My Own Attempt at Concise Nonfiction

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So I guess short forms of creative writing are a thing now.  I wish I knew about this sooner, because there’s a lot of room for it on this blog.  Some names for this type of writing (other than blogging, I suppose) include:

  • prose poetry
  • microfiction
  • flash essays
  • flash nonfiction
  • micro-essays
  • concise nonfiction

A lot of my journaling could fall into these categories.  There are some neat online resources and journals that publish these pieces.  Here are a few of my favorite examples and a great list someone else put together: Continue reading

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Self-Publication Project: A Karate Children’s Book

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Sorry I’ve been on a bit of an impromptu blogging break.  Finishing up two summer grad classes have cut out of my writing time.  Academic work and blogging don’t always mix, either, and neither do the really fun creative writing projects on which I’ve been hoping to work.  Thanks for reading the trickle of posts on education I’ve managed.  Look for more on philosophy and some poems and stories soon!

I do have one writing project to share, though.  A while ago, I posted about the best books for baby on my fatherhood blog, and that lead to a project idea.  A local artist, Marissa Dziedzic, and I wrote and illustrated a children’s book all about Shohei-Ryu karate last year, and we’re in the process of ushering it through to self publication.  (Look for reflections on the process on this blog.)

Click through for a preview scan of the title page.

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How to Implement Rigorous and Relevant ELA Curriculum Part Two

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My third semester of educational leadership is winding down, and that means I can use more of my summer vacation for blogging about things OTHER THAN EDUCATION!  If you’re still with me, though, here’s a follow-up to my last post about implementing rigorous and relevant ELA curriculum.  Enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments. – Bill

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How to Implement Rigorous and Relevant ELA Curriculum

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Leaders often look to best practices, scholarship, and other leaders before making changes in their organizations. However, much of my coursework in educational leadership has called on me to look to myself for answers. I find this to be valuable, as I do not yet have years of leadership experience to ponder; it does me good to envision how I will meet the inevitable changes and challenges I can expect when I assume a formal leadership role. Though I have opportunities to reflect in my coursework, prior assignments required me to ground my reflection in research. This may seem contradictory because most of us self-reflect without considering others’ thoughts, but academia demands explanation enforced by citation.

This post, though, is a reflective narrative reflection, a metacognitive exercise—a record of my thinking about my thinking. And in this instance I will write my way through the problem of implementing a rigorous and relevant ELA curriculum. Here is how I understand the issue.

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Reflection on Learning Theories

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Here is a short final paper I wrote for my class in learning theory.  Even though it answers questions posed by a specific writing prompt, I hope it sparks a little discussion here on the blog.  As school winds down, I hope to get back to publishing more about writing fiction, philosophy, and learning.  For now, please let me know if you’d like to further discuss this paper.  Thanks!

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Stephen King On Writing Concepts, Not Plots

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I’ve been reading a lot of story-driven fiction lately, including a lot of young adult books like Divergent and things like Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. This prompted me to delve into King’s On Writing, in which he explains that good stories start from concepts, not plots.

stephen king, on writing, fiction, literature

When I first started writing fiction, I generally started with an idea or feeling I wanted to express, not with stories or characters or anything even remotely interesting to readers. As I evolved a bit, I read Story by Robert McKee and learned the value of plotting out engaging stories with notecards and developing interesting characters using Dungeons-and-Dragons-style character record sheets. This is a laborious approach, but it helped me to refocus my writing. However, it makes for a slow process, and I had to put a my pots on simmer rather than boil while starting a family and enrolling in grad school. Continue reading