professional growth

Expanding the Reach of Education Reforms: Scaling Up and Scaling Down

4 views 0

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.
CONTINUE READING

Improving Students’ Academic Writing: Building a Bridge to Success

2 views 0

Author: Juliet Wahleithner, Jayne Marlink

Summary: This report would be of interest to those embarking on college-preparatory reading/writing initiatives; it describes the statistically significant impact of a statewide professional development program designed to improve students’ understanding and ability to write academically in high school, and specifically in grades 11 and 12. The authors clearly lay out the study’s purpose, methods, and guiding frameworks, including one for forming sustained professional learning communities.
CONTINUE READING

Opening the Classroom Door: Inviting Parents and Preparing to Work Together in Classrooms

2 views 0

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.
CONTINUE READING

Book Review: English Learners, Academic Literacy, and Thinking: Learning in the Challenge Zone

4 views 0

Author: Debra Schneider

Summary: How can we best support English language learners in classrooms where rigorous curricula focuses on intellectual practices across content areas? How can we engage in practices that enable students to construct rather than reproduce knowledge, develop deep understanding of disciplinary knowledge and forge connections between school and the outside world? In this book review, Debra Schneider shares insights and successful strategies emerging from her own practice and study group related to the chapter on Academic Literacy [see PDF], suggesting that teaching content “”deeply”” enables teaching standards in authentic ways. An excellent resource for study groups, inquiry groups, or those leading professional development.
CONTINUE READING

“A More Complicated Human Being”: Inventing Teacher-Writers

11 views 0

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.
CONTINUE READING

Oakland Writing Project’s Literacy Webinar Series: Reading and Writing in Digital Spaces with a Focus on Revision

4 views 0

Summary: In partnership with the Oakland School District, the Oakland MI WP developed and hosted an online webinar series focused on revision. Links to all of the webinars, resources, and related readings for the 2015-16 series (Revision: the Heart of Writing) and 2014-15 (Reading and Writing in Digital Spaces) are available here. The strong line-up of presentations gives a deep look into both revision and digital literacy. Individual webinars could be great additions to professional development sessions that have a revision or digital literacy component. Additional workshops and webinars are also posted on this site.
CONTINUE READING

New Teacher Initiative Annotated Bibliography

5 views 0

Summary: The National Writing Project’s New-Teacher Initiative supported local writing project sites in expanding their work with early career teachers, placing a particular emphasis on the teaching and learning of writing in high-needs schools. A useful resource for leaders of professional development experiences for early career teachers, this annotated bibliography is a partial listing of the readings that have been most significant in the work of the New-Teacher Initiative. They address four areas: 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.
CONTINUE READING

From Summer to Yearlong Institute: Transitioning the ISI to a Yearlong Program

3 views 0

Summary: The Hudson Valley WP shares how the site transitioned from a traditional summer Invitational Institute to a year-round program that includes a mix of face-to-face and blended programming. Whether looking to adapt the Invitational Institute to take advantage of new and emerging technologies, to address issues of course credit and recruitment, or for any other reason, sites and site leaders can benefit from considering the model year-round program shared by the HVWP.
CONTINUE READING

Redesigning the Summer Institute

9 views 1

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.
CONTINUE READING

From Young Writers Camp to Young Adult Literacy Labs: CT Connecticut-Fairfield Finds New Ways to Revitalize Youth Programs

13 views 0

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.
CONTINUE READING