Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A little note about navigation & the questionaire--

If you're a seminar member who has just received your link to this brand new site, please be sure and start at the welcome (that would be at the bottom of the page, our very first entry!) I've posted information about me and about our guest writers, some questions from last year's class, and a 5-part questionaire written by Linda Kinnear; she would like you to answer all five questions. Our week is tightly organized, but we'll try to address any special issues along the way.

Feel free to respond to opinions in any of the entries and in the comments. It's okay to ask an anonymous question, but we'd like names to attach to most comments; it would also be nice for you to note your home school or district when you first post. We've never done this before and are learning about what works, but we hope that this will be a good chance for us to start to form a community before we meet. As I've put a good deal of time into this portion of "pre-seminar" work, I hope that you'll do your best to make it useful and worthwhile by communicating with us and with one another. Please drop in often!



Blogger NCCAT said...

Hi! I'm Carrie Gates, Center Fellow at NCCAT. I will be working with you during this seminar week. I have been at NCCAT for close to 19 years. I came as a graduate assistant while I was working on my master's at WCU, and sort of never left! I am currently working on my doctorate in Adult Education through NC State, I'm currently in the research and writing stage, I'm studying teacher burnout! I'm sure you can all help me with information on that topic!

Marly Youmans and I are old friends, and Linda Kinnear and I have worked together for several years. The three of us have spent quite some time planning for this seminar, and have high hopes for our week together. My greatest wish is that we will have both a great time, and learn together.

To tell you something about myself, I'm from the mountains of Western NC, you can tell just as soon as I open my mouth! I am a first generation high school graduate, and enjoy sharing the culture of the mountains with friends. I am married and have three daughters, Carolyne, 29, Sarah, 24, and Ashley, 10. My husband and I are into houses, we buy old houses and restore them, and are currently building a spec house to sell this summer. We also own an old time general store and soda fountain in the nearby town of Dillsboro. He runs the store, and I simply help him with going to trade shows and choosing what to carry. I enjoy spending money!

Personally, I just published a book of stories I've been collecting from family and friends over the years, Granny's Stories: North Carolina Mountain Tales. I've really enjoyed the entire process: creating the book, publishing it, and working to distribute it. To hear more about it, check out my website, I hope we will be able to create a small book and publish it as part of this seminar. I'm looking forward to meeting all of you and working together. Carrie Gates

9:38 AM  
Blogger Linda Kinnear said...

Hi. I'm Linda Kinnear, NCCAT Center Associate, who is so looking forward to working with this seminar. Having taught composition at WCU for many years, I have a special interest in how the writing process works for the professional writer as well as that reluctant writer struggling in your classrooms with the writing test.

Within the next few days you should all be receiving the mailing NCCAT sends out prior to the seminar. Included in this mailing is the text we will be reading and referencing in the blog and the seminar. I chose this text primarily for its many interesting and challenging prompts as well as great choice of quotes. Many of these prompts ahould be fairly easy to adapt into classroom writing assignemts. Please feel free to bring some of your own prompts and quotes.

I think you will agree that Dufresne has a pretty good handle on what a writer must do to write and how what we read, listen to and observe all shape what us as writers.

I'd like to see some discussion of the book...if your time permits.

Like Carrie and Marly, I want to briefly welcome you to the seminar and thank Marly for finding the time to get this blog up and running. So, as soon as possible, please sign on and introduce yourself and perhaps your hopes and wildest dreams about writing...later. Linda

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Vanessa Thomas said...

Hi, I'm Vanessa Thomas. I'm a fourth grade teacher at Murphey Traditional Academy in Guilford County. This will be my first NCCAT seminar. I have two colleaguesand a close friend who rave about how wonderful it is so I am looking forward to being there. I've been teaching for 8 years, 7 of those in the fourth grade and fifth for one of those years. I absolutely love the fourth grade curriculum and I am searching for ways to motivate my students to read and write. It makes my blood curdle every year when I hear the students say they hate (that's such a strong word) to read and write.

Personally, teaching is my second career. I spent twelve years working in television production and hit a dead end and had little desire to go further. My husband blessed me with the chance to quit work and go back to school full time. I receive a Master's Degree in Elementary Education and haven't regretted my decision. As I said, I have a husband and two sons, ages 15 and 12. I love to read, write, hang out in the bookstore, and do all things "girl" as my family says...cook, sew, crochet. Cleaning is not one of my things though.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous marly said...


I moved a copy of the comment to a main post.


Hurrah! You mastered the dashboard! Do you want to put up a post about the book some time? I just got the one you sent me today, so I'll be reading it.


I'm interested in people who "quit" jobs others say they shouldn't, then take up a new role. (That was an important shift in my life...)

You're still the first and only member to go on line. We need to give you a gold star for being so super-early.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer Northrup said...

I'm Jennifer Northrup, former teacher and current media specialist at Flat Rock Middle School in Henderson County. This is technically my second NCCAT conference, but given that the first one was National Board related I don't count it--so I am looking forward to a "renewal" seminar.

I am trying to rediscover the writer in me, because she has been missing for a few years. This is probably the best place to start.

Just wanted to let you know that I may not have that many posts between now and Aug. 8. I am having my tonsils out this week and don't know how much I will get done between now and then. I didn't want anyone to have the impression that I was a non-participant.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous marly said...


Tonsils! Stock up on those mango and blueberry popsicles... I hear lemon is a bad idea.

And I hope that, when you get your voice back, we'll all have plenty to say.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Donna said...

Jennifer, I hope you are doing better. Marly, you are right popscicles and ice cream of course are good medicine for that type of operation.

I didn't realize people were telling a little about themselves in here. I hope you don't mind if I add something a bit late.

My name is Donna Pumphrey, and I am going to be teaching 7th grade Eng./Lang. Arts this year at North Wilkes Middle School. For the past 4 years i have taught Academically gifted Language Arts in Wilkes county. Next6 year I will have 1 AIG class and 2 Regular education classes. Before teaching AIG I was a certified Art teacher and taught Art to 1025 kids a week at three elementary schools. I am also a trained Thinking Maps trainer and give workshops in my county.

Amazingly and blessedly I passed my National Boards in Early Young Adolescence English Lang Arts on the first try this past November. I still owe my respect and gratitude to my mentor Janet Lyon-Cardwell for seeing me through the entire process and assuring me that with hard work it could be done.

I like to keep my hand in Art by painting and drawing. I recently completed an art shutter for the Arts Council in my town. I also took an art doll making workshop that was wonderful. As the art director said, "It was like craft camp for middle aged folks."

,I like to read, write, watch DVD's and play with my grandaughter as well.

I am married to a retired/disabled Classically trained Guitar Musician named Daniel who also likes to play Jazz and rock and roll when he feels well enough. I have 3 grown children. Laura Jent, who is 27,is a poet, and has published several poems in her local town and online. She is currently working on a Manga novel, and editing a book of her poems. She will soon be married to Rob Clough. L. Paul Jent, my son, is in the air-force and also writes. He is 25 and working on sci/fi fantasy stories. Corrie Mayhew, my youngest child at 22, is married to Shannon, works part time at a jewlry store and raises my beautiful granddaughter. My stepson Jasper is 13 and is trying to win as many cars as he can in driving games on the playstation. He also takes apart bikes with the eye on someday completly building a new style.

We also have 2 indoor cats and one outdoor cat that we claim. We also have several that we seem to be feeding. That plus one golden retriever are my husbands companions when I am not here.

I am really looking forward to the NCCAT seminar. It will be my first. A couple of my friends have been to different seminars and loved it. I am looking forward to riding with Vanessa and meeting you all.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous marly said...

What's a thinking map?

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Donna said...

Thinking Maps are 8 different visual organizational tools based on 8 different thinking processes. The maps are used in all content areas and across the school and system so that they form a common visual language.

They really do help students "see" what they are learning. If you want to find out more the company website is There is a picture of all 8 of the maps on the left toward the bottom of the page, on black.

I give one day workshops on what the maps are and how to use them in the classroom.

One thing that I have found about the maps is that they help kids dig deeper into the text of a story. Rather than surface questions that kids can find from re-reading the text and regurgitating the text, the maps help them dig deeper to think about purpose, setting, point of view, plot, theme, making connections, and predicting what might happen next. They help kids unlock the why of the story rather than just the who, what, when, and where.

Hope this helps clarify.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous marly said...

Hmm. Sounds interesting. I'll have to post the pictures some time...

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa Thomas said...

Hi all!

I think popsicles and ice cream are good medicine for anything! :-) I hope you are feeling better, Jennifer.

Our school just had our first thinking map training. Sue Jameson was our trainer. Anyway, we've used the circle map briefly in writing. We are hoping to use the maps to increase reading comprehension and to have organizers that are the same across grade levels and subjects to help with writing as well. I'll have to pick your brain on those, Donna.

I checked out The Curse of the Raven Mocker and I've got Little Jordan on hold at the library. I haven't started either. I'll have to get back to you on those. I couldn't find the Railsback book in the library and I don't live near Sylva.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous marly said...

Vanessa, "Little Jordan" is the bridge between my poetry and stories. (Did I say that already? Hope not.) My first fictions made up a group of nine stories plus that novella; Godine was to do a pair of little books but I ended up withdrawing the stories because the process was a bit slow... The hardcover is really pretty.

The one you checked out of the library is the first of my fantasy books, written first and foremost for my middle child, the fantasy maniac. Either one of those books will get you in the mood for Cullowhee, as they're both the result of growing up there. Neither would be as they are without Cullowhee and WCU, where they used to let me root about in the Hunter archives. The perks of being the child of a professor and a librarian...

I don't think that the schools in this area have used Donna's "thinking maps." I'll have to ask, next time I bump into a schoolteacher.

Alas, poor Jennifer. Hope she's eating an exotic popsicle right now. She might be like Roald Dahl and keep her excised tonsils in a jar--well, I think his souvenirs were rattly bits of his spine and hip--but probably not!

10:28 PM  

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