Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Introduction
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Topic Introduction
Judith Ortiz Cofer Reads...
Assignment
Write On Your Own
Read Other Responses
Use Assignment In Class

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The Assignment
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First Steps A Shared Path Different Audiences Different Purposes
Usage and Mechanics Providing Feedback on Student Writing Learning from Professional Writers Writing in the 21st Century
You can listen to Judith Ortiz Cofer as she gives the assignment.
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"And so what I would like to ask you is: If you were going to write an article for a particular magazine, all on the same subject, like an interview of me as a teacher and a writer, whatever, how would you write the introduction to that article?

"And what I would like to do is to ask me a question or two and, then, based on the information that you get, that you choose a magazine or if you have chosen one already I'd like to know what it is so that we can discuss the idea of how the same material can be presented in different ways, okay?

"So who would like to ask me a question?" Lori: I was thinking in terms of an alumni high school magazine. So I guess the question would be how did your education influence your career choice?

Judith: My early education?

Lori: Well, your high school education.

Judith: Okay. Well, I feel that my most interesting teachers were English and literature teachers. And as a sort of lonely girl -- I was the daughter of a Navy man or was the new kid on the block -- that reading became crucial to me. And so I wanted to have books in my life and so I knew that I would be a teacher. Later I discovered that I could write and writing, being a teacher, and being a writer have become my dual vocation.

Charles: Uh, what CDs would I find in your car?

Judith: Oh, my God . . . the Buena Vista Social Club, Bruce Springsteen, the Best of the Eagles and I'm dating myself really. And all the CDs that my mother sends me from Puerto Rico of salsa music. And I have to tell you this, Santana, you know. Supernatural is totally worn out.

Susie: Okay, I'm thinking about Seventeen Magazine and I . . . where'd you hang out as a teenager? Did you date? Or were you friends with boys?

Judith: Well, I wanted to be friends with boys. My father was a very strict, traditional Catholic man and so dating was out of the question. And I went out in groups and when I was in Paterson I went to dances with the nuns, you know, with the chaperones. And later, I went to Teen Town on bases, military bases. And usually my brother was somewhere in the background. It was, you know, how I traveled, how I went around. And so it was mainly family, family parties, a lot of family parties and school-sponsored activities.

Kelly: Who were your idols growing up?

Judith: Who were my idols? I remember, Audrey Hepburn because she was extremely skinny and flat-chested and so I, you know, it couldn't be Sophia Loren, you know. So her as a movie star, and I remember that I discovered at Out Of Africa that I didn't even know how to pronounce her name, Isak Dinesen, you know. I wanted to write like she did. And Jackie Kennedy, definitely.

Okay, so now you have your writing time and it will be the introductory paragraph or a few sentences to the article for the magazine that you have chosen.

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