About Writing

Metaphors, Frames, and Fact (Checks) about the Common Core

Author: Anne Elrod Whitney and Patrick Shannon Summary: This article offers a critique of the Common Core State Standards by examining its political history and the controlling metaphors on which it is based. It would be of particular interest to a study group or as a resource in a professional...

Modernizing the Old School Essay

Authors: Rachel Bear, Mitchell Nobis, Carrie Nobis, Dawn Reed, Dirk Schulze Summary: How can we rethink writing instruction to support students in writing authentic pieces about real world issues that matter to them? How can we move beyond the “old school essay” and invite students to write compositions that reflect...

Writing and Reading in the Classroom

Author: James Britton Summary: Within this foundational piece, Britton describes examples of K-university classroom practice (including the work of some NWP teachers), as well as theory and research supporting learning environments where reading, writing, and talk become catalysts for collaboration and learning. The depth and breadth of this chapter might...

Considering the 5-Paragraph Essay

Summary: The 5-paragraph essay: it is frequently derided, but hard to avoid. This collection explores the critique of the 5-paragraph essay, and considers how we could move beyond it to more creative and authentic forms of academic writing.

Poet Laureate Kay Ryan: Poet as Teacher, Teacher as Poet

Author: Grant Faulkner Summary: U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan has honed the art of simplicity in both her teaching and her writing. Her writing instruction focused on “the miniature arena of the paragraph,” and her poems, which often use cliché in striking, unexpected ways, are both pithy and nuanced.

The Landscape of Digital Writing

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...

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...

Love Ties My Shoes: Long-term English Learners as Thoughtful Writers

Author: Lynn Jacobs Summary: Students in a high school English Language Development class writing a book? Lynn Jacobs’ story of her students success can inform teacher study groups and inspire professional development sessions. For details about the project, powerful student voices describing the process, and ties to professional literature that...

Author to Author: How Text Influences Young Writers

Author: Dina Sechio DeCristofaro Summary: What role does reading play in children’s development as writers? After surveying her fifth graders about where they get ideas for writing, the author of this piece examined the relationship between what students read and what they write. She identifies specific aspects of what her...

Informal and Shared: Writing to Create Community

Author: Deborah Dean and Adrienne Warren Summary: How can we use informal writing to cultivate the meaningful interaction and deepened understanding that build the foundation of classroom community? Here, Deborah Dean and Adrienne Warren’s explain how a daily writing and sharing routine helped build community and bring meaning to the...