Summer 2020 PD Participants

Hi everyone!  So, for our Zoom meeting on Aug 5, please do the following by 6 pm on August 4. Please note I prefer not to post the Zoom link publicly, so please email me ( if you need the zoom link:

  2. Watch THIS video of me talking you through the intro to the curriculum.  Link to the pictured slideshow is HERE
  3. Write a blog post on this site in which you:
    • Introduce yourself! Who are you, what is your teaching experience, how do you feel about teaching online?
    • Tell us one thing you do in the first weeks of online class to create a sense of engagement and community.  If you have not taught online, please let us know something that has worked for you in F2F classes
    • Respond to the following questions from Kerry Dirk (approx 300 words): What is a genre of writing you know well? What are the rules of that genre? How did you learn them?

You will need to be signed in to the FYW PD site to post!

I will send you information about the model site ASAP.

2 thoughts on “Summer 2020 PD Participants

  1. Michael Montlack

    I’m Michael. I am a writer with a couple books out (poetry and non-fiction) and one coming September: Daddy (NYQ Books), my second full-length poetry collection. I’ve taught writing for 20 years at college level, including composition, literature, public speaking and creative writing. I have taught at Hofstra University, CUNY BMCC and New Jersey City University. I’ve taught online for Gotham Workshops for years which helped me greatly in moving my classes online this year. I kept it simple as Gotham has done. Announcements, Discussion Boards, Content, Collaborate and Grade Center. Students appreciated that approach and succeeded. I prefer being in the class and miss the students. But Collaborate was helpful, and though I didn’t make it mandatory, everyone showed. I think they were bored during the quarantine. Being in the class is fun. Online avoids the commute but somehow seems like more work than face to face. But it provides flexibility. I like that I can post examples and videos and such very easily to enhance the lessons.

    One thing I do in all my English classes is connect writing essays to interviewing. I ask who is afraid to interview for internships/jobs? Then I go over some of the questions, hearing answers and offering some advice. Then I compare answering interview questions with essays. Proving by example, organization, detail rather than generalization. Then we answer the questions again, using the essay techniques. The answers improve substantially. They make a connection between being a better writer and getting a job. Maybe that is transfer I have been doing. They see the class as relevant to them after that first discussion, or most students do.

    I am a poet. I studied fiction writing but wrote poetry secretly. The rules of poetry, who knows. That varies from poet to poet. I emphasize compression and imagery in my poetry classes. Using an organic voice is important. Being poignant, not sentimental. Being specific, not general. Being imaginative, not cliche. Saying something. Being accessible, not simple. I learned to write poetry from Stevie Nicks. I was a kid, entranced by her style, how she conveyed emotion but cryptically. I was an expressive boy who knew he was gay, so it was hard being secretive. Expressing myself using code, like Stevie, helped me get through. I wrote bad lyrics. That became bad poetry. Now hopefully better poetry. I write about Stevie. My essay about her turned into my first book MY DIVA, an anthology about gay men being inspired by women. I have poems about her too in Daddy. Her vagueness breaks rules of poetry. Her imagery, something, carries her through.

    1. Mária Cipriani

      Hi Michael, growing up, I was really into country music, but I, too, loved Stevie Nicks. Code-switching is a topic I have also had lived experience with–though I was not creative enough to turn my heroes into a book (great idea, by the way). I see you have been at some of the same places as I have been: Hofstra, NJCU (terrible commute). I’m looking forward to hearing more of your ideas for teaching writing.

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