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Kristy Pytash (@kpytash)

Kristine E. Pytash is an assistant professor in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies at Kent State University, where she co-directs the secondary Integrated Language Arts teacher preparation program. Her research focuses on the literacy practices of youth in alternative schools and juvenile detention facilities, preparing teachers to teach writing, and disciplinary writing. She can be reached at kpytash@kent.edu or on Twitter @kpytash


Submitted Learning Events 

Week One: One of my goals for participating in #walkmyworld was to provide my preservice teachers with an experience that might help them consider pedagogical practices for the teaching of writing. My first submission was a collaborative one - my students and I decided on an image for the week. We decided to include a picture of the materials being used in our class (e.g. our books, writers' notebooks, and syllabus).  
My individual submission was a picture of my running shoes. Running is an important part of my life. When I run, it gives me time to be alone in my thoughts.  

Week Two: During this week I focused on the work I was doing in my teaching and the writing group that I facilitate at a local juvenile detention center.  From my personal life I included pictures from a winter hike I took with my two little boys and a collage of my sons' and my skis. 

Week Three: I continued to share both pictures from my professional life (my computer screen, a shot of a meeting agenda) and my personal life. A friend was diagnosed with cancer and so I was wearing a #clairestrong bracelet while running to support her.  

Week Four: During this week I posted reflections to my blog. I created a video composition about my experiences growing up in a small town. 

Week Five: I linked my #walkmyworld submission to my blog and a poem I wrote about time. 

Week Six: For this week I asked my preservice teachers to engage in collaboratively annotating a poem by Robert Hass.
I also wrote a blog reflection about Robert Hass' poetry and how it reminds me of favorite poems by Walt Whitman and Mary Oliver.  

Week SevenThis week I wrote a Haiku about being in nature and shared pictures from a ski trip.
I also shared a picture of my personal library in my office as I was exchanging books with a preservice teacher.  

Week Eight: My submissions this week were focused my preservice teachers and the writing we were doing in class. We reread Robert Hass' poems and then into a collaborative poem and individual poems.  My goal continued to be to engage preservice teachers in thinking about the teaching of writing.  

Week Nine: This week I curated content on Storify. 

My Reflection:  
I realized through my participation in #walkmyworld that I was documenting specific pieces of my identity. First, as a teacher educator I was committed to modeling and engaging my preservice teachers in #walkmyworld.  Teacher educators and researchers have noted that preservice teachers will draw on specific representations of practice, including their experiences as students and experiences in methods courses.  Therefore, one of my goals was to explore how participating in #walkmyworld informed their consideration of how and what literacy practices can be enacted and supported within teaching. I hoped my preservice teachers would consider how their engagement in this dialogical, participatory community provided them an opportunity to recognize and appreciate their voices. In addition, I hope this experience influences how they foster the voices of their future middle and high school students.  Second, during #walkmyworld, I spent time documenting participating in activities with the people I love. During the winter months I spent many weekends teaching my sons to ski. I cherished our moments together – enjoying their excitement, being in awe at their natural curiosity, and seeing them try new things and conquer fears. 

 #walkmyworld was a significant experience as the community acknowledged the power in the stories we chose to share, how we chose to share our stories, and the ways we made ourselves known to one another. The conversation was extended as we were reminded that while we each walk in our own worlds, we also walk this world together.   


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