Thursday, August 28, 2008
COLLABORATING WITH CAROL BALDWIN
Carol reading over a friend's shoulder at Gaston County, (NC)Library.
My friend, Carol Baldwin and I decided to post each other's pictures, blog about our day yesterday, and then compare notes. We did this about a year ago without plan and our reflections were similar in spite of the fact that we barely knew each other.
We met last June at MidSouth Reading and Writing Institute in Birmingham. Turns out we live about an hour and half apart. So we stayed in touch and somehow developed the idea of offering workshops together.
Carol is the author of Teaching The Story: Fiction Writing in Middle School Her book is chock full of writing tips and exercises for use in the classroom. Any language arts teacher would be wise to keep it handy at all times!
Carol and I began combining her expertise in leading writing workshops with mine in talking about fiction writing.
Who knew this could work?!
We have similar personalities in that we're both straightforward and like being in charge. But Carol is more confident and assertive in situations where I hold back. So, a year ago when we were planning our week long writing semiar for NCCAT (North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching) there were moments when our collaboration felt a bit stressful for me. I was use to doing one kind of author event and she, another.
We had to figure out a new way of being.
When we presented at NCCAT, Carol kept me on time, always knew what was next on the schedule, and articulated it to our class. (I can be so spacey!) I was grateful to let her be the spokesperson but at one point I laughingly accused her of being bossy.
Carol has more experience conducting writing workshops and is gifted at quickly pointing out the strengths in a piece of writing. Me? I tend to get hung up on typos, grammar and point-of-view when I should be telling the writer how fresh and original their work is!
Yesterday, we met to plan an event for NWRESA (North West Regional Educational Services Alliance) and I realized how much our relationship had changed in one year.
Carol is still confident and quick to speak up. But I am too. I've discovered I am safe with her. If she expresses an idea and I don't love it I can squint just so and she'll ask me to explain my hesitation. We give and take ideas without getting defensive and we create a stronger program because we each bring our own strengths to the discussion.
Like a pair of sisters swapping clothing we've become comfortable batting ideas around, accepting and rejecting them, and finding the best plan of action.
Carol and I planning our next event!
In addition to Carol's professional book & workshops and her publication in magazines such as Highlights for Children, she's also working on a historical novel and is having great fun doing research!
Did someone say research!?
Suffice it to say, the two of us never run out of things to talk about! I feel so blest by this happy connection. We both feel it is truly Providential.