Are You Ready to #write2connect?

*this post was originally shared on*

I sound like a broken record in my classroom, always reminding my students that writing will play a vital role in their lives regardless of the field the end up pursuing.  People in every field, from science to business to advertising to technology to finance, have to write.  They write to share their ideas, their evidence, and their products.  They write professionally and personally.  They write concisely and in long form.  They compose Tweets and Facebook statuses, jingles and taglines, memos and reports.  They write emails and letters.  They compose persuasive presentations and informative articles.  They write to connect ideas, people, and much more.  I’ve surveyed friends who work in non-education fields and the amount of writing they do on a daily basis is astounding! I always try to share that information with my students (who seem to think writing is a torture device developed by twisted English teachers).
How does writing today facilitate connections among ideas? People? Disciplines? We’ll consider these questions and many others as part of a special #engchat focused on the National Day on Writing Twitter campaign: #write2connect.  Invite your colleagues in all content areas to participate in this chat so that everyone share ideas for #write2connect.

The National Day on Writing is an annual event to celebrate the power of writing. Celebrated on October 20th, it emphasizes the way that writing plays a part in the lives of people.  This year’s theme is #writetoconnect and it is one that is especially close to my teaching heart.   NCTE joins the New York Times Learning Network, the National Writing Project and NWP’s Educator InnovatorMozilla HiveGraphite by Common Sense MediaEdutopiaMozilla Webmaker, and National Novel Writing Month this year to encourage everyone who writes to talk about the ways they use writing to connect.

Because October 20th is a Sunday, many teachers will be celebrating the National Day on Writing on Monday, October 21st. I will be tweeting with my students who will attempt to get the hashtag trending that morning.  Later that night, #engchat will focus on #write2connect as we wrap up the celebration.

Special thanks to the National Writing Project (#nwp) for sponsoring this edition of #engchat! Be sure to check the hashtag for Connected Educator Month (#ce13) for more great ideas to connect educators!

National Day on Writing Round-up

I am the luckiest teacher in the world.  I work with the most fantastic teachers and this year I’ve connected with some of the English teachers in other buildings in our district.  Michelle and Kelly are awesome and we are so on the same page when it comes to tech and promoting English in our STEM-oriented schools.

Earlier this year Michelle and I were brainstorming ways to do more inter-academy activities in the humanities.  Michelle mentioned that she used Googledocs to run some fun writing contests in her classes and I brought up the idea of taking that idea and extending it to all of our academies.  Thus was born the first annual inter-academy writing contest!

We ended up holding a flash fiction contest.  Students were charged with writing a 6 sentence story (no more, no less!) and were give about two weeks to enter.  All entries were collected via the Googledoc survey.  Students could enter as often as they wished until the deadline and we advertised the contest in all five of the academies.  Within just a few days we had entries from every school!

After entries closed, we all popped into the Googledoc to choose the finalists.  We wanted two finalists from each school and we were able to hide the column showing the name of the student who submitted the entry, so we were able to judge “blind”.  Using the chat feature in Googledocs, we were able to discuss our choices as we made them.  We ended up with 160 entries, which was INSANE.  It took us a lot longer than we planned to narrow down the choices so we didn’t have the finalists chosen for the National Day on Writing, as planned.  However, I’m ok with that because we managed to get so many students involved in the contest!

Our finalists have been chosen and the anonymous stories are now posted in a single googledocs survey.  We posted the survey tonight and students are able to vote until Wednesday.  The winner will receive two trophies- one for them to keep and one for their school trophy case.  The school trophy will be passed to the winning school every year, like a Super Bowl trophy.  Yay for writing!!

How did you celebrate the National Day on Writing?


I write because I have always written.  I write because it feels strange not to write.  I write because I want to write.


Why do you write?  Today is the National Day on Writing and thousands of people all over the world are participating in #whyIwrite.  The National Writing Project has compiled a list of the following ways to participate today:

Participate in Why I Write

Here are different ways you can participate or celebrate “Why I Write”:

Submit student essays to Figment will be accepting submissions from September 28 through October 29. Since “Why I Write” is a celebration of writing, there are no prizes, but a curated anthology of selected submissions will be available as an e-book later this winter. Submit to Figment.

New York Times Learning Network: The New York Times Learning Network will present a series of interviews with reporters who cover a range of beats and explore their writing process. These interviews will serve as the basis for lesson plans, prompts for students, discussions, and inspiration.

Edutopia: Edutopia will be celebrating “Why I Write” with a series of blogs by NWP writers. Each blog will then invite readers to share why they write with others in the Edutopia community. These conversations will take place on the website and within our communities on Twitter and Facebook.

NWP Radio: On October 20 at 7 p.m. EST, the National Writing Project will air a live radio show to celebrate the National Day on Writing with interviews with New York Times education reporter Fernanda Santos, New York Times Learning Network editor Katherine Schulten, Figment founder and New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear, Figment teen writers, and NWP teacher and author Ashley Hope Perez, among others.

Tweet #whyiwrite: Tweet why you write and include the hashtag #whyiwrite so that everyone can see the many reasons people write.

Post on Facebook: We’d like everyone to post why they write on their Facebook pages on October 20 and encourage others to do so. Let’s create a national dialogue about writing!


Visit Why I Write for more information and links to essays from tons of authors about why they write.

National Day on Writing!

Today is National Day on Writing!  Make sure you make your way over to NCTE’s Gallery of Writing and check out the amazing work that is published there.  I finally submitted my piece to the Kidlitopshere’s gallery, so what are you waiting for?