Friday, May 16, 2014

Feature Friday - Across the Curriculum with Colleen Bergin

I am Gina of the PerfettoWritingRoom, One Word, One Store, Welcome to another edition of Feature Fridays, with your host Gina, @ PerfettoWritingRoom, One Word, One Store, One Blog, and ALL things writing!!
     TODAY, we're talking that catchiest of catch phrases - writing across the curriculum, or cross disciplinary writing.
     Just as math, social studies, science, (etc.) teachers are being encouraged to incorporate writing in their curricula, so too should English teachers be spreading our student's wings and asking them to write about topics OTHER than Jane Eyre, Shakespeare, or whatever poet or author we are working on. I know, perish the thought. 

Once students are out of school they will continue to use social media and research, but will grow in other areas, including proposals and other types of business writing. 
      They will be expected to have knowledge of the world outside the strictures of the English classroom and so any way we can reinforce other disciplines through writing will better prepare students for their future lives. I was half-joking when I said it was a catch-phrase. 

Writing across the curriculum was a movement started in universities to stave off the "massacre" of time loss that was happening when students came in as freshmen and sadly didn't know how to properly write at the college level. The fact that writing is now strongly encouraged in as many courses as possible at the lower levels is absolutely essential. Written expression is essential. I don't think I need to go on about this. 


Get yourself a cup. Relax. What is wrong with me today? And let's introduce the intelligent, thoughtful Colleen Bergin. Our guest for today!

Visit Colleen Bergin's Store - Now, her new logo! 
Click on EITHER! 

LIKE ME, Colleen Bergin also is a strong proponent of  writing across the curriculum. I asked her about it and she said:

"I am a strong advocate of Writing Across Curriculum.  Students need to write whenever they can and learn Academic English.  Restricting writing to only one course does not help as writing is a huge aspect of life whether students realize it or not."

Colleen, or Ms. Bergin,  always brings world events to forefront in English class. She adds that "It's current and interesting for students as they can learn about it in real-time. Students prefer to do informational texts on current events rather than something that happened 50 years ago.  If it's anything to do with anywhere in the world, I find students like to learn about the culture and compare to the culture here in the USA. It's a great way for students to see that world events can fit in anywhere, not just history class."

It's little wonder Colleen loves current events as she's a little bit of a traveler and lover of adventure and travel herself. Colleen Bergin Attended Title I school in Connecticut through high school and is the only deaf child of six siblings. She uses hearing aids and lip reading over sign language though she is fluent in ASL. 
     Ms. Bergin graduated Roger Williams University in Rhode Island in 2010 with a BA in English and Education and rather than letting any dust collect, moved to North Carolina six months later with nary a job or apartment lined up! 
    She worked hard in an ELA all boys 7th grade class for one year before moving on to where she teaches NOW. . . High School English baby, because it's the BOSS APPLESAUCE!

Like ME Colleen  loves traveling - unlike me, she is actually getting to do a backpack-through-Europe trip this summer! (ugh am I jealous, but I am also 40, 41 come June 29 and frankly in no shape for camping or "hostel hopping" anymore, but still, very great for Colleen! Sad for me.). She loves the Outer Banks, the beaches of Rhode Island, spending time with family and friends, READING (can I get an amen on reading and family please?), and you can find her playing tennis in the park. You can find me trimming the hedges in the back yard. I'm chubby. It is process. . . 

And Ms. Bergin likes Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Bones....
Me? Grimm, Cosmos, and shows they will be cancelling like Believe, Almost Human, Resurrection. The horror.

Writing across the Curriculum is connected to READING. Don't let anyone tell you different. here's a great, sad, fantastic, awesome Facebook picture I saw yesterday. 

THIS IS relevant to Writing Across the curriculum. How is reading NOT related to writing?
Those who regularly read are better able to organically write and write properly, without exhaustive instruction, and they usually require less intensive editing, simply because they internalize structure, vocabulary, organization and more as they read.  This is not unlike how how infants pick up new words from listening. Reading much will silently TEACH you to be a better writer. (Sadly, if you read too much Truman Capote you may write JUST like him, but that is a different argument for a different day). 

1. Read in class
2. Create incentives for reading at home
3. Read literary but also popular and current literary books that students enjoy.
4. Assign nonfiction reading that is connected to lessons they will be required to participate in the next day or day after.
5. Students read in order to teach others.

1. Write in Class
2. Make incentives for writing in the home
3. Make writing connected to literary works, and to current literary works that are popular to increase 
the desire and willingness to write
4. Make writing of the nonfiction variety, and also applicable to lessons they will be learning tomorrow (and the next day...) so it is necessary for them to write and be prepared for class.
5. Have students write that specifically have to job with JOB SKILLS, science, Math, teaching others, as well as the forms we are already doing (how to, narrative, argument), but expand current events to include other disciplines. 


                 Colleen Bergin's Best Seller

It's never a good idea to give away too many of your great ideas.
Colleen Bergin's "What's Going on in the World Today" is just fantastic. 

-It encourages students to delve into the real world, 
-write in a way that develops critical thinking (for themselves and 
   those who read or listen)
-think outside the classroom to issues and events that matter
- Use writing as a tool to express what is going outside this 
- Rigorous in challenging students to use proper sources.

So What Does it Include?
  • With a POWER POINT
  • Helpful links for research into different countries
  • Directions
  • Rubric
  • Annotation Guide
  • Research Guidelines

In short it's nothing short of an INTERNATIONAL current event Presentation Project that challenges students but makes the set up a whole lot easier for teachers. I also like that it is an ongoing project!

Do you have ANY OTHER IDEAS?? 
Don't get me started on how important creative writing is to critical thinking skills. But that is not quite writing across the curriculum, is it?

How about Debate, Argument, History and Quotations of Abraham Lincoln in your English Class?
                         Writing Across the Curriculum with Abe !!

ABRAHAM LINCOLN- 2-week Writing & Speaking CCSS Unit. MiddT

What is great about this two-week unit is that it is completely balanced for speaking, listening, and writing. 
There is a journal component, and argument and debate component, a recitation, a major in-class writing activity, as well as small one-day activities that are all based on some of the best of Abraham Lincoln's quotes. 

Of course as you'd come to expect from the best items on TPT, this item comes with a rubric, Common Core standards, directions, and it easy to follow. You can of course make it your own and use what you want or rearrange it. And there is more material than you need. Though there are five journal days, there are ten choices, for example.

This product can be used any time of year but supports social studies teachers and can be used in a cross-disciplinary way. Because of the debate element, many current events can be discussed as well. Consider

Visit PerfettoWritingRoom for TPT TIPS FOR TUES and every FEATURE FRIDAY. We'll keep the Coffee hot and ready for you, and we're always here to talk: TPT; Tips for sellers; great new products; and wonderful sellers like YOU!

Have you not joined TpT? Let me refer you!

1. What is a fantastic cross-curricular or cross disciplinary lesson you've done YOURSELF?

2. What is a fantastic idea you wish you'd come up with?

3. Is there any trend in this Writing Across the curriculum, cross-discipline movement YOU WISH they's STOP doing?

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