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Dedicated to Teachers


Continuing Don Graves' legacy: "It’s going to be on you"

At NCTE's 2013 conference in Boston, Heinemann brought together more than 250 educators to celebrate our 35th anniversary and that of Don Graves's classroom research that gave rise to what we call today "writing workshop." For many of us it was among the most powerful professional development gatherings in which we had ever participated.

Blog written by Vicki Boyd: Senior Vice President and Publisher at Heinemann Publishing.

Heinemann authors Tom Newkirk and Penny Kittle hosted a number of speakers who participatedin Don’s earliest research or who helped deliver his message to schools nationwide, luminaries who remain among the field’s brightest — Mary Ellen Giacobbe, Lucy Calkins, Nancie Atwell, and Phillipa Stratton. Tom’s closing remarks captivated and stirred the room. Part invitation, part challenge, he exhorted the next generation of teachers to “step up and do this work,” to be bold in defending and extending what we know is right for children. Watch Tom present his delightful, funny, moving charge to educators and ask yourself what your part will be in carrying this important legacy forward. Tom calls us to action in the first 30 seconds. At 0:55 he identifies our biggest excuse for procrastination and then handily dismantles it at 1:06. At 1:30 he suggests a way to get started; at 1:55 he offers a way to muster a little bravery for when we’re feeling inadequate or just plain scared.

After you’ve watched the video, let us know how your project is coming along at #DonGraves, tweet us your inspiration (@HeinemannPub), or share a short video (two minutes or less, please). And keep returning to our blog to see what other people are posting (and perhaps see your post as well!).

Can’t watch the video? Check out the transcript:

TRANSCRIPT OF TOM’S CLOSING:

"I think that Heinemann has a real sense and all of us have a real sense that there needs to be a next generation to step forward in a very difficult time when so many of the basic principles of public education are being challenged. And so I just want to express I think Heinemann’s desire in doing this… that this generation does step forward to take the leadership role. It’s going to be on you. It’s going to be on you. And you know who I’m talking to. It’s going to be on you to step up and do this work. And one of the things about getting older is you think you have all kinds of advice to give, OK? It’s a real problem. And so I’m going to restrain myself and just give one piece of advice and then I’m going to shut up. But I think as you move into big projects there’s always a feeling that you need to be ready before you can start, right? You need to be ready?

Well, I think you’re never ready. I think one of the things about the writing process that you learn is that the process, itself, teaches you how to do the project. You’re never ready to be a parent. You’re never ready to be a husband. You’re never… you’re never ready. But I know with my daughter, my daughter taught me how to be a parent. The being-a-parent taught me how to be a parent. The diving into a project teaches you how to do the project. So I hope that from Don [Graves] you get the sense to be bold, to jump in, to take the try. Don Murray, Don Graves’ closest friend said, “You don’t have to have the last word. You just have to have a place in the conversation.” And you can always imagine the people out there who are better educated, who are smarter, who have a nicer office, who have a nicer word processor, you know. Who are better able... …. As Debbie Nicols says, “Let them write their story. Don’t let them stop you from writing your story.”

So certainly for this next generation coming up, I wish you the best, and I know Heinemann will be with you every step of the way, encouraging you through Heinemann resources. And every now and then nagging you with those little emails that say, “How’s your project coming?” Thank you very much for coming."






Topics: Video, Donald Graves, Education, Heinemann, Penny Kittle, Tom Newkirk, NCTE, Vicki Boyd

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