Search Results

your search of "connecticut"

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

Summary: The Connecticut Writing Project-Fairfield’s adaptation of its traditional Young Writers Camp to a series of Young Adult Literacy Labs (YALLs) provides food for thought for site leaders designing new or considering changes to existing youth programming. The primary change was a move away from two large general writing camps to a dozen smaller genre-specific camps. The change, while attracting more participants, also allowed the site to integrate the camps and the Invitational Institute in some innovative ways, including creating opportunities for camp instructors to present workshops that engaged teachers and young writers in writing together. Importantly, the camps provide the site with a robust revenue line that fully supports the YALLs, provides student scholarships, and generates income for other site activities.

Are You the Teacher Who Gives Parents Homework?

Author: Carole Chin

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

Everybody’s Vaguely Familiar: Jack Powers, Poetry & A Career of Teaching Writing

Download | Subscribe: Apple / Android / Spotify

We kick-off National Poetry Month by visiting with poet and teacher Jack Powers, celebrating the publication of his new book, Everybody’s Vaguely Familiar. We’ll also discuss his successful career in teaching writing as a National Writing Project fellow and ways to celebrate National Poetry Month throughout April.


Related Links

Writing Our Future Through Family Literacy Projects (NWP Radio)

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

Understanding Community Literacies as Foundational to Teaching Excellence

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

Summary: This article from the NCTE journal Language Arts reviews several professional books that explore issues of equity and access. The books reviewed share the view that, as educators, we can support academic success for all students by expanding understandings about home and community literacies. It would be useful as a resource for study groups and teachers searching for books for their professional libraries, while others will find useful information on community literacies in the reviews themselves.

The Ubuntu Academy: An Immigrant and Refugee Youth Writing Camp

Summary: Ubuntu, a Bantu word that translates as “I am, because we are,” is the guiding philosophy behind the CT-Fairfield Writing Project’s two-week literacy lab designed to invite immigrant and refugee youth into writing spaces that honor their heritage and promote academic success. This innovative approach to youth writing camps will be a valuable read for sites looking for ways to reach out to underserved populations who might not otherwise have access to youth writing camps and enrichment opportunities.

Change the Readings, Change the Site: Addressing Equity and Access

Author: Wilma Ortiz and Karen Sumaryono

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

Youth Camp Agendas, Outlines, and Schedules

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

Teachers, Park Rangers #WriteOut for Learning

A unique collaboration encouraged educators to take their students out of classrooms and into public spaces and parks to write and create.

A man walks alone in the Connecticut woods. He sits down to write. He takes a few photos.

What no one would know about this man, if you bumped into him on this summer afternoon, is that he’s a teacher. And as he walks, he’s imagining what he’ll do with his high school students when they are back in his classroom this fall.

He’ll take them outside, he decides. Frequently. They’ll go for walks. He will encourage them to document the world around them by taking pictures or using Google 360, a virtual reality tool, or with just good old-fashioned pencil and paper.

Although he’s alone in the woods, Rich Novack is part of a unique summer collaboration between educators and park rangers. The nationwide program is designed to encourage place-based learning.

Used with permission, youth visit Weir Farm National Historic Site.

Being outside the classroom, in nature, is for Novack a key part of his job as a high-school English teacher. He says leaving the classroom to explore nature helps teach students to “become curious,” a skill they will continue to rely on as critical readers and thinkers throughout their lives.

To be aware as we read, he said, “helps us find those odd, interesting, or observant passages. When we’re out here [in nature], we’re on the lookout for interesting, curious things as well.”

#Writeout was a two-week professional development program, sponsored by the National Writing Project through a partnership with the National Park Service. The program connected educators and park rangers with place-based learning opportunities in July 2018. A team of educators from both organizations—educators who have themselves been working on collaborations in their local communities between Writing Project sites and national park sites—designed #WriteOut. Their goal was to help educators make connections between learning, writing/making, and local outdoor and historic public spaces.

The online learning opportunity offered two “activity cycles” that encouraged teachers to experiment with place-based learning and then share what they learned in collaborative online spaces like Google+, Twitter, and online video hangouts.

The themes focused on mapping your community and mapping connections between communities. Activities included community mapping, photographing local parks and public spaces, creating curricula based on local historic places to share with other educators, visiting a local national park, and writing poems. Educators traveling with their families also participated. Jen Dumont, for example, posted her #WriteOut adventures as she hiked Bald Knob in Moultonboro, New Hampshire.

The National Writing Project is known for a workshop-based approach that encourages educators to get their hands dirty and experiment with activities that they may ask their own students to try.

Used with permission, Project Write visiting Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site in Philadelphia

Kristin Lessard, a park ranger in Connecticut who was on the #WriteOut planning team, said a key goal of the National Park Service is to educate the public on and find creative ways for people to be inspired by our national parks. Being able to connect directly with teachers through #WriteOut was incredibly valuable, Lessard said.

“We’d done a lot of outreach to teachers. And we have a handful of local teachers who come regularly, but through this partnership we were able to connect to educators from other nearby towns or places that we had been trying to connect to for a while.”

Lessard said that when students learn through this lens of place, learning can be more meaningful. Lessard works at Weir Farm National Historic Site, which commemorates the life and work of American impressionist painter J. Alden Weir as well as other artists. She also overseas Weir Farm’s partnership with the Connecticut Writing Project–Fairfield, of which Rich Novak is a member. In addition to exposing students to American impressionism, teachers use the beautiful landscape to teach other things, like mapping skills, that build on what they’ve learned in class.

“Students are able to solidify their knowledge with experience,” Lessard said. “It brings a whole new level of engagement and learning.”

Lessard said she sees many opportunities for future collaboration between the National Park Service and the National Writing Project. You can see what’s emerged out of the work so far at this collection.

If teachers missed the professional development sessions this summer, there are still ways to get involved. Educators can complete the We Make The Road By Walking Playlist and earn a badge that links to their portfolio of work. They can also share how they “write out” in their classroom and learning space via Flipgrid.

Meanwhile, many of the participating educators are using what they learned this summer by taking their students and colleagues out of the classrooms and into public spaces and parks to write and create.

Margo Wixom, for example, took her photography students from Palo Alto High School in the Bay Area to a local protected space, the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, to study marshlands and climate change. Andrea Zellner of the Red Cedar Writing Project in East Lansing Michigan organized a writing marathon with her colleagues.

Rich Novack says he plans to have his Environmental Literature class find an outdoor space near their home where they can go outside regularly to write in their field journals and “free write.” Helping students connect with their environment, Novack says, can help them ponder their place in the universe, to experience otherness, and to “reconcile that otherness with coming to love it and appreciate it.”

Where will you #WriteOut? Let us know in the comments.

By Sarah Jackson

Featured Image: Used with Permission, “Ranger Road” from Weir Farm National Historic Site

The Family Writing Project Builds a Learning Community in Connecticut

Author: Valerie Diane Bolling

Summary: Family writing projects are an powerful resource for families for whom English is not a first language and who are sometimes unfamiliar with the dominant school culture. The projects provide opportunities to build relationships among families, students and teachers while strengthening literacy. This article describes activities, structures and benefits of a family writing project developed in the Greenwich, Connecticut school community.