Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kindred Spirits

L.M. Montgomery inscribed those two words in the minds of every reader who devoured the Anne of Green Gables books. I am fortunate to have several friends who fit into that category (you know who you are!) and today I connected with two organizations that also fit that description.

The first group is Literacyhead, an online magazine that is committed to encouraging creativity in the classroom by joining together writing, reading, and art. The team who publishes the magazine define a Literacyhead as "someone who is intensely serious about exercising creative literacy, making connections across multiple literacies, pursuing thoughtful literacy as an individual and as a teacher, and constantly searching for ideas. Literacyheads may have expertise in different areas of literacy, but all are committed to children's literacy, passionate about the arts, incessant thinkers, and display a propensity for having fun." (http://www.literacyhead.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=162&Itemid=55)

Page through their website and you'll find writing, reading, art prompts, essays, comics, coaching ideas, tools for your classroom, and titles of books related to the issue's theme. Look at this (partial) list of why this team created this magazine, and you will see why I am thrilled to find this resource:

  • Because we wanted to help teachers nurture their creative lives while they meet the demands of high accountability to which they are subject.
  • Because we love children's books and art, and the connections between the two make us positively giddy.
  • Because we believe that the arts are a basic component of a healthy life, not an afterthought or a bonus if there is time or funding.
  • Because we wanted to help teachers take care of themselves by lightening their lesson planning load a bit.
  • Because we enjoy the challenge of camouflaging solid literacy research in lessons that appear to be just looking at and talking about art and literature.
  • Because we want children to begin to think that they need and deserve beauty in their lives.
  • Because we want to give teachers a springboard for extending their own creativity.
The second organization I connected to today was one I've blogged about before, National Novel Writing Month (or as participants fondly call it: NaNoWriMo). Today, the Young Writer's Program's new director, Chris Angotti, asked me if I would write a short advice article for the "Writer's Block" column.

Chris, a former middle school and high school English teacher, understands my concern that the testing environment which permeates schools squeezes out creativity. He believes that NaNoWriMo can help teachers who want to teach their students more than just how to be good test takers.  "I definitely believe in the NaNoWriMo program for young writers. Our surveys and anecdotes indicate, almost without deviation, that it has positive effects in writing fluency, time management, risk taking, and self-esteem. But these things aren't as easily measured on a standardized test. My goal is to think about how objective results CAN be seen, so creative writing programs like ours (and books like yours) aren't lost in the bureaucratic shuffle."

                         Kindred Spirits--Unite!


Linda Phillips said...

Carol, you are "truer than blue" and I am blessed!


Carol Baldwin said...

I was trusting that you would recognize yourself! You know how blessed that I have been by our friendship too.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Yay for NaNoWriMo and for Literacyheads! Here's to Creativity!

So glad you are writing the article for NaNoWriMo. It will be much more meaningful writing it now that you've experienced it for yourself. And how cool that you are going back to what you wrote and finding surprise material there!

Glad for your kindred spirit in my life and our working relationship.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, JOyce. Glad you recognized yourself in this blog!

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