Monday, March 2, 2015

March with the RRVWP

March has arrived! Will spring be far behind?

Here's what's going on with the RRVWP this month. Please mark your calendars and join us for as many of these activities as you can.

The RRVWP Annual Reunion for all members will be held in the afternoon on Sunday, March 29, at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. More information about this event will be sent out soon.

The RRVWP Professional Book Club is meeting at the UND Bookstore from 2:00-3:30 pm on Sunday, March 8, to finish our discussion of the The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems by Frances Mayes.

The Grand Forks Book Club will be meeting on Wednesday, March 18, at 6:00 pm at Andrea Scherer's to discuss Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, one of the writers appearing at the UND Writers Conference, March 25-27. Email Andrea Scherer <andrealscherer[at]gmail[dot]com> if planning to attend.

At our next Saturday Seminar, "A Syntactic Look at Sentences, " participants will examine sentence-level syntax, learn to manipulate sentence syntax to create varying effects for readers, and discuss how syntax strategies can be used to scaffold students K-16.

We will meet from 1:00-4:00 pm in Room 167 at Central High School in Grand Forks on Saturday, March 21. Enter through Door #6 (new music/theater addition). Parking is available in the lot kitty corner from Central. This session is open now for registration on My Learning Plan for PRISM credit. If you plan to attend but not sign up on My Learning Plan, please contact Pam Fisher at the email below so we plan for the appropriate number of copies. 

The Saturday Seminars are open to other educators in addition to RRVWP TCs, so if you would like to attend and bring your teaching colleagues, they may attend as well and earn PRISM credit or clock-hour certificates. And, even if YOU cannot attend, please pass the word on to any interested colleagues.

The Fargo-Moorhead Book Club has plans to meet on Friday, March 27, at Usher's House in Moorhead from 4:30-6:00 pm to discuss The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. RSVP to Dan Dooher at <DTDOOHER2006[at]alum[dot]csbsju[dot]edu> if planning to attend. You need not have read the book to join the discussion and learn more about the book.

The Grand Forks Writing Group will meet on Saturday, March 28, at 1:00 pm at the home of Nancy Devine to workshop pieces of any genre. All RRVWP members are welcome to attend. You need not have attended meetings in the past nor commit to attending all meetings to be a part of the GF Writing Group. If planning to attend, RSVP to Pam Fisher at <pam[dot]fisher[at]gfschools[dot]org>.

The Fargo Writing Group is meeting on Monday, March 30, from 7:00-8:30. Please RSVP to Kim Rensch at <renschk[at]fargo[dot]k12[dot]nd[dot]us> if planning to attend.

As always, you can keep up with RRVWP events by liking us on Facebook, joining the listserv, and following this blog.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Writing Weekend Prompt

Write along with the Third Annual RRVWP Winter Writing Retreat taking place this weekend at Maplelag Resort:

Write a narrative, fictitious or non-fiction, featuring the following spark word: bookstore. In your narrative you must incorporate all five senses and use an appositive, an absolute phrase, and postnominal adjectives. Set your timer for 15-20 minutes and write as much as you can. When the timer goes off, check your piece to see if you included all the requirements. If not, work them in somewhere.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

AuThursday: A Report from the Grand Forks Book Club

For Book Club this month, we read Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, or Como Agua Para Chocolate if you are fortunate enough to be fluent in Spanish. Like Water for Chocolate follows the story of Tita, the youngest daughter in a traditional Mexican family. According to Tita's mother, Mexican tradition dictates that the youngest daughter should take care of her mother until her death, so Tita is forbidden from marrying her true love Pedro.  Unable to control her own life, Tita expresses her frustration and sadness and love through her cooking. 

For the most part, everyone present at the discussion enjoyed the book. We discussed the magical realism of the novel and wondered about the translation – how accurate and how well received it was. My brief research didn’t reveal much regarding the translation, but sources did assert that the novel was a best seller. Pam and Katie said that the film adaptation is very well done. Having already read Como Agua Para Chocolate, Pam chose to read another of Esquivel’s work, The Law of Love

We enjoyed a vegetarian Mexican dish while discussing Esquivel's works – sopa seca de tortilla – a tortilla casserole, as well as frijoles refritos, chips, salsa, and some cerveza.

--Andrea Scherer

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Summer Open Institute in August

Build Your Argument Toolkit: Rhetoric in the K12 Classroom
August 4 and 5, 2015, 8:30 – 4:30, Merrifield Hall 312, UND campus
Eligible for one continuing education credit*

Instructor: Kim Donehower, PhD, Associate Professor of English, UND, former RRVWP Director

The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts place tremendous emphasis on the “evidence-based argument,” but there’s a more important word buried (and sometimes misdefined) in the standards: “rhetoric.” “Rhetoric,” in the classic sense, is the study of persuasion, and it’s difficult to teach students to read or write arguments without it. It encompasses everything from coming up with sound claims to the selection of evidence to audience analysis to persuasive techniques to word choice. This mini-institute is designed to give K12 teachers an introductory course in classical to contemporary rhetoric, so that we might select useful ideas, terms, and techniques for our students and our teaching.

NBPTS Standards
This mini-institute addresses NBPTS standard two: “Accomplished teachers have a rich understanding of the subject(s) they teach […and] develop the critical and analytical capacities of their students. Accomplished teachers command specialized knowledge of how to convey and reveal subject matter to students. They are aware of the preconceptions and background knowledge that students typically bring to each subject and of strategies and instructional materials that can be of assistance…” 

Participants in this mini-institute will…
·       understand and apply the concepts of rhetorical situation, Aristotelian appeals, and Toulmin terminology for analyzing arguments;
·       identify current beliefs and practices which may be limiting students’ learning of argumentation;
·       transform some current classroom practices into ones which provide richer, more informed learning situations for students. 

Course Requirements

Participants must attend all parts of the mini-institute, read and participate in discussions about the readings, and perform as active writers and thinkers during demonstrations and other activities. All participants will produce revised lesson plans and unit ideas incorporating some of the concepts shared in the mini-institute, and will share those products with other participants for feedback.

*Pending university approval

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Summer Open Institutes in June

Sentence Sense

June 16-17, 2015, Fargo, ND, 8:00-4:30 pm, Carl Ben Eielson Middle School
June 23-24, Grand Forks, ND, 8:00-4:30 pm, Merrifield Hall 312, UND campus
Eligible for one continuing education credit*

Instructors: Nancy Devine, RRVWP Writer in Residence, and Pam Fisher, RRVWP Co-Director

Learn how to write more effectively through generating quality sentences. In this class, participants will explore various sentence writing strategies, analyze models for sentence generation, examine sentence-level syntax, learn to manipulate syntax to create varying effects for readers, and explore how sentences relate to each other. Participants will generate their own sentences, analyze them, revise them, and discuss the strategies used. They will also consider how sentence strategies can be used to scaffold students K-16.

Participants in this mini-institute will…
•explore various sentence-generating strategies
•learn how to manipulate syntax to effect different reader responses
•carry into classrooms the strategies learned in order to scaffold student learning.

Course Requirements
Participants will be expected to attend all 15 hours of class, actively participate through writing, reading, and discussion during class,complete assigned homework, and complete all necessary paperwork and evaluations.

*Pending university approval

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Writing Weekend Prompt

This weekend's prompt is one to elicit revision of earlier writing:

Select a piece of writing you would like to work on more. Do an exact or estimated word count of the piece and then whittle your word count down by 10%. For example, if your piece is 150 words, you would need to eliminate 15.