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The Southern Arizona Writing Project Teacher Research and Inquiry Community (NWP Radio)

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Summary: In this NWP Radio program, moderator Elyse Eidman-Aadahl and teachers from the Southern Arizona Writing Project provide an overview of teacher research in general along with various approaches and settings (first 16 minutes), followed by stories of how the projects of three teachers impacted their practice, built connections with students and families, and benefited from a shared community of practice (16:00-51:35 total; 16:16 Laurie; 29:05 Denise; 39:11 Leah). Each segment provides unique insights that could inform new and experienced teachers engaged in teacher research and speaks to the power of teachers writing and talking about their work.
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Youth Camp Flyers

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Summary: Youth camps are a staple of National Writing Project sites across the country. This collection offers flyers that various Writing Projects have created to promote and market their youth writing opportunities. Included in the collection are examples from school-year one-day symposium/workshops, weekend programs, and week-long and multi-week summer writing camps and retreats. While the collection was created to offer insight into how sites can promote the programs they offer for young writers, the flyers’ descriptions of the camps are also useful for teacher leaders simply looking for ideas on themes, formats, and structures for youth programming.
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Youth Camp Agendas, Outlines, and Schedules

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Summary: Starting a new youth writing camp at your site? Looking to infuse new ideas, writing activities, or approaches in your existing youth programs? Looking for creative and innovative ways in which other sites are using “out-of-school” spaces to engage young writers? If so, then this collection of youth camp resources could be a “go-to” resource.  In this collection you will find help with getting started (program overviews and orientation agendas), planning (camp outlines and descriptions), recruiting (invitations to TCs and potential partners), advertising (flyers and registrations), and successfully running (agendas, lessons, protocols) your youth program. Browse through the materials for an overview of possibilities or dig deeply into the collection for an in-depth look at what it takes to develop and host successful programs for young writers.
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Digital Directions in Professional Development

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Author: Elyse Eidman-Aadahl and Cindy O’Donnell-Allen

Summary: In a conversation sponsored by NCTE’s Language Arts, two NWP leaders discuss the transformations in the classroom and in teacher practice that happen when connected learning and digital tools are integrated into curriculum planning. They emphasize that the tools do not replace the teacher; the teacher becomes even more important as a model, or “lead learner,” for writing in today’s digital age.
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Why We Are Sticking To Our Stories

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Author: Tina Deschenie

Summary: In recounting the power of the oral tradition of storytelling, Tina Deschenie describes the mesmerizing experience of listening to her father tell elaborated stories in the Diné language about Coyote as well as numerous other literacy practices grounded in “the power and beauty of oral tradition and face-to-face storytelling.” This piece could be used within professional development or study groups advocating for culturally relevant practices, bi-literacy, family and community traditions, and exploring innovative ways to bring native stories, that might range from capturing oral histories to digital animation, into classrooms.
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“Let’s Talk”: Building a Bridge Between Home and School

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Author: Catherine Humphrey

Summary: How do we create opportunities for both our students and their parents to be involved in assignments that generate a sense that the writing being done is “real”? The author of this piece provides a window into an initial essay assignment that prompted her high school students and their parents to talk together prior to taking a position on an education-related op ed piece. She also offers tips for generating and sustaining quality verbal interactions. Many examples of reflections from parents and students reveal both positive responses and challenging situations that could spark lively conversations in study groups, school/community professional conversations focused on parent engagement in writing, or in individual classrooms with students.
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Opening the Classroom Door: Inviting Parents and Preparing to Work Together in Classrooms

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Author: Lynne Yermanock Strieb

Summary: In this chapter from her book, Inviting Families into the Classroom: Learning from a Life in Teaching, Streib draws on an extensive archive of documents (e.g., letters from parents, class newsletters, and detailed accounts of student-family interactions) accrued over a 30-year teaching career as a first- and second-grade public school teacher in Philadelphia. Capturing the complexity and nuance of working with the families, she candidly shows what can go wrong and how to overcome misunderstandings. These honest and thoughtful depictions of crossing cultural barriers could provide food for thought within a school/community study group or for professional development focused on building partnerships between school and families.
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Family Matters: A Mother and Daughter’s Literacy Journey

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Author: Amy Clark

Summary: What happens when we explore our “people”—when, through writing, we explore the richness of our culture, our family, our identity? How often do we find examples of a mother and daughter who have the opportunity to experience a summer institute together? This beautifully written narrative set in Appalachia could be a read-aloud in a workshop or summer institute to generate ideas for writing, or as a way to discuss family/generational literacy, dialect, place, and an authentic rendition of the many facets of the writing experience.
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Inviting Parents in: Expanding Our Community Base to Support Writing

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Author: Cathy Fleischer and Kimberly Coupe Pavlock

Summary: Looking for ideas for ways to reach out to parents to help them understand why we teach writing in the ways we do and to share successful strategies for how they might help their children or teens with writing?  And what about looking for ways to build awareness of the connections between high school and college writing? This article, filled with research-based strategies and examples for those seeking to facilitate such experiences, also makes a case for how successful workshops with parents can help them expand their knowledge beyond what they know from media and legislative mandates to become “informed, knowledgeable readers of educational reform and potential advocates for change.”
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How Our Assumptions Affect Our Expectations

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Author: Jan Hillskemper

Summary: Increased parental involvement in student success is a goal of many schools and teachers. However, there can be vastly different ideas on what parental involvement looks like at school. This article, a useful resource for teachers and study groups addressing the complex issue of parent involvement, examines how teachers can drift into a set of misguided assumptions when they mistakenly believe parents have the same values and expectations that they have, and that their beliefs about parental participation are the “right” ways for parents to be involved in their children’s education.
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