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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday's hodge podge

We don't teach to the test...
If that's true then why did my third-grader bring home six—count 'em, six!—practice Ohio Achievement Tests last week alone? We've had them coming home and notes about how best to prepare for six weeks now. Extra help sessions for an hour after school twice a week and the occasional phone call home. Ugh! I shudder to think about what they are NOT learning in order to prepare for this test.

Journalism students get better GPAs?
PD reports today that high school students who participate in some form of journalism—newspaper or yearbook—"earn higher grade-point averages, score better on college entrance exams and demonstrate better writing and grammar skills in college compared with students who were not involved with their school's newspaper or yearbook." This is from a study by the Newspaper Association of America Foundation.

I'm not sure how it is in high school, but in my experience college journalism majors tended to get lower grades because they were so consumed with writing for the newspaper at the expense of their class work.

Storyteller blogs
Some of my fellow storytellers in the rapidly ending KnowledgeWorks project are blogging. Check out Tiny Mantras, Prefers Her Fantasy Life and Goat Bomb. A quick word about each.

Tracy Zollinger Turner of Tiny Mantras has raised mommy blogging many notches with her blogging about her son, Declan. Nice to see such an intellectual blog about being a mom. She's a veteran blogger, having been online for many years. But this one is particularly great.

Peggie Cypher, and her red-headed alter-ego Meg, is outrageous, provocative, funny, thoughtful and somewhat obsessive about certain topics (namely Wilco, John Cusack, hoppy beer and Colin Farrell) on Prefers Her Fantasy Life. But she's always surprising and entertaining. Behind the wit and occasional rant is another mother of three just trying to keep all aspects of her life humming in tune.

Please, please encourage Phil Neal of Goat Bomb to keep blogging. He has recently taken a full-time job, which will hinder his time. But he's also one of the most creative writers and thinkers. When we experimented by building out scenes in someone else's story at a workshop, he ran away with the grand prize for creativity. Egg him on because I think he'll be a unique blogging voice once he's done enough to get hooked. C'mon, Phil! We want some more.

Journos aren't having any fun
Well, at least the ones who don't embrace change as a good thing. Reminds me of teachers. Both professions are being thrust into a role of ongoing change and neither seems to attract people especially equipped to handle it.

The cure, I believe, is to get out of the malaise of group think that permeates newsrooms. Step aside, take a deep breath and inhale the possibilities. Amy Gahran takes a look at this fun-less phenomenon in Poynter this week.
In particular, engaging directly with your community can be fun and rewarding. Learning to monitor and improve the spread and impact of your work can be fun. And the process of learning anything new at all also can be a lot of fun. In fact, that basic craving for continual learning is what drew many of us to journalism in the first place. Remember that?
What's new at Creative Ink?
You may have noticed the addition of a photo on the Creative Ink banner. Or not. In case you're wondering, that's the early morning surf on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It's one of my favorite places to relax and unwind. I first wrote about it here. I find tremendous inspiration at the beach and that's another reason I've added the photo, to illustrate a source of creative inspiration for me. Plus, I think the photo makes the page look more interesting. What do you think? Do you have a favorite place?

Busy, busy, busy week

I'm working on another assignment for the Christian Science Monitor, revising my 10,000-word narrative on education reform at Cleveland Heights High School, working on a grant application, preparing for my monthly writers group, and reporting on a market for a writing newsletter.

Word of the day
highfalutin: expressed in or marked by the use of high-flown bombastic language (I like the word bombastic. Very onomatopoeic.)


TZT said...

Hey, busy woman!
Thanks for the shout-out and the kind words.

I hope that revision is going well. Mine seems to have a lot in common with losing weight.

Wendy Hoke said...

A pleasure, Tracy! :) Rewrite is going slowly.