continuity

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.
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Extending the Teacher as Writer Conversation: Writing as Praxis

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Author: Robert Yagelski

Summary: A key reading for individuals and study groups looking to understand the “”transformation”” that teachers say occurs in writing project institutes and other programs when they write, respond as members of writing groups, revise, and publish. Yagelski grounds his exploration in theory as he considers the power of writing is an active (rather than a passive) pursuit that engages teacher writers in reflective practice that allows that to re-make themselves in the present in the process of looking back and looking forward.
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Expanding the Reach of Education Reforms: Scaling Up and Scaling Down

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Author: Joseph P. McDonald, Judy Buchanan, and Richard Sterling

Summary: How does the NWP simultaneously impact individuals and school communities? What can local sites learn about strategies for scaling up their work? Teacher leaders and project directors involved in developing grant proposals, partnerships, or research focused on scaling up professional development or school reform efforts may find this chapter a useful resource and rich perspective on NWP’s successful “improvement infrastructure.” The authors describe what is meant by “scaling up by scaling down”: “to succeed in a new environment, a reform that is spreading geographically must also challenge and, eventually, penetrate habitual practice in new contexts.” NWP has promoted both spread and depth of change via three elements: an annual site review process; specialized cross-site networks; and a commitment to both internal, site-based, practitioner-directed research and external, national, and independent research. These elements, separately and together, enable the NWP to generalize from the diverse experiences of local sites and chart new directions for the work.
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Building the Capacity of Writing Project Site Leadership

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Author: Karen Smith, Lucy Ware, Lynn Jacobs, Paul Epstein

Summary: These stories of teacher leadership from NWP’s Vignette Study provide examples of structures and processes that sites can examine as they seek to expand leadership and create their own opportunities for teachers to lead. As Lucy Ware writes in the introduction to this collection, “We hope that leaders of local NWP sites will discover that challenges they face are not unique and will see adaptable strategies to apply in their own specific settings. By sharing these stories, we also hope that individual teacher-consultants will recognize the importance of their leadership to their local sites and will see ways that the NWP network might support their ongoing professional development.
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Lawnmowers, Parties, and Writing Groups: What Teacher-Authors Have to Teach Us about Writing for Publication

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Author: Anne Elrod Whitney

Summary: When teachers write for others in their profession they are taking on a form of leadership and embracing a means for advocating for the value of teacher classroom inquiry and reflective practice. This article, is one of many by Anne Whitney, a researcher who has studied the professional practice of NWP teachers, that invites teacher-writers to get beyond the hurdles of doubt as they approach publication of their professional writing. An inspirational article for teacher writing groups that will resonate with teachers who are ready or getting ready to share their work more publicly.
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Helping Teacher-Writers Begin to Write

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Author: Troy Hicks, Anne Elrod Whitney, James Fredricksen, and Leah Zuidema

Summary: How can we best support our own and our colleagues as teacher-writers? In this chapter from Coaching Teacher-Writers: Practical Steps to Nurture Professional Writing, planners and leaders will find constructive strategies to motivate teacher-writers to begin, sustain, and complete professional writing. A valuable resource for facilitators, the chapter offers, “descriptions of key practices…developed over years of coaching, teaching, and collaborating with K12 teachers who write about classroom instruction, teacher research, or advocacy for better policy and pedagogy.
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“A More Complicated Human Being”: Inventing Teacher-Writers

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Author: Christine Dawson

Summary: How might teachers pursue and support personally and professionally worthwhile writing practices in the midst of the many demands associated with teaching? How might writing groups sustain their work together – in person or online? This final chapter from The Teacher-Writer: Creating Writing Groups for Personal and Professional Growth, a book that documents the first year of a successful teacher writing group, includes strategies developed and a generative framework grounded in lessons learned by the group as they met face-to-face and worked online. Their story and what they learned together will be of particular interest to teachers who wonder how to build on their commitments to personal writing and sustain a collegial community that forms in the process of writing and sharing.
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Redesigning the Summer Institute

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Author: Tonya Perry

Summary: The first NWP Invitational Summer Institute in 1974 established a model professional development experience, the basic principles and elements of which have been sustained at local writing project sites over the decades since. But even the best program design invites constant evaluation and adaptation. Reflection is a hallmark of our work and attention to both new opportunities and the changing needs of teacher participants is a vital part of what makes NWP programs so successful. Noting three challenges that emerged over time in relation to their traditional ISI model; timing, teaching demonstrations, and sustaining TCs active engagement with the site beyond the institute, the Colorado State University Writing Project adapted their Invitational Institute’s program design to be responsive to both the challenges and opportunities they faced. This reflective piece is of particular interest to site leaders facing similar circumstances who are interested in following the theory of action and process that CSUWP followed in adapting and redesigning this core program.
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From Young Writers Camp to Young Adult Literacy Labs: CT Connecticut-Fairfield Finds New Ways to Revitalize Youth Programs

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Author: Susanna Steeg

Summary: The Connecticut Writing Project-Fairfield’s adaptation of its traditional Young Writers Camp to a series of Young Adult Literacy Labs (YALLs) provides food for thought for site leaders designing new or considering changes to existing youth programming. The primary change was a move away from two large general writing camps to a dozen smaller genre-specific camps. The change, while attracting more participants, also allowed the site to integrate the camps and the Invitational Institute in some innovative ways, including creating opportunities for camp instructors to present workshops that engaged teachers and young writers in writing together. Importantly, the camps provide the site with a robust revenue line that fully supports the YALLs, provides student scholarships, and generates income for other site activities.
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Conference Flyers: Some Models

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Summary: Are you planning to host a conference at a school or across a district? Here are some examples of conference flyers from National Writing Project sites that may give you ideas about advertising and promoting your conference. These models also illustrate various layouts and pricing strategies. Examining these samples may help you raise and answer questions for your own conference planning.
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