About Writing

Preaching What We Practice

Author: Shelbie Witte Summary: In what ways do teachers of writing use revision in their own writing? How do digital writing environments impact revision and its instruction? What are teachers’ perceptions of revision in their own writing and in writing instruction in the classroom? Shelbie Witte’s research investigated these questions...

Literacy Coaches Explore Their Work Through Vignettes

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...

Honoring the Word: Classroom Instructors Find That Students Respond Best to Oral Tradition

Author: Michael Thompson Summary: In this award winning essay, Native American teacher and NWP site director Michael Thompson, reflects on his own practice and shares findings from research interviews he conducted with instructors in tribal college and university classrooms to learn how they approach literature and writing. In particular, he...

Beyond the Five-Paragraph Theme

Author: Glenda Moss Summary: Having taught the five-paragraph essay early in her career, Glenda Moss describes how she came to believe that it limits students as writers. By sharing her journey as she moved from middle-school teaching into working with college writers, she explores how the five-paragraph essay inhibited students’ critical...

A Snapshot of Writing Instruction in Middle Schools and High Schools

Author: Arthur N. Applebee and Judith A. Langer Summary: This 2011 article describes research which updates earlier work and which addresses the following questions: How much writing do students do? Who reads what students write? What is the effect of high-stakes tests on writing instruction? What kinds of writing instruction...

Completing the Paradigm Shift to Process Writing: The Need to Lead

Author: Samuel Totten Summary: In this article from the NWP Quarterly, Samuel Totten describes the ever slow shift towards teaching writing as a process and some of the barriers teachers and schools face in making the shift. While the article is over a decade old, the issues that keep teachers...

The How of Writing: First-Graders Learn Craft

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...

Writing As a Mode of Thinking

Author: Danling Fu and Jane Hansen Summary: What’s missing in writing instruction that focuses on organization, vocabulary and sentence structure? What is the role of thinking in writing, and how can we make thinking visible in writing? This article, which could provide a useful focus for a study group or...

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.

Grammar—Comma—a New Beginning

Author: Mary Ehrenworth Summary: Teaching grammar through inquiry and seduction? In this piece, Mary Ehrenworth shares strategies for moving away from direct instruction (which seldom works) to making it possible for students to “have an apprenticeship relation with great authors, even at the sentence structure level.” By honoring diverse dialects...