Make Writing Real is an online learning experience for heart-centered high school teachers looking to level-up traditional writing instruction to meet the increasingly unique needs of today’s digitally-minded learners.
Teaching writing is hard work.
And grading writing is *not* for the faint of heart (am-I-right?!).
But I’ll bet my lunch you'd agree that teaching our students to write well is among the greatest academic gifts we can give.
A clear and compelling command of language can open some serious doors, so--being the fantastic teachers we are--we tackle that endless pile of papers with pride because we know our efforts can make an impact on our students' lives:
It’ll help them do well in the rest of their high school classes! It’ll help them get into college! And because of our guidance, they’ll positively slay that 20-pager their college professor just assigned!
But for all that awesome sauce, I feel like there’s still something missing in our tireless work...
For as much effort as we put in, our students don’t necessarily leave our classrooms enjoying the writing process any more than when we began our work with them.
If I’m bein’ honest, students don’t necessarily translate the value of said writing skills into their daily lives; they don't necessarily see it as a potential tool for unlocking their passions and advancing their interests in this world.
And if I’m being brutally honest, those writing skills we currently teach get sandwiched down into some remote region of young writers’ minds, only to be retrieved in the name of ‘academia’...AKA, this is merely the stuff of:
...and nothing more.
Truth be told, a lot of this has to do with the way in which we frame writing instruction in today’s classroom. More often than not, the end goal of anything written is merely an exam result, an admission ticket, a grade on a transcript...
But what would it look like if our students engaged in the writing process for reasons beyond grades and academic status?
What if we could adjust our writing instruction to align more realistically with the way text appears—and is used—in our digital world today?
What if students saw writing as a 'means' to their dreams, as opposed to 'end' data meant to define them?
What if we could help them transform their passions into genuine purpose by leveraging the power of the almighty, written word?
What if… students could better recognize the connection between what they are learning in class and what they care about in the world?
We're about to whip these #whatifs into realities, ma’ friends :-)
Our secret tool for flipping the script on traditional writing instruction?
An online, professional development course for teachers, called Make Writing Real.
The activities and lesson ideas shared inside this PD experience are project-based and inquiry-driven; they are meant to cultivate deep, meaningful learning experiences which immerse students in the practical application of writing skills in a digital era.
Specifically, you'll learn how we can use modern, short-form and digital-content writing strategies to teach students the principles of academic writing, and to scaffold foundational writing skills.
Make Writing Real:
Teaching writing doesn't have to be a two-dimensional effort. By embedding learning in more authentic contexts for our writers, we can better reach the 21st century learners we teach.
I can’t wait to shout from the rooftops the innovative approaches this writing program is bringin’.
Let me start with ‘why’ we need this pivot in the first place…fair enough?
When it comes to teaching and learning in the 21st century, our most important goal is no longer helping our students achieve literacy, it's achieving multiliteracy, or transliteracy...that is, the ability to read, write, and interact across a range of platforms, tools, and media.
I mean, think about it...it's no longer sufficient (or preferred!) to obtain information, knowledge, and/or know-how from merely turning a static page from left-to-right.
These days, input is gathered across an array of sources and is consumed through a variety of mediums, from print to video, podcast audio, to digital and social networks of all sorts.
But learning no longer stops at consuming content. In an era of unprecedented growth in innovation, it's essential that we lead our learners toward (meaningfully) producing, too.
Common Core standards in reading and writing certainly speak to these new-era needs, but the ‘core’ of writing instruction is just a mere pixel in the overall expanse.
Not to mention, the 'test-prep' approach to teaching these standards taking place in schools across the nation is eroding their original intent altogether; when school districts script how students pursue standards by prefabricating the content for them, it reverts us right back to where we were before.
So that's where Make Writing Real comes in...it's time to put an emphasis on what matters most for our students, not just what's measurable.
The most important take-away is this...
''our students today are not the same learners we were yesterday; to teach them now as we were taught then is a straight-up disservice."
--Jill Pavich, founder & CEO of edPioneer channeling her inner-John Dewey...
What you'll get in Make Writing Real:
MODULE 1 | Rogue School
Before you 'go rogue' and teach writing with realness, you'll need to understand the why behind it all.
Module 1 will give you the confidence to move forward with a project-based approach to writing in your classroom.
In these videos, we'll drill down into the innovative ideas paving the way in education today.
And we'll take action: the final videos pack it all up with an activity for you to complete AND one to carry out with your students.
MODULE 2 | 'Make' Writing
Rather than treating the writing process as a routine set of defined steps, the concept of ‘making’ treats writing as anything but linear and/or sequential.
Instead, when students ‘make’ their writing, they move through the process in a recursive fashion, making each bit and piece of their ideas bite-sized, movable, and above all, malleable.
Thi module is packed with immediately implementable activities that will refresh the way both you and your students see the writing process altogether.
MODULE 3 | Make Writing 'Real'
From blogging to podcasts, emailing and automating, storyboarding social media content, and yes, even YouTube...I'll teach you how to use modern communication strategies to teach the traditional building blocks of writing.
A serious scaffold with real-world compatibility, this string of lessons will situate writing in authentic contexts which sing 'tangible application of skill' for 21st century learners.
And it's all aligned with Common Core.
MODULE 4 | Creating the Conditions for Project-based Learning
Make Writing Real is inquiry-driven and project-based. So you're going to need some guidance in getting students on board with the self-directed spirit this requires.
But the truth is, students are kind of put off by lengthy projects that don't have definitive answers and can't guarantee quantitative results. These days, students don't ask questions and their ability to be creative is suffering as a result.
This module plans to turn that around. We'll explore ways to deepen student curiosity and heighten creativity. You'll learn strategies for encouraging risk-taking and forward-failing!
And by module's end, you'll know how to create a classroom culture that is ready to embrace PBL experiences!
MODULE 5 | Structuring PBL
Project-based learning experiences can be magical moments in-the-making. But they can also go really wrong if you don't have a set plan in place and a system of accountability.
In this module, I'm sharing my 6-step process for structuring projects in your classroom. This system will teach your learners about project management + true, team collaboration.
This step-by-step system also sharpens important learning 'superpowers', including metacognition and reflection, which are all *must-haves* for success at the college and professional levels.
MODULE 6 | Realness Projects
all through the use of projects as your students' platform.
Featuring a carefully-sequenced set of project-based learning experiences, this module is positively packed with inspiring ways to teaching th may sklls of writing through a PBL approach.
This module is the culmination of everything Make Writing Real is about, so get. pumped!
SUPPORT | The Tech Vault
Need help toggling those tech tools? I got your back.
This module contains simple walk-throughs and how-to's to help you get going with some of the modern platforms we'll talk about in MWR.
(Though you may be amazed to find that your students'll be the greatest resource of all in this regard!)
SUPPORT | Private Facebook Community (MWR members only!)
Trust me when I say (and total transparency here), it takes a commuity to change a 100-year-old system, so this collaborative community will help us move mountains...together, we can!
Together, we'll troubleshoot ideas, navigate around hurdles, celebrate successes, and pivot + adjust our failures in the name of change-makin'!
Let's do this!
What you absolutely need to know about today's writers...
What we know (and don't know) about their future...
We don't know what the problems of tomorrow will be, but we should be doing everything we can to help students develop the skills they need to tackle them...
When it comes to problem-solving, however, we tend to present our students with the kinds of problems that already have an answer, as opposed to presenting them with those unsolved mysteries which require inquiry, critical thought, and a bias toward real action...
Clearly it’s time to hit the refresh button in our education browsers, y’all, but if we’re going to see this change, we need to be the change agents (rather than waiting for Superman...)
Jodi Topping Kassandra Rabinovitz Rebecca Abrahamson Phyllis Marshall Jill Plummer Peggy Mellon Tina Winston Beth Rubin Janina Ancona-Jeffs Kellie Mallon
"Having spent time training with you [live], you totally come across as a very real person. You are not this person who is trying to impress...you are who you are. And it comes across in your videos."
Jodi Topping Collier County, Florida
"When you interviewed your former student, that was very powerful...I really liked hearing from that perspective. She hit the nail on the head [regarding student engagement]."
Beth Rubin Palm Beach County, Florida
"The workbooks are amazing, and the visuals are super helpful!"
Kassandra Rabinovitz Ft. Pierce, Florida
"I was telling one of my students about the passion project, and she got so excited. She said that in letting students learn about what they want to learn, 'you'll still get the same results, we'll just be way more excited about it.' So I told her to hold that thought because that's exactly what we're planning to do..."
Jodi Topping Collier County, Florida
I am crazy-passionate about teaching high school, but I'm also crazy-passionate about rethinking *the way* we teach high school. I freaking love being an educator, and I've learned a heck of a lot through my professional experiences and opportunities...
But #truth, I've had to un-learn a lot, too...that adorable little teaching philosophy I drummed up for job interviews some fifteen years ago just doesn't cut it in today's classrooms. And if I think I'm going to teach my students the same way I was taught back in my own high school heyday, well...that's not going to move the ol' academic needle forward either, y'all.
But I'm cool with that. I'm down to learn something new. And I'd love for you to pioneer these new heights with me...
There is SO much room for improvement in our field, yet it's super easy for us to get caught up in the confines of a comfortable curriculum...the kind that's easy to teach and easier to measure.
So in a system that's 100+ years old (yet virtually unchanged), I'm on a m i s s i o n to 'think different' because times, they are a-changin', with our without our professional consent.
Specifically, I'm all up in your digital space to create and share updated ways for teaching writing, so high school ELA teachers can meet local and national standards while also cultivating what matters MOST for today’s 21st century learners and tomorrow’s innovative leaders.
It's time to go rogue, and get real, yo...