10th & 12th Grades
Advanced English, 12th Grade AP Literature & Composition, Common Core & Technology Teacher Support
Hilmar Unified School District
Local Writing Project:
UC Merced Writing Project (UCMWP)
Awards & Recognition
- CWP Graphite Accelerator Educator
- UCMWP Teacher Consultant
Before becoming involved with the Writing Project, I saw writing as a task that students completed. I saw it as a means to an end, a box to be checked off in my list of course objectives. The Writing Project taught me that writing should be seen as the glue that holds everything together. Writing is evidence of thought, and it is a powerful tool that requires thoughtfulness and training. Now, I see writing as an integral, everyday part of academic life, not a separate entity.
I have become much more aware of my decisions as a writer. I consider my audience, my word choice, my purpose for writing, and that has informed my teaching of writing. I am more in tune with the nuances of writing and see the impact of details on the whole of the piece and its effectiveness.
Because I now think of writing as a series of small decisions that coalesce into a larger significant whole, I approach teaching and presenting in the same way. I consider how the small decisions I make as an educator have the same type of impact on my effectiveness as a teacher and leader. When I have conversations with other educators at my site, I have learned to ask questions that will help them think about the nuances of their teaching and not just about the end product. My new knowledge is shaping how I'm currently training all the 6-12 staff in my district on the use of digital tools for learning, specifically how to use digital tools for prewriting, drafting, revising, close reading, and interacting with digital texts such as images, videos, and music. I’m also helping to implement the Common Sense Media curriculum at our site, specifically the modules on digital citizenship.
Writing, teaching, and presenting are never finished products. I believe that I am never done, that there is always room to grow, change, and stretch my thinking, and my practices and strategies for teaching and learning. It is in those moments of mental and academic stretching that I achieve the greatest benefits. These moments are also when I see my students and colleagues grow the most.
One of the best books I've read recently on writing is written by Kelly Gallagher: Write Like This. Not only does Gallagher provide an extensive number of writing assignment ideas in his book, he explores writing with a purpose and an audience in mind. Above all, the writing he describes seems genuine and authentic, and I think that's something we're often missing in an educational culture burdened with mandated assessments. His book advocates creating thoughtful, life-long writers, and it mirrors my own teaching goals.