About Writing

C3WP: Extended Research Arguments

Summary: This resource from NWP’s College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP) 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...

The Five-Paragraph Theme Redux

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

Long-Term English Learners Writing Their Stories

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...

Book Review: The Testing Trap: How State Writing Assessments Control Learning

Author: Carl Nagin Summary: This review of George Hillocks’s 2002 book, The Testing Trap: How State Writing Assessments Control Learning, is still a relevant read, providing history and research connected to the issues involved in high stakes state writing tests. The review details the validity and reliability of such tests,...

Literacy in the Digital Age

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...

“I’m a Writer Now!” The Who, Where, and When of an ELL Newspaper

Author: Joe Bellino Summary: Joe Bellino, a teacher of English language learners, describes the process of publishing “Silver International,” a newspaper written by his EL/International high school students as well as how the paper positively affected readers, writers, and the school. This resource offers inspiration for study groups and teacher...

Why I Write: Jane Hirshfield Writes about Life’s Profound Mystery

Author: Jane Hirshfield Summary: Prize-winning international poet, translator, and essayist Jane Hirshfield’s poetry speaks to the central issues of human existence: desire and loss, impermanence and beauty, and the many dimensions of our connection with others. She tells NWP why she writes.

Patricia Smith: Exploring Life Through the Poetry of Personas

Summary: Renowned poet and poetry slam performer Patricia Smith explores urban life and history by getting into people’s skins and speaking their words. In this powerful and inspiring keynote for NWP’s 2010 Urban Sites Network Conference, she reflects on her teaching experience and the incredible power of language to unlock...

Students as Writers and Composers: Workshopping in the Digital Age

Author: Troy Hicks and Franki Sibberson Summary: In this collaborative conversation between former middle school teacher and current National Writing Project site director Troy Hicks and third-grade teacher Franki Sibberson, they consider a range of teaching and learning practices that “guide students to consider themselves multimodal text-makers who combine words,...

Local Site Research Initiative Final Report: Impact of NWP Professional Development on Student Learning

Summary: This report on the 2004-2006 results of Local Sites Research Initiative studies demonstrates the positive impact of NWP professional development on student learning. Conducted at a variety of sites around the nation, these studies consistently showed greater improvement in writing on every measured attribute among students taught by NWP-trained...