Friday, June 29, 2012

Those eyes

I went to Weld to turn on the hot water at camp and get a few things done for the onslaught of summer visitors. Then, I visited Pete St. John in Weld who just adopted their 5th Newfie, a puppy named Oliver who will brother-up with 8-year-old Pope. Margo and Pete have a great deal of property on the Wilton Road in Weld that winds through the woods and is backed by Alder Brook. We went for a walk with the three dogs. Because of the rain, the brook, now more a river, bubbled white with rapids and... you guessed it, Bailey decided to take a swim like he does at camp in Bowley Brook.

Before I could say a word, he slipped into the water and was instantly swept away by the rapids. He slid through the white caps in the black churning water --his head bobbed up and down, and his widening eyes showed primal fear. I suspect few times in his young life had he felt this total lack of control.

I ran down stream and watched as Bailey started swimming powerfully, his shoulders now crowning out of the water. A small bend in the river caused a calmer pool near the shoreline;  as luck would have it, he swam until he got to land. 

I didn't have a chance to get frightened. Afterwards, I looked down river and for as far as I could see, the water churned black with rocks slicing the waves. He could have gotten wacked by a rock...  finding his black coat among that black water.... 

The next day Pete emailed, "I hope Bailey wasn't banged up too much after his plunge? I can't get that image out of my mind!"  

Neither can I. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Writing and the teaching of writing

This morning while responding to a student's draft article on the teaching of writing, I wrote the following:

"Writing is hard; teaching writing is harder. The more formulas we devise, the more they don’t fit our students’ writing processes or interests. Argh3"  

So many books on the teaching of writing complicate an already complicated process. My favorite and most uncomplicated advice on the teaching of writing comes from the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing:

1.      Everyone has the capacity to write, writing can be taught,
         and teachers can help students become better writers.

2.      People learn to write by writing.

3.      Writing is a process.

4.      Writing is a tool for thinking.

5.      Writing grows out of many different purposes.

6.      Conventions of finished and edited texts are important to
          readers and therefore to writers.

7.      Writing and reading are related.

8.      Writing has a complex relationship to talk.

9.      Literate practices are embedded in complicated social

10.     Composing occurs in different modalities and technologies.

11.     Assessment of writing involves complex, informed, human

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Writing the final blog

Writing is always difficult, always a grind. Today, as I sat to write the final blog entry for Jan's and Simon's blog, a myriad of ideas surfaced as I thought about these two wonderful young men who spent the year here in Rumford with me and Bailey and their neighborhood aunt and uncle, Connie and Ben. 

Having too many ideas as a writer is both inspires and creates challenges... nearly two hours later I pasted a few short paragraphs into the blog and ended the yearlong collection and a special time.  

Now, perhaps more than ever, I understand the old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words."


Thursday, June 7, 2012

TV Boys

Posing with Luiz's TV for Facebook Prank. 
"Luiz, the boys want to thank you for the use of your TV. Bailey watches Animal Planet during the day and Jan Filliesand Simon Sebastian Leonhard watch the Red Sox and seem to be throwing things at it a lot since the Sox are struggling. Only a few dings and white spots on the screen... otherwise, all's well."