Sleeping Away from Home: Slice #23 Conversations with Eileen

It’s 3:32 am and I really shouldn’t be up.  Yes, I say that to kick off many slices but today, it will be tougher to enjoy the work of documenting the deep conversations to come with Patti and Joseph as we unpack Patti’s new workshop sharing teacher work she has recently experienced and wrote about.

Joseph set up this project a few months ago without really knowing what it would look like until it happened.  But he knew that it would be wonderful and, yes, he was right.


Patti Stock is a wonder.  She’s been a force in deep thinking and writing about literacy for many years.  She has been passionate about the study of English and a gifted college professor.  She has been president of the National Council of English Teachers and a Director and documenter of the work of the National Writing Project.  She is constantly writing and publishing articles and books.  And she is a mother and grandmother, traveling the triangle of Michigan, Bethesda and Poughkeepsie to support her families.  And. so lucky for me, she’s a friend and tonight at the Gramercy, we are roomies, sharing a suite.  And I’m hoping that she’s sleeping on her side of this wall.

On Wednesday she shared a brand new workshop with a group of very passionate and bright writing project teachers and doctoral students at the U of Maryland.  Joseph, had this well coordinated making sure that Patti had the supplies and tech equipment she needed,  and we all had  food for fuel. DSC_0416 DSC_0437 DSC_0451 DSC_0409 DSC_0436

Both Joseph and I documented the event with our cameras at different vantage points,  capturing as much of the experience as we could, knowing that we had more time to debrief the workshop here at the Gramercy together and with some of the teachers who had participated. DSC_0386

Yesterday at noon, we said good-bye to the NWP work and met up with Patti at Union Station for a drive out to this retreat space for this reflection time.  I used the trip to take the back sleep and nap.  Maybe that’s why I’m up now 🙂

We arrived, took a walk, grabbed some coffee and homemade brownies set up the camera in my lovely bedroom and started talking.  That was all and that was enough.  Of course I had to keep checking to make sure the camera  was focused but we just talked about Patti’s workshop and the new educational reforms that held teachers back from being creative and innovative. Imagine, reformers creating reforms in education that create obstacles to innovation in the classroom.DSC_0478 DSC_0492

We were later joined by Michele to help us reflect on her experience.  She stayed with us for a feast at the local Thai restaurant and even as we said good night to Joseph and his wife Joyce, we knew there was on last conversation before we turned off our lights.  There would be more when we met up again but this was so much to talk about… endless conversations…

Yes, I should be sleeping but it’s so much harder on the road.  Yes, I have so much to think about.  Even with an episode of House Hunters on the TV for distraction,  the conversations are keeping me awake.  And Tuvia, back home is keeping me awake.

We have more teachers coming tomorrow, today to share their workshop experiences…. My cameras are charging and I will have the pleasure of taking home my filled  memory cards to download onto my external hard drive to turn into a documentary about Patti’s new work. First I have to finish my niece’s wedding video but I can’t wait to make meaning of this experience and share it with Joseph as he also makes sense of the experience that he made sure we could capture.

I welcome the Google Hangouts we will have in the month to come…

Hey, I haven’t said much about the workshop itself.  That will have to wait until the video work begins.

Okay, the Slice is done and I’m wondering, can I sleep now? If not, I see there’s new slices already posted for today.

I can read and comment …


Categories: Conversations with Eileen, Slice of Life 2013, University of Maryland Writing Project Doc Retreat | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Sleeping Away from Home: Slice #23 Conversations with Eileen

  1. Patti sounds wonderful. A fantastic educator, indeed.

    I can’t wait to read more about the actual workshop in the days to come.

    Hope you fell back to sleep. Ever try crashing ocean waves on the iPhone’s whit noise app? That helped me and Izzy fall asleep when we were at a hotel in DC last week.

  2. I suspect your excitement about the day and the powerful conversations was a big part of why you had trouble sleeping. On days when I teach a couple of graduate courses after teaching a full day of young students and have a couple of meetings thrown in for good measure, I often have more trouble sleeping. Sometimes, like the other night, I am filled with the wonder of possibilities as I watch my excitement and enthusiasm of my “baby teachers” as they share their students’ writing samples that would bring tears to your eyes. Soemtimes, I am reflecting on how I “hit a home run” with my “lecture” or accurately balanced constructivist and top down teaching on the graduate level. On other days, I reflect on how I can make it better and how overplanning leads to less effective teaching….I hope tonight, you have less to think about..and can catch up!

  3. Your mind is bubbling with all the sights, sounds, tastes of the last 24 hours. It seems you are itching to get home to begin reviewing your camera work. I look forward to learning from you and the teachers you have beside you. I hope there was some rest for you before this day was kicked into high gear.

  4. It sounds like you have had a couple days full of learning and talking and writing. I love those workshop experiences and it sounds like you are very reflective and perhaps that is what keeps you from sleeping. I hope you enjoy your day today and that you are able to get some good sleep tonight.

  5. Hope the sleep came, Bonnie. Your enthusiasm makes me impatient to hear more about these days that you’re recording and discussing. Looking forward to more! I loved seeing the photos as you moved through the day. What a wonderful experience those that are there had!

  6. Wow….I wonder if I was feeling some of your energy at 3:14 this morning? Your post was sparkling with all you had done in such a short time. Thanks for the pictures,too. No wonder you were wide awake…you were wired from the day’s activities and having your brain so stimulated. Looking forward to hearing more. Jackie

  7. So, I am conflicted. On the one hand I am so excited for you that you are part of this rich, amazing learning community, dashing off here and there to workshop and learn; on the other hand, I am totally jealous and know that I should start doing conferences and reach out more. Definitely doing NCTE in the Fall, though. You are an inspiration, Bonnie. .

  8. I can’t wait to hear more about the workshop. No wonder you couldn’t sleep with all those ideas buzzing around in your brain.

  9. I am happy that you are getting to spend time in such a wonderful environment. I would love to be there.

  10. Bev

    Sounds like a wonderful experience – for everyone! Patti sounds like a great literacy leader. All the best with the rest of the retreat.

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