Saturday, April 18, 2015

NPE: My Session

For those of you who are going to Chicago (cause your baby can take you), we'll have two opportunities to meet. One will be at the luncheon, where I have been promised a Watch What Happens style grilling by Jennifer "Edushyster" Berkshire.

On Sunday, in the last choose-your-own-session spot (known to seasoned conference attenders as the Skip It While You Finish Packing To Leave session) I'll be doing a presentation loosely entitled "Teach Writing Like a Writer and Not Like a Test Prep Content Delivery Specialist." I'll share just a bit of what we've learned about how to test prep for writing at my school, to set up what I've learned about teaching writing from a perspective of real actual writing and not just filling in the paper for a school assignment writing.

If people attend, I'm hoping we can do a little discussing and sharing, and in that spirit you're invited to send me questions of issues that are concerns of yours. I don't know All The Answers, but I know several of the questions. I'll talk both about some technical, mechanical tricks I know as well as some of the bigger thinky issues involved in making some brain adjustments in how students approach writing. The idea is not to turn every student into a professional paid author, but to get them to approach writing like an important part of human expression, and not a painful torture used only in a classroom. I am sure I don't know great secrets that nobody else knows, but my dream is that a bunch of us who are excited about writing can share and support and confirm each other.

I'm both excited and terrified about going to Chicago-- I feel like I'm taking my ukelele to go hang out with rock stars, but I'm on the other hand, I'll get to actually see some faces and hear some voices and meet the rock stars. If you're going, I'll warn you right up front that I am absolutely terrible with names and probably not as clever or snappy as I appear to be on the screen. But I am really looking forward to connecting with everyone from all over (and some of my oldest friends in the world live in Chicago, too). I will be the one with the slightly dazed expression right next to the woman who's way too good for him. If you are also dazed and feel out of your depth, find me and we'll start our own table in a corner.

(And if you're still thinking about going, here's some info...)


  1. I am very excited to get the chance to meet you (and your rock star wife), Peter!

  2. Welcome to my hometown - I'll be looking forward to meeting you (although I'm not sure I'll attend your writing session as I'm not actually a teacher, writing or otherwise). But don't worry, there are no rock stars here. Just one big town full of ukulele players (and a few drunk karaoke singers who take over the stage because they think they sound so good even though the crowd is booing them, but none of those types are likely to be at the conference). I'm scheduled for surgery three days before the conference, so I'll be the one on a vicodin IV drip with a somewhat more stupid than usual look on my face. But even if I have to attend lying flat on a gurney, I'll be there.