Vanessa Ziff Lasdon possesses the dynamic combination of an incisive intellect and boundless passion when it comes to teaching her craft and sharing skills with her students.MaryLynn Richmond
Vanessa transformed our son Josh from a decent writer into an excellent writer.  We wholeheartedly recommend Vanessa and her ability to draw out the best in your child’s writing ability.Jill and Larry Krutchik
I know that the many fun and challenging lessons I’ve learned from Ms. Ziff will help me achieve my goal of one day being a professional writer and filmmaker.Jaren S. 7th Grade, The Buckley School
I honestly don’t know what kind of a writer and reader I would be without the tools I learned with Ms. Ziff. She was always a very understanding, rigorous, and involved teacher, and an incredible mentor.Maddie 9th Grade, Marlborough School
What our daughter values most about her time in Vanessa's class is being inspired to become an organized writer who could convey her thoughts in a meaningful manner.Laurie and Chris Harbert

Vanessa is an outstanding writer and a joy to work with.

Aimee Trudeau, Web Developer, Kizmato.com
All of us remember teachers who inspired us to greater heights and who influenced our lives. Vanessa Ziff Lasdon has played this role in my daughters' lives.Jack Tauber, M.D.
Ms. Ziff always pushed me to do my best, and never let me slack off.  She introduced me to my love of writing and gave me the confidence I needed both academically and in myself.Georgia 9th Grade, The Buckley School
I learned as much from teaching with Vanessa as any of her students under her guidance. Where so many others fall back on old tricks, Vanessa taps into her extensive experience to invent new methodologies for each and every one of her clients.Patrick Kieffer, Fifth Grade – English & History, The Packer Collegiate Institute
Ms. Vanessa has challenged me to stretch my writing and I am excited for what I will do next.Evan, 3rd Grade
It's obvious that Vanessa is a wordsmith: "Write. Observe. Revise. Discover...W.O.R.D."  These are the four essential ingredients for becoming a writer; two of them about the work (writing and revising) and two of them about the joy (observing and discovering.) Vanessa accomplishes it all.  Julie Larios, award-winning poet and children’s author
Vanessa got my 8-year old son excited and intrigued to dig deeper into his experiences and bring his thoughts to life. Now Evan’s words dance and sing, which makes me want to dance and sing!Sally Micelotta
My son learned more about writing and literary appreciation from Ms. Ziff in fifth grade than in any other year of school. I wish all teachers had Vanessa’s passion for teaching and inspiring!Kim Ford
Whether it’s teaching a student to become a more vivid creative writer, a more effective analytical writer, or a more selective business writer, Vanessa can do it all.Meli and Stephen Rose
Vanessa captured the essence of what I wanted to relay on my site without sounding trite, unlike my experience with previous writers.Martin Pugh, Musician
Vanessa is truly a one-of-a-kind teacher. She’s extremely organized, communicates ideas effectively, helps motivate, and has a lively, engaging teaching style that brings out the best efforts in all of her students.Howard Tager
Ms. Ziff is definitely not just my teacher and tutor; she is my mentor.Lexi 7th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Vanessa’s methods are creative, thorough and innovative. She makes writing fun and has turned our daughter’s “like” of writing into a true “LOVE”.The Altmans
Vanessa’s greatest ability is to help each student realize his or her own untapped potential. It’s the stuff that changes lives!Jacqueline Frohlich
The skills Vanessa taught my son--particularly the value of revising many times […] attention to detail, and high standards—are still with Nico several years later.Liz McNicoll, Attorney, Paramount Pictures
Ms. Ziff’s friendly demeanor and enthusiasm made communicating easy and learning exciting. She taught us to understand and appreciate the material, and have fun in the process.Alivia 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Vanessa’s vast skills, complete dedication, and clear purpose construct a solid core for every student she teaches. Her passionate nature produces both a fun and rewarding learning experience.Michele Noble, Director, Writer, Filmmaker
The writing skills my daughter, now excelling in ninth grade English Honors, left Vanessa’s class with continue to be an invaluable set of resources.Betsy Leva
Having an eight-year old highly gifted boy was not enough to make him put all those brilliant ideas on paper. Daniel feels constantly challenged by Vanessa and that ignites him.Liliana Benitez
Ms. Ziff maintains a good balance of knowing when to give more help and when to insist that you rise to the challenge of the learning situation. She instills confidence, honors excellence, and respects effort.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Ms. Ziff is always organized, resourceful, and ready for anything. She believes in a process, [...] the best of all being the Ms. Ziff approach, which makes her spectacular.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
While we continue to be impressed by Vanessa’s many attributes, it is her high energy level, extraordinary patience, and passion for what she does that make her truly unique.Melissa and Rob Weiler
Vanessa is high-energy smarts and charm, the kind of writer and teacher who captures and captivates readers of all ages.New York Times bestselling author, Cynthia Leitich Smith
Vanessa is a true master of her craft. She is a blast to work with, completely trustworthy and utterly authentic. To work with Vanessa is a privilege; you just want to soak up all her talent, and bottle it up for yourself! She is an inspiration.Sarina Fierro, Head of Lower Elementary, Curtis School
Vanessa has a gift for inspiring even the most reluctant writer and her passion for writing is infectious. She is a favorite workshop leader at our Young Writers’ Conferences.Julie Moore & Rena Svetic, Young Writers’ Conference Founders
Ms. Ziff set the foundation for my analytical, constructive, and creative skills. Whether writing a sonnet or writing an essay, I still have her lessons in my mind.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake

W.O.R.D of the Week Blog

Boost Reading & Writing, Creativity & Confidence! 2017 Braintastic Summer Courses & Coaching for Grades 3-12. Enroll Today!

Friday, March 17th, 2017

WORD-Ink

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Enroll Today in our 2016 Summer Workshop Series!

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

Newsela & Storybird, Unite! Building Confidence & Creativity Grammar, Reading, Study Skills Boost Writing Skills Intensive

Boost Core Upper Elementary Writing Skills & Creativity This Summer with Vanessa! July 21-Aug 15

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Click on the images below to download our application

and complete enrollment!

Summer Writing Camps

 


 

 

Summer S.T.E.A.M. Camps

3D Printing, Quadcopters, Toy Design, Hydraulic Robots: Engineering Camp at Curtis, July 14 – Aug 8

Monday, May 5th, 2014

 

Click on the image below to download the Complete Engineering Camp application and complete your enrollment! 

Complete Engineering Camp

 

At Complete Engineering Camp, kids choose their projects and work is self-paced. From customized 3D printing, quadcopter drones, toy design and hydraulic robots to bridge construction, zip lines, homemade candy and cosmetics, join our expert team of scientists and engineers to learn about the awesome technologies that power the machines and products we love!

WORD-Ink

DID YOU KNOW? 

3D printing technology is used in such industries as architecture, construction, engineering, education, biotechnology, industrial design, fashion, automotive, aerospace, medicine and the military.

Write. Design. Build. Film. Solve: W.O.R.D. Ink Camps at Curtis School, 7/14-8/15

Monday, May 5th, 2014

W.O.R.D. Ink

 

Write. Design. Build. Film. Solve: W.O.R.D. Ink Learning Camps at Curtis School, July 14 – August 15

 

Thank you for helping us spread the W.O.R.D. on school campuses and among friends!

EARLY ENROLLMENT DISCOUNT DEADLINE: MAY 19TH!

Click on the images below to download and complete your application today!

2014 W.O.R.D. Ink Workshops & Application on Curtis Campus

COMPLETE ENGINEERING CAMP

July 14-18 / July 21-25 / July 28-Aug 1 / Aug 4-8 / 3rd – 7th graders

TABLETOP MOVIEMAKING + STOP-MOTION ANIMATION

July 21-25 / July 28-Aug. 1 / Ages 8 – 12

GRAMMAR, MATH & STUDY SKILLS 

Aug. 4-8 (Recommended for 4th & 5th graders before our “Writing Skills Intensive”) 3rd – 5th graders

WRITING SKILLS INTENSIVE

Aug. 11-15 / 4th – 6th graders


Patrick’s team of experienced designers and engineers has a bazillion cool projects up their sleeves. Kids can work on any project they’re interested in each day, each week, at their own pace. From AC circuits and bridge construction to toy design and zip lines, when it comes to our Complete Engineering Camp, the sky’s the limit!

Visit our Tabletop Moviemaking YouTube Channel! Check out our Writing Adventures Tumblr Blog!




 

 

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Writing Adventures Workshops for Kids

 

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2014 Course Catalog & Inspiring Kids to Write!

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Vanessa Ziff Lason

Head & Heart to Hand & Page:

Inspiring Kids to Write

By W.O.R.D. Ink Founder & Executive Director, Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

 

There’s a writer in all of us because there’s language in each of us.

Have we not all shared the same spark of joy in first learning to write our very own name?

Writing is self-discovery and self-expression.

We begin with a spark.

To inspire a child to write we must reignite that very first wonder and delight, and we must hold the spark steadfast with the intention of kindling a long lasting love of language within the child.

 

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PSSST! CoMe IN: Character, Symbolism, Irony & Theme

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Guest post co-written by W.O.R.D. Ink team members, Gannon Daniels & Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

Gannon Daniels

Vanessa Ziff LasdonWelcome back and Happy New Year!

In the first two installments of this WRITE-themed blog post series on literary response essay techniques (Part 1; Part 2), we addressed 5 of the elements of fiction that our acronym, PSSST, CoMe IN! represents: Narration, Plot, Setting, Style and Mood.

In this final post we’ll survey the most important element of fiction, CHARACTER, followed by 3 final elements that are a bit trickier to grasp at first, yet no less commonly addressed in essays: Symbolism, Irony, and Theme.

PSSST! CoMe IN and explore with us!

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Re-vision the Holidays with Giving Tuesday & littleBLUEPRINT.com

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Guest post co-written by W.O.R.D. Ink team members, Jaya Mukherjee & Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

Jaya Mukherjee Vanessa Ziff Lason

I love the revision process because in writing and life, to revise our process can signify more about us than the art we create. The challenge we must pose to ourselves is to revisit something familiar with completely new eyes. Whether it’s an essay, a facet of our own identity, or our perspective on the world, if we approach revision with an open mind, the process can be an opportunity of discovery and exploration. I find this notion of revision to be particularly pertinent during the holiday season.

Giving Tuesday littleBLUEPRINT

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PSSST! CoMe IN: Plot, Mood & Style (Part 2 of a 3-Part Series)

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Gannon DanielsGuest post written by W.O.R.D. Ink team member, Gannon Daniels

My brief introduction of the first installment back in September considers how students don’t always know how to approach analysis of literature and often are not as familiar with the terms used by instructors when asked to write an essay about literature. The lesson I propose minimizes terms, empowers students, and creates a clear path to student-based discovery and learning.

Screen-Shot-2013-09-11-at-12.20.39-AM

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Newsela.com: Creating Global Citizens Through Scaffolded Texts

Friday, October 25th, 2013

 

Jaya MukherjeeGuest post written by W.O.R.D. Ink team member, Jaya Mukherjee

As an educator, I watched my students struggle with nonfiction texts, namely newspaper literacy. Though my ambition was to make my students secular-minded world scholars, the interpretation of current event articles traditionally proved to be an overwhelming assignment for them. The language was over their heads or the content of the story was framed in an inaccessible way to children. Parents would often call to tell me how frustrated the assignment made their children. If they weren’t already tired of scouring the Internet looking for a particular news story, then they were spending hours deconstructing the story.

Newspaper literacy is an essential skill. Without it, we are not setting our kids up to truly understand what is happening in the world or how they fit into it. Nevertheless, my experience with my students is undeniable proof that our kids need more support in this endeavor; they need one place to turn to, a way to compensate for journalistic language that they may not grasp yet, and a set of specific questions to anchor their understanding in the content of the story. Recently, the W.O.R.D Ink team found such a place and it’s appropriately called Newsela.

Newsela.com

 

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Learning to Revise in Order to Communicate Clearly

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Gannon Daniels

Guest post written by W.O.R.D. Ink team member, Gannon Daniels

I have seen countless papers; pages of paragraphs: Essays. These essays were written for composition courses of many levels by community college students with varying degrees of talent and ability. I have been an instructor and tutor at a community college for 13 years. What have I done? Looked at essays.

Some students are heart-broken when they get a “C” on their paper. “I worked so hard on it,” they say. I believe them, and yet I know there is something they don’t quite get.

Writing is rewriting.

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Language Experience Approach: Engaging New & Reluctant Readers

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Susan Kawell

Guest post written by W.O.R.D. Ink team member, Dr. Susan Kawell

 

“Let’s start with my newest story,” suggests Tasha. “The second one I wrote.”

So I begin to read her story –-

“No, no, I’ll read it.” And she does – perfectly. Why?

Because it is her story, and Tasha is becoming a better reader by learning to read her own words. That’s what LEA does – LEA, Language Experience Approach, teaches young children or reluctant readers, whatever their age, to read.

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Pssst! Come In: Opening the Door on the Elements of a Literary Essay (Part 1 of a 3-Part Series)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Gannon DanielsGuest post written by W.O.R.D. Ink team member, Gannon Daniels

Writing about literature can be daunting, no matter what grade or skill level. Before writing begins, students need to have a general understanding of literary elements in order to feel confident when they encounter the language of fiction often found in literature essay prompts. Early in my teaching career, I shared a lengthy literary devices handout with my students. It covers everything from alliteration to leitmotif, and the author kindly uses color-coding to clarify which terms are “elements” of fiction and which are authorial “techniques.” I thought at the time I was doing my students a great favor by providing this comprehensive resource, but I was only causing more confusion. A case of “more is too much.”

james joyce

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Rework or Rewrite? An Important Consideration During Revision

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

Michael BelsonGuest post written by W.O.R.D. Ink team member, Michael Belson

Why do We Revise?

An author’s written work is like their child. They nurture it, they care for it, and they want it to grow up to be the very best it can. That’s why when an author finishes a draft, they know it’s only the beginning. Now the real work begins, the work of revision, the work of taking something good and making it great, the work of taking something great and making it truly inspirational.

But what exactly is revision? I thought I knew.

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The Power & Puzzle Behind Connection

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Becky French, W.O.R.D. Ink team memberCo-written by W.O.R.D. Ink Team Member, Becky French & Founder, Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

 Watching Students Learn

As I scatter the puzzle pieces on the teaching table in front of my fourth and fifth graders, I expect them to dive right in, strategy in mind, and finish by the end of the hour. Instead, most just stare, as though a puzzle is a foreign object, and for many I soon realize, it is. Those with some experience approach first, while the others observe. By the end of half an hour, all hands are on deck and, working together, they solve the puzzle by the end of the period.

I’ve never learned more about the way my students think than I did while observing them put this puzzle together. Two years later, I find myself watching with the same fascination as my infant daughter begins to explore the world around her, with no prior notions about how anything works, no system or rules, just curious hands and a mind to match.

At the risk of sounding cliché, I’ve truly always found students to be puzzles. Some have all the pieces and know exactly how to place them, while others have either misplaced a few or had theirs depreciated or taken away. It’s my job as a teacher and specialist in learning disabilities to help these students relocate and utilize their missing pieces, and then determine what strategies helped the most. The only way I can effectively do my job is through observation and connection. I must watch my students read, write, grapple with math problems, and interact with others. To truly help students learn and grow, I have to know them, understand them for where and who they are, and ensure that they trust in me.

Puzzle-piece

Why Connect?

The Internet is bursting with research illustrating the value of connecting with students and strategies for building and sustaining those connections. Connection nurtures success on all levels, from classroom management to grades, but how does connection help a tutor? (more…)

Teachers Write! A Virtual Summer Writing Camp for Adults

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Teachers-Write-Button

Teachers, Librarians, Homeschool Parents, and Children’s Writers: Do not miss one of the most enriching personal and professional development opportunities of the summer: Teachers Write. By participating in Teachers Write – renowned author Kate Messner’s free, on-line summer writing camp – you learn to be a better writer, you instantly integrate into a community chock-full of captivating individuals from all over the world, you have opportunities to interact with an awesome panel of authors AND you can win free books for your classroom or library!

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Summer EduTech Jumpstart! Best Apps of 2013 for Educators, Writers, Professionals, Parents & Kids of All Ages

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Times are changing fast and furiously. Smart phones, iPads, iPods, and tablet devices are seemingly glued to everyone’s hands. If you haven’t already, it’s time to make the most of the latest technology this summer – or at least understand what your kids are doing with it!

This week’s DISCOVER post uncovers the best of Apple’s mobile apps for kids of all ages, as well as for educators, professionals, parents, and writers. While an app like Angry Birds is just plain addictive, consider these engaging mobile applications that offer hours upon hours of educational value. They are worth checking out! (more…)

New from W.O.R.D. Ink! Customized, “Build-It-Yourself” Summer Workshops for Kids, Teens & Adults

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

It’s an exciting and busy time for W.O.R.D. Ink. We are in the midst of expanding our company services, employee base, and client reach. Amidst the buzz, Team Ink needs to honor personal, familial, and additional career commitments. For that reason, we’ve decided to scale back our W.O.R.D. of the Week blog from weekly to biweekly posts for the time being, so that we can maintain a steady stream of useful content while simultaneously focusing on other aspects of professional and personal growth.

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 9.37.25 PM

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Learn, Teach, Share at the Family-Friendly Maker Faire!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

IT’S CALLED “THE GREATEST SHOW (AND TELL) ON EARTH!”

Maker-Faire

There’s a reason the MAKER FAIRE has wound its way around the globe in seven short years and spawned over 60 mini-Maker Faires from Tokyo to Oslo. This is not just another social gathering – it’s a mega-science expo, an inventor’s haven, and a county fair rolled into one. 

Yes, the Maker Faire is a geeked-out weird-science fest. But, really, it’s so much more. The Maker Faire is totally Geektastic for every age, gender, and profession — for anyone who makes anything and everyone with a thirst for knowledge, resourcefulness, and creativity!

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Alice…in Widdershins

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Widdershins. Isn’t that a great word? Means “counterclockwise energy” in Wicca tradition. I actually borrowed the word from an interesting 2010 lecture by poet, author and professor Cynthia Huntington, while at a VCFA alumni retreat. I collect weird words (wabi sabi is another favorite of mine. Means “perfection in imperfection” in Japanese), in case I ever decide to recycle them into new creations, such as for today’s post. 

On Widdershins, and counterclockwise energy.

The kind of unusual, down-the-rabbit-hole energy required for…Revisions.

down the rabbit hole

Mary Blair

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I Pledge Allegiance to the Cause

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Ongoing Observations on Progressive 21st Century Educational Philosophy & Practice

I had planned to hit the hiking trail yesterday as my reward for teaching two weeks of intensive writing workshops over spring break. Both workshops are still in their infancy. Before this spring, I’d taught the Writing Skills Intensive only once last summer and the Tabletop Moviemaking course twice previously. But I’m a fanatic about research, revision, and reflection. Throughout the workshop weeks I’d constantly tinkered with my curriculum, adjusting its scope, sequence and delivery into the wee hours of the morning, making note of future changes like a mad scientist on the brink of a breakthrough.

Writing Skills Intensive Tabletop Moviemaking

So like I was saying…hiking. That was the plan on a glorious Monday morning. Coffee in hand, sneakers tied, I rifled through a few emails, browsed my favorite blog feeds, and well…one thing led to another (damn you, Internet Rabbit Hole.) Anyway, I found myself –- by way of the righteous GOOD.is – first at the articles written by, then at the personal website of, my friend and ex-colleague, Chris Thinnes.

GOOD.is

A.)  Wow. Chris never disappoints. He’s one of the most articulate, intelligent and exciting guys I’ve ever met.

B.)  Serendipity? Chris’ recent guest post on GOOD, (“Stop Exploring ‘Innovative Education Models’: We Need Action Now”) made me jump on the couch in bounce position. Forget the hike. I was already headed to church.

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Velveteen Rabbit Revisions: How to Bring Your Writing to Life (with a Whole Lot of Love!)

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Have you ever tried to solve a What’s Wrong With This Picture dilemma? Where you stare at the image for an hour straight without seeing a darn thing, but when you walk away for a while and then take another look, the answer jumps right off the page?

Color Illusion

Welcome to the Revision Process.

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The Thrill of Suspense

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

suspense

We’re all about the thrill of the chase for today’s quick WRITE post. (more…)

The L-Word

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

This week for our DISCOVER post, we’re pondering deep thoughts, like the power of language. Not exactly a subject to fit squarely in the span of a small blog post, but why not stop to pay homage to language’s immense versatility through the ages? Especially when these days a single word or simple catch phrase can go viral with the slap of a hashtag (#freedom; #WhatIMissMost)

ponder

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10 Ways to Write Tantalizing Titles

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Titles. What agony. How to condense an entire piece of writing into a single phrase or solitary word? How to grab the reader’s attention in a heartbeat? Whether fiction or blog post, essay or email subject line, without a great title, the rest of your content – even those spiffy subsections or chapter headings – may as well not even exist.

catchy titles

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March As One

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

This Saturday, 2/16: March As One

For this week’s OBSERVE post, W.O.R.D Ink implores Angelenos to March As One this Saturday, February 16, 2013! Stand by educators, families, and public education advocates participating in a crucial community march and rally to drive voter registration and turn out for our March 5th school board and mayoral elections, to raise awareness about unequal access to high quality education, and to ask our candidates to listen to the community and commit to strengthening our public education system.

March As One Fist (more…)

Six Word Memoirs

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Today’s WRITE Post is dedicated to six-word memoirs, a reminder that an entire story lays hidden within a single sentence. (And a brief marvel at how the whole of our personal existence might fold neatly into six well-chosen words.)

“For sale: baby shoes, never used.” — Ernest Hemingway

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Keep Calm and Teach On

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Keep Calm and Read On. That’s the theme for this year’s California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) Convention, taking place February 8 – 10 in Santa Clara. W.O.R.D. Ink is devoting our week’s blog post to considering this theme, with a slight variation extended to all learning:

Why is it important for a teacher to keep calm and teach on?

 crown (more…)

Edutopia Resource Discovery Dump!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

W.O.R.D. Ink is taking a short break from full-post blogging this week, but we still want to leave you with nine outstanding learning resources. Our discovery dump today is brought to you by one of our favorite learning resources, Edutopia.org. Edutopia, part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, empowers and connects teachers, administrators, and parents with innovative solutions and resources to better K-12 education. We hope the links you explore inspire you to share with others!

Edutopia.org

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Sweat the Small Stuff: Shape Voice with Sound & Syntax, Part 3

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

What is Voice? (Part 3)

In this 3-part revision series, we’ve debunked several mysteries behind the magical element within every great work of writing: Voice. It’s my hope that you’ve been able to see Voice not as an elusive and unattainable ingredient, but rather, as a series of deliberate, layered choices made throughout the revision process, and as accessible to all who practice the craft–within every genre and for any purpose. May you walk away from this series inspired to “Re-Vision” your writing with techniques that work!

revisionbulb

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Be Still Already! Coach Your Mind to Live Like a Writer

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
concentrate

Last week I made a plan to write and I did not stick to it. At least, not the way I’d intended.

Life got in the way again, and I just let it barge right through my carefully carved-out quiet time. Then I spent the rest of the week feeling terrible about not having kept the promise to myself. Well, today, I’ve decided to shorten my post in OBSERVANCE of the writing I must complete.

You will find Silas House’s observations on The Art of Being Still quite apropos for creators of all kinds. Please take a look, if only to press the “reconnect” button within yourself as an artist. The essence of House’s reflection boils down to this:

Stop talking about writing or not writing, and Just Do It already.

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10 Safe Outlets for All-Age Youth to Publish Writing Online and In Print

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Hello, 2013! Year of the Snake! Let’s make this year a time of steady progress and attention to detail, of focus and discipline in achieving what we set out to create. 

Year of the Snake, White Background

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On The First Day of Christmas, Three Inspiring Links

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Merry Christmas, word lovers! I feel so honored to share this special holiday with you! Today’s post is on DISCOVERIES, so please enjoy the following three Seeds and Sparks. May they inspire you and ignite your imagination! Share with family and be sure to curl up on your own to savor them, too. Remember: the holidays are also a time to be loving and joyful with yourself! You deserve it!   

storybird pg13-top100 choice literacy podcasts

 

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Sweat the Small Stuff: Shape Voice with Sound and Syntax, Part 2

Monday, December 17th, 2012

What is Voice? (Part 2)

In this 3-part revision series, we’ll debunk several mysteries behind the magical element within every great work of writing: Voice. It’s my hope that you’ll see Voice not as an elusive and unattainable ingredient, but rather, as a series of deliberate, layered choices made throughout the revision process, and as accessible to all who practice the craft–within every genre and for any purpose. May you walk away each week inspired to “Re-Vision” your writing with techniques that work!

TapDance

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Smartpens to Songwriting: 10 Supercool Gift Ideas for Kids & Teens

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

If you’re like me, the holiday season is somehow slipping from your grasp and your shopping days are limited. What’s more, you want to find just the right gift for each person on your list, although – let’s be honest – some are nearly impossible to please and you’re really trying to steer clear of the plastic gift card route.

In life, I’m big into intentionality, so when I gift, no matter what the age, I go for:

  • Unique
  • Practical
  • Aesthetic
  • Budget-friendly
  • Lovingly made or expertly crafted

Check out the following 10 supercool hi-tech-meets-lo-tech gift ideas for kids and teens that I’ve personally sized up. Each is sure to make everyone’s spirits merry and bright!


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Proof in the Figgy Pudding: Holiday Writing Inspiration

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

 

Amidst sensory overload, the holidays provide valuable details for authentic storytelling. Have a journal handy, because proof of holiday writing inspiration is in the Figgy Pudding!

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SparkTruck: Sparking a Creative Movement Across the Nation

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

 

In our gloom-and-doom era of deep, nationwide budget cuts to education, creativity is on the chopping block and hands-on learning is a luxury that many schools claim they can’t afford. SparkTruck to the rescue! This self-proclaimed “educational build-mobile” is on a mission to bring creative and purposeful crafting to students around the nation.

 

 

 

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Please, Sweat the Small Stuff: Shape Voice with Sound & Syntax

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

What is Voice?

In this 3-part revision series, we’ll debunk several mysteries behind the magical element within every great work of writing: Voice. It’s my hope that you’ll see Voice not as an elusive and unattainable ingredient, but rather, as a series of deliberate, layered choices made throughout the revision process, and as accessible to all who practice the craft–within every genre and for any purpose. May you walk away each week inspired to “Re-Vision” your writing with techniques that work!

Fred Astaire

(more…)

4 Reasons to Help Your Students Manage Their E-Reputation

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Have you OBSERVED your students’ online habits lately?

I first spotted this infographic created by KBSD Digital Marketing on Lisa Nielsen’s Innovative Educator site, and decided, along with Nielsen’s reference links, that it was a must-share with you all. The infographic does such a great job conveying the reasons and ways we can help our students (as educators and parents) manage their online reputation, that I have little need to add my own two cents. Except to say this: kids do not inherently understand the value and impact of their e-reputation. They are not necessarily tuned into the challenges they face each day in maintaining strength of character and in preserving the integrity of their digital identity, as they trawl their favorite social media platforms. While we have them in our sights, let’s be aware of our own obligation to teach and model responsible online engagement. Regardless, mistakes will happen. Boundaries will be crossed; lessons learned. Whether you are an educator, a parent, or both, share this post and reach across the proverbial aisle to observe how both schools and families can play key supporting roles in an ongoing dialogue about students managing their e-reputation. 

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Dear Luck: Keeping the End in Mind

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Today is a WRITE post, and that means providing you with the encouragement and opportunity to get your thoughts down on the blank page. Consider this Dear Luck post a spiritual pick-me-up quick-write that you’ll want to revisit time and again.

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Self Advocacy for Learning Differences, the Top Rule in Writing, a Revision Gallery, & The Vote for Education

Monday, October 29th, 2012

A Team Ink guest blog special: Jenny on personal truths, Becky on self advocacy, a revision gallery by author Kate Messner, & Simona on CA Prop 30 versus 38. 

Thank you to my three guest bloggers from the W.O.R.D. Ink tutoring & editorial team, who participated in this special, multi-topic W.O.R.D. of the Week post! 

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Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

 

This week on DISCOVER:

 

I am SO excited to share with you Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, which hit bookshelves and online stores on October 16th.

 

Unbored, written and edited by Joshua Glenn of HiLoBrow and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, and illustrated by Tony Leone, is a 350-page DIY “activity guide and curiosity-sparker” for all things fun. The book is geared toward ages 8-14, but many activities involve adult participation, and you’re definitely going to want to play!

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6 Little Known Tools to Flesh Out Your Sentences

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

(As first seen on Through The Tollbooth. Thanks for the guest post opportunity, ladies!)

Ready for today’s grammar lesson?

Arrange these phrases and punctuation marks to build a complete sentence. (*Note: just because Harry’s name is capitalized does not necessarily mean he begins the sentence)

,        ,        ,        ,        .

holding his broken glasses up to his nose

dizzy

covered in soot

Harry got gingerly to his feet

bruised

Lots of ways to arrange these pieces, right? I count ten at least.

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The Responsibility Addiction: Its Origins, Impact & Alternatives

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

“I’m too busy.”

Do you know how tired I am of iterating that refrain? How I wince at the worn-out words?

It’s been my ball-and-chain, my masochistic modus operandi, for the past twelve years. Yes, I’ve been a slave to responsibility. The calendar is my master. It reminds me to take my vitamins and floss; to get dressed, clean the cat box and water the plants; to see a client, post to Facebook, and go to bed. It even dictates, “Saturday – Free Time: 11:30-3:30.” Worse, that free block inevitably shrinks as extra work spills over from other times in the week when I was too exhausted, too distracted, or too disinterested to complete a “Must Do”; when I defied orders, reshuffled priorities (aren’t they more like suggestions, anyway?), and caught up on Modern Family. I’m surprised I haven’t squeezed in a regular, “Have a good cry, 3:30-5.” Of course, getting a business off the ground is no easy feat, so some allowances need be made when I’m still working through L’s and my Friday Breakfast Night routine. Still, busybodies are boring and I refuse to accept “workaholic” as my permanent middle name.

It’s not only me. All my clients and friends are “completely booked” too. And living in Los Angeles, you factor in drive time with every activity. So half the time, I’m just rushing around in raging traffic. Busy is an Angeleno’s norm, as sure as our Cali-blue sky and insatiable caffeine habit. Some of us cling to the craze with pride; for others, there’s just no way out right now. Many of us haven’t stopped to consider whether there’s an alternative.

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Writer’s Block: 12 Ways to Cure a Monster of a Problem

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

This is Grumble.

Grumble’s my Writer’s Block beast, and boy, he’s a moody one. A real monster of a problem, especially when the delicate creation stage of a project begins. Grumble can smell the sweet scent of hope and acrid stench of fear from a mile off. He squares off with The Muse on my left shoulder, perching on the right, just inches from my ear, and an arm’s length away from the DELETE button. There’s no finer victory for Grumble than a day without a word on the page. He delights in looming over me with his hairy eyeballs and doomsday expression, squashing seed ideas and spitting on sparks before either can lift off.

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Magic Formulas, Multiple Intelligences, Voice, & The Kindle Fire

Monday, September 24th, 2012

WRITE: Forget Magic Formulas. Find Your Unique Way.

Let’s pretend that writing derives from a mythic Magic Formula. I can’t imagine it being simple, for one thing (W = Butt-In-Chair x Heck-of-a-Great-Idea / 2 cups of coffee?) There are too many variables involved. This is more like it:

Now, on the surface of things, a formula is the process by which we’re able to spew out a solution on the other end. Formulas create order out of chaos, and that is why we gravitate toward them in every facet of our lives, even if you were to adamantly deny your affinity for math. Plug in the numbers, follow x, y, z, and Sha-zam! Success.

But with a formula as complicated as this (which, by the way, represents the calculation behind lacing an average shoe with six pairs of eyelets), you are bound to wind up with two trillion ways to success. (I’m not kidding. There are two trillion ways to lace a shoe.)

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W.O.R.D. of the Week

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

W.O.R.D. of the Week is a blog and virtual writer’s notebook that explores the power of words in four fundamental ways: through writing practice, observations, re“vision” techniques, and discoveries. This is a place for writers and word lovers, parents and professionals, students and educators to share in the essential ingredients of becoming a wordsmith. Two elements concern the CRAFT (writing and revising) and two focus on the JOY (observing and discovering). Believe that you can accomplish all four, that you possess a unique voice, and that what you have to say matters.

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