Leading Professional Learning

Empowering Teachers Through the Summer Institute

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Author: Beth Halbert

Summary: Is leading a program for the site a new endeavor for you? Are you wondering, “what in the world did I get myself into?” Then you should read this article about being thrust into a site leadership role, transitioning from summer institute participant to facilitator, just two weeks before the start of the institute. The author not only shares her personal experience, but also demonstrates how remaining true to the NWP principle of “teachers teaching teachers” is foundational to successful NWP work.
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College-Ready Writers Program Lesson Study (NWP Radio)

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Summary: Guests on this radio program were part of NWP’s College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) who participated in an online version of a lesson study focused on two mini-units. Guests talk about how the structure of the lesson study has impacted their practice, their experience with teaching the mini-units in their classrooms, and their experience with participating in the online community. Site leadership teams may develop a similar online lesson study using lessons learned by these educators about digital interaction in professional inquiry groups. This resource may be useful for sites who want to engage in continuity across rural areas, or teachers want to try the argumentative writing modules and compare processes and outcomes with other educators.
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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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“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 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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Scientific Writing and Technological Change

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Author: Mya Poe and Julianne Radkowski Opperman

Summary: Looking for specific ways to incorporate technology into teaching while leading students through the scientific research process? Noting that writing in science “is a dynamic process that changes quickly with technological change,” this chapter explores specific examples from both high school and college settings that invite students’ dynamic engagement as writers through proposal writing, literature reviews, storying research findings, and peer review. This resource will be of interest to both classroom teachers and those involved in designing professional development programs or seeking ideas for teacher inquiry.
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Window Sill: Teacher-Researchers and the Study of Writing Process

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Author: Marian M. Mohr

Summary: For those new to facilitating teacher-research, this article provides insight into the process, specifically how teachers approach research, the potential for research to change teaching practice, and implications for teacher education. It’s written as an introduction to a collection of research reports on the writing processes of students, grades one through twelve, and prepared by the participants in a teacher-researcher seminar.
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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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Annotated Bibliography for NWP Professional Writing Retreats

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Summary: The purpose of this annotated bibliography is to showcase pieces of writing that were developed at NWP Professional Writing Retreats. From pieces on teacher practice to books about the teaching of writing, this bibliography has something of interest for every teacher. The range of genres highlights the kind of writing that is supported at Professional Writing Retreats, and offers inspiration for sites interested in creating their own forums to support teachers as writers.
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Program Recruitment Flyers: Some Models

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Summary: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Likewise, if a great professional development program is developed and no one shows up, was it great? Here is a collection of flyers sites have used to successfully recruit participants to a variety of professional development offerings. Take a look and see what might be useful in helping you recruit a large and enthusiastic crowd for the fabulous professional development you have to offer.
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Formative Assessment in Designing and Refining Long-Term Professional Development

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Guests: Toby Kahn-Loftus, Dan Polleys, Catherine Quick, Jennifer Guerra, Maria Garcia, Erin Mohr, and Stephanie Rollag

Summary: For teachers studying the role of formative assessment in the teaching of writing or leading long-term, in-school professional development, this webinar provides a wealth of strategies and resources. National Writing Project teachers from Michigan, Texas, and Minnesota share assessment strategies and program designs and offer insights from their work with teachers in high-need schools into the ways in which critical feedback from student work and teaching practice helps shape and reshape professional development sessions.
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Because Digital Writing Matters: A Conversation with the Authors

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Summary: The NWP book, Because Digital Writing Matters, examines what teachers, administrators, and parents can do to help schools meet the challenges of digital writing and to equip students with the communication skills they need to thrive in an information-rich, high-speed, high-tech culture. It provides a roadmap for teachers and administrators who are implementing digital writing initiatives in their classrooms, schools, and communities.
Offering practical solutions and models for educators and policymakers involved in planning, implementing, and assessing digital writing initiatives and writing programs, Because Digital Writing Matters examines such questions as the following:

  • What is digital writing?
  • What happens in an effective digital writing classroom?
  • How does digital writing support learning across disciplines?
  • What are fair ways to assess digital writing?
  • How can schools create effective programs to prepare teachers and students to succeed in a digital, interconnected world?

The authors make the case that digital writing is, more than just a skill, a complex activity and mode of thinking that entails, in all grades and disciplines, interfacing with ideas and with the world.
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Getting Inside Inquiry: Teachers’ Questions Transform Their Practice

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Summary: Useful for teams interested in planning teacher inquiry programs, this resource tells the story of a collaborative inquiry project carried out among teachers from writing project sites in Oklahoma and Nevada that not only transformed their individual teaching practices but also supported them to start teacher inquiry communities at their sites. This resource includes links to readings other resources on inquiry, a PDF of a teacher inquiry-focused institute, and a great writing exercise (“The Stuck Place”) designed to help teachers begin to develop practice-based research questions.
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Introduction: Why Digital Writing Matters

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Author: National Writing Project, with Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, and Troy Hicks

Summary: What does it mean to write digitally? What does it mean to be a teacher of writing in a digital age? In this introduction to the book, Because Digital Writing Matters, the authors provide an overview in response to these questions. They include a review of historical perspectives on writing, of expanding definitions of digital writing, and of the impact of the integration of technology on the teaching and learning of writing. In addition, they explore what digital writing might look like in classrooms including a discussion of the new media Literacy tools, strategies, skills, and dispositions that are necessary to operate within our expanding participatory culture. This chapter and related resources may be especially useful for study groups, as well as those planning professional development or developing grant proposals focused on digital literacy.
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Planning a Cohesive, Year-long Program with a Partner School: The “Arc” of Professional Development

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Author: Jane Frick, Tom Pankiewcz, and Terri McAvoy

Summary: In this NWP webinar, teacher leaders from the Prairie Lands Writing Project share specific examples of the steps they followed to develop and implement a yearlong intensive professional development partnership. The webinar begins with a discussion of how site leaders approached the partner school, built a strong relationship with key staff, conducted needs assessments, and collaboratively developed the program budget and a list of common goalst. The focus then shifts to specific examples of how the site developed and facilitated the PD sessions throughout the year. A particularly strong point of the webinar is the inclusion of a link to a google folder with all of the materials discussed in the webinar.
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The Web as a Tool for Continuity

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Authors: Evan Nichols, Carol Tateishi, Sonnet Farrell, Tom McKenna, and Sondra Porter

Summary: How can we keep teachers connected to each other across time and space? This monograph illustrates how the web can be used effectively to facilitate continuity and follow-up opportunities at sites. Showcased are the Bay Area Writing Project’s ezine, Digital Paper, and the Alaska State Writing Consortium’s Virtual Open Institute. This in-depth piece could be helpful for sites whose teachers are geographically distant from each other as they explore shifting to virtual spaces for institutes.
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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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“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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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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Enabling Communities and Collaborative Responses to Teaching Demonstrations

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Author: Janet A. Swenson, Diana Mitchell

Summary: This monograph explains a useful protocol developed by Red Cedar Writing Project for responding to demonstrations in the Summer Institute, called the Collaborative Responses to Teaching Demonstrations (CRTD). This response takes the form of a letter to the person offering the demonstration, thus providing responders with opportunities to draft and revise a piece with a clear audience and purpose. The monograph includes discussions of each aspect of the protocol, as well as tools to help prepare teachers for response, both prior to and during the Summer Institute.
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National School Reform Faculty: Learning Communities Protocols and Activities

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Frame: This extensive collection of protocols and strategies from the National School Reform Faculty is an essential resource for those facilitating professional development. There are protocols on everything from looking at student work to professional dialogue on problematic classroom scenarios to discussing shared readings.
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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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Improving Assignments With the Writing Assignment Framework

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Author: National Writing Project and Mary Ann Smith

Summary: Featuring a range of protocols, tools, and student samples, the Writing Assignment Framework and Overview was designed as a resource for use in planning instruction and professional development. Growing out of work NWP did with the Authentic Intellectual Work framework, these tools aim to support teachers in all disciplines to think critically about the effectiveness of their assignments in supporting intellectual work that “is similar to the type of problem solving that adults face in their everyday lives and helps prepare students to be critical, analytical thinkers.” At page 10 in the document, teachers share designs for professional development sessions using the tools and forms.
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Site-Based Leadership Reforms the Writing Curriculum on the Other Side of the Tracks

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Author: Nancy Remington and Robert McGinty

Summary: Leaders from the Great Basin Writing Project in Nevada describe a long-term school partnership that gave teachers at Southside Elementary the opportunity to redesign curriculum and reshape the writing culture of their school. This inquiry-centered approach to professional development, designed and led by teachers-with support from the writing project site, could be a model for any school.
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Working With New Teachers: Building Networks and Allies (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Kira J. Baker-Doyle

Summary: Are you building programming for new teachers? Listen to this podcast for a fascinating discussion about the role that social networks play in new teachers’ early professional path. The participants offer conceptual and practical thoughts about what happens when new teachers gain access to and strategically gather resources from various networks (face-to-face and online).
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Culturally Mediated Writing Instruction for Adolescent English Language Learners

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Author: Leslie Patterson, Carol Wickstrom, Juan Araujo

Summary: Sites looking for examples of how to design a study and/or plan professional development focused on the impact of culturally mediated writing instruction (CMWI) for adolescent English learners may find this report by the North Star of Texas Writing Project a helpful resource. Findings suggest that positive effects are more likely to occur when inquiry-based professional development includes follow-up support as teachers learn ways to effectively mediate and differentiate instruction to meet particular needs of diverse learners in language and literacy learning.
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Teachers Writing for Publication: Tips from a Teacher, Author, and Editor

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Author: Louann Reid

Summary: Written by a former journal editor, this article provides advice about developing teacher voice and in-depth information about getting published in a range of professional forums. The piece offers useful content for writing retreats, and other events/activities related to teachers’ professional writing.
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Protocols: Looking at Student Work (for participants) and Looking at Student Work (for facilitator)

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Author: Hudson Valley Writing Project

Summary: This protocol is one that takes teachers through the steps of looking at student work in a professional development session. The accompanying script helps a facilitator to guide participants through the “turns” in the protocol process. Adapted from the Prospect Center Descriptive Review Process and the National School Reform Faculty Appreciative Inquiry protocol, this resource allows participants to name what students have accomplished before making recommendations for next steps. Rather than focusing on deficits, it offers an additive model for reviewing student work.
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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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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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National Writing Project Offers High-Quality Writing Assessment Services

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Summary: Over an eight-year period, the National Writing Project created and refined the Analytic Writing Continuum (AWC) Assessment System, originally based on the framework of the Six +1 Trait Writing Model (Bellamy, 2005), for research and instructional purposes. Unlike the holistic scores used in most large-scale writing assessments, which offer limited information about how improvements in student writing may be achieved, the AWC provides accurate assessment of both holistic and important performance attributes of writing. Teacher study groups or advanced institutes interested in advancing their knowledge of assessment for writing can use the AWC research brief to draft recommendations and to provide information to school stakeholders.
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A Guide for Writing Marathon Leaders

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Authors: Richard Louth

Summary: This in-depth guide, drawn from the book “I’m a Writer”: Essays on the Writing Marathon and Why We Write, covers just about everything needed to organize and run a successful writing marathon. In a writing marathon, small groups write and share their writing as they move through a setting such as a landscape, a city neighborhood, a museum. These events–for teachers, community members, and/or students– can inspire writing while also developing community among writers and celebrating local spaces.

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A Park in Your Backyard: Summer Youth Programs & More at the National Park (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Renee Albertoli, Bethany Silva, Lois Mcgee, Diane Rawson, Eric Fiore, Susanne Norris, Mary Buckelew, Rhonda Schier, Lisa Italiano, and Cate Lamb

Summary: This NWP radio show explores the design and impact of summer youth programs developed through a partnership between the National Writing Project and the National Park Service. Featuring teachers from four NWP sites and their National Park ranger colleagues, it describes several rich opportunities for young people to explore their relationship to place through writing in historic sites.
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On-Site Consulting: New York City Writing Project

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Author: Nancy Mintz, Alan L. Stein, and Marcie Wolfe

Summary: This NWP monograph provides an in-depth look at the longstanding New York City WP program of school-based professional development partnerships with the New York City public schools. Former NYCWP Director Marcie Wolfe provides background information on the development and evolution of the program which places TCs on-site at partner schools for multi-year cycles. Two TCs with extensive experience in the on-site consultant role, Nancy Mintz and Alan Stein, then share their experiences. Mintz explores a fundamental consulting/coaching dilemma: how do you hold onto your core beliefs and values, while not trying to enact those beliefs and visions in someone else’s classroom. Stein’s story describes a crucial shift in school culture and the importance of the collaboration between himself, the principal, and several key teachers at the school. This thoughtful, extensive exploration of work in and with schools serves as a valuable resource for any leadership team considering extended professional development partnerships.
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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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Multi-Session Calendar (School-Based PD)

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Author: Katelin Grande

Summary: This blueprint/plan for a multi-day professional development series was created by teacher-consultants from the Hudson Valley Writing Project. Along with illustrating how reading, writing, and inquiry strands were designed strategically for the series, this plan also serves as a calendar for teacher-participants and includes time considerations. The second page includes a list of literacy topics that the group explored, another document that was shared with participants.
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Imagining the Possibilities: Improving the Teaching of Writing Through Teacher-Led Inquiry

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Author: Jessica Early

Summary: Teachers in Phoenix, AZ improved their practice by participating in a teacher-led inquiry group of Writing Project fellows, collaborating on a curriculum framework for college- and career-ready writing.

This article presents a model of how one group of teachers used inquiry to improve their understanding of student writing and revise their school’s curriculum accordingly. Specifically, they conducted action research on implementing Common Core standards in an Arizona urban charter school. Written by and for teachers, curriculum directors and administrators, it offers a case for encouraging teacher-led inquiry groups as a way to empower teachers and improve writing instruction for students.
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Book Review: Inquiry as Stance: Practitioner Research for the Next Generation

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Author: Elizabeth Radin Simmons

Summary: The reviewer provides useful examples of how Cochran-Smith & Lytle’s book might support teacher inquiry practices. Initially put off by the fact that most authors were university professors, the reviewers soon found much value when reading the book from the perspective of a school coach. For those choosing books to support teacher inquiry, a quick perusal of this review may help with the decision. And for those already planning to use Inquiry as Stance in PD settings, the review offers helpful insights on several of the individual articles.
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Stories of Impact: The On-Site Work of the New York City Writing Project

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Author: Elaine Avidon, et al.

Summary: This e-book includes powerful chapters written by teacher consultants about the individual and collective impact of their work and its alignment to their site’s mission and beliefs about professional learning. Reading select chapters would support fellows in imagining different kinds of school coaching; alternatively, the book offers a powerful model for site leaders who want to pull together leaders to collectively evaluate and write about the impact of their site’s programs.
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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 Guide to Workshop Development and Coaching

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Author: Susan Bennett

Summary: How can we coach new teacher leaders as they prepare to lead professional learning activities? In a clear, concise brochure format, this resource outlines a coaching protocol and offers a frame for working with teachers in the early stages of learning to lead professional development. This frame identifies a sequence of face-to-face and email interactions that could easily include other forms of technology to support coaching interactions.
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Overview of the NWP’s College Ready Writers Program

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Summary: This overview provides key information about the National Writing Project’s College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) and how it works, along with the results from multiple years/areas of the country. In “About the Program,” teachers can find resources that complement each other in a year-round approach to teaching argument: routine argument writing, mini-units, extended research arguments, on-demand tasks, formative assessment resources, and videos of teachers who have used the resources. The “How it Works” sub-link offers a model for an Advanced Institute for CRWP. The last sub-link provides the results of a 2-year random assignment evaluation which found CRWP had a positive, statistically significant effect on the four attributes of student argument writing—content, structure, stance, and conventions. Points of use include: site leadership team review of CRWP to see how it might be used in their region/locale; and teacher leadership or teacher inquiry related to bringing CRWP into their writing instruction.
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Looking at Student Writing as Part of Professional Development

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Author: Bruce Penniman, Stephanie Joyce, Karen Smith and Julie Webb

Summary: In this NWP webinar, several leaders from the Area3 (UC-Davis) and Western Massachusetts Writing Projects discuss their experiences offering professional development to high needs elementary schools. While the site leaders offer helpful insights and perspectives on the development of the program experience, the primary focus is on the facilitation of the professional development and the resources/protocols used to assist teachers as they look at and discuss student writing. A fantastic set of resources for guiding collaborative review and discussion of student writing, that include all of the protocols shared as part of the webinar, are linked in several google folders.
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No Longer a Luxury: Digital Literacy Can’t Wait

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Author: Troy Hicks and Kristen Hawley Turner

Summary: Calling for reflection upon and critique of how technology is typically used in schools, authors Hicks and Turner caution that technology in the classroom cannot be viewed simply as an add-on, but must instead be used to cultivate distinctly digital literacies, inviting students “to critically consume information, to create and share across time and space, to cocreate and collaborate to solve problems.” Providing a list of tech do’s and don’ts, they call on teachers to “audaciously” advocate for greater cultivation of genuine digital literacy.
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Writing Projects and School Reform: A Local Perspective

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Author: Marcie Wolfe

Summary: How can teachers’ voices be heard within the top-down forces of reform, and how can NWP avoid becoming a “recipe-based” school reform model? This article tells the story of New York City writing project leaders who supported teachers and administrators within a City initiative to phase out large, struggling high schools and replace them with co-located smaller schools. Central in this resource are the ways the on-site NYCWP teacher-consultants became “redesign pioneers,” using writing to enhance policy and planning meetings as well as teachers’ practice. The article also addresses some of the challenges involved in coordinating with other professional development groups. This may be an important piece for site leaders or advanced inquiry groups to read as a frame for inquiry and for mapping out a plan for entry into schools undergoing redesign or struggling with reform issues.
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Creating a Pedagogy of Facilitation: Ideas From the Philadelphia Writing Project

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Authors: Christina Puntel and Carol Rose

Summary: Created by Philadelphia Writing Project teacher-consultants, this guide and related resources invite emergent leaders to consider how they might plan, lead, and facilitate specific professional development series. Included are facilitation scenarios (e.g., planning a PD series on Writing Workshop and Conferencing or Writing Across the Curriculum) and protocols designed to provoke discussion. There could be additional questions to consider, for example, what kinds of “writing experiences” would you design into the series? What sorts of “readings” would have participants engage with?
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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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Leadership Transition: Taking Over a Site in Reorganization

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Author: Gatsinzi Basaninyenzi

Summary: What happens when a Writing Project site needs to be rethought and renewed? This article offers the perspective of a site director who was invited to take over and renew an existing site and who attended a NWP New Site Directors Retreat. At the retreat he explored site business development, invitational summer institutes, inservice, and continuity. Inspired by this experience, he worked with teachers at his site to design rotational site leadership teams, teacher study groups for continuity, newsletter development, and a youth writing program. This resource can be helpful to sites in need of new strategies for site development or teacher-leadership development. It shows, firsthand, how new or re-visioned programs can develop under leadership transitions or a shift toward enhanced teacher leadership of a site.
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Conference Flyers: Some Models

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

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Author: Kevin Thienes

Summary: This article shares the six core components of a new teacher mentoring program developed at the Boise State WP and how the program helped new(er) teachers navigate the early years of their career and develop a sense of agency. Those coaching/mentoring new teachers, as well as anyone looking to find a safe and effective protocol for discussing classroom successes and struggles, will find a golden nugget with the Gotcha/Gorilla protocol and will be inspired by the discussion of how the protocol allowed the new teachers to see themselves as problem solvers, thinkers, and educators.
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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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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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Working with a Mandated Curriculum

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Author: Kelly Lock

Summary: Do you ever feel as if we live in a perpetual state of top-down, mandated pedagogy? How are classroom teachers responding to calls to act on these directives? This is the question Kelly Lock tries to answer as her school district orders an abrupt midyear mandated transition and required change to the writers’ workshop model.This article could be a valuable piece for educators who wish to discuss where we each draw the proverbial “line in the sand.” When do we give the new mandate a whole-hearted try and when do we adapt to include strategies for the benefit of our students?
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The Disruptive/Transformative Potential of the Common Core State Standards

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Author: Meg Petersen and Megan Birch

Summary: Arguing that the Common Core State Standards “represent an opportunity to disrupt and transform existing instructional practices and ways of thinking about curriculum,” the authors challenge teachers to move beyond facilitating writing toward becoming authentic intellectual partners with their students in response to the CCSS emphasis on thinking, arguing, & constructing meaning. The article cites multiple examples of how the authors rethought the interaction of their university students with literary texts and writing assignments. While not focused directly on teacher inquiry, the article provides useful information about bringing a spirit of inquiry into the classroom as a way to reflect on and disrupt traditional pedagogical thinking.
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Strengthen Your Work with New Teachers

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Summary: Anyone developing or jumping into an existing program for early career educators will find this brief overview from the New Teacher Initiative useful. Included in the overview is an annotated bibliography of key/foundational readings you will want to consider using with your new teachers. The readings are conveniently organized into 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. In addition, several suggestions and protocols for deepening discussion of the texts are included.
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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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Seeing Academic Writing with a New “I”

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Author: Rebecca Feldbusch

Summary: How often do we tell our students (or ourselves) that making personal connections will strengthen their writing, and yet when it comes to academic writing warn against employing the evil “I”? In this essay, Rebecca Feldbusch pushes back against the strong admonitions of teachers across the disciplines to avoid first person for fear that, in spite of evidence to the contrary, they will be scored harshly on high stakes testing. As part of a professional development session or study group, this essay could provoke productive dialogue and inquiry around grammar, conventions, and other long-held beliefs about writing.
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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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Elbow Room: Tweaking Response in the Secondary Classroom

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Author: Anne Marie Liebel

Summary: Using Peter Elbow’s theory of peer response as described in Writing Without Teachers, Ann Marie Liebel began implementing response groups, providing space for her student writers to lead the way in revision. Central here are the ways she reflected as a teacher/facilitator and the ways she listened to her students as she adjusted Elbow’s methods to fit her high school and college freshman classes. Because this resource will instigate thought on how to initiate or improve peer response groups, it may be useful for teacher inquiry, for leaders of young author summer writing camps, or for guidance prior to summer institute writing group experiences.
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Curating a Writing Museum: A Protocol

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Summary: This protocol introduces an activity that professional development facilitators can use to guide participants in creating a “museum gallery walk” to study their students’ writing. The activity would work well after participants have experimented with new writing instruction in their classrooms and presumes that participants have student writing for collegial review that they have brought to the table. This resource can lead to rich discussions about what students have accomplished and can accomplish as writers. The activity can also be adapted easily to PD with a focus on teachers as writers prompting them to examine their own writing in similar ways.
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A Weekend of Writing Isn’t a Weekend of Work

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Author: Cheryl North-Coleman

Summary: This article describes ideas for recruiting for professional writing retreats, shaping the retreat events, and providing necessary equipment and materials. Most of all, it reminds retreat planners and facilitators of the importance and centrality of time to write.
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Professional Writing Retreat Handbook

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Authors: Joseph Check, Tom Fox, Kathleen O’Shaughnessy, and Carol Tateishi

Summary: Support teachers to share their work through publication! This comprehensive handbook helps facilitators plan a Professional Writing Retreat from beginning to end. The guide includes detailed suggestions for the design of retreat agendas and activities, as well as a list of additional resources and short articles. It also includes ideas for creating an anthology of participants’ writing with the support of the group.
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Bridges: From Personal Writing to the Formal Essay

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Author: James Moffett

Summary: Asserting his belief that “all writing is idea writing,” James Moffett explores the transition from writing personal experience themes to writing formal essays. In the process, he presents a schema that groups different writing types and shows their connections. This essay, and Moffett’s work in general, is a key resource for teachers exploring issues of genre and levels of discourse in writing.
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Literacy Coaches Explore Their Work Through Vignettes

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Author: Carrie Usui

Summary: What is the work of a literacy coach? Twelve UCLA Writing Project teacher-consultants serving as literacy coaches in the LA Unified School District spent a weekend retreat exploring that question by writing vignettes as a way to illustrate what it is they do as coaches. Here they share some of what they do and how it makes a difference for students and teachers in the schools where they coach.
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How to Build Better Engineers: A Practical Approach to the Mechanics of Text

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Author: Ron E. Smelser

Summary: How do engineers write—in what ways, for what audiences, and for what purposes? How do we as teachers support novices in developing an understanding that learning to write clearly to communicate arguments in proposals and presentations may make all the difference in moving an idea to a product that is economically and practically feasibile? This article presents a structure that emulates what engineers encounter in a peer-review proposal process. Those planning and leading workshops grounded in real-world practices for aspiring engineers or other related professions will find useful ideas here.
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Southern Colorado Writing Project Coaching Protocol

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Summary: Teacher leaders designing professional development programs will find this nine step coaching protocol useful. The resource outlines a cycle for working with teachers and describes how to coach participants through the stages of brainstorming, developing, presenting, reflecting on and revising a presentation/demonstration lesson/inquiry workshop. In addition, it offers “how-to” guidance, a timeframe, and overall goals with each coaching cycle.
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Using Twitter in Classrooms and for Professional Development

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Summary: How are teens and writing project teachers using twitter and short forms of composition? This brief article provides short descriptions and links to information about how National Writing Project teachers have used Twitter in their classroom, in professional development and networking — all of which provide ideas/insights for professional development workshops and classroom instruction.
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Incorporating Multigenre Writing in the Social Studies Classroom

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Author: Kari Scheidel

Summary: Noting the gap between the level of sophistication of her students’ writing in writing workshop and in social studies, teacher Kari Scheidel reflected upon her teaching practice asking “How do I use writing effectively in social studies?” and “How do I find time for it?” In this article she shares how she developed inspiring ideas for having students practice multi-genre writing to learn in social studies. In the process, she also shares samples of student writing in American History and suggests how students’ individual and collaboratively authored pieces inspire their creative engagement at the same time that they build their subject area knowledge.
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A Year in the Life of a Director

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Summary: This graphic/timeline of “A Year in the Life of a Director” encapsulates the management responsibilities and initiatives necessary to keep things running at a local site as it is connected to the NWP office and federal funding. This tool is helpful in assisting site leaders and program coordinators with funding deadlines, reporting deadlines, and organizational leadership meetings.
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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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One-Day Workshops for Outreach and Revenue

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Author: Catherine Quick

Summary: Many writing project sites raise funds by offering a series of one-day open workshops over the course of a school year. This list of workshops offered by one site in 2013 may inspire teacher-leaders at other sites to think about how they could develop similar one-day programs in their own service area. (Note: the ongoing, updated schedule is available here)
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On the Verge of Understanding: A District-Wide Look at Student Writing

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Author: Kathleen Reddy-Butkovich

Summary: This article offers an account of how to look at student writing using a simple but effective protocol, asking what students have accomplished and what they are “on the verge of” accomplishing. Although the article features elementary teachers collaborating, the protocol will be a useful framework for educators at all levels.
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Activities from Southern Nevada Writing Project’s School-Based Writing Studios

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Authors: Tom Frasier, Holly Ishman, Rosemary Holmes-Gull, Krista Johnson, Kim Sicurella, and Karyn Steffensen

Summary: This resource includes full descriptions of two protocols that are structured to foster democratic dialogue within groups. Useful in planning for group discussions, particularly those that might become dominated by a few participants, these protocols allow the facilitator to work with the group in a equitable and fair manner that will allow all voices an opportunity to be heard.
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Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design

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Summary: “Connected learning is realized when a young person is able to pursue a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults, and is in turn able to link this learning and interest to academic achievement, career success or civic engagement.” This report—which emerged from the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, of which the National Writing Project is a key member—describes a set of design and learning principles meant to support a new approach to learning and presents the latest findings in the design and implementation of Connected Learning principles in education.
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Teacher Study Group Movement: From Pilot to Districtwide Study Groups in Four Years

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Authors:Mary Weaver, Mary Calliari, Janet Rentsch

Summary: This monograph from leaders of the Saginaw Bay WP (Michigan) takes a deep dive into a districtwide approach to teacher-led study groups that resulted in significant changes in teacher practice and student learning as well as leadership development among teacher facilitators. The appendices include study group schedules, facilitation guides, evaluation tools, etc. Those developing and facilitating study groups will find these of great use.
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The National Writing Project’s New Teacher Initiative: A Study of Outcomes, Designs, and Core Values

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Author: Barbara Heenan and Nina Houghton

Summary: Where do teachers newer to the profession fit into the NWP equation? How do we help new teachers survive and thrive in the years before recruiting them to be part of a Summer Institute? If you are grappling with fitting early career educators into your site’s programs or how to meet the needs of the needs of this audience, this report on NWP’s New Teacher Initiative can serve as a catalyst for dialogue about the purpose and practices you want to put into place. The report, which describes the work of eighteen NWP sites engaged in programming for new educators, is conveniently broken down into four smaller and focused module reports: 1) the benefits to new teachers participating in the programs, 2) the emerging practices from the programs, 3) the distinctive design features across sites, and 4) NWP core values embedded in the programs. The entire report will be useful for those just beginning to consider programming for newer teachers, while those already offering new teacher programs may find themselves gravitating towards one of the four modules.
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Content Area Literacy and Learning: Selected Sources for the 21st Century, An Annotated Bibliography

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Author: Judith Rodby

Summary: Those looking for materials related to content area and cross-disciplinary reading may find this annotated bibliography useful. It is organized around three general categories of research and practice: 1) generalized reading strategies; 2) adapting/applying generalized reading strategies to specific content areas (math, science, history); and 3) content area-specific approaches that focus on genres, discourses, and identities implicit in the ways of knowing in subject areas and disciplines.
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Pre-Retreat Coaching Leads to a More Successful Writing Retreat

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Author: Rebeca García-González

Summary: This article describes how pre-retreat coaching can be organized to deepen the effectiveness of a Professional Writing Retreat. This scaffolding prior to the event can be designed to help participants refine, adjust, or modify their writing plans and help build an early connection to a veteran site leader or retreat facilitator. Included are a brief list of pre-retreat coaching ideas and an example of an email to a writing retreat participant.
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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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Changing Times: Adapting the Invitational Summer Institute to an Online Environment

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Author: Ken Martin

Summary: Ken Martin, director of the Maine WP, shares lessons learned in transitioning MWP’s Invitational Institute from a traditional face-to-face summer program to a year round online institute. This comprehensive study reviews the rationale for moving to an online institute; the successes, struggles, and modifications implemented during the first several iterations; how roles and relationships changed as a result of the move; and how the touchstone activities and rituals of the Summer Institute translate to an online environment. In addition, helpful examples of and protocols for how to translate writing groups, writing marathons, peer response groups, and mentoring to an online environment are included in the appendices. Whether looking to simply incorporate more online components into a PD experience or transitioning to/developing a fully online experience, you will find this report to be an invaluable resource.
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Using Metaphor to Explore Writing Processes

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Author: Christian Knoeller

Summary: In this article, Christian Knoeller describes a metaphor writing assignment that offers an effective alternative to instructional materials that present writing processes in overly simple and mechanical ways. Knoeller argues that metaphor enables examinations of how we compose and revise, how we go beyond static processes, and how we become more of who we are through writing. The article includes student and teacher excerpts of extended metaphorical writing that illustrate these ideas. Point of use for this resource may include planning/design of a longitudinal professional development partnership or the facilitation of any writing session using Knoeller’s metaphor writing assignment. For teachers of writing, this article provides evidence of the impact that the exercise–and metaphor as a mode for analysis–can have on writers from middle school through college and beyond.
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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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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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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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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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Exploring Resources from Teacher-Researcher Marian Mohr

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Summary: A leader in the field of teacher research, Marian Mohr left a legacy of resources to support teacher inquiry. This article provides an excellent annotated bibliography of resources for anyone interested in participating in or guiding teachers through the inquiry process.
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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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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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Orientations for the Teaching of Writing: A Legacy of the National Writing Project

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Author: Anne Whitney and Linda Friedrich

Summary: In this comprehensive review and analysis of a qualitative study of twenty years of interviews with NWP Invitational Institute participants, researchers Whitney and Friedrich conclude that NWP’s influence on participating teachers over time and across settings resulted in their adopting a set of orientations toward the purposes of writing; students’ abilities and responsibilities as writers; and the relationships between ideas and form that govern a teacher’s choices about how best to structure writing opportunities for students. A key reading for teachers and program leaders that analyzes the foundations of the National Writing Project’s unique success as a professional development network that inspires improved teaching practice and student performance.
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Designing a Writing Retreat and Building Site Leadership on a Small Budget

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Author: Nancy Mellin McCracken & Barbara Smith

Summary: This article depicts the Kent State University Writing Project’s journey into the development and sustainability of a Professional Writing Retreat which also spurred new site leadership. Their experience brought forward important details about what really matters for successful retreats.
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Understanding and Creating Digital Texts

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Guests: Richard Beach, Antero Garcia, Nicole Mirra, and Lara Trale

Summary: This recording provides an in-depth look at supporting youth to create and curate digital texts. Richard Beach and university/school colleagues discuss practices that encourage youth as they create digital texts to define purpose and audience, make connections between digital texts and people, collaborate with others, employ multimodal forms of communication and gain new perspectives, and construct identities. The webinar also asks: how can we guide students’ digital work using a connected learning lens, and with a civic engagement mindset? The multiple resources included here can be a valuable guide during professional development about digital writing and learning, or used as a professional reading during a Summer Institute.
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Peer Review Times Two

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Author: Denise Marchionda

Summary: If you are developing or facilitating a professional development program that includes peer editing as a topic/theme/strand you will want to check out Denise Marchionda’s two-peer editing strategy. Marchionda shares the checklist and specific step-by-step directions that she has students follow in her class when editing/reviewing one another’s writing. Specific examples of how the strategy led to improved student writing are shared. The article could be used as a stand alone discussion piece in a short PD session, but it would be even better if it were read, discussed and followed up with teachers engaging in the process with their own pieces of writing, building on the NWP core belief that teachers of writing should also be writers themselves.
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School Partnerships: A Year of Professional Development

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Author: Mark Dziedzic

Summary: Is your site working in school partnerships? This resource offers a year-long calendar of events for one in-school partnership project, with links to materials used for each session. In addition to the year-long calendar, program leaders will find examples of daily agendas; writing prompts; protocols for analyzing writing processes, student writing and writing across the curriculum; and links to readings/videos.
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Heart and Voice: A Digital Storytelling Journey

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Author: Kerry Ballast

Summary: Kerry Ballast’s essay tells the story of how she transformed her teaching and her relationship with her students and technology. doing what she knows best as a teacher of writing while, at the same time, learning from and with her tech-savvy students. Together they transform their early memoir writing into multi-modal digital stories. Ballast’s story could be an inspirational piece to read and discuss at a workshop, summer institute or with teacher inquiry group. It’s a personal teaching story of risk-taking and the rewards that come from engaging technolgoy while trusting the process to celebrate the voices and lives of students. The link in the text to Story Center, a site that offers additional resources including webinars on digital storytelling.
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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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CRWP: Formative Assessment

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Summary: This resource from NWP’s College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) features two strategies that teachers can use to assess students’ source-based arguments. The “Using Sources Tool” focuses on the quality of students’ claims and how well they use evidence to support them. The “Claim, Evidence, Reasoning Protocol” can help students and teachers see how well they have developed source-based arguments. This page also includes student writing that has been annotated through the lens of the “Using Sources Tool” to illustrate how teachers can use the tool in their classrooms. These assessment strategies can be useful for teachers in any content area who are looking for effective ways to analyze students’ evidence-based arguments. Teacher study groups can examine and apply these two tools and discuss their impact.
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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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Formative Assessment as a Compass: Looking at Student Work as an Intentional Part of Ongoing Professional Development

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Author: Beth Rimer and Terri McAvoy

Summary: This e-book is a practical resource for teachers as they think about formative assessment in relation to writing instruction. Using questions posed by the authors and links within the text, a facilitator can use this guide to help teachers think about the role of assessment in their classrooms and to assist them as they consider approaches that can be informative about student writing growth. Available through iTunes as a multi-media iBook for iOS and Mac users, the e-book is available as a PDF below.
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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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From Annual Conference to Saturday Seminars: New Forums to Present Teachers’ Work

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Author: Katie McKay

Summary: Leaders at the NWP site at Rutgers University describe how they reframed their annual conference, in which new teacher-leaders first present their work, as a more informal series of Saturday workshops. The workshop series preserved the opportunity for new teacher leaders to conduct their first professional development session while eliminating the costs of a formal conference (keynote, food, etc.). In addition, the site also shares its unique model for assuring a predictable number of attendees. Includes a sample workshop schedule.
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The National Writing Project’s Unchanging Principles and Practices for Change

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Author: Sheridan Blau

Summary: It is highly likely you are here exploring this database because you, like thousands of other teachers, found your experience with your local NWP site to be transformative and you want to bring similar experiences to other educators. If that is the case, then you may find Sheridan Blau’s speech to the NWP Annual Meeting can serve as a powerful introductory reading and discussion piece at the outset of your work with educators new to the work of the NWP. Blau lays the groundwork for a rich discussion on how the NWP is different from other PD experiences and how through all the shifts in educational fads the NWP model has always stayed true to the core tenets of “teachers teaching teachers” and writing as the most powerful tool for learning. In addition to being a shared reading with those new to NWP work, this speech would also serve well as a discussion piece with TCs during the planning and development stages for new programming. As Blau reminds us—”the writing project is a powerful agent for deep and transforming change in persons, in professional development, and in the nature of schooling in part because we have so scrupulously resisted any change in our fundamental principles and practices.”
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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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Professional Development in the Digital Age: A Virtual Conference on Digital Literacy

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Author: Kim Douillard

Summary: This short article on the 4T Virtual Conference on Writing could be the perfect starting point for sites/leaders looking to integrate online learning into a program or those ready to make the jump to a fully online conference/professional development experience. Key to the success of the 4T annual online conference, which is hosted by the University of Michigan Schools of Education and Information and the Oakland Schools, has been the 15 hours of training all presenters and facilitators receive on effective interactive webinar facilitation and moderation.
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CRWP: Teaching On-Demand Argument Writing

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Summary: This online learning experience from the College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) supports on-demand writing. A PowerPoint with a slide-by-slide voiceover, it takes you through a step-by-step approach to teaching on-demand arguments of policy. It uses a two-day reading and writing task as a teaching prompt and another reading-based prompt as the task students complete on-demand. The PowerPoint, once downloaded, is editable. This resource could provide a digital writing experience for teacher groups to explore their own on-demand argumentative writing skill, or it could be used as a model so teachers can form their own on-demand readings and prompts.
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Why Retreat? Nurturing Teacher Confidence, Creativity, and Camaraderie

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Author: Kristy Lauricella Dawson

Summary: This article includes several ideas on recruitment, resource gathering, and scheduling that can lead to successful writing retreats, as well as a discussion of the value of bringing together colleagues to work on their writing over time. Through this example, retreat planners can see how nurturing teacher creativity leads to better classroom instruction.
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The How of Writing: First-Graders Learn Craft

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Author: Glorianne Bradshaw

Summary: Inspired by the ways upper grade teachers use mentor texts to generate more interesting student writing, Bradshaw uses the Frog and Toad books to teach writing to her first graders, demonstrating sentence variety, show-not-tell, onomatopoeia, the “good beginning,” and other techniques. This resource also shows the value of networking vertically among grade levels, as is often seen in NWP summer writing institutes. Useful as a starting point for discussion for a cross-grade group of educators who will be collaborating or spending professional development time together, this article is ideal for a summer institute reading or for literacy coaches or curriculum coordinators who can see how writing workshop might look in early grades as opposed to upper grades.
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Action Plan for Teaching Writing

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Author: Marva Solomon

Summary: Do you need to help school colleagues or educators in an institute move from discussion and research to an actionable plan for their classrooms? If so, then this template for an action plan created by the Northern Kentucky WP could be just the tool you seek. The document can be used to help teachers identify an area of their writing instruction they want to focus on, determine why it is important, what they can do to address the area of interest/concern, and how they will evaluate their effectiveness in the area. This may be just the tool you need to streamline and focus discussions about classroom practice.
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Collaborating to Write Dialogue

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Author: Janis Cramer

Summary: By engaging children in a collaborative workshop environment to help them learn to develop characters, consider word choice, and interweave dialogue and description, the author simultaneously helped her students to strengthen social and independent writing skills. Opportunities to perform their dialogues in front of the class were also a component of this authentic experience in writing narratives. This article provides vivid details and examples of student writing and could be a useful resource for professional development related to hands-on approaches to writing as process.
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Resources For Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship: Spotlight on Common Sense Media

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Author: Tiffany Chiao

Summary: Concerned about students’ safe and responsible internet use? This resource describes Common Sense Media, an interactive website that helps kids navigate the Internet safely and interact with their peers responsibly and respectfully. The website also provides resources for parents and curriculum for teachers to serve those ends. Common Sense Media could be helpful if you are looking for resources to recommend to parents who are concerned about the content and quality of online spaces.The website may also help teachers who are working toward family or community partnerships.
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Building the Capacity of Writing Project Site Leadership

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

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

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Author: Lucinda Juarez

Summary: This advanced institute program overview from the Lake Michigan WP could be a valuable resource for any sites looking to add an action research/teacher research component to their programming. The overview outlines program goals, objectives, key components, and expectations for participants, as well as a detailed and helpful breakdown of the focus for each of the academic year meetings. This short overview is an example of how to concisely convey the scope and desired outcomes of a program.
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“Save the Last Word for Me” Protocol

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Author: Patricia Averette

Summary: This protocol is designed for participants to clarify and deepen thinking about articles that groups may read in an institute or in a teacher study group or professional meeting where group breakouts happen. It provides a structure that enables group participants to engage in close reading and share their thinking in a low-risk context.
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Creating a Culture of Inquiry Through the Use of Model Lessons

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Author: Suzanne Linebarger

Summary: Suzanne Linebarger, associate director of the Northern California Writing Project, describes how her site conducts an inservice program of model lessons that supports collective teacher inquiry into key concepts in teaching reading and writing. Useful for teacher leaders developing or leading school-based or outside PD, the resource includes a sample schedule for a yearlong professional development program along with tols for evaluating student writing.
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Directors Retreat Strategic Planning Tools

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Author: Susan Biggs and Nick Coles

Summary: Leadership retreats can offer occasions for sites to review current programming and to plan for future work. This short article describes how several planning and review documents – Strategic Action Planning Template, Timeline, and Collaborative Review – used at NWP Directors Retreats have also been useful to local site leadership teams. The strategic planning docs can be used to develop a collective vision to guide the development and evaluation of site programs. The final review doc, a charrette protocol, can be used not only to review programming, but also as protocol for looking at writing or discussing interpretations of student work.
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Brief Reviews of Major Works of James Moffett

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Author: John Warnock

Summary: These brief sketches of the works of James Moffett emphasize ideas for classroom practice found in Moffett’s works. For any advanced institute or teacher study group who wants to do a deep dive into Moffett and his legacy related to student-centered writing experiences, these readings would provide the door.
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The Limitations of Partnership

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Author: GibAnn Tam

Summary: Sharing lessons on time, focus, and leadership, one NWP site details important lessons learned in a professional development initiative with multiple partners. Their story could be helpful for sites confronting bumps in the road as they build professional partnerships intended to bring NWP ideas and practices to teachers in schools.
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A Voice That Is Heard: Living the Writing Project Philosophy as Coaches

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Author: Sidnie Myrick

Summary: Anyone developing a coaching or mentoring program or stepping into a role as a classroom coach/consultant/mentor will find this article by teacher consultant Sidnie Myrick a useful resource. The author relates her own experience transitioning from a workshop facilitator to the role of coach/mentor to explore the key to successful classroom coaching: being a partner and co-learner, not the expert. Specific examples of how the relationship between coach and coachees were developed and nurtured over the course of a year highlight both the challenges and successes with walking alongside a colleague as a learning partner, rather than as the expert. Myrick wisely cautions that had she not shifted to the stance of learning partner she would have maintained a role as “an expert so removed from her day-to-day experience with her particular students that anything I offered would seem like handing her the decorator’s plans when her house wasn’t even built yet.”
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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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Visioning Retreats as a Strategy for Leadership Development and Site Development

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Author: Pat Fox

Summary: Planning a visioning retreat can be an effective strategy for bringing together directors and teacher-leaders to take stock of where the site has been and to develop a strategic plan for future programs. Visioning retreats can help newer sites in their early years to develop an array of continuity and inservice programs beyond the summer invitational institute. For sites undergoing a leadership transition or reorganization, such an event can help to focus and clarify their mission while mature sites can refresh site leadership and refocus the work of the site. Teacher leaders may also find this work useful in thinking about visioning retreats for their schools or programs.
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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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Planning for Study Groups: An Advanced Institute at the NWP in Vermont

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Author: Patricia McGonegal

Summary: This article describes the design and development of an advanced summer institute where teacher-consultants prepare to lead study groups in their own schools. Within this experiential institute, teacher leaders immerse themselves in the practices and theories essential to making study groups productive and powerful; they participate in a study group, reflect on this experience, and begin to design study groups adapted to their specific contexts. While this article can be viewed as a guide to preparing teachers to lead study groups, it could just as easily be used as a general guide for any site planning an advanced institute to support teachers as professional development leaders.
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Bless, Press, Address: A Formative Response Protocol for Writing Groups

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Summary: A useful resource for a writing group, Bless, Press, Address is a classic NWP formative response protocol designed to guide feedback to a writer on a draft piece of writing. Rather than offering a summative assessment on the quality of the writing, the protocol invites group members to share how the writing was received, felt, and understood. The protocol clearly lays out the purpose of the response, the roles each person plays, and the steps to follow for a productive feedback session.

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Such Stuff as Writing Dreams Are Made Of: Technology in the Writing Retreat

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Author: Michelle Rogge Gannon

Summary: This article describes how to plan and implement a Professional Writing Retreat that supports writers who create multimodal texts, and how to troubleshoot technology-related issues that might arise. Included are guidelines for responding to multimodal writers in ways that support their revision in various media. This resource may be useful for groups who are planning writing retreats at their local sites; additionally the revision guidelines may be adaptable for working with students.
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Resources for Supporting an Online Writing Community

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Summary: For a team interested in developing and supporting an online writing community, this introduction to the NWP’s former E-Anthology describes the role of responding to writing in developing community, gives helpful hints about responding online, offers a response protocol, and provides an example of a productive exchange between responders, commenters, and the writer. In addition, the information would work equally well to support face-to-face writing response groups.
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CRWP Mini-Units

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Summary: This resource from the College-Ready Writers Program features one-minute videos that define mini-units and explain the value of using nonfiction sources/texts. There are links to related pages on the CRWP website that focus on creating text sets and on developing and sequencing mini-units. These resources will take facilitators and teachers through both the content and implementation of researched argumentative modules, with space to supplement or customize. Teachers can write in response to some of the units to see how they might work with students.
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Ten Prompts to Help Turn Your Demonstration into an Article

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Author: Art Petersen

Summary: This brief list of prompts is designed to help teachers think about turning teaching demonstrations into professional articles. The prompts could help launch a writing retreat or encourage teachers to move towards publishing their classroom inquiry projects.
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A Thousand Writers Writing: Seeking Change through the Radical Practice of Writing as a Way of Being

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Author: Robert Yagelski

Summary: Have you ever found yourself having to justify teachers’ writing as a key, non-negotiable component of your site’s professional development? If so, this article can help ground you in the importance and value of the act of writing. Yagelski proposes a pedagogy of “writing as a way of being” and describes how the approach can encourage awareness, reflection, and inquiry in ways that product-focused approaches may not. Yagelski’s full vision–that writing is more than communication, and that our lives and thinking live within writing–will be helpful to any teacher inquiry group or educator/leader teams who are working together to construct their own philosophical stance about writing: what it is, what it does, and what it should look like in classrooms. This piece will also be an invaluable resource for any teachers needing to justify the practice of having students write without being directly tied to the day’s objective, goal, or standard.
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CRWP: Extended Research Arguments

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Summary: This resource from NWP’s College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP) includes actual assignments, student work, and interviews with teachers about one student’s process. The “Extended Research Argument” video is a good introduction to the resource, inviting you to explore the ideas behind extended argument and demonstrating how to use the “Inside the Life of Piece of Writing” website in both high school and middle school. For teacher study groups or professional development experiences centered on extended research argument, this resource provides authentic examples of teacher process and student writing.
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The Challenge of Change: Growth Through Inquiry at the Western Massachusetts Writing Project

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Author: Susan Connell Biggs, Kevin Hodgson, and Bruce Penniman

Summary: This National Writing Project monograph describes the inquiry process undertaken by the leaders at the Western Massachusetts Writing Project when the site faced radical changes and challenges in funding and leadership. In addition to the narrative, it includes a variety of useful resources and tools for engaging in collaborative such as identity mapping, inquiry models, site leadership job descriptions, and more.
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Thank You for Sharing: Developing Students’ Social Skills to Improve Peer Writing Conferences

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Author: Keri Franklin

Summary: In this article, Keri Franklin provides ideas and methods to prepare student authors for meaningful peer conferences which promote social talk in students’ responses to peers’ writings. Students benefit from peer conferences by receiving ideas from an audience of peers and more feedback than one teacher can provide. This article is ideal for a teacher study group examining effective techniques for writing groups or peer revision/conferencing, as well as for a professional reading prior to writing-group time in a summer institute.
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Literacy in the Digital Age

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Guests: Natalie Franzi, Steve Figurelli, Paul Oh, and Claire Rivero

Summary: In this webinar representatives from the NWP, the Teaching Channel, and Student Achievement Partners discuss effective uses of digital literacy tools, arguing that our vision must evolve to incorporate a new approach to literacy instruction, one in which technology becomes an accelerator to create and personalize meaningful learning contexts. This video would be a good way to launch a discussion about online tools and out-of-school literacies. The speakers also recommend specific digital tools and strategies.
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Sustaining Work with New Teachers

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Summary: Sites and/or educators interested in supporting early career teachers may find this resource useful: a description of how several sites developed and integrated their programs for new teachers—which were originally supported by NWP New Teacher Initiative grants—into the ongoing work of the site. Whether you are considering starting small (Southern Nevada: Study Groups), going all in (Houston: Intensive Summer Institute), or experimenting somewhere in the middle (Delaware: Workshop Series), there is something here to help you devise a program that can provide the support, collaboration, and collegiality new teachers need to thrive during their early professional years.
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Developing Leadership and Site Capacity Through Program Evaluation and Research

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Author: Paul M. Rogers

Summary: This article describes how, supported by a grant to engage in multi-year research into their site’s professional development work in high needs schools, leaders at the South Coast Writing Project gathered and analyzed data from nine teachers and their students…surveys, interviews, classroom observations, and collections of teacher and student work—to assess the effects…[on] teachers’ classroom practices and their students’ learning.” In addition to improving the site’s professional development programming, teacher leaders developed “valuable capacities” and confidence as researchers and program leaders.
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New Teacher Initiative Annotated Bibliography

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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.
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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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James Gray On Coaching: An Excerpt from Teachers at the Center

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Author: James Gray

Summary: Coaching the development of successful workshops is a key step in preparing teachers to become professional development leaders. In this excerpt from Teachers at the Center, NWP founder James Gray shares some of the early insights that informed the practice of coaching teachers as they prepare to lead their first professional workshops. During coaching sessions, experienced teacher leaders listen to what the teachers are planning, listening for what they know from experience are the most important features of a successful workshop: Is it focused on one idea or approach? How will the audience be involved? Will there be time for discussion? Will it be clear to the audience why the teacher is demonstrating this particular practice?
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Understanding the Art of Ending a Meeting

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Author: Robert Garmston

Summary: How we end a meeting can be just as, if not maybe more, important as how we start a meeting. This brief overview provides several suggestions for activities that can be used to help ensure that participants leave your meeting feeling they have been heard, have a clear understanding of who needs to do what before the next meeting, and/or have an opportunity to offer feedback on the meeting and future agendas. Although not specifically mentioned in the article, it’s important to keep in mind the power of appreciation – sincerely valuing and thanking often overworked and undervalued educators for their time, effort, and key contributions.
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Digging Deeper: Teacher Inquiry in the Summer Institute Demonstration

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Author: Art Peterson

Summary: “If this worked for me, why did it work?” This article explores writing project summer institute teacher demonstrations as a form of teacher inquiry at the Northern California Writing and the Red Cedar Writing Project, focusing on the questions that drive demonstrations of successful practices and various “lenses” for response. As Northern California teacher leader Kathy Wainwright notes, “We want our teachers to put their work in a larger context, one that they may not have thought much about. We encourage them to ask, ‘If this worked for me, why did it work?’ In this way, the presenter, as well as the other participants, will share and gain knowledge of more than just a strategy that works. Rather, a piece of theory will evolve from a presentation that has general applicability to the presenter’s teaching and maybe all teaching.” This article could help to introduce an inquiry strand or study group; the lenses for response included in the piece are adaptable for others’ use.
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Toward a Scholarship of Teaching Practice: Contributions from NWP Teacher Inquiry Workshops

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Author: Patricia Lambert Stock

Summary: In her keynote speech at NWP’s 2007 Spring Meeting, Patricia Lambert Stock reports on her study of an overlooked genre of educational research: the teacher workshop. Describing in detail a presentation on mock trials, she shows that such workshops not only have the customary elements of research published in professional journals but, in addition, they are theory-based and situated in a teaching context, construct an argument about teaching and learning and have an immediate impact on teaching practice.
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The Landscape of Digital Writing

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Author: National Writing Project, with Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, and Troy Hicks

Summary: This first chapter of Because Digital Writing Matters explores the new digital landscape for writing, examining both the complexities and challenges of digital writing for teachers and students, and unpacking what is necessary for educators and policymakers to understand in order to develop and sustain effective digital writing programs and curricula. In addressing myths and realities involved in teaching, learning and assessing digital writing practices, the authors offer numerous examples of rich and integrated ways educators have found to meet state standards through connected learning and leveraging the ability to create and share ideas, resources, and information across digital spaces. This chapter offers perspectives and background that may be useful in promoting conversations related to navigating the changing roles of teachers and students in response to the changing digital landscape.
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Coaching Guide and Protocol

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Summary: This coaching guide and protocol from the Southern Colorado WP may be helpful if you are looking for ways to support teachers in presenting their work to colleagues. While the protocol lays out a schedule and rationale for meetings between presenting teachers and their mentors, the guide provides a framework for establishing roles/relationships/responsibilities and provides a set of questions that can be used to guide the thinking partners through the stages of identifying a question, researching the question(s), and creating a demonstration/inquiry workshop.
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Learning About Ourselves from Looking at Others

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Author: Mary Anne Smith

Summary: In this short article, Mary Ann Smith describes a session she attends with several veterinarians who have brought their case studies to a group of their colleagues for response. Comparing their practice to that of teachers sharing student work, Smith reflects upon the foundations of a powerful approach to collaborative teaching and learning that cuts across professions. Engaging and accessible, this piece could easily be read by teachers in an introductory workshop session or study group.
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Developing a Multi-year School Partnership

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Author: Rick VanDeWeghe

Summary: This article describes the Denver Writing Project’s three-year professional development model used in partnership with several local schools/districts. In the first year, the site builds local capacity through teacher study groups, then transitions to site-sponsored professional development related to the topics researched by the study groups during the first year. The third year of the partnership is dictated by local school needs, with some schools starting new teacher study groups and some continuing with professional development through demonstration lessons or other means. Those starting new partnerships would be well-served to explore the document in its entirety, but a specific focus on setting and making explicit the goals for the program (p.2) and the expectations of participants and facilitators (p.2-3) may be especially useful.
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Michigan Network Learns Together About 21st Century Literacies

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Author: Laura Roop

Summary: This article describes how the Red Cedar Writing Project designed a four-day capacity-building workshop, focused on 21st century literacies, for every NWP site in their state (Michigan). Any site can use this piece as a discussion starter to plan a similar workshop and to determine what web-based resources to use. Specifically, if a site needs help with technology and literacy, this is an excellent “how-to” map that also details important outcomes.
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Moving Toward the Paperless Institute

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Author: Eric Hasty and Bob Fecho

Summary: Two summer institute facilitators reflect on their transition, over a number of years, to a paperless institute. From virtual classrooms to a web page, to Meeting Wizard and online surveys, they describe how their summer institute embraced digital technologies as they followed the inquiry, “What if?” One central understanding that evolved was “… technology allows us to create a living space to develop, store, and review our ideas as they grow.” This story of their journey would be a useful resource for summer institute or school-year PD facilitators when they are designing their schedule and making decisions about the best forums for daily logs, communication among the fellows, anthology development, and continuity spaces.
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The Journey of an Emerging Site Leader

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Author: Kathleen Ann Gonzalez

Summary: Are you taking on a new role at your writing project? Are you both excited and nervous? If so, then joining this journey of stepping into the role of a site leader may help set you at ease. The author confirms what we know deep down: trusting your writing project instincts and staying true to NWP core principles lead to positive outcomes and experiences. Highlights not to be missed include several concrete strategies and suggestions on how to help writing groups develop community and maintain momentum throughout an institute.
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Long-Term English Learners Writing Their Stories

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Author: Lynn Jacobs

Summary: Long-term English Learners – those who typically have attended school for at least seven years–speak English well but are often considered below grade level. Because they assume many adult responsibilities in their out-of-school lives, including household duties and translating for family and others, they present opportunities for teachers of writing. Secondary classroom teachers and those planning and providing professional development focused on writing for English Learners will discover several effective strategies in this article. Jacobs describes the process and outcomes of working with her students to publish a book of stories and poems. The authentic nature of writing about their lives, together with models of published texts, motivated a desire to write well and boosted their confidence as writers.
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Aims and Criteria for Collaboration in Content-Area Classrooms

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Author: Roni Jo Draper, Paul Broomhead, Amy Petersen Jensen, and Daniel Siebert

Summary: If you are looking for a book chapter that will help you think through content area reading and writing beyond taking tests and basic writing, read this. Facilitators planning and/or framing the thinking of a group that includes content and literacy specialists will appreciate how the authors propose powerful common “aims” for adolescents’ content area learning and offer specific examples to illustrate their thinking.
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Helping Teacher-Writers Begin to Write

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

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

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Author: Sherry Swain and Paul LeMahieu

Summary: This article details the journey of teachers and researchers who worked together to create the NWP’s Analytic Writing Continuum (AWC), an approach to writing assessment that is locally contextualized yet linked to a common national framework and standards of performance. In addition to demonstrating the AWC’s great potential for classroom use, the authors describe the multiple ways NWP sites have utilized the AWC to conduct research, to re-envision large-scale writing assessments, to develop effective professional development, and to mentor teachers in further development of their own writing. They also provide illustrations of how the AWC enabled students to discuss and iterate ways to improve their writing. This article, or excerpts from it, may prove useful during summer institute or teacher PD discussions of the most effective and in-depth ways to both scaffold and evaluate writing.
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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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“Out of Our Experience: Useful Theory,” Excerpt from Teacher Research for Better Schools

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Author: Sheila Clawson, Marion S. MacLean, Marian M. Mohr, Mary Ann Nocerino, Courtney Rogers, and Betsy Sanford

Summary: Teacher-researchers detail their inquiry journeys, highlighting theories that influenced or explained their thinking about practice, about teacher and student learning, and about school change. Useful in inquiry-focused contexts, to demonstrate connections between theory and practice, and as models of how teachers can use theory to articulate their own journeys of discovery in teacher research.
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Wobbling in Public: Supporting New and Experienced Teachers

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Author: Antero Garcia and Cindy O’Donnell-Allen

Summary: Who is an expert teacher? Who is a novice? This article will be of interest to teacher educators and to experienced teachers working with colleagues who are new to the profession. The authors describe the ways in which teachers who appear “expert” to their newer colleagues “move from novice to expert to novice again as new challenges arise” and argue for the value of making these moments transparent. The article starts with a recreated dialogue and reflection about how and why a pair of facilitators – the authors – make themselves vulnerable as a way to open a conversation with new and preservice teachers about race, whiteness, and positionality.
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Coaching and the Invitational Summer Institute

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Author: Susan Bennett

Summary: This is a succinct overview on the role of coaching in the Summer Institute at the Redwood Writing Project. The document describes the relationship between the coach and the person being coached, carefully laying the groundwork for a supportive and collaborative, non-evaluative relationship. While the piece is based on coaching in the Summer Institute, the description of roles and the set of guide questions could be useful to anyone entering a coaching and/or mentoring relationship.
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Sample Materials for a Professional Writing Retreat

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Summary: Thinking of gathering some colleagues together to work on professional writing for publication? This resource includes materials that can serve as models for a Professional Writing Retreat: a sample flyer, application requirements, different retreat options, and manuscript requirements.
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The Work of the National Writing Project: Social Practices in a Network Context

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Author: Ann Lieberman and Diane Wood

Summary: Is it really “magic” that occurs in Writing Project-related professional development? The authors of this report argue that Writing Projects have visible cultural features that lead to the building of successful professional learning communities. Ask teachers to read and discuss this report after they have worked together over time. Their conversation will support them in demystifying the NWP “magic” and unpacking the cultural features that make for successful professional learning communities as a basis for planning their own facilitation of professional learning experiences.
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I Teach, (I Feel), I Write: Professional Writing with Emotion

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Author: Joe Check

Summary: “If feeling emotion is part of working in schools, how does emotion fit into writing about that work?” This essay considers the reality of teachers’ emotional involvement with their work and how to deal with that in their professional writing. A useful reading for writing groups and their facilitators, it considers three common struggles that many educators face when writing professionally – writing about a situation that they are frustrated by or angry about, trying to remain removed from the writing as a way to maintain objectivity, and being so passionate about topics that they struggle to identify a specific audience.
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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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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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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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The Evolution of a Model Writing Teacher and a Model Writing School

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Author: Art Peterson

Summary: How does a Writing Project teacher become a leader? This brief portrait describes how award-winning elementary teacher Julie Johnson evolved into an exemplary teacher of writing and collaborated with colleagues to develop a model writing school. This resource can fulfill multiple needs for site leaders and leaders of advanced institutes or teacher inquiry groups if they are looking for examples of effective early-grade writing classrooms, evidence of content-based writing in elementary grades, or schoolwide efforts to find effective approaches to writing.
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