The Best Pen for Writers

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Here’s a change of pace for this blog–a product review.  Long story short, I need to practice my penmanship for the written Connecticut school administrator’s exam in October, so I invested in a bunch of different pens–including some nice fountain pens.  I’m no pen expert (start here for real advice), so I experimented with pens by Uniball, Sharpie, Zebra, Fisher, and Pilot.  The cool thing is that during the process I rediscovered a love for good, old-fashioned writing.  All summer I’ve been drafting poetry, fiction, blog posts, and even a new novel by hand.  It’s been a lot of fun and an excellent writer’s exercise in revision.  It’s fun to send out correspondence by snail mail, too, and old friends were shocked by how legible my writing had finally become!

Since this is a pen review for writers, I actually wrote it out.  See the images below for info about my favorite pen of all, the Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pen.  Enjoy, and let us know how you incorporate handwritten drafts into your writing process.  Also, what’s your favorite pen and why?

pilot vanishing point review, writing, creative

pilot vanishing point review, writing, creative

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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

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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