The soft launch

by Chad Sansing

Welcome to the soft launch of Democratizing Composition!

This blog is meant to help us broaden our definition of what’s possible at school by giving us the resources, exemplars, and community necessary to re-cast composition inside and outside the classroom and to walk out of old beliefs about what students must do in order for us to take the time to understand them. In short, we’re here to help one another make stuff about what we learn. And we’re here to reposition writing as a way of making, rather than as a prerequisite to it.

Here is what you will find on Democratizing Composition:

  • The blog will share out reflective posts, as well as  “What we found today” and “What we made today” posts from regular contributors. These snapshots of consuming and producing from inside and outside the classroom are meant to inspire us to share awesome “readings” and projects with our kids and communities.
  • Who will tell you a little bit about our regular contributors. If you would like to contribute to the site in any way, please let me know so I can add you to the blog. This community is meant to be inclusive and to grow through our connections to and participation with one another.
  • What will share out the evolving tenets of democratizing composition.
  • Inspire will share out philosophical and inspirational scaffolding for the work of democratizing composition. Contribute whatever inspires you by sending it along to me or by joining the blog and just getting in there.
  • Create will share out a mash-up of ideas and resources for making in response to learning – and for making as learning. Send me your recommendations or join in the curation as a member of the blog!
  • Share will curate links to exemplar projects from around our community. Site members will link from this page to project descriptions and tutorials they host on their own blogs, video channels, or other social media spaces. If you have a project that lets kids compose by making, please consider posting it and sending me the link so we can build a diverse bank of activities to inspire ourselves and our kids to speak and listen with one another in new ways.

You can help in all sorts of ways! Submit links for Inspire and Create; suggest improvements to the basic tenets of Democratizing Composition; join the blog as a daily or weekly contributor during the school year; share posts teaching us how to do the work you and your kids are doing. Help us think through hosting and design later in the year if our site traffic warrants it. Join in our back-channel Google doc about creating an open, online democratic composition course for kids between our classrooms and workspaces. We very much want to practice and publish what we learn about democratizing composition from one another and our kids.

Right now we need to build up the site together so that when the school year begins, we can provide the kind of network and content that will make a difference in teaching and learning for our community of contributors and readers. Let me know however you would like to help or if I can answer any questions.

Thank you to Melanie Barker, Gerreth Heidt, and Paul Oh for all their help so far!

Look for the hard launch of Democratizing Composition on September 4th, 2012 –

All the best,