Today is the first day of 4Cs, although tomorrow is the kickoff for the concurrent sessions that run all day Thursday, Friday, and most of the day Saturday; and being a good studious person, I went to two half-day workshops today. The first – “Empowering Students to Self-Evaluate and Revise by Sideshadowing Response to Writing” – turned out to be very informative and interesting; during the workshop we were give one particular method of response to student writing, a method that was then modeled for us, having workshop participants write a (very) rough draft based on a prompt, and then working on the method of sideshadowing. It was a good beginning to the conference since it got me really thinking about methods of teacher response to student writing.
The next workshop – “Across the Drafts: Responding to Student Writing” – was less helpful. It was very much like a three-and-a-half Writing Center Staff Meeting, in which we were given a student draft, given an opportunity to read it, and then were expected (with the help of discussion leaders) to discuss how we would help that student improve his or her writing. While a very helpful concept as a practice, I am already very comfortable in doing this (given my Writing Center background) so it was really just not what I needed. I’m more interested, at this point in my non-career, in hearing about specific practices that I can use – especially if they’re not widely known strategies; discussing a student paper is not really insightful at this point.
There were plans to hang out at a bar in Greenwich Village after the workshops, so Meridith and I took a cab downtown to get a drink and hang out with other nerds of the same ilk. We ran into Harry (whose gig this was, I believe), as well as Derek, the Writing Program Director from St. John’s; Dr. Belanoff; and the former visiting professor from UC-Santa Cruz. (Add to this the usual graduate students from all over, and other conference attendees.) I dislike bars – I’m very uncomfortable – so I didn’t really mingle too much at first, but by the end of evening I was glad Meridith and I had gone.