“Show, don’t tell.” With these words, Gretchen Bernabei declares war on 23 years of memories that involved a poster. Who doesn’t remember this poster on their classroom walls, a hypocritical poster that does exactly what it counsels students not to do–TELL. Full of insight and wisdom, Gretchen engaged a packed room of educators. Thanks for an awesome day, Gretchen!
|Gretchen had forgotten her video cam stand, so she used black electrical tape to good effect!|
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to study at the feet of the great and wise, Gretchen Bernabei, one of the most dynamic, engaging facilitators of writing instruction I’ve ever met. As a veteran writer who has settled into his own creative grooves–not a good thing–it was exhilarating to have the opportunity to learn from Gretchen.
Not only that, but participants received Gretchen’s book, “Fun-Size Academic Writing for Serious Learning,” (Publisher: Corwin Literacy). Absolutely thrilling book.
A few reflections:
1) A master at recognizing the underlying structure of writing
Gretchen’s efforts at making writing more were absolutely wonderful. I found myself in awe of her ability to see through to the underlying structure, and encourage students to look back at their own writing, identify the structure they’ve created, and then write it down as a series of boxes.
Other neat outlines include the 11-minute essay, the kernel essay she’s made famous, pitchforking, and more.
She cites James Moffett as inspiration for this idea of tapping into students’ thought processes and getting at the internal dialogue, a technique I will have to apply to my own high school writer:
“We need to be tapping into students’ thought processes and the internal dialogue they are having in their heads.”
Another activity was the Gritty Life Quick List….
She also shares the kernel essay:
The kernel essay concept is great and is later applied to chunking student writing, helping students identify the structure of a written piece that will score a “4” in the STAAR assessment.
Another neat point was that if your piece of writing has these colors–which represent different approaches–then your students’ writing will do well on STAAR.
2) “The advent of technology,” says Gretchen, “has changd my mind about sharing writing…the urge to share writing isn’t the dessert…it’s the motor that runs this train.”
What an absolutely profound statement. This was a great remark to make to a roomful of teachers, many of whom are still stuck in the paper-n-pencil era.
3) Helpful web sites where you can find everything:
There were a few others but I regret I didn’t get them all.
Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com