Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Write Out! ... and Celebrate National Day on Writing!

 Get students outside and writing about their connection to place! Just sign up for the Write Out newsletter HERE

You will receive writing prompts and activities for your students. Use as few or as many as you'd like, and then join us for a public reading on Zoom (meeting linked here), 4 PM October 20th (National Day on Writing).


Monday, September 28, 2020

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

North Dakota students honored at National Ceremony for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards on June 4, 2020

North Dakota Students Announced as 2020 National Scholastic Art & Writing Award Recipients

FARGO, ND — June 3, 2020 — The Red River Valley Writing Project at NDSU and Plains Art Museum announce the national award recipients of the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Presented by the nonprofit organization the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the 96th Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the country's longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative students in grades 7–12. Tune in to the National Ceremony at 5pm CT on Thursday, June 4th here: https://www.artandwriting.org/explore/national-ceremony/celebrate/

Olivia Slyter from Valley City Junior/Senior High School won a Gold Medal for her critical essay “Blaze.” Olivia Drake, a student at Davies High School in Fargo, ND won a Gold Medal and the American Voices Award for her short story, “Freedom Lives.” Deanna Rose, a home-schooled student from Grand Forks, ND, won a Silver Medal in drawing and illustration for “The Circus of Psyche,” and Lee Nguyen of Sheyenne High School in West Fargo, ND won a Gold Medal and American Visions Award for his painting, “Tôi.”

Students also won scholarships from NDSU. The two $1500 art scholarship winners were: Olivia Propeck (Fargo - Fargo South High School) and Marissa Philipp (Horace, ND - Sheyenne High School). Eve Jacobs of Saint Michael, ND was awarded a $600 scholarship from the NDSU English Department.

Since the program’s founding in 1923, the Awards have fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students, including renowned alumni who have gone on to become leaders in their fields, including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Philip Pearlstein, and Sylvia Plath. More recently, Stephen King, Richard Linklater, and Zac Posen, received Scholastic Art & Writing Awards when they were teens. Locally, Laura Youngbird, Director of Native American Art at Plains Art Museum, was a Scholastic teen award winner. This year’s national ceremony will include guest appearances from alumni Lena Dunham, Chris Cofer, and Jennifer Garner. Usually the national ceremony takes place at Carnegie Hall, but because of Covid-19, it will be streamed online, and anyone can attend!

For more information about the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, visit the Scholastic News Room: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/artandwriting.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Behind the scenes at the RRVWP: An interview with Assistant Corrine Redding

Corrine Redding at the ND State Ceremony of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards at Plains Art Museum on March 7, 2020
by Spring 2020 NDSU Intern Noah Hansen

At the Red River Valley Writing Project, there are many students who do work behind the scenes, and this interview with Corrine Redding gives some insight into that work.

Me: What brought you to work in the RRVWP office at NDSU?
Corrine: I am currently an undergrad in the strategic communications major, with a minor in creative writing, and earning a certificate in publishing. So, I thought this would be a good fit working for an organization that emphasizes helping educators teach future writers and authors in various styles of writing.

Me: What do you do?
Corrine: As an assistant to the director of RRVWP I do a variety of things. From creating mailing labels, nametags for our events and programs to organizing our RRVWP library in our office that is open to the educators on campus to come and check out to help with their teaching. So it goes from anything pretty administrative to assisting with setting up, running and tearing down events the organization puts on.

Me: What do you enjoy about it?
Corrine: I enjoy being able to help teachers and educators provide their students with the best tools to encourage their writing and help them become the next generation of writers and authors.

Me: What skills have you picked up while working here?
Corrine: To do the certificates for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, I relearned how to do calligraphy, which I hadn’t done since grade school. I learned how to connect my laptop to a printer on the school’s network so I can print out my things.

Me: How have you adapted to working from home?
Corrine: I’m trying my best. But now that classes are all online, it’s an adjustment and not super easy. I have way more work to do than I did before, and, unfortunately, a lot of my classes now have things due on the same days instead of it being staggered like it used to be.

Me: Any advice for a new intern?
Corrine: Make sure you communicate with everyone, and if you don’t have the information needed to ask for it. Especially when dealing with the Scholastic Awards. Making sure you have all the things you need and making sure everyone knows where you are on your projects or what information you need for them. Keeping that information organized will be super helpful. Also, sign up for a free Avery account so you can make labels and nametags perfectly the first time.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Writing Prompt about the Pandemic

by Kel Sassi

I am really enjoying Writing out of the Week on Fridays. It gives me that sense of connection with other writing project teachers and helps me transition out of online mode to face-to-face mode with my family for the weekend. I hope you will join us this Friday at 5pm.

I really appreciate last Friday's prompt from Kim Rensch, so I wanted to share it with you all in case you have some time to write on the weekend:

To understate, this pandemic has caused quite a bit of disruption in our lives. In this time,
you have likely heard stories about some of the good that has come with a change in human
activity (e.g., the world is vibrating less, decreased pollution, more time with family, etc.).
In some ways, the disruption has given us the opportunity to see what was broken in our old
way of doing things. Think of the good that has come from this pandemic disruption, or of
something you now see that needs changing. What are the things worth fighting for as we
move forward? What should become a permanent part of our next normal?

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Writing out of the Week

Spring flooding meets spring snowstorm along the Red River. 
We have started meeting via Zoom at 5pm on Friday to write out of the week together. On Friday, April 10th, Nancy Gourde provided this prompt. We enjoyed writing in response and thought you might like to try it too.

"Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go;
it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow."
- Alice M. Swaim
"The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.  The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month."
- Henry Van Dyke, Fisherman's Luck, 1899
"In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours."
-  Mark Twain

Think of memorable April weather (good or bad) that impacted your plans or significantly altered your course of action. How did it affect the enjoyment or success of the activity?


What has surprised you about yourself as you make your way through this unusual springtime?

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Writing Prompts for Students at Home

by Kelly Sassi

"Everything old is new again," it is said, and an older NWP resource, Wise Eyes, seems new at this moment when teachers are looking for writing prompts students can use at home. In Wise Eyes: Prompting for Meaningful Student Writing, the NWP Teacher authors Smith and Swain write, "Our focus is on tasks that may not have the benefit of classroom support or scaffolding . . . we want to understand how to design a writing prompt for situations when the teacher cannot otherwise elaborate on or repair the instructions." In other words, they wrote for the situation in which we find ourselves during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Here are a few prompts from the resource: 

Write about an object you are especially attached to, something that has deep personal meaning for you, something that has become a part of your life. You might want to consider the way you discovered it, the way it came into your life, the way it has taken on meaning through time.

Situation: The local newspaper is having a “Good Friend” contest. To enter your friend, you must think of an event in your life when your friend did something with you or for you that showed what a terrific friend he or she is. Writing Task: Select your friend. (Remember, a friend could be a child your age or a grownup.) Choose an event that shows how your friend is a good friend to you. Write a letter to the newspaper that tells about that event so that people will know why your friend deserves to win. (KDE 2007, 10)

Writing Situation: Think about all the literature—stories, novels, poems, plays, essays—you have read this year in your English class. Choose the one you have enjoyed the most. Directions for Writing: Write an essay for your English teacher in which you evaluate your favorite literary work. Give reasons for your judgment. Tell your teacher why this work is valuable or not valuable. Your teacher will use your evaluation in selecting literature for next year’s class. (California Department of Education 1990, I-3)

Everyone has a special place where they like to go. Write about your favorite place to go. Describe the place so your reader can imagine what it is really like. Tell about what you do there and how you feel when you are there. Help your reader see why this place is special. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Shift from Teaching Face-to-Face to Online: You Can do This!

by Joni Kuhn, RRVWP 2019 Summer Fellow
Joni is at the center of Lavanya (L) and Alan (R)
In 2008, I had been substitute teaching in the public school system for about six years and I loved it! Being in the classroom was like oxygen to me! At that time, I had also been an adjunct instructor for Rasmussen College for two years, teaching one or two online courses each quarter. Suddenly, I was offered a full-time position with Rasmussen, working remotely, 100% of the time. I remember thinking, “40 hours a week? All online?” I was excited, but feeling really overwhelmed, because around that same time, I had started homeschooling my youngest son, who was eight years old. I was not sure how I was going to do it all. However, that was 14 years ago. I homeschooled my son for 5 years and I am still teaching online, full-time, for Rasmussen.
Today, as we are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of teachers who were used to teaching in-person, find themselves needing to teach online. To top it off, many are home with their own children, because, of course, schools are closed across the country.
Here are just some of the tips and tricks I learned along the way:
1.     Your schedule will be different and that is OK. Some days you might have to do a bit of work in the evenings. Other days, you won’t. Whether you are using an existing curriculum or writing your own lessons and content, you will need to figure out which times of the day are the best to complete certain types of tasks. For example, you might discover that you can more easily respond to emails at night, instead of in the morning. If you have children at home, you might discover that when you plan to get some work done from 11 am to Noon, that won’t work and you’ll have to set that time aside for playing a game with your kids, instead. Being flexible is crucial when teaching online.
2.     It helps to make a full list of all the tasks you need to complete in a day. Then, think of each hour in the day as a “block.” Fill in the blocks with certain tasks. There might not be a logical order to them at first. It might be easier for you to focus on getting only four of fifteen tasks completed on a given day. Completing those four tasks is a “win” (Don’t worry- over time, you will increase the number of tasks you are able to complete each day). If you are able to complete ten of the tasks, that’s great too.
3.      Use a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone to “time” your tasks and see how long they take to complete. I used to often over-estimate how long it would take me to grade a “stack” of papers, thinking it took much longer than it really did. Knowing the amount of time a certain task will take you, will help you to plan your days more efficiently. You will likely not master managing your time within a week, or even two, and that is perfectly fine. It has been my experience that there are great days/weeks/months, and there are not-so-great days/weeks/months. Don’t worry that you have to manage your time really well, every day. You don’t. Take a deep breath! You will get better at it. It’s very important to give yourself a few weeks to adjust. Time-management is a continual work in progress.
4.     More than anything be available to your students, no matter their age. Return e-mails, texts or phone calls within a couple of hours, or sooner, if possible (of course all of this depends on the age of student you have). As you know, when teaching online, there is an automatic “disconnect.” The more your students know that you are right there to help support them, the better they will feel and, in turn, the better YOU will feel.
5.     Teaching online will take more time. You will now be communicating through writing and you’ll have to proofread, carefully, to make sure that what you type comes across as you intend it to. Since you don’t have the luxury of seeing your students’ facial expressions in real-time, it’s much more difficult to know if they are understanding things. Something that helps is using emoticons to convey your tone.
6.     Connect with your colleagues and talk about how things are going. Share strategies of ways you are all learning to get things done. Share struggles and successes.
7.     Finally, cut yourself some slack. Be flexible. Focus on accomplishing a few important tasks each day.

The comedian Lucille Ball once said, “The more you do, the more you can do,” and she was right. It will take some time and you will not be perfect at it at first, but that is just fine. You CAN do this!