A Work in Progress: The Benefits of Early Recruitment for the Summer Institute

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Author: Anne-Marie Hall, Roger Shanley, and Flory Simon

Summary: This monograph from the Southern Arizona Writing Project describes site leaders’ process of restructuring their recruitment and pre-institute experiences for their summer institute. By starting recruitment efforts earlier and building in deeper pre-institute events focused on the development of demonstration letters and related mentorship, fellows were able to get a better start in preparing their demo lessons. An additional benefit was that this new sequence offered the site to increase the diversity of participants.

Teaching in Two Worlds: Critical Reflection and Teacher Change in the Writing Center

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Author: Dale Jacobs

Summary: This article is a model of how one teacher used inquiry to revise his classroom practice. The author explains how his experience working in a college writing center led him to revise his approach to classroom teaching, leading him to a pedagogy that was more student-centered and focused on individuals. He describes a process of “productive disruption” in his thinking about his practices, followed by critical reflection that led to change. This article would be useful in a professional development context focused on teacher inquiry or reflective practice, especially early in the discussions, as an example of this approach in context. It could also be recommended to writing center tutors who move into the classroom, to demonstrate how their skills as tutors can effectively translate into the classroom.

Action Plan for Teaching Writing

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Author: Marva Solomon

Summary: Do you need to help school colleagues or educators in an institute move from discussion and research to an actionable plan for their classrooms? If so, then this template for an action plan created by the Northern Kentucky WP could be just the tool you seek. The document can be used to help teachers identify an area of their writing instruction they want to focus on, determine why it is important, what they can do to address the area of interest/concern, and how they will evaluate their effectiveness in the area. This may be just the tool you need to streamline and focus discussions about classroom practice.

Stories of Impact: The On-Site Work of the New York City Writing Project

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Author: Elaine Avidon, et al.

Summary: This e-book includes powerful chapters written by teacher consultants about the individual and collective impact of their work and its alignment to their site’s mission and beliefs about professional learning. Reading select chapters would support fellows in imagining different kinds of school coaching; alternatively, the book offers a powerful model for site leaders who want to pull together leaders to collectively evaluate and write about the impact of their site’s programs.

Literacy Coaches Explore Their Work Through Vignettes

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Author: Carrie Usui

Summary: What is the work of a literacy coach? Twelve UCLA Writing Project teacher-consultants serving as literacy coaches in the LA Unified School District spent a weekend retreat exploring that question by writing vignettes as a way to illustrate what it is they do as coaches. Here they share some of what they do and how it makes a difference for students and teachers in the schools where they coach.

The Journey of an Emerging Site Leader

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Author: Kathleen Ann Gonzalez

Summary: Are you taking on a new role at your writing project? Are you both excited and nervous? If so, then joining this journey of stepping into the role of a site leader may help set you at ease. The author confirms what we know deep down: trusting your writing project instincts and staying true to NWP core principles lead to positive outcomes and experiences. Highlights not to be missed include several concrete strategies and suggestions on how to help writing groups develop community and maintain momentum throughout an institute.

Empowering Teachers Through the Summer Institute

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Author: Beth Halbert

Summary: Is leading a program for the site a new endeavor for you? Are you wondering, “what in the world did I get myself into?” Then you should read this article about being thrust into a site leadership role, transitioning from summer institute participant to facilitator, just two weeks before the start of the institute. The author not only shares her personal experience, but also demonstrates how remaining true to the NWP principle of “teachers teaching teachers” is foundational to successful NWP work.

Strengthen Your Work with New Teachers

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Summary: Anyone developing or jumping into an existing program for early career educators will find this brief overview from the New Teacher Initiative useful. Included in the overview is an annotated bibliography of key/foundational readings you will want to consider using with your new teachers. The readings are conveniently organized into 1) the teaching of writing, 2) understanding culture and its implications for teaching and learning, 3) strengthening inquiry as a mode of learning, and 4) rethinking professional development for new teachers through participation in a professional community. In addition, several suggestions and protocols for deepening discussion of the texts are included.

Coaching and the Invitational Summer Institute

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Author: Susan Bennett

Summary: This is a succinct overview on the role of coaching in the Summer Institute at the Redwood Writing Project. The document describes the relationship between the coach and the person being coached, carefully laying the groundwork for a supportive and collaborative, non-evaluative relationship. While the piece is based on coaching in the Summer Institute, the description of roles and the set of guide questions could be useful to anyone entering a coaching and/or mentoring relationship.

Coaching Guide and Protocol

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Summary: This coaching guide and protocol from the Southern Colorado WP may be helpful if you are looking for ways to support teachers in presenting their work to colleagues. While the protocol lays out a schedule and rationale for meetings between presenting teachers and their mentors, the guide provides a framework for establishing roles/relationships/responsibilities and provides a set of questions that can be used to guide the thinking partners through the stages of identifying a question, researching the question(s), and creating a demonstration/inquiry workshop.