I was asked to talk with the North Star Summer Institute 2011 folks about how to continue to be active in this fantastic, life-changing organization. It got me thinking about all of the incredible growth opportunities NWP has afforded me. So here is an overview of my journey with NWP.
I started with the Bluebonnet Writing Project at UTA with Dr. Jeannine Hirtle as the site’s director in 2005. I became co-director and as that site was always very engaged with technology, I developed a High-Tech Young Authors’ Camp. We used blogger for our Authors’ Workshop, created digital movies, and so many other great activities. It was a huge success. So much so, I facilitated this camp in the summers of 2006 and 2007.
There were numerous opportunities to grow both as a teacher and as a teacher leader. I attended a New Site Development meeting in California. I co-facilitated the SUmmer Institute for a few years. One of the highlights was attending Tech Matters in 2007. That was a great place to meet NWP Digital Literacy Leaders like Paul Oh, Paul Allison, Peter Kittle, Kevin Hodgson, and many others. It was at that event that I realized how innovative and cutting edge NWP work was and still is today. I am often awestruck by my NWP colleagues and their contributions to education.
Unfortunately, the Bluebonnet NWP site folded in 2007. At that time, I was siteless…until North Star of Texas Writing Project adopted me! I cannot thank Dr. Carol Wickstrom and Dr. Leslie Patterson enough for making me feel so welcome! What a joy to be involved!!
With North Star, I became very active in the Professional Development piece. I attended the PD Advanced Institute last year and had the amazing experience of being one of the facilitators for Dallas ISD’s Summer Writing Institute.Dr. Wickstrom and I attended a PD Institute in Austin last summer to gain some more insight into PD. I helped to plan this summer’s offerings of Read…Think…Write…, NSTWP’s STAAR Workshop. I plan on facilitating this workshop in Keller this fall.
I am all about web presence so I begged my husband, Cobe, to help us develop our current NSTWP website.
I attended the CMWI Advanced Institute this year, and I am very pleased that my campus will be able to participate in this significant research this school year.
Most recently, after attending the Annual Meeting 2010, I became quasi-obsessed with gaming in the classroom. I helped write a Tech Minigrant application for a Gaming Inquiry Group here at North Star.
In March, I attended and presented at the Urban Sites Network Conference. Amazing!! Ernest Morrell has become a hero to me.
Along the way, I attended NWP Annual Meetings in Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, and Orlando. I have presented 3 times at either NWP or NCTE due to NWP work.
North Star offers so many opportunities to stay connected: Book clubs, inquiry groups, advocacy, leadership retreats, etc. I love seeing the other North Stars whenever possible!
Now, I am dedicated to figuring out this gaming piece and facilitating work with my campus’ incoming freshman in August. I am also super excited to work more on NWP Connect as well as Digital Is, and I cannot wait to meet and work with more NWP colleagues in Seattle in July for the Digital Is Resource Development Retreat.
I have been so lucky to find NWP. It’s my duty to myself and to my students to continue this work. All I can say is you get out of NWP what you put in, and I feel that as much as I have invested in NWP, NWP has returned at least 100 times over.