Your Students Should Blog–

Your Students Should Blog–

sabrina's stash flickrGiving students a blog provides an instant audience, and a shift in identity for the blogger. A blogger looks at life with a writer’s eye and awareness of the audience; a blog gives its author a chance to examine, name and reflect on events, and may offer vindication and healing if the blogger is courageous enough to tell the truth.   Continue reading

Students Celebrate Their Supporters

Students Celebrate Their Supporters

Students’ writing improves when they write for an audience. When you find them an audience that is close to home and a situation that is meaningful, there are many reasons for them to get the writing right. If you make it safe for them to write (e.g., don’t bring out the grammar hatchet), not only will they make art (reflect, express and polish), they will display it for immediate feedback. 

In this activity, to honour and thank those who support them in coming back to school, students will consolidate and formalize part of their support system, and supporters will not only strengthen their commitment to supporting their student, but they will forge a connection with the literacy/ABE/GED program itself. Continue reading

The Launch

The Launch

Sheila Gilhooly Mistaken IdentityThe launch is a big day in the life of any book. It is the day when the art made out of life goes out into the world to see what its reception will be.

Mistaken Identity started as a small project to print Sheila’s stories for a small group of friends. barbara had 60 copies printed. (The list had grown from the original 20 we had planned for.) Continue reading

Getting to Grammar

Getting to Grammar

grammarIn her comment on The Grammar Hatchet Joyce used the phrase, “a constant reminder to consider people before grammar.” The interesting thing is that when students (or you or I or anybody else) write for an audience, grammar comes to the fore, naturally.  Continue reading

Making Art from Lives

Mistaken Identity. Detail from cover
Mistaken Identity. Detail from cover

The day the proof copy comes back from the printers is always the big day, and Mistaken Identity was no different. It looked so good. Sheila and I were both excited, and so was everyone else who saw the first copy. And the excitement was even greater when we saw the e-book listed for sale on-line. (See the side panel to get the e-book.)

Sheila is not a literacy student. She is a friend of long standing, someone I have worked with over the years on many projects and feminist actions. And she is no stranger to print—she collaborated with Persimmon Blackbridge on Still Sane, a classic art show and book about a coming out as a lesbian in the grasp of mental health services in the ‘70s. Continue reading

Why Is Writing So Hard? Reason #10

Writing is hard because it takes you places in your heart that you have spent a lot of energy trying to avoid. It’s healing for the same reason.

 My Parents               by Caroline Canute
I was upset at Dr. S. for giving my late dad too many morphine. I wish he asked us first if anyone wanted to speak to him. The same thing happened with my mom. Why couldn’t they give us a chance to speak with our parents? Dr. P. could of asked if any family want to speak with their parent. My late dad struggled with cancer. My late mom had pneumonia.            Continue reading

Trust Your Ears

proofreading in adult literacyJanice Airhart commented on my post about The Period and the Sentence that it is best to ask students to proofread out loud.

So I thought I’d dig out a little poster I used to remind students about how to proofread.  (“Proofread out loud. You get a message from your ears and a message from your eyes. Trust your ears to catch the message you want to write.”) Continue reading

The Period and the Sentence

How do you know where to put the period? Use your brain. Use your ears. Use your whole body.

The period is near the top of the list of mechanical things to teach when you’re working with beginning writers. But However, it’s hard for students to grasp the idea of putting a period “at the end of a sentence” when they don’t have much of a grasp of what a sentence is.

Language Experience Approach

If I’m using LEA, I’m secretly glad that I get to teach periods from the start, Continue reading

Why Is Writing So Hard? Reason #756

It was Mary Ann’s turn to read her story to the group. She stood up, took a deep breath and started. “The bottle was my friend for a long time.”

She looked up and took in the group of about 10 students and me, all listening intently, and following along on our copies of her story.

“I’ve been in AA for 12 years, but before that…” her voice broke, and she stopped reading. Continue reading