Donna, Melissa, Katie, and Amy's Response
As we reflect upon the past two weeks of the Piasa Bluffs Writing Project, we notice that our cultural practices and the resulting artifacts are interrelated and not mutually exclusive. As we thought about how to create a visual representation of our time together, we started by separating our practices from our artifacts. Examples of practices include a common language, protocols and procedures, and the creation of a community. We replaced negative language such as “yes, but…” with a more positive language including phrases such as “Yes, and…,” “I notice…,” “I wonder…,” and “So now what?” There were many protocols and procedures including thinking partners, quick writing, sacred writing, sequencing, reflecting, transitioning, curating, and marathon writing. Finally, we recognized creation of a community as an essential practice. Through our use of common language and procedures, we created an atmosphere that felt safe; therefore, fellows felt creative and were willing to be disturbed and embrace failure. We saw this community develop as a result of the establishment of common language, protocols, and procedures.
We have now realized the difficulty of separating the artifacts from the procedures that created them. Instead of working towards an end product, we embraced the thinking process as we explored, envisioned, and enacted. Using an established protocol, each fellow had an opportunity to conduct an Inquiry Into My Practice (IIMP). As we explored our lesson plans, envisioned our sequencing, and enacted our demonstration, we experimented with one important artifact: the writer’s notebook. This notebook provided fellows with a place for many different activities such as note-taking/note-making, word wall creation, drawing, crafting, acting, and writing. These activities represented the established procedures that we had become familiar within our community. As a result, teachers will walk away with not only a wealth of inquiry-based lessons, but also a sense of power to establish a learning community in our own classrooms and schools.