Archive | October, 2014

Celebrate National Day of Writing 2014


We are writing all the time.  We are texting, blogging, divining poems, making grocery lists, tweeting, tinkering with song lyrics, making infographics, tweaking lines of code, designing storyboards, or shooting off more emails….

At the Kean University Writing Project we believe that writing, in its many forms, is the signature means of communication in the 21st century. We envision a future where every person is an accomplished writer, engaged learner, and active participant in a digital, interconnected world. And each October we carry on the tradition of celebrating the National Day of Writing.

On Monday, October 20, 2014 we invite you to celebrate the 6th annual National Day on Writing. Officially recognized by the U.S. Senate, the National Day on Writing aims to celebrate writing in all its forms. The theme this year is writing on community, and writers are encouraged to interpret that in whatever way they choose.


image from

Here are a few ideas for how you might celebrate the National Day on Writing:

Participate in a national “tweet-up.” Share your writing in the national Tweet-Up on October 20 by using the Twitter hashtag #writemycommunity. In addition, look for tweets from @KUWP (the Kean University Writing Project) and @KeanWriting (the Kean University Writing Center) and retweet our enthusiasm for so many forms of writing.

Start a novel. November is National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo). What better day to start planning a novel than the National Day on Writing! NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program offers an online space for young writers to support one another through the process. Young writers can exchange ideas and questions in the forums, and fill out a profile to share excerpts of their novels-in-progress with Writing Buddies. For teachers, NaNoWriMo has Common Core-aligned lesson plans, fun writing exercises, an assessment rubric, a “Virtual Classroom” for tracking kids’ progress, and an educator community.

Expand your definition of writing:  How about expanding our notion of what writing is in this day and age? Embrace multimedia and multi-genre projects as a form of writing by applying the writing process to videos, slideshows, podcasts, and more.  The National Day on Writing is a fun day to try out a new creation tool. Create engaging, resource-rich slideshows with Shadow Puppet EDU or Biteslide, design an original video game with Pixel Press Floors, or Scratch, create multimedia storybooks with Book Creator or Scribble Press.

Join an online community: Giving young writers a chance to exchange written ideas through online communities helps broaden their world view and develop critical digital-citizenship and literacy skills. Youth Voices is a vibrant, moderated student community where young writers can share and discuss writing and multimedia compositions on topics that interest them.  For more current-events-focused discussions, have students check out The Learning Network from the New York Times. Daily posts challenge young writers to think critically about current news stories and to make meaningful connections to their own lives and communities.

writingwall_0On Kean’s campus: Swing by the Kean University Writing Center and add your words to the Kean University Writing Wall.  Students, faculty, and staff are invited to write a short message, signature, etc, on the paper lining the Writing Center entrance, in celebration of writing in the most freeing of formats.  Anyone can add their reflections to the collaborative writing space – a simple tribute to the power of a community’s words.

Looking for a special writing community?: Consider an MA in Writing Studies at Kean University.  We are a unique community of writers who are exploring the variety of ways that writing matters in the 21st century.  The Master of Arts in Writing Studies offers three tracks: theory and practice for teaching writing, creative writing, and professional writing. Students create a focus suited to their professional, practical, and creative agenda. Kean’s Master of Arts in Writing Studies is customized to each individual writer who joins us.  The program is specifically designed for individuals who want to create a course of study that will support their particular professional aspirations.  For more information contact Dr. Mia Zamora

More great ideas for the National Day on Writing:


image from

  • Order the Chaos

    Yesterday I wrote this post, but I forgot to post it… Yesterday, Doug said that I tend to bombard people with ideas, which overwhelms them. He told me that I need to start resurfacing my ideas, and making connections for people, so they can see the big picture. He told me to stop moving onto the next thing before people have grokked the work I’ve already done and how their work links to it. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="216"] Control the Kaos! (Ahem, I'm not old, just retro.)[/caption] That’s not how Doug’s feedback hit me at the time, I processed it. It was good feedback. When I got quiet, Doug said “I wasn’t trying to piss you off,” but I was just processing, reflecting, trying to stand in his shoes. Yesterday, I was presenting a sort of napkin sketch I had put together. In my mind the sketch was pretty worked out. I had documented the way that I would do a particular thing, the plan that I would put in place, and to me it was clear enough that someone else could take it and build it. As the meeting continued, I realized that my colleagues couldn’t see the picture I saw in my brain. My napkin sketch didn't demystify the system. I didn’t order the chaos in my head well enough for them to connect the dots. When I got quiet, someone said “Laura, you look very concerned,” but I was just processing, reflecting, trying to stand in their shoes. Apparently I make faces when I’m trying to understand other people’s minds. Yesterday, I posted something in the connected courses forum for Unit 3: The World Wide Web - From Concept to Platform to Cultures, and Jeffrey Keefer said
    That is one of the things I am struggling with in #ccourses anyway; what central hub to go to when I get behind and somewhat disoriented. Good thing for me to consider, now that I am considering it, as I hope this exercise helps to sensitize me more to my students who may also feel disoriented at times.
    When I got quiet, I processed that statement and equated the disorientation with fear of the chaos, the need for order, and I started to reflect on how my understanding of order may be different from other people’s understanding. I think this fear rears it's ugly head when you're learning about technology, and we tend to look at people who "can computer" as being gifted in some way. We think "I could never do that." I’m failing because I am not ordering much of my work in a way that other people can understand. I can’t see where the disconnect is so I’m not sure how to fix it. I think not being able to see is something we struggle with when we're learning about technology, and just like in any other situation it cripples us with frustration. We think "I'm never going to learn this!" I'm failing because I’m not doing well at helping people order their things so that we can link our work together. I think we don't help each other enough. In anything. But that might be another story altogether. I'm failing and it hurts, but at least I’m learning. Now I can push myself to figure out how I have to present things so that people can see the connection, so that they can understand the system. I am not a finisher, but I have to learn how to pull my ideas further. When we're learning, we have to be brave. Learning is chaos, and chaos can be scary, yes, but I think any system can be tamed, ordered, reigned in. I have to learn to order the chaos in my brain better, and be brave enough to keep failing.