SOL Saturday the 28th: On Discovering Nancie Atwell through Anna Cockerhill of Two Writing Teachers

Anna Cockerhill of Two Writing Teachers tweeted articles about Nancie Atwell, the winner of a $1,000,000 Global Teacher Prize. Ms. Atwell has written books and even founded a school: The Center for Teaching & Learning in Maine. I read the article by Jordan Shapiro at Forbes, who was at the ceremonies in Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). What an exotic setting for such a prestigious award! The Ruler of Dubai/UAE Vice-President was in attendance, as was Bill Clinton!!

Mr. Shapiro was already a fan of Nancie Atwell before the event and was hoping she’d win when the ten finalists were named. Shapiro proclaimed that Ms. Atwell is “empathetic, creative, and playful” in an era when such qualities are not esteemed enough. Shapiro also observed that Ms. Atwell “prioritizes student autonomy, voice, and empowerment.”

You can follow the school on Facebook; reading the “About” section was all it took. They’re art-friendly, have units that combine social studies and science, and special no bullying prevention.

Being a part of Slice of Life has made me more optimistic through stories like the Nancie Atwell saga.  It’s essential to be able to defend the philosophy of your textbook. A few years ago, I discovered the sustainability in composition work of Derek Owens of St. John’s University at the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) website. Dr. Owens urges teachers to let students write about their environment. Let them be good reporters. Then I found the #You Matter paradigm of Angela Maiers of Iowa because I followed her back on Twitter while my jaw dropped to the floor. Now we’re even friends on Facebook too. I really love her article in which she explains that heart-breaking things are your passion because you want to do something about it.

Cyberspace has expanded networking exponentially; meeting like-minded educators happens without leaving the house. Hang in their fellow Slicers; now we’re a little community.