professional growth

Sustainable Practices through Purposeful Partnering at Shoreline

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Author: Steve Pearse

Summary: This article describes the successful longterm partnership between the Puget Sound Writing Project and the Shoreline School District that focused on improving student achievement in writing. Following a model of a year-long embedded invitational institute, P-12 teachers engaged in writing, working in writing groups, and conducting research on the teaching of writing. The resulting teacher-designed curriculum, aligned with NWP core principles, was posted on the district’s website for district-wide use by teaching colleagues.
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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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TTT (Teachers Teaching Teachers) Talks Badges

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Author: Erin Wilkey Oh

Summary: This blog post from “The Current” features two videos that offer comprehensive talk-throughs about badging (credentialing) including various iterations, pros and cons, structures and practical uses in education and other contexts. Teacher leaders will find the featured discussions useful in exploring the uses and possibilities of badging.
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The Value of Teacher-Writers (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Chritine Dawson, Leah Zuidema, and Troy Hicks

Summary: This NWP Radio show brings together the authors of two co-published books on teacher-writers, Christine Dawson (The Teacher-Writer), and Troy Hicks and Leah Zuidema (Coaching Teacher-Writers). For teachers who want to start a writing group, or for site leaders who are looking for guidance in coaching the development of writing groups, this radio show details experiences and offers practical methods for support and success.
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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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Improving Students’ Academic Writing: Building a Bridge to Success

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

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Author: Debra Schneider

Summary: How can we best support English learners in classrooms where rigorous curricula focus 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 review of Pauline Gibbons’s book, 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.
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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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Oakland Writing Project’s Literacy Webinar Series: Reading and Writing in Digital Spaces with a Focus on Revision

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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.
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