Words from “The Writers’ Block”

IMG_3177Mary McGlone coordinates the Ward Melville High School writing center in East Setauket, New York. She also teaches English and writing at Suffolk County Community College. 

The Ward Melville High School Writing Center, “The Writers’ Block,” is in its fourth year of evolution, serving a student population of 1,775 in grades 10-12. The writing center grew out of services offered to students in literacy classes, as the literacy teachers sought to reach students in need of support who didn’t qualify for literacy services. The center was originally located in a classroom, staffed by a full-time paraprofessional and two English/literacy teachers one period a day each.

IMG_3173In order to reach a wider range of the student body, the writing center was relocated to a section of the high school library in its third year, 2014. I have coordinated the growth of the writing center since January 2016, as it evolves from its “hidden secret” existence in a classroom to a full-time center based in the school library. We are currently open every period of the school day and after school, staffed by a full-time paraprofessional, a part-time writing teacher, and English teachers who work in the center one period a day for one semester a year; thus, the center is staffed by at least one writing coach per period, sometimes two. This post focuses on the location of our writing center in the school library.

The biggest advantage—and the main reason for relocating the writing center—is that we are centrally located in the building (Everyone knows where the library is!). Students who may not be aware that the writing center exists actually see it in their daily travels. Teachers of subjects other than English (traditionally our biggest supporters come from this department) are grateful that our location is so easy to remember and tell students about. We are physically in the center of the building, close to the cafeteria, so students can find us easily and can arrive early in the period for conferences. Study hall teachers who want to send students to us know where we are, and students can get to us quickly. It is fitting that we are physically in the center of the school, since our goal is to be a “hub” of writing in the school, the center from which writing in various subjects and grade levels occurs.

Continue reading “Words from “The Writers’ Block””

WLN News Round-Up: March 16-27

Here’s some of what has been on the WLN news radar lately:

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 12.53.52 PMEverything I Know about Writing I Learned From The Bachelor“- Hillary Wentworth, a writing instructor at Walden University, explores the similarities between writing and The Bachelor. My favorite comparison is the one between academic writing and a group date! [Walden University Writing Center]

“Order and Chaos in English Spelling”- Dr. Anne Curzan discusses the assertion that English orthography makes no sense. For those who claim that they would like English spelling to have less irregularities, she offers the challenge: “Which irregular spellings are you willing to part with?” [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

“What Grammar Pedants and Fashion Victims Have in Common”– In honor of National Grammar Day in the United Staes, which was March 4, this article asserts that grammar rules are often as arbitrary and situational as those of fashion. [The Conversation]

Check out this quote from the article:

If your shoes and handbag don’t match, both items will still be entirely practical. In the same way, ending a sentence with a preposition – location words such as on, in – will not make the message less understandable, yet both, to pedantic minds, show a disregard for what is right and proper.

“How This School Library Increased Student Use by 1,000 Percent”- This piece details how a middle school library in Ohio used trends in makerspaces and personalized learning to transform their library. The post includes a list of technology in the new learning center and a video detailing the transformation of the space. [Cult of Pedagogy]

“How To Beat Creative Blocks”– The video below is from the series “The Science of Us” and discusses how creativity increases as we keep working on a project. My question is: What strategies can tutors use to help writers keep working through difficult subjects and ideas? Let us know in the comments! [New York Magazine]