On July 9, the 3RDspace will be opened by its participating members. To get yourself ready, please begin by introducing yourself in the space below. In your "howdy" please make sure to include:

1. Your name and Writing Project, Museum of School District site.

2. A short bio about yourself that includes years teaching, your content area and expertise.

3. A short 'emergent' Needs Statement that helps us understand what particular challenge you have at yoru local level, that you with to work on during the Institute.

4. Make sure to read participants' postings and start introducing yourselves!

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My name is Jenni George, and I'm a TC from the Gateway Writing Project in St. Louis, Missouri.  I'm currently traveling in my home state of Texas, so I'll be joining you all a day late.  I hope to make it to the happy hour and dinner on Monday.  I'm excited to meet and work with new people.

I've been an educator for 16 years, working eight years as a high school English teacher and the last eight years as a library media specialist.  I love young adult literature and have served on the nominating committee for the Gateway Readers Award for the past six years.  Needless to say, I read a lot of YA.  I'm also very interested in incorporating technology into learning.  

I'm not a St. Louis native, but I'm very proud to call it my home.  I'm active in my local community and like the grass-roots feel of what's happening in our city.  I teach in a suburban district in another county, so sometimes I feel torn between two worlds.  I have an awesome husband and we like cats.  Probably too much, some may say.

My ability to do my job effectively relies on COLLABORATION, both with teachers and students.  I want to learn how to more effectively and creatively blend my expertise and skills into what's happening in our school and to figure out how to weave a need and an appreciation for information literacy skills into the new world of common core.  Many feel the library has become dispensable, especially with the movement towards one-to-one or tablets.  I need to help my teachers and students re-imagine what the library is and can offer.

Howdy All! I'm Ralph Córdova and founding director of the Piasa Bluffs Writing Project at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. I originally hail from Santa Barbara California where I first became an NWP Fellow at the South Coast Writing Project. I taught mostly 3rd grade from 1992-2006, and then from 2006 till now, I teach at the university level. 

In the past 4 or so years, creativity, innovation, insights, culture of collaboration, emergence, etc. have been surfacing as "buzz words" around which many an organization and groups are gravitating towards. Great, huh? Well, not really, as we've seen and experienced in educational circles that just calling yourself  "innovative" doesn't suddenly make you innovative... We got to learn to undo and redo what we've learned in one setting, and see how it's applicable within another setting. So, for me, understanding the ways innovating cultures come to understand their practices, or cultural technologies; and examining what consequences using those technologies affords us to develop and understand becomes very important. Then, what happens when we cross-hybridize those technologies and approaches with other ones, in new ways, in new settings? What happens to us as learners and the kinds of new insights that emerge?

I've noticed what keeps people viable, especially in today's world, is the ability to work well with others, which means learning with and from others, and take one way of knowing, harness it and use it to navigate diverse learning and cultural landscapes...That, I believe is the greatest challenge facing any learner in the 21st century. How we not only become problem solvers, but passionate problem seekers?

1. Fred Mindlin, Associate Director for Technology Integration with the Central California Writing Project (CCWP), UCSC

2. A short bio about yourself that includes years teaching, your content area and expertise: I had a wonderful introduction to education through Westland School, a private progressive school in LA which my parents and a bunch of Hollywood lefties started in 1949, and which is still going strong. I studied anthropology at Reed and Oxford, and in 1968 moved to a commune where I lived for 9 years. I did some substitute teaching in the local school there, and got my credential from UCSC in 1987 and taught 3rd and 4th grade for 10 years at Alianza School in Watsonville, a two-way bilingual charter school. From 2000-2006 I was a grant-funded technology integration trainer with the Pájaro Valley USD. Since leaving the school district I've worked primarily through CCWP, and also independently, as a digital storytelling and technology integration trainer and coach. I'm a string game evangelist and my current Conference presentation is called "Telling the Computer What to Do"--a plea that students be re-empowered to create with technology instead of using these machines as glorified flash card decks.

3. A short 'emergent' Needs Statement that helps us understand what particular challenge you have at yoru local level, that you with to work on during the Institute:

I've been cooking up a grand scheme for our tri-county region (Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito Counties), projecting implementation for the 2014-15 school year, with now through then devoted to networking and grant-writing/fund-raising. 

It aims to use the over-arching theme of fiber to tie a series of exhibits and events to projects and curriculum that kids and teachers can be part of, with the working title: "Collecting Threads, Weaving Community/Colgando hebras, tejiendo comunidad." I'm attaching an early draft, but...

The attached file is not really suitable for anything--during the conference, I expect to produce at least four versions:
1) an overview for a general, non-education specific audience
2) a pitch to collaborating institutions, some educationese but more the art/culture
3) the pitch to school administrators -- and teachers, though maybe those have to be different...
and 4) the big pitch to the funders, from the 5-figure seed grant to the 8-figure big kahoona


     My name is Jeff Hudson. I am one of the founding directors of the Piasa Bluffs Writing Project PBWP) at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. I have just completed my 16th year teaching English at Alton High School in Alton, Illinois. Before coming to Alton, I taught English at Rice Lake High School in Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

      I first became part of the NWP network via the Mississippi Valley Writing project, the former site at SIU Edwardsville. Through the writing project, especially our recent work at PBWP, I have become much more principled in exploring my practice and attending to the hows and whys of my pedagogy. Even as a young teacher certain proclivities - a reflective nature, a belief in the power of writing and language -  led me toward process/critical pedagogy. The writing project has given me access to language, processes, and amazing collaborators to support innovation and revision of my teaching. 

      I am hoping to explore two questions this coming week. First, I wonder how writing project culture of collaborative inquiry and innovation can live within the context of a school year. Secondly and more broadly, perhaps, I wonder how inquiry and collaboration can sustain writing projects on a more macro-level.

  I look forward to meeting everyone for what is shaping up to be an amazing week.

Greetings to all 3rd Space participants! My name is Dawn Jung. Three years ago I retired from public school teaching after 34 years. Most of my experience was split between serving as an elementary reading teacher and second grade classroom teacher; though I also spent time teaching music and remedial language arts. For the past three years I have navigated new territory at the university level instructing undergraduate and graduate language arts courses and serving as a student teacher supervisor. It was during this time I also became involved with the Piasa Bluffs Writing Project at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois as a fellow and team leader.

The Piasa Bluffs summer institute brings new fellows into a collaborative community setting; one that is ready to examine teaching practices, explore theory and try on new ways of thinking. As the days pass fellows become empowered as the community shares common goals for high level instructional practices, develops a common language, reexamines learning through writing and views failure as  positive action. At the end of the institute fellows are eager teacher leaders ready for re-entry into their educational landscapes. Locally, we want to further develop our supportive role after the ISI experience by continuing collaboration with these teachers and their districts as they meet the challenges of supporting teachers and learning. In what ways can we explore and share knowledge? In what ways can we envision change? In what ways can partnerships grow and prosper?  

Hola! Greeting to the 2012 3rd Space cohort. This is Samuel Reed, from the city of Brotherly love and sisterly affection.

I teach 6th-8th grade scholars literacy (reading, writing and thinking) at the Beeber Middle School (Philadelphia School District). My passion includes arts in education, media literacy and understanding youth culture. For over 15 years I have served as an innovative educator, supporting students, parents and teachers locally and nationally and internationally using literacy across content areas.

I have been a TC with PhilWP/ NWP for over 10 years. I recently coordinated our local NWP/Make Magazine Project Make mini grant initiative. Currently I am participating in the Professional Learning Community, Young Men, Writing and Literacy: Classroom Projectsponsored by the NWP and the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center. I hope to connect our CoLab / 3rd Space experience with my inquiry on how to engage, disengaged students and African American males students in particular. Instead of focusing on the problems of education, I hope to engage with others to discover solutions that address the opportunities and challenges many young students face both inside and outside of school spaces.

I am a teacher blogger for Philadelphia Public School Notebook and share my practice and insights on education reform. http://thenotebook.org/users/sriii2000


So glad we get to reconnect, Sam (I also worked on the Maker Project with Sam). Your new project makes me think of that old book, "Reading Don't Fix No Chevys." Seems like there's a clear connection to Maker in your new project as well.

Hi there - Camille Kavon here - I am part of the South Coast Writing Project at UCSB and teach at CAPE Charter School in Camarillo, California. 

I have been an educator for 18 years. Several of those years as a music instructor and substitute teacher in Alaska and the last ten in beautiful SoCal. I have taught several grade levels thinking that elementary education was my favorite place to be but I was introduced to the world of middle school 7 years ago and I haven't looked back. I currently teach American History and English to 8th graders. I am lucky to have a block core period and am able to completely integrate the two subjects - my students have renamed my class the "Histenglish" class. 

I am fascinated by the premise of "cultural landscapes" and think this supports my own ideas about teaching students to look and visibly think at all times. Every year, I utilize my favorite writing activity "neighborhood map" in my classroom. I wonder what would happen if it became a "cultural landscape" map? I find the working definition of cultural landscape open to just about anything and wonder how to meaningfully develop this into my classroom...

I have used responsive design methods in my classroom to solve the problem of "how do we learn vocabulary?" - Really - letting the students develop their own ideas of how to teach and learn vocabulary was eye-opening! How do I create a classroom community that fosters this ongoing commitment to learning inquiry and ownership of the end result? 

Hello future friends . . . 

I'm Jen Kohan, a TC with the Minnesota Writing Project.  I've taught high school English for almost 15 years in Chicagoland, the Twin Cities, and Los Angeles. This year I left an instructional coach position to return to the classroom in an alternative high school setting and I couldn't be more thrilled.  Working with MWP has been completely transformative for me, because I struggled to find a teaching and writing community after I returned to the midwest from LA.  I miss California, especially in the winter.

I'm also a writer (screenplays, poetry, nonfiction, and a little fiction) and and a staff development consultant. My latest adventure has been founding a nonprofit organization for community artists. I am passionate about digital writing and storytelling, and online learning. I'm really busy, but I love to find ways for my diverse projects to dovetail. I know that this coming week will inspire me in many ways.

Our needs at MWP surround our work offsite, in partnership with other groups and organizations.  We are always looking for effective ways to connect with teachers and writers in new spaces, either in person or in cyberspace.  This week, my colleague Steph and I would also like to plan for collaborative forums for teacher support, and brainstorm strategies for maximizing our programs (after school support for students, teacher workshops, grant projects, etc.)

I am SO looking forward to this opportunity to connect with all of you!  See you soon!

Hi everyone!

This is Bowen Lee of the Central California Writing Project, recently retired teacher from Salinas, Watsonville, and Soledad, California.  I've taught elementary, middle school, high school, and adult education, mostly ELL or science, but I did start and end my 25 years in public education as an art teacher. 

 Currently I am weaving together proposals for programs and curriculum for schools that integrate life skills with language arts, visual arts, performing arts, and technology.  These are opportunities to address character building and self regulation through the arts.  There is probably no need with this group of innovators to explain the challenges of this endeavor in these NCLB times.

Nevertheless, as Fred says, this work is good work, and collaboration can only bring more value to it.  Indeed, unity of purpose among such experienced and accomplished people as all of you, is what makes rich and meaningful education possible. 

I'm Lora Ackerman. I am Instructional Coach for English Language Arts (and other content areas as needed) in the Park Hill School District.  We're located in northland suburban Kansas City, MO.  This is my second year as an Instructional Coach (I dislike the title and would far prefer Professional Learning Specialist or something even more clever than that) and prior to this role I've served as a classroom teacher of English, Speech/Theatre, a school counselor, and a debate coach. I also worked in various roles for 9 years with the Missouri Fine Arts Academy.  This is my 22nd year in the profession.  Additionally, I serve as the Teacher Liaison for the Missouri Arts Council's annual Poetry Out Loud (national recitiation contest).  To me, there's almost nothing better than being in the company of young people who have learned to own and love a poem.

I'm a mom of twin girls, about to enter 7th grade. I like distance walking, perrineal gardening, creating and appreciate art, reading, and writing.  I am not associated with a NWP group but I hold the organization in high regard.  I can't wait to be your company and appreciate the chance to learn and collaborate with all of you! 

The need that is at the forefront of my mind relates to an endeavor beginning this fall. The plan is to bring the highly engaging instructional strategies we encourage in teachers to a daily classroom setting (mine is 8th grade reading) which will serve as a "lab school" within a school.  It can be a challenge to encourage secondary teachers to "invite" a coach in to their classroom but this will be an on-site place to see innovative instructional strategies tried and explored each day within a class for the purpose of teaching students but also teaching teachers (a collaboratory of sorts itself). It is meant to be a place to begin to implment many of the changes being brought about with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, among other things.   I need to work on the pitch to encourage the use of this resource and also develop ideas for sharing the experience virtually to teachers as an extended forum for the resources it will generate.


1. Your name and Writing Project, Museum or School District site.

Hi All-  I am Stephanie Parrish, Associate Director of Education & Public Programs at the Portland Art Museum (in lovely Portland, Oregon). 

2. A short bio about yourself that includes years teaching, your content area and expertise.

I am a total newbie to 3rdSpace. I come to the group through an invitation from colleague, Mike Murawski, at the Saint Louis Art Museum.  I have been in art museum education for about ten years.  I consider myself a thinker and doer in the ongoing transformation of museums from "being about something to being for somebody" (words of the late museum guru Stephen Weil). For the last 4 years I have had the pleasure of working at the Portland Art Museum where we have done a lot of experimenting around how to make 21st century museum experiences participatory, meaningful, and relevant for diverse audiences.  Among the projects that we are most proud of and show the most promise are the personal/museum object storytelling initiative Object Storieshttp://objectstories.org/ and an annual participatory art project/event Shine A Light http://portlandartmuseum.org/page.aspx?pid=505 which is a collaboration with the Art & Social Practice MFA Program at Portland State University.

3. A short 'emergent' Needs Statement that helps us understand what particular challenge you have at yoru local level, that you with to work on during the Institute.

Taking individual risks and experimenting is hard. And convincing others to join you is even harder.  Art museums are generally risk averse institutions and slow to change. How can I continue to exercise the necessary muscles with myself and colleagues to encourages us to take smart risks and feel confident in the need to experiment, to fail, to succeed and to try again? 

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