Saturday, July 22, 2017

Writing Prompt for Healing: Stillness

Stillness. What is stillness?  According to Pico Iyer, travel writer and author of The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (2014), it’s not so much about meditation, but “sanity and balance…a chance to put things in perspective.” 

A suggestion for writing:   For this week, consider how quiet and stillness have been part of your healing process.  What practices have helped you learn to embrace quiet and turn your attention to what is, instead of what was or could be?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Scholastic Spotlight: Jarod Jeglum

Oversocialization Found in the Fountainhead

Jeglum, Jarod
Grade: 12
School: Divide County High School, Crosby ND Educator: Richard Norton
AWARD: Honorable Mention

The word “oversocialization”, although not invented by Theodore John "Ted" Kaczynski, first gained major notoriety from his manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future or what is simply known as the Unabomber Manifesto. It is used to describe people who believe, in Ted Kaczynski’s words within his manifesto:
     We are not supposed to hate anyone, yet almost everyone hates somebody at some time or other, 
     whether he admits it to himself or not. Some people are so highly socialized that the attempt to 
     think, feel and act morally imposes a severe burden on them. In order to avoid feelings of guilt, 
     they continually have to deceive themselves about their own motives and find moral explanations 
     for feelings and actions that in reality have a non-moral origin. We use the term “oversocialized” 
     to describe such people.

Although Theodore Kaczynski is a psychopath with a flawed view of reality, the man does have a wealthy amount of education on the subject of the human condition to prove that he does indeed know what he is talking about, and to deny him the ability to spread his radical and controversial views or ignore them entirely is a great atrocity for this nation’s guarantee of freedom of speech and the sociological community’s development as a whole.

In my own words I would describe “oversocialized” as follows: when one believes that they are at fault for someone else’s problems or situations and believes that to make up for it they have to work

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Writing Prompt for Healing: A Letter to Your Past Self

A Letter to Your Past Self.  Do you continue to be weighed down by events in the past? Writing about those events honestly and from your heart can help you make meaning of what happened, as well as better understand others’ points of view.

A suggestion for writing:  Write a letter to your past self—the self that went through the loss or trauma—from your today self. What would you say to comfort yourself? What advice would you give? Offer your past self the acceptance and love that s/he needs.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Scholastic Spotlight: Tiffany Brunelle

Brunelle, Tiffany
Grade: 8
School: Turtle Mountain Community Middle School. Belcourt, ND Educator: West Clark
AWARD: Gold Key

I am from pure white La Gallette and golden fry bread. 
I come from a big pot of bullets and bangs.
From fierce storms, that make your cheeks cherry red. 

From a big, steep hill covered in ice.

I am from many scary tales.
I'm from different myths
about rougarous, chupacabras and the ghosts of Wales.

 I live by storytelling around a fire.

I am from a green and beautiful reservation, 
that my people grew up on.
It's where there have been many deaths. 
Where my homeland has been taken.

We lost our precious culture.
We stopped speaking our Native language. 

We were forced to stop hunting.
We had to follow their rules.

They sent us to boarding schools. 
They thought we were wild.
All they did was ridicule
us. They wanted us to be mild.

We were called a beast.
They bartered us with the French.
Our full blood count had decreased. 

We were forced to live on reservations. 
Ishgonigan. Leftover land.

When we grew up,
we didn't tell our story.
We were forgotten,
they put our skin color into a category.

That was not fair.

They get us confused with the Crow and Blackfeet. 
We were recognized by our floral moccasins.
Did you find out where I'm from now?
Doonji Siipiising Mickinoc Wajiiw Ishgonigan. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Angie Hase, Lisa Gusewelle and Kelly Sassi attend i3 C3WP launch in Minneapolis

Kelly Sassi, Angie Hase, and Lisa Gusewelle attended the i3 C3WP launch in Minneapolis, Minnesota from June 20-22. C3WP stands for College, Career, and Community Writers Program, a renaming of the CRWP program we led in 2016-17. It is funded by a $36 million  i3 (Innovations in Education) grant that the National Writing Project received in January. The Red River Valley Writing Project participated in the grant proposal by recruiting the Belcourt and Dunseith school districts to be involved in this current scale-up of the C3WP.

C3WP provides professional development to teachers in teaching source-based argument writing. Outstanding research results were obtained from the first iteration of the program three years ago; student writing of teachers who participated in the program increased significantly in the four attributes of student argument writing--content, structure, stance, and conventions. Full results can be found here. 
Lisa Gusewelle takes the latest instructional materials for a walk.

The National Writing Project has developed a rich body of materials, from mini-units and other instructional materials, to formative assessment tools, videos, handouts and more to support argument writing in grades 4-12. 

Lisa Gusewell, Kelly Sassi, and Angie Hase (left to right) analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the RRVWP in scaling up the C3WP
Also, we can begin getting more excited for STEAM lessons as well. Argument mini units range from scientific topic such as nutrition all the way to space debris. This is a great year for cross-curricular lessons!
Angie Hase works with our site's coach for the C3WP, Casey Olson of the Elk River Writing Project in Montana.

While at the launch, Kelly, Angie and Lisa were introduced to the latest developments in these materials, tried out some mini-units, brainstormed problems and solutions for our writing site, heard about others' successes, and listened to a presentation from the lead researchers, Alix Gallagher and CJ Park, from SRI Education

Want to hear about some creative lesson plans? NWP National Director Elyse Eidman--Aadahl showed us American Creed, a new film from PBS about what it means to be an American, and your students can participate to by writing about what they think it means to be American. This program will be especially exciting for those TCs who participated in Letters to the Next President, as this program will have a similar publishing platform for student writers. 

Want to get involved in the C3WP? We are now recruiting the next cohort of teachers to experience the materials and develop leadership skills for sharing it across North Dakota. The format for this Advanced Institute will be a 3-day launch August 8-10th followed by monthly meetings during the academic year. You can Apply here:

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Weekend Writing Prompt

School’s out for summer! If you’re a teacher, write a reflection on a peak and valley of the school year. If you’re not a teacher, look back on your school days and write about a memory that sticks in your mind.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Scholastic Spotlight: Zach Howatt

More Than One Weekend

Howatt, Zach

Grade:  12
School:  Northern Cass Public School, Hunter ND
Educator:  Brittany Breiland
AWARD:  Gold Key, flash fiction

They both had paper name tags pressed to their chests– the tour guide insisted she know everyone’s names, even though they would only be on campus for one weekend– but the mother had simply written on hers (in lower case letters) “parent” to deter confusion, while the daughter’s tag was completely blank. There wasn’t anything to be done about that.
She and her mother had broken unceremoniously from the pack, leaving the Memorial Union to have a chat outside. The folders, flyers, t-shirt, and tuition pricing flopped over the girl’s folded arms like fly-attracting salmon drying in the heat of the day.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Weekend Writing Prompt

Memorial Day is coming up. Pick a cherished person who has passed and write about a memory you have of him/her.