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June 16, 2009 Coalfield Writer's Summer Institute
No rain is in sight this morning, a rare treat for the participants for the Coalfield Writers in Logan, WV. We begin our day by freewriting with a suggestion from Donald M. Murray. Our prompt suggested that we use our five senses to describe a person or place. Responses were lively and diverse. However, more creative writing would be seen during our first teaching demonstration.
Karen Dillon set a wonderful example for those of us who are new to NWP. Her lesson focused on diaries. To set the stage she used a wonderfully funny book ,"Diary of a Fly". We began by webbing what we knew about flies. After sharing, she then took us through a picture walk of the book. After reading the book, we were challenged to develop a diary of our own. Hands were flying to be first to share diaries. We described lost keys, our cars, daffodils, and pencils just to name a few. These objects sound mondane, but the diaries were hilarious. Since Karen is a pro at all of this, when the lesson was complete, she showed us her bibliography of sources. As a new student of NWP, I can say seeing this lesson has calmed me considerably towards demonstration presentation.
My stress about demonstration only dropped about five more levels as we worked through the afternoon. Tracy asked us to enter the mindframe of "An American Inventor", a television show apparently only ever viewed by Tracy and Karen. However, we understood our task. We were asked to create a short sales pitch for our demo and present it to our peers. Then using post-its, we all gave feedback to each person. This activity helped greatly in two ways. First, it let all the newcomers know we are not alone. We are all striving to use writing in fresh and creative ways in our teaching. Second, the feedback helps point us in new directions we would not have thought of on our own.
I must say this has been my best day so far. I am headed home without a headache from worrying about my teaching demonstration. Thank you Coalfield Writers!