Equity & Access

Our Grandparents’ Civil Rights Era: Family Letters Bring History to Life

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Author: Willow McCormick

Summary: What happens when teachers asks elementary students to conduct research about relatively recent history? In this article, a writing project teacher offers a wonderful model for integrating authentic writing and social studies instruction. By exchanging letters with grandparents, her students build a deeper, personal connection to history while deepening their understanding of the Civil Rights era.
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A Teacher Inquiry Study Group Focuses on Racism and Homophobia

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Author: Gavin Tachibana

Summary: “Are you ready to talk about homophobia? About racism? About other personal and political subjects? How about with your students?” This article explains how two teacher book study groups focused on issues of race and sexual orientation. Each group established a safe space to have difficult conversations themselves which, in turn, helped them provide safe and welcoming spaces for conversations with students in their own classrooms. This resource provides ideas about developing curricula and creating inclusive environments for dialog that honor the backgrounds of all their students.
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Scaling Up Youth Programs (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Mary Buckelew, Carol Minner, and Paul Rogers

Summary: Youth programs invite teachers to apply their experience in new contexts: after-school and summer work with students, families and their local communities.This NWP Radio show features youth program models from three sites. Teachers who are planning programs for youth may be interested in the following segments: (2:16-5:44) which features a discussion of the overall potential and value of youth programs; (28:30-34) which describes program partnerships with museums, national parks and botanical gardens and the key role of teachers in leading the work; (45:15-48:38) which features a discussion of youth programs that work with migrant students. The show also includes a discussion of how youth programs can contribute to the financial stability of a writing project site.

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Cultural Citizenship and Latino English Language Learners

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Author: Maria Franquiz and Carol Brochin-Ceballos

Summary: This short article emphasizes the importance of creating “a safe space for language and literacy development.” The authors argue for students’ rights to use their own “linguistic and cultural resources for learning.” Teachers who are eager for a conversation about about advocacy and Latino students, will appreciate learning how and why to build culturally safe and constructive classroom learning communities and curricula. The authors offer “four premises for fostering cultural citizenship” that are worth examining.
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Narrative Writing Works Magic with Children Learning English

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Author: Lisa Ummel-Ingram

Summary: Lisa Ummel-Ingram tells the story of engaging her third graders in creating books that honored their lives, language and cultures through storyboarding, sharing, conferencing, gathering information, and illustrating. Student ownership, confidence and language development extended into subsequent years as students saw themselves as authors and learners. This piece provides many details and examples of what worked as well as challenges along the way. It could be a valuable resource for elementary teachers or workshop leaders looking for specific ideas and support for implementing workshop approaches and culturally responsive teaching with language learners.
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Challenges for Writing Teachers: Evolving Technologies and Standardized Assessment

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Author: Anne Herrington and Charles Moran

Summary: This introductory chapter discusses existing and emerging technologies and electronic text types for use in curriculum and assessment. While the authors provide examples of how teachers have embraced new forms of writing by developing relevant learning objectives and e-projects, they also argue that automated assessment of writing limits student writers in the service of data compilation needs. Useful as a teacher inquiry piece or for NWP site leaders as they work with state entities and school administrators in partnership development, this chapter has helpful references from experts who have sifted through various electronic tests, companies, and state processes.
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Integrating Science and Language Arts in First Grade using a Culturally Relevant Lens

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Author: Mike Rose

Summary: Rose offers an in-depth portrait of a writing project teacher integrating the study of science and language arts in her first-grade Baltimore classroom, all while advancing and honoring the cultural knowledge and understanding of her thirty African American students. This chapter, from Rose’s Possible Lives, not only highlights curriculum development, but also offers a model for integrating student dialogue and student work while writing about classroom learning.
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ELL Library American Indian Reference/Resource “Must-Haves”

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Author: Michael Thompson and Laurie Smith

Summary: With the goal of providing materials to inform teachers’ understanding of Native American cultures, Thompson and Smith have compiled an annotated bibliography of “must-read” texts on the subject. This excellent resource can be used to inspire and guide groups of teachers in building local communities of inquiry devoted to Native American Studies.
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Whiteness Studies, a Short Bibliography

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Summary: A valuable resource for teacher inquiry into issues of race, equity and social justice, this bibliography includes key readings for those wishing to know more about the antiracist agenda of whiteness studies which recognize the need to identify “white” as a racialized category and a powerful symbol of privilege.
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The Five-Paragraph Theme Redux

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Author: Elizabeth Rorschach

Summary: What are the constraints of teaching the five-paragraph essay? Rorschach argues that its preset format can lull students into nonthinking conformity and questions whether struggling writers need such a format to be successful. Dive into this provocative piece, complete with student writing excerpts.
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Resources for Educators of English Language Learners: An Annotated Bibliography

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Author: Judith Rance-Roney and Lynn Jacobs

Summary: With the goal of collecting “diverse perspectives in the field of teaching English language learners and to provide audiences with readings that will involve, inform, and inspire.” Judith Rance-Roney and Lynn Jacobs created this 41 page comprehensive annotated bibliography. Of special interest to classroom teachers of English language learners, teacher inquiry groups, and professional development leaders, this rich collection contains many direct links to the original resources.
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Lost in Translation: Assessing Writing of English Language Learners

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Author: Tom Meyer, Fabiola Lieberstein-Solera, and Martha Young

Summary: If you are planning professional development on the assessment of writing that involves students whose first language is not English, you may want to read this thoughtful article. The authors, the site director and two bilingual teacher leaders from the Hudson Valley Writing Project, describe an inquiry which focused on the question, “What if the writing rubrics we use don’t make sense to our bilingual students or their teachers?” By engaging in and studying a multi-faceted process of translating a rubric from English into Spanish, the team developed a rich approach to teacher reflection on student writing, assessment and writing instruction. Specific suggestions for planning are provided.
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Community Connections for English Learners: Changing the World Starts with Just a Few Words

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Author: Art Peterson

Summary: This short article illustrates the ways in which a teacher can engage her colleagues in professional learning and provides examples of classroom activities that built connections between ELL students, their parents and their community. Engaging students in creating digital movies to document the history of discrimination along with the impact of the Civil Rights Movement, Katie McKay encouraged students to consider how agents of change have been successful in securing individual rights. This multimodal, multi-disciplinary piece could be helpful for new teacher leaders or those finding themselves seeking ways to create authentic intersections with their colleagues and their English speaking and ELL students built upon respect for all learners.
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Disciplinary Literacy: Why It Matters and What We Should Do About It

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Author: Elizabeth Birr Moje

Summary: Why should we help students learn how to read, write, and speak in different disciplines (e.g., science and social studies)? Watch this keynote address to meet Elizabeth Birr Moje who believes that when students learn the literacy particular to each discipline, they gain access to advanced learning opportunities. Moje positions disciplinary literacy as an equity issue and offers rich questions that could serve as writing prompts and lead to challenging, substantive discussions.
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Protest and Student Voice

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Author: Kathleen Hicks Rowley

Summary: This article describes how a teacher introduces her students to liberatory practices and protest movements as a framework for year-round readings, writings and curriculum. Based on the understanding that part of a teacher’s role is to help students make connections to moral responsibility within the world, the teacher/author designs curriculum that includes a classic novel like Lord of the Flies with its themes of injustice and places it alongside a study of trauma and mass incarceration. Reading/writing connection ideas like this are relevant to educators seeking curriculum that explores critical literacy and concepts of injustice. Community youth writing projects could also use this resource.
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Students Take a Stand

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Author: Scott Glass

Summary: Are you looking for resources to help teachers to use digital media in safe and positive ways in their classes? This teacher’s brief essay describes the curriculum he created to support his students to develop a productive digital routine, craft a positive online identity, and use social media to be generous, kind, and thoughtful. As they developed skill using YouTube Editor, WeVideo, and iMovie, they addressed a real-life tension with anonymous, bullying posts on Yik Yak by leveraging social media in a positive way. The video they developed, as a class, is embedded in the article.
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Mandated Reform vs. Classroom Reality

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Author: Joe Check

Summary: How should teachers pro-actively respond to school reforms mandated from above? This article advocates for teachers to take the lead in determining how these reforms are best implemented at the school and classroom level through reflective inquiry practices. Specifically, the article covers three main lines of inquiry: 1) What effect is reform having on the climate for reflective practice in our school system? 2) What is the teachers’ understanding of system wide change? 3) Has the reform honestly acknowledged the social, cultural, and contextual barriers to students’ academic success? These questions, and Check’s discussion of them, offer great starting point for teachers to confront problematic mandated reforms in a professional development context.
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When Students Take a Critical Lens to Traditional Literature: Protest and Student Voice

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Author: Kathleen Hicks Rowley

Summary: With the goal of engaging her students “in using their voices to become positive agents of change in their community,” high school teacher Kathleen Hicks Rowley revamped her ELA curriculum in order to address issues of equity and access. In the process of their class reading of Lord of the Flies students were encouraged to develop a critical stance to both the literature and the world. For classroom teachers and teacher leaders interested in issues of social justice and critical literacy, this resource provides an overview of class activities along with suggested readings and student artifacts.
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Reflections on Race in the Urban Classroom

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Author: Janice Jones

Summary: In her thoughtful first person narrative, Janice Jones describes her inadvertent “silencing” of the only white student in a class of primarily African American and Latino students. An example of the power of a teacher’s personal reflection on classroom practice, this essay might serve as a resource for a teacher inquiry group or to spur teachers’ writing and conversation about race in the classroom.
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Voces del Corazón: Voices from the Heart

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Author: Dolores S. Perez

Summary: Family Literacy Nights were created by teacher-consultants from the Sabal Palms Writing Project who partnered with two middle schools to reach out to parents and families in low-income communities. The article tells their story through examples and parents’ and students’ words (Spanish and English). It offers a set of guidelines and themes they felt would help to create inviting spaces that would encourage families and teachers to attend and participate; describes the TCs’ planning process of reading professional materials, writing and sharing personal writing which reinforced the value of writing and sharing cultures and histories; discusses ways that TCs and colleagues sat with parents and families to share their own stories; and provides a brief discussion of code-switching/ translanguaging. This resource can provide background and inspiration for starting to work with families in ways that truly value the funds of knowledge of all involved.
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Exploring Issues of Equity: NWP’s Project Outreach Annotated Bibliography

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Summary: A focus of the work of NWP’s Project Outreach—an initiative that supported resource development and program activities intended to enhance the capacity of local sites to understand and address issues of equity in their local programming– included identifying a variety of articles and book chapters to support teacher leaders as they explored equity issues. The texts gathered here will be useful to teachers in a variety of contexts at their local sites and in area schools including in advanced and invitational institutes, in study groups, and in school-based professional development to support inquiry into issues of access, relevance, and diversity.
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Literacy, Technology, and the Underprepared: Notes Toward a Framework for Action

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Author: Glynda Hull

Summary: After introducing cases of underprepared students using computers in a community college literacy course, Glynda Hull raises important issues and tensions related to the role of technology in the teaching of writing. While she argues for the democratizing potential of “information technologies” to support a liberatory pedagogy, she also acknowledges that greater access within structural constraints of schools and writing centers must also be addressed to best support the diversity of these students. Although there are a few terms and technologies representative of its 1988 publication date, this piece may be explored from an historical perspective, perhaps as part of a study group or retreat focused on equity, access, social justice and advocacy.
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Citizens in the Making—Inspiring Students to Engage in Transformative Civic Learning

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Guests: Danielle Filipiak, Ben Kirshner, Ellen Middaugh, Nicole Mirra, and Paul Oh

Summary: View this rich webinar about how and why preparing students for youth participatory action research (YPAR) leads to civic engagement, community improvement, learning, and literacy (cue the video to 16:52). Through this inquiry process, students gain an understanding of their communities and then can advocate for change.
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Business Planning for Program Development

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Summary: This resource outlines a guided inquiry for NWP site leaders interested in designing a new or revitalizing an existing site program. It is designed to capture the process and thinking involved in determining site capacity and priorities and organizing a revenue-generating program at any local site. As a series, these four sessions pull together the organizational aspects of a program–financial, physical, personnel, and relational–with the goal of establishing a program structure that is self-sustaining. Each session consists of steps that include inquiry prompts and tasks designed to lead teams through the thinking and work essential to designing a self-supporting, revenue-generating program. The sessions can be followed sequentially as a whole program, or individual sessions can be explored and revisited as stand-alone resources.
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Teacher Discoveries and Connected Learning

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Author: Joe Dillon

Summary: How does digital writing shift our teaching? This blog post describes how multiple NWP teachers have applied Connected Learning principles to their classrooms. Hyperlinks within the piece take readers to additional details about each teacher’s work. From discovering how blogging can inform writing instruction to enacting paperless classrooms, readers can come away with innovative ways to integrate technology. Any site professional development or summer institute session about integrated digital instruction could use this resource to explore new strategies and tools.
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Book Review: Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work

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Author: Britton Gildersleeve

Summary: In the ever increasing focus on college-readiness, we lose sight of connected learning, career-readiness and the joys inherent in making. This book review, which includes a video excerpt of the author’s talk, suggests that reading “Shop Class as Soulcraft” will provoke important discussion about out of school literacies, what counts as learning and the ways in which skilled, hands-on making requires critical thinking.
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The UCLA Writing Project’s Continuity Programs at a Glance (From Creating Spaces for Study and Action Under the Social Justice Umbrella)

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Authors: Marlene Carter, Norma Mota-Altman, and Faye Peitzman

Summary: How can teachers remain connected to a writing project learning community? This appendix to the monograph, Creating Spaces for Study and Action Under the Social Justice Umbrella, describes a number of program models that support teachers as they continue their professional growth after a first NWP experience at the UCLA Writing Project through “one-day, multiple week, full-year, and multiyear engagement.” These program ideas are adaptable to a range of NWP sites or teacher-learning groups.
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VoiceThread Ties Together Student Voices, Images, and Writing

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Author: Shullamuth Smith

Summary: Writing Project teachers discuss ways in which they have used the website VoiceThread with their students to create online, multimodal presentations that allow for a range of feedback. In addition to enabling students to add voice narratives to their own work, VoiceThread allows teachers and others to record comments to students. The resource includes a video and responses to student work in response to the Day of Tolerance that featured the stories of survivors of Japanese internment camps.
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Professional Reading Related to Equity and Access

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Author: Toni M. Williams, Diane DeFord, Amy Donnelly, Susi Long, Julia López-Robertson, Mary E. Styslinger, and Nicole Walker

Summary: This article from the NCTE journal Language Arts reviews several professional books that explore issues of equity and access. The books reviewed share the view that, as educators, we can support academic success for all students by expanding understandings about home and community literacies. Useful as a resource for study groups and teachers searching for books for their professioanl libraries, while others will find useful information on community literacies in the reviews themselves.
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Con Respeto, I am Not Richard Rodriguez

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Author: Norma Mota-Altman

Summary: Bilingual teacher Norma Mota–Altman recounts her experience as a Spanish–speaking child in school and explains why “English only” policies exact too high a price from English language learners and their families. In telling her story, she brings a human face to critical terms such as “funds of knowledge” and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) — factors that enabled her later to succeed as a bilingual teacher and as a co-director of the UCLA Writing Project. This engaging article could spark conversation in study groups or professional development sessions focused on dual-language/bi-cultural issues.
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Continuity Linked to Site Mission & Local Context: The Philadelphia Writing Project’s Leadership Inquiry Seminar

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Author: Teri Hines, Bruce Bowers, and Vanessa Brown

Summary: A vital resource for anyone planning an inquiry-based leadership program, this NWP monograph details the strategies and practices that define the Philadelphia Writing Project’s Leadership Inquiry Seminar, a yearlong institute designed to support the professional growth and reflective practice of urban educators as they examine their own pathwyas to leadership.
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Why We Need a #techquity Conversation

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Author: Joe Dillon

Summary: This blogpost introduces a foundational conversation about issues of equity, technology, and instruction. Easy to read and digest, the post offers readers access to an ongoing discussion occurring on Twitter that has its own hashtag: #techequity. The post includes great hyperlinks outward to related conversations.
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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 most every school and teacher. However, there can be vastly different ideas on what parental involvement looks like at school. This article, which would be a useful resource for teachers addressing the 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 the teacher’s beliefs on parental participation are the “right” ways for parents to be involved in their kid’s education.
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Mini-Inquiries: Changing Classroom Instruction One Lesson at a Time

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Author: Cindy O’Donnell-Allen

Summary: When a small group of language arts teachers from the Tar River Writing Project in North Carolina noticed that some students seemed less engaged in their classes, they decided to study their own practices, question their assumptions, and work systematically to change their teaching. Specifically, this inquiry project evolved into the LEEAP program: Leadership for Equity, Excellence, Achievement, and Partnership in 21st Century Classrooms, an initiative to support teachers in studying equity in their classrooms. In addition to the article, this resource also includes three digital-story videos exploring equity, created by the LEEAP team. This work may be useful as a model for conducting teacher inquiry to address specific issues of concern within or across schools.
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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 along with sharing successful strategies for how they might help their children or teens with writing? What about how to build awareness of 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 become “informed, knowledgeable readers of educational reform and potential advocates for change” that may supplant what they are aware of from media or legislative mandates.
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Teaching Reading: A Semester of Inquiry

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Author: Antero Garcia

Summary: Interested in establishing a writing center at your institution? This resource describes all aspects of running a writing center and reviews the many issues to be considered by anyone seeking to establish one, from developing program goals to funding to staffing and staff training. Useful as the focus for a study group, advanced institute or program development meeting, this resource can serve to focus an inquiry into how teachers might take the idea of a writing center back to their schools.
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An LGBT Bibliography for High School Teachers

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Summary: This short list of LBGTQ books can be used when deciding which texts to read as a teacher inquiry group or to use with students in a high school classroom. Annotated descriptions are included for each book and other suggested book pairings are included.
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Are You the Teacher Who Gives Parents Homework?

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Author: Carole Chin

Summary: In this chapter from the NWP publication Cityscapes, an elementary teacher describes how she uses the writing of students and their families to build community, honor family cultures and languages, and provide a forum to address fears, anxieties, and concerns. Threaded through the narrative are many suggestions for activities that teachers might adapt to their own settings and communities.
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Theory, Politics, Hope, and Action

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Author: Carole Edelsky

Summary: This article is a great resource for study groups, inquiry communities, and professional learning of all types with a focus on ELLs and writing. After introducing two pieces of “gorgeous” writing from 5th graders in a dual language classroom, Edelsky explains how this writing came to be. First she provides a theoretical overview focused on how people develop language and identity through authentic work within a “community of practice.” Then she describes the genesis of a different approach to writing development among a group of elementary teachers dealing with the question of “how you make schoolwork like real out-of-school work.” Offering 7 “partial answers,” this article is highly accessible with the potential to generate myriad inquiries into issues about language learning, writing, power, and equity.
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Immigrant Teens in the South Bronx Learn the Art of Online Discussion

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Author: Kathleen Costanza

Summary: This article describes the work of immigrant youth in the South Bronx as they discuss the novel “Sold” about a Nepali girl named Lakshmi whose stepfather sells her into slavery. A LRNG grant developed by the NYC Writing Project and four teachers enabled youth and teachers to use the Youth Voices platform for this and other student-driven online writing projects that fostered opportunities to write for authentic audiences.
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The View from a Rural Site

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Author: Anne Dobie

Summary: Site leaders working in rural areas, especially for the first time, will want to read this piece that frames what it means to be a rural teacher including some of the challenges teachers face in this context. Visiting and living the rural life for even a few hours helps provides rich context for the work. This is an excellent piece to consider for community building and partnership development.
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Innovative Writing Program Helps High Schools

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Author: University of Arizona – University Relations

Summary: This news article describes the Wildcat Writers, an innovative service learning and writing program housed in the University of Arizona. By exploring topics like censorship, designing infographics, producing novels, and organizing campus events, the high school writers learned how to promote literacy, creativity and artistic innovation. The grant behind this initiative is explained as well as the university partnership with its NWP site. Takeaways from this resource are the learning outcomes seen in the enthusiastic quotes from student writers, the planning and funding sources for such a partnership, and the collaborative facilitation that provided a unique pathway for youth from high school to the university–all helpful for site leaders and summer writing program organizers who may gain ideas for like partnerships in their areas.
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A Critical Inquiry Framework for K-12 Teachers

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Author: JoBeth Allen and Lois Alexander

Summary: This sample book chapter explains what teacher-led critical inquiry means in a social justice context. Useful in planning inquiry groups with a social justice focus, it also includes excellent content to help teachers to bring a social justice focus to their individual inquiry practice and encourage their students to take a critical inquiry stance in the classroom.
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“Mizzou Men” Explore Their Roles as Men in the Elementary School Classroom

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Summary: Focusing on an inquiry group comprised of men who teach in elementary schools, this article discusses the unique issues faced by this group and how an inquiry process can support them in addressing those issues and sharing successful strategies. It includes the reading/viewing protocol used by the group to examine various publications they read over the course of their inquiry.
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Classroom Tools That Work

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Author: Janet Neyer

Summary: This blog post focuses on open source tools (most from Google/Chrome) that may be helpful for students to use at various stages of the writing and research processes. The brief examples of ELA uses of these apps and extensions may assist you in planning professional development focused on supporting all learners in digital spaces. If you are looking for tools yourself for planning and developing content materials for workshops, classroom use, or personal research, this blog post may be directly helpful for you, too.
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Writing Centers: More Than Remediation

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Author: Art Peterson

Summary: A resource for educators interested in establishing writing centers or as a guide to professional conversations about the limits and possibilities of writing centers, this article reports on what one teacher learned from her experience establishing a high school writing center. Jennifer Wells, a teacher-consultant with the Central California Writing Project shares both the resources and mentors that helped her in foundational ways along with how she navigated the misconceptions of what writing centers do. This article and Wells’ book can serve as a guide for professional discussions of writing center development.
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ELLs at the Center: Rethinking High Stakes Testing

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Author: Wilma Ortiz and Karen Sumaryono

Summary: How do we nurture intellectual curiosity, prepare students for a global economy, and validate and celebrate students’ cultures, language diversity and multiple literacies in an era of accountability and high stakes testing? The authors offer suggestions for ways teacher leaders can be advocates for equitable education and promote responsive practices for all students in spite of pressure from language and educational policies. This article could be a useful piece to read as part of a professional development series or study group on assessment and English learners.
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English Language Learners, Classroom Drama

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Author: Dana Loy

Summary: Through a year-long drama and playwriting project with her bilingual class of 8th graders, Dana Loy and a visiting artist engaged her students in writing stories that could be dramatized, learning about playwriting and working together as actors with the end goal of developing a script that would be performed in a university theater. Along the way, these immigrant students drew on their experiences and strengths, improved reading and writing skills in both languages, discovered confidence and a sense of community, and increased their chances of remaining in school. An inspiring article filled with rich detail and examples that could be useful for teachers and sites interested in exploring intersections of writing and performance arts—in classrooms or other youth programming.
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Wise Eyes: Prompting for Meaningful Student Writing

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Author: Mary Ann Smith and Sherry Swain

Summary: How can teachers create effective prompts that motivate students to show what they can do as writers? Focusing on purpose, audience, authenticity, and accessibility, the authors of this short book analyze existing prompts and provide guidelines for teachers in developing their own prompts for different modes of writing. They also consider adaptations for culturally or linguistically diverse learners. Excerpts from this book may be particularly useful in school-based professional development partnerships, as well as in teacher inquiry focused on assessing student work.
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Creating Connectional and Critical Curriculum, from Family Dialogue Journals: School-Home Partnerships that Support Student Learning

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Authors: JoBeth Allen, Jennifer Beaty, Angela Dean, Joseph Jones, Stephanie Smith Matthews, Jen McCreight, Elyse Schwedler, and Amber M. Simmons

Summary: In this chapter from Family Dialogue Journals: School-Home Partnerships That Support Student Learning, the authors discuss what they have learned from families and how family funds of knowledge became central to their curriculum, creating what they call a “connectional curriculum”—practices that link classroom learning with families and communities. There are many K-12 examples of ways teachers, students, families and communities have used family dialogue journals (FDJs) to support the use of family funds of knowledge, to build community, and to encourage critical thinking about social issues.
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“I’m a Writer Now!” The Who, Where, and When of an ELL Newspaper

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Author: Joe Bellino

Summary: Joe Bellino, a teacher of English language learners, describes the process of publishing “Silver International,” a newspaper written by his ELL/International high school students as well as how the paper positively affected readers, writers, and the school. This resource offers inspiration for teachers planning authentic writing experiences that give voice to the bilingual/bicultural experiences of their students.
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The Concept of a Writing Center

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Author: Muriel Harris

Summary: Interested in establishing a writing center at your institution? This resource describes all aspects of running a writing center and reviews the many issues to be considered by anyone seeking to establish one, from developing program goals to funding to staffing and staff training. Useful as the focus for a study group, advanced institute or program development meeting, this resource can serve to focus an inquiry into how teachers might take the idea of a writing center back to their schools.
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Writing and Teaching to Change the World (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Stephanie Jones, Jen McCreight, Angela Dean, and Jaye Thiel

Summary: In this NWP Radio show, Stephanie Jones, co-director of the Red Clay WP at the University of Georgia, and several Red Clay teacher-consultants share their experiences from a school-year teacher inquiry group that led to the publication of Writing and Teaching to Change the World: Connecting with our Most Vulnerable Students. The group discusses how they each focused closely on one student who was on the margin of the classroom community and used narrative inquiry to explore their beliefs, understandings, and practices related to critical pedagogy. This resource is useful in planning and/or leading professional development, study groups, or teacher inquiry focused on individual students and their work.
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Bicultural Literacy: A Personal Exploration

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Author: Marcia Venegas-Garcìa

Summary: Educator Marcia Venegas–Garcia tells her personal bicultural story to “encourage…particularly those in power, to recognize that all children have their stories of literacy,” and to encourage a “less myopic,” more diverse view of teaching and learning. This personal essay, along with others, could well serve as a resource for inquiry groups exploring issues of diversity and bicultural literacy.
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Technology in the English Language Learner Classroom?

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Author: Judith Rance-Roney

Summary: How can new technologies foster the love of writing for students in the English language learning classroom? How can our integration of technology narrow the digital divide? Sites or schools looking for specific ideas and strategies to frame a conference workshop or PD session might easily draw from this collaborative, pre-conference Artifact Rotation to sample four technologies—digital storytelling, blogging, podcasting, and Google Docs—enabling attendees to experience how to put students at the center as independent, engaged learner and writers.
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The Family Writing Project: Creating Space for Sustaining Teacher Identity

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Author: Marilyn McKinney, Rosemary Holmes-Gull, and Saralyn Lasley

Summary: How can teacher leaders and writing project sites develop effective ways to collaborate with parents and families? The writers, all with the Southern Nevada Writing Project, argue that family writing projects help develop a writing culture, nurture authentic writing and democratic practice, build relationships between students and teachers, counter teacher burnout, and help develop teacher leadership. This article can inspire and guide groups of teachers to develop family writing projects that have the potential to influence their classroom practice as well as deepen their understanding about the assets that parents bring to their children’s education.
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Love Ties My Shoes: Long-term English Learners as Thoughtful Writers

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Author: Lynn Jacobs

Summary: Students in a high school English Language Development class writing a book? Lynn Jacobs’ story of her students success can inform teacher study groups and inspire professional development sessions. For details about the project, powerful student voices describing the process, and ties to professional literature that help to explain how and why this was a possibility for Jacobs and her students, check out this inspirational article.
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The Politics of Correction: How We Can Nurture Students in Their Writing and Help Them Learn the Language of Power

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Author: Linda Christensen

Summary: This brief yet powerful article by Linda Christensen is sure to encourage thoughtful and extended professional dialogue among educators grappling with dilemmas about students’ home and school language. Christensen describes practical strategies for honoring students’ home language while also helping them achieve greater command of the gatekeeping language of power, standard English. This article would work equally well as an introductory reading in an extended professional development institute or as a central focus reading in a shorter workshop.
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Change the Readings, Change the Site: Addressing Equity and Access

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Author: Wilma Ortiz and Karen Sumaryono

Summary: Recognizing that, while their site programs were primarily serving the needs of suburban teachers in a service area that encompassed a large population of urban schools, teacher leaders at the Connecticut Writing Project-Fairfield named as a site priority the need to diversify site leadership. In order to be responsive to the contexts and needs of urban teachers and students, they examined and subsequently revised the readings in their programs putting “front and center works that signaled openness to discussions about race, culture, and language.” Of particular interest to teacher leadership teams working to address issues of equity and access at their own sites, are the suggested readings included in the additional related resources.
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A Social Networking Space for Teachers of English Language Learners

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Author: Lynn Jacobs

Summary: This article provides the background story of the development of the Know ELL Ning. This article and the Ning, Know ELLs, could be used by PD groups, inquiry or study groups, or within a summer institute to explore content related to teaching English language learners, as well as to learn how such social networks are created and developed over time.
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The Family Writing Project Builds a Learning Community in Connecticut

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Author: Valerie Diane Bolling

Summary: Family writing projects provide opportunities to build relationships among families, students and teachers while strengthening literacy, and are an especially powerful resource for families for whom English is not a first language and who are sometimes unfamiliar with the dominant school culture. This article describes activities, structures and benefits for all in one Connecticut school community.
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Chocolate and Change: Gaming for Social Justice, from Assessing Students’ Digital Writing

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Author: Christina Puntel

Summary: In this sample chapter from Assessing Students’ Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely, a teacher-consultant shares insights from the collegial feedback she received on a student-led food justice project and the implications for her instruction and assessment. For teachers whose students engage in complex projects, this offers a model of how teachers used the Descriptive Review process to produce a more in-depth and valid assessment of student work than any traditional rubric could provide.
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New Teachers in Urban Contexts: Creating Bridges with Teach For America Teachers

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Authors: Dina Portnoy and Tanya Maloney

Summary: This article examines how the Philadelphia Writing Project partnered with the University of Pennsylvania and Teach for America (TFA) to provide new TFA teachers with an additional week of focused training before they entered the classroom for the start of the school year. The program is designed as a collaborative model to help the TFA teachers learn about building strong classroom communities, learn about and see the diversity of the urban school as an asset, and develop relationships with experienced and successful urban school educators. In addition, the program looks specifically to initiate the TFA teachers into the reflective practices and teacher inquiry processes inherent in NWP sites and work. This article would be a timely and useful resource for any TCs, teams, or sites considering working on professional development/mentoring for educators new to the profession, early in their careers, or those moving into a more diverse school setting for the first time in their careers. It might also serve as a good resource for sites looking at intensive one-week models that focus on issues of classroom diversity or as an alternative to the traditional four-week Invitational Summer Institute.
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Reimagining Learning in Libraries and Museums (NWP Radio)

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Summary: Imagine out-of-school learning spaces where museum and library educators create digital access for youth. The discussion focuses on students as makers rather than as consumers. Organizational partners discuss ways in which YOUmedia Network has impacted educators’ commitments to teen learning.
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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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Changing the Face of Leadership: Redesigning the Summer Institute to Invite Diversity

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Author: Katie Kline and Thomas Ferrel

Summary: With a focus or recruiting and supporting diversity in site programs, this article offers recruitment strategies relevant for all site activities. It also includes identifying relevant readings and how program leaders met to examine how best to involve diverse teachers and educators in their programs.
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Boys’ Literacy Camp Sets a Standard

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Summary: When adolescent readers can read, but won’t read, how can teachers get them engaged? Teacher-consultants in Maine created a summer wilderness camp where students must read in order to do things they want to do. For example, they had to read about canoe safety before piloting a canoe, or study how to edit a film digitally in the process of making one about their adventures. The goal was to making reading and writing real and necessary. This idea would be readily adaptable for summer youth programs.
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Beyond the Five-Paragraph Theme

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Author: Glenda Moss

Summary: After teaching the five-paragraph essay early in her career, Glenda Moss now describes how it locks students into thinking it is the only way to write. By sharing her journey as she moves into teaching college writers, she shares the limitations of the five-paragraph essay, how it inhibited critical thought, and how it restricted access to multiple genres. Because this form of writing is still prevalent, this article could be a helpful segue to help teachers or teacher groups discuss how to approach writing instruction.
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Green(ing) English: Voices Howling in the Wilderness?

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Author: Heather Bruce

Summary: Noting that “in literature and language arts classes at the secondary level, where we do not hesitate to study the impact of ethical mores in human lives, where we do not hesitate to teach respect for life, we have fairly well ignored our impact on the natural world or our relationships with it,” In this article, Heather Bruce argues for teachers to engage students in considering a range of difficult issues related to climate, environment, and the future of humanity. A useful resource for launching a content-area study that brings current environmental questions into the reading and writing curriculum.
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Evolving the Research Paper

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Author: Jack Zangerle

Summary: This blog post describes an alternative research-writing project: developing public service announcements (PSAs). This resource may be helpful as a model for any instructors who want their students to develop PSAs for civic engagement or for the development of digital skills and message-making. This digital “making” event could also be used during summer youth writing camps. A student-created PSA is included with the blog post.
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Creating Intentional Communities to Support English Language Learners in the Classroom

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Author: Judith Rance-Roney

Summary: How can teachers support English language learners, including recent immigrants, in language acquisition while also investing all students in creating a classroom culture that encourages shared experiences, knowledge construction and the integration of resources that ELLs bring? Judith Rance-Roney’s answer was to create the Culture Share Club as an intentional learning community within the classroom. Rich descriptions of many effective practices with solid theoretical and research grounding makes this article a must-read for study groups, professional learning communities, or professional development.
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Place-Based Poetry, One Step at a Time

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Author: Ann Gardner

Summary: With the goal of helping her students create free-form poetry that engages “the part of their brains that allows them to crawl into deep recesses of memory, shake hidden treasures awake, and write from their souls,” Gardner illustrates each step of the writing process she introduces to her students. Sharing a close look at student writing, she juxtaposes specific revisions made by one student from the Navajo reservation with those created through her modeling with the class. This article would be equally useful in professional development discussions with teachers and team planning for young writers programs.
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Community Literacy: Can Writing Make a Difference?

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Author: Linda Flower, Lorraine Higgins, Wayne C. Peck

Summary: This resource describes the process emerging from a Community Literacy Collaborative (CLC) initiative that enabled youth to use inquiry and writing to enter into a policy discussion about increases in school suspension and for their university mentors to enter into the discourse of urban teens. The approach is designed to promote intercultural discourse across race, class, gender, age, and economics barriers. Remarkably current (the school to prison pipeline comes to mind), this piece provides real world examples undergirded by a strong theoretical rationale and could be a useful resource for those framing community-based projects aimed at advocacy and civic engagement.
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Building Culturally Responsive Units of Study: From Texas to Mexico and Back

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Author: Katie McKay

Summary: By crafting units of study that cast immigration as part of the American historical process, a teacher-consultant at the Heart of Texas Writing Project creates opportunities for her bilingual fourth-graders to explore immigration in a trusting and productive classroom environment. This article can support discussions about how to connect curriculum to students’ own knowledge, how to explore sensitive topics with younger children, or how to use writing to support students’ understanding of history or current events.
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Writing Our Future Through Family Literacy Projects (NWP Radio)

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Summary: In this NWP Radio Show, writing project leaders discuss their family academic literacy projects, developed as part of the Writing Our Future Initiative. Based in high-needs schools around the country, this work provides support and interactive programming for English Language Learners grades K-3 and their families. This resource can support NWP sites and groups of teacher leaders to understand some of the questions and issues involved in developing these programs, and provides models for adaptation.
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Rural Sites Teachers Inspire Community Connections

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Author: Phip Ross

Summary: This article gives several suggestions for how rural teachers can involve parents in literacy projects that impact student learning and engagement. Successful strategies include “parent-teacher-student journals.”
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Lee Anne Bell Counters the “Stock Stories” of Race and Racism

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Author: Art Peterson

Summary: This article by Art Peterson describes how Lee Anne Bell, author of Storytelling for Social Justice, explores the tension between stock stories and counter or concealed stories in order to develop an anti-racist pedagogy. As Peterson notes, “Bell’s purpose is not only to expose the myths that support the stock story, but also to help those she works with create what she calls transformative stories. . . stories that imagine alternative scenarios for racial equality and articulate strategies to work toward these visions.'” Resources attached to this article include a link to Bell’s Storytelling Project Curriculum and may be most useful in planning and designing professional development related to issues of equity and social justice.
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Meeting the Needs of Racially and Linguistically Diverse Students through Courageous Conversations

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Author: South Coast Writing Project

Summary: Although conversations about race and diversity are not easy, they can allow teacher leaders to examine and interrogate their beliefs and practices to determine the direction of their teaching and of their writing project sites. This article describes how the South Coast WP spent two years engaged in “courageous conversations” around issues of diversity as a way to better meet the needs of the linguistically diverse student population in the area. Also included are useful details on how the program started with an open institute and links to several of the key resources used throughout the project’s implementation. The article and its related resources might inspire study groups and leadership teams to engage in their own critical reading and courageous conversations.
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Creating Spaces for Study and Action Under the Social Justice Umbrella

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Authors: Marlene Carter, Norma Mota-Altman, and Faye Peitzman

Summary: This monograph provides an in-depth look at the UCLA Writing Project’s approach to exploring two social justice concerns—matters of race and issues of homophobia—and the design of two multiyear study groups that engage the learning community at the site. The authors chronicle how both study groups were moved to take action as a result of their work together, and describes the programs they created and the impacts of these programs. Finally, the authors reflect on how these study groups have impacted the work of their site, and on the significance of nurtur­ing long-term, focused continuity work for teachers. The monograph would be useful for teacher leaders interested in organizing and leading study groups focused on social justice issues, and/or in learning about strategies that support honest conversations among thoughtful colleagues.
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Writing in Home Dialects: Choosing a Written Discourse in a Teacher Education Class

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Author: Eileen Kennedy

Summary:In exploring how to encourage her Caribbean teacher education students to use their vernacular dialects (vernacular Englishes, Spanish, and Haitian creole) in narrative writing, Kennedy discovered reluctant writers who lacked confidence, in part because their use of home languages had always been suppressed. Over time she helped her students compose drafts in their home language(s) and use Standard English for final drafts. For teachers and sites wanting to explore political and sociological implications related to suppression of home language and devaluing of students’ cultures and identities, this piece provides a rich narrative of possibility, strategies and theoretical grounding.
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Writing, Place, and Culture: Indian Education for All

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Author: Paul Epstein

Summary: This article illustrates how two Writing Project sites In Maine and Montana, explorie how to help teachers address state laws regarding Indian education and improve the writing of Native American learners. It includes specific ideas for teacher leaders to increase their understanding of of Native American culture by, for example, understanding the central role of storytelling and importance of place.
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Linda Christensen: Social Justice, Teaching Writing, and Teaching Teachers

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Author: Pamela Morgan

Summary: Linda Christensen’s work is a great starting point and resource for anyone looking to integrate teaching for social justice into the classroom or designing/facilitating a professional learning experience focused on social justice and equity. Included with the article is a brief video interview with Christensen, a bibliography of additional Christensen articles and books, a review of her book, Teaching for Joy and Justice, and a downloadable sample chapter from the book at the bottom of this page.
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Working Toward Equity

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Authors: Linda Friedrich, Carol Tateishi, Tom Malarkey, Elizabeth Radin Simons, and Marty Williams

Summary: What is equity? What does it mean to work for equity in schools? What does it mean to make equity central to our work as teachers and researchers? With a focus on inquiry, Working Toward Equity explores these and other questions in 13 narratives from a broad spectrum of educators chronicling their real work in classrooms, schools, districts, and professional development organizations. Of use both in planning and leading teacher research, it offers a rich variety of tools and protocols to support individual and group inquiry.
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Lessons from Tony: Betrayal and Trust in Teacher Research

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Author: Sharon Miller

Summary: In a compelling narrative laced with details of a teacher’s relationship as a co-researcher with Tony, a student in her class of seniors with special needs,
and her own ethical struggles as a teacher-researcher, Sharon Miller provides insights into questions such as ownership of data, and the relationship between vulnerable populations and consent forms. The honest and respectful portrayal of her own experience provides lots of fodder for teacher inquiry communities to grapple with, whether students participate as informants or co-researchers.

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The Family Writing Project: No More Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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Author: Arthur Kelly

Summary: Describing the family writing project that he developed and led, Arthur Kelly explains that such programs offer families the rare opportunity to come together and create a community of writers: “As in National Writing Project summer institutes, participants in family writing projects discuss ideas and issues that are important to them. They work together on activities, write extensively, and respond to each other’s work.” Useful for teachers exploring program models to support community literacy, this article includes several writing prompts that work in family writing contexts as well as a rationale for why family writing programs build community and honor writing as they honor writers’ lives.
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Revision and Writing Groups in the First Grade: Finding the Black Ninja Fish

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Author: Joanna Franklin

Summary: After her experience participating in a writing group in her NWP summer institute, this teacher/author developed an instructional sequence in order to teach revision in her first grade class. She begins in September with students rereading their writing, advances through Author’s Chair and the creation of a class set of criteria for excellent writing, and by March has her students successfully working in writing groups and revising their writing. This work affirmed her belief that if first-graders are given appropriate support and structure, they are capable of deep thinking and learning. Through this article, early grade teachers in any professional development forum may see possibilities for change in their writing instruction.
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Bringing Hard Talk to Your Writing Project Site—with the Theatre of the Oppressed

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Author: Chris Tsang

Summary: When faced with difficult conversations and scenarios involving heated subjects such as race, class, gender, or language, role-playing can be used as a facilitation technique to create an entry point for dialogue and disruption. The author discusses how role-play inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed can be used to help educators navigate uncomfortable and troubling scenarios they have experienced or envision experiencing in schools.
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Book Review: Teaching Reading in Middle School

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Author: Rosalyn Finlayson

Summary: This review of Laura Robb’s book, Teaching Reading in Middle School, is a useful resource for professional development program leaders and teachers looking for strategies to implement reading workshop in their classrooms to benefit students at all reading levels. Sharing the impetus for and insights drawn from her inquiry into reading in her middle school classroom, Robb has identified a framework that enables all students, including struggling readers, to realize that being a successful, strategic reader is within their reach.
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Double the Work: Challenges and Solutions to Acquiring Language and Academic Literacy for Adolescent English Language Learners

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Summary: This 2007 report by the Carnegie Foundation and the Center for Applied Linguistics identifies challenges faced by adolescent ELLs in meeting grade-level academic expectations. It also provides recommendations for teacher education, educational research, school administrators and policy makers, along with instructional approaches likely to increase student achievement. The downloadable PDF would be an excellent resource for those designing PD, developing grant proposals, doing advocacy work, and developing knowledge about teaching middle/high school ELLs.
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Teachers, Writers, Leaders

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Author: Ann Lieberman and Linda Friedrich

Summary: How do teacher leaders work for change within their own schools? What can we learn from writing project teachers’ vignettes that describe challenges as well as features of success? This article, illuminating findings from the NWP Vignette Study, could be useful to read in an institute focused on teacher leadership, collaboration, or advocating for school reform. In addition, new leaders who are supporting colleagues as mentors and thinking partners will find ideas and inspiration for their work.
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On Becoming Change Writers

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Author: Pamela Bodnar and Gail Desler

Summary: For sites interested in creating opportunities to use writing and technology to connect students, teachers and community partners to explore intersections around issues of social injustice and to empower them to take social action, this curated collection of videos, images, and written words of children and their teachers provides a host of powerful stories and resources to inspire and begin to plan. The rich collection of resources demonstrate what it means for learners to have spaces and tools that enable them to use multimodal writing for inquiry and to “find a place in the world,” to connect historical events of social injustice to experiences of today and their own lives and identities.
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How Language Minority Students Can Learn in the Content Areas: An Alternative to Silence

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Author: Beth Winningham

Summary: A teacher researcher who studied the experiences of five minority students over the course of a school year offers concrete suggestions for improving the learning experience of middle/high school students in general, and ELL students in particular. This article could be examined as a model of teacher inquiry and student advocacy.
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Demystifying the College Admission Essay Genre

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Author: Jessica Singer Early and Meredith DeCosta

Summary: This chapter from Jessica Singer Early and Meredith DeCosta’s Real World Writing for Secondary Students presents a writing workshop for ethnically and linguistically diverse high school students in which students receive instruction on specific genre features of the college admission essay. The chapter offers an overview of the college admission essay genre, key components of the college admission essay workshop, samples of student writing, and professional resources for teaching the college admission essay. Equally useful as the focus of a professional development session or as the basis for a youth writing program, the chapter is especially relevant, for teachers who work with linguistically divers youth, as a way of providing access to “gate-opening writing tasks.”
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Subversive Acts of Revision: Writing and Justice

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Author: Heather Bruce

Summary: Bruce explains how revision can be taught as a tool to critique unjust texts. She writes, “We must …speak back to those who would take our power from us and continue a legacy of damage to our students.” Reading this piece could spark powerful conversations about teaching for social justice while supporting students as critically active readers who write as a way to resist and/or advocate.
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