doctoral students at UMASS-Amherst on youth work with Young Adult Literacy Labs, Ubuntu Academy, Writing Activity Genre Research, and the NWP Teacher Institute and rather than do the presentation from Connecticut, I woke up and decided, "Drive, Crandall. Just go."

I texted Alisha who is a doctoral student and said, "I've decided to do this in person. I need to get away from Fairfield County for the day.

And I did. I saw a new campus, recognized the importance of knowing other places and what they have to offer students and faculty, and met wonderful people. I was also thankful to put my head around four years of summer work and all the data we collected. Much of what we do to make sense of the phenomena around us is to create charts and graphs to help us tell the story. Speaking with the doctoral students put a firecracker under the project and helped me to get on top of the numbers (which started with the dossier, too). As I said during the presentation, "I'm an odd researcher, because I like to take what I know to create phenomena rather than to take time to study phenomena that has already been reported - that is, the writing instruction that isn't happening in U.S. schools."

Of course, I know I do this so I can help teachers trapped by tests and curriculum mandates to at least see glimmers of life in the work they do (that sometimes a shining moment motif).

My colleague, Ryan Colwell, teacher leaders from CWP-Fairfield, and I will be presenting during NCTE and Ryan and I have our eyes on LRA 2018. Yesterday was a great first step to put our data into action and to help clarify what it is we are actually seeing with the work.

Yet, what I'm taking away the most - the leaves. The hills in Massachusetts at this time of year are absolutely gorgeous. It was stunning to see, and I definitely was in need of seeing something new.

No comments:

Post a Comment