Watering My Dendrites

I have recently discovered one of the best professional development activities this writing teacher could ever pursue – becoming a member of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review Crew (SHRC). Talk about forcing me to practice what I preach!

I spend the majority of my work hours editing student writing. For the last 10 years, I have consistently tutored around 250 students per year which adds up to over 3000 papers from September through April. Some days when I have piles of papers to process, I can get into a trance-like rhythm and apply proper punctuation without even reading content! Needless to say, those pathways through my brain are deeply entrenched.

By May of each year, I am usually feeling a tad crispy around the dendrites. The thought of actively blogging seems like an absurd way to relax and refresh my mind. Writing is thinking, and thinking is work! I have absolutely no idea what possessed me to apply for the summer SHRC, but I did, and to quote Pooh Bear’s friend, Gopher, “I think I’m glad of it!”

As I research products, brainstorm, outline, and draft, I am feeling an incredibly odd sense of mental energy and enthusiasm! I can clearly feel that editing and producing content are separate parts of the brain. Editing is not all that creative. It’s more like problem solving, more left brained. Writing something original is creating, birthing; it’s more right brained. The creative part of my brain has been patiently waiting for such an opportunity, and the sensation of actually mowing down some paths in that neglected field has been nothing short of exciting lately!

Here are the reviews that are coming in July:

Professor B Math E-Learning Courses

Lightning Literature and Composition Pack – World II: Latin America, Africa and Asia

Apologia What We Believe: Who is my Neighbor?

Knowledge Quest Time Maps


How do you water your dendrites?


  1. I agree. Having these writing topics has stretched me in many ways. It is easy for me to post a picture and an incomplete sentence. :) It takes alot of thought and effort to narrow down a review that people may actually read – with a product/system that is worthy of 6 blog posts!

    • I know right? Does that happen to you too, where one post idea turns into 3 or more post ideas? I don’t remember that happening when I kept a personal blog so long ago – but then again, back then I think I just rambled and shared whatever. I wasn’t representing anyone but myself. Now that I am speaking out about another’s livelihood, I feel accountable – but also energized to share as positively and professionally as I can. It’s a great exercise of the mind!

      Thanks for stopping by! ;-)

  2. “Having” to blog for the reviews and cruises has helped me too. When it’s a product we love, I have to limit what I say about it and not just gush aimlessly; and when it’s a product that didn’t work well for us, I have to be specific about why it didn’t suit us and be fair and professional. It takes some deeper thinking – that’s for sure.

    I just wish I could tell the funny stories from my world as effectively on my blog as I can in real life! LOL

    • I just wish I could tell the funny stories from my world as effectively on my blog as I can in real life! LOL

      I hear ya! Hopefully with continued practice, we’ll get there! ;-)

  3. Being on the Crew is growing me as a writer/blogger too! I love the experience!!!

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