Nancy Atwell and Linda Rief

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Hey it’s Nancy Atwell and Linda Rief (both at the podium)! These two discussed poetry and memoir and their importance in the classroom to teach writing. Nancy Atwell gave some pointers about poetry.

  1. Tap the Power of “I”
  2. Beware the Participle
  3. Sensory Diction: Beware of Adverbs
  4. Conclude with a Purpose

She also stressed the importance of “writing off the page” which is taking notes on the side of the page while writing a poem. She also said “Don’t think on air, think on paper.” I thought all of these points were important because I am not very good at writing poetry. Therefore, these pointers were essential to helping me teach poetry.

My favorite part of Linda Rief’s presentation was her story about her asking “What is the benchmark?” The confusion of the other people where they could not give her a straight answer was very amusing. I know of a class where I should have asked that same exact question. She also talked about choosing persuasive topics out of their personal narratives and things they care about most. She posed the question “why tell them what to write when they are curious about things themselves?

The question, for me, which arose out of this session was:

Why are facts and data more important than the actual student?

I feel like that will eternally be my question throughout teaching. This is also something I would like to keep in mind for as long as I am a teacher so that I do not forget that I am there to teach students and people not robots and statistics.

Oh, and here is a picture of Laura and I with Nancy Atwell! 🙂

Nancy Atwell

(Courtesy of Laura Martinovich)


One thought on “Nancy Atwell and Linda Rief

  1. That’s a great question Nancie asks! Exactly whose interests are served by our current mania for trying to quantify what anyone with the tiniest bit of common sense knows can’t be quantified? I’ll try not to jump on my conspiracy theory soapbox here. Nancie’s session convinced me that I really need to be more serious about sharing poetry with my students, so I’ve been reading poetry daily this month and finding lots to enjoy myself. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it in the classroom!

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