Leading Professional Learning

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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Action Plan for Teaching Writing

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Author: Marva Solomon

Summary: Are you engaged in or facilitating a workshop, pd program, or study group of teachers who are ready to move from discussion and research to developing actionable plans for teaching writing in their classrooms? If so, this template outlining an action plan could be a useful resource. It is designed to help teachers move from research and discussion to transforming classroom practice by identifying an area of their writing instruction they want to focus on, determining why it is important, considering what they can do to address the issue/concern, and deciding how they will evaluate the effectiveness of any strategies they implement. 
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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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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. In this interview, the authors look at what educators, parents, and policymakers can do to help equip students with the technology-related communication skills they need to thrive in school and in the global workplace.
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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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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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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 early years of their careers? If you are grappling with  how to engage early career educators in your site’s programs, this report on NWP’s New Teacher Initiative can serve as a catalyst for dialogue about the purpose of engaging new teachers and the practices you might 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, focused module reports on programming: 1) the benefits to new teachers of participating, 2) the emerging practices, 3) the distinctive design features across sites, and 4) NWP core values embedded in the programs. The entire report will be useful for site leaders 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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School-Based Study Groups Build Community

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Summary: Teacher leaders involved in planning and/or facilitating teacher study groups will find a useful resource in this brief article describing how the NWP in Vermont developed and launched a long-term school-based teacher study group with several districts. The leaders of the program found the “open-endedness of the study group replicates the principles that make a summer institute succeed…teachers are intellectually and emotionally nurtured, rejuvenated, and empowered. They assume a measure of authority over their own learning.”
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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 or multimedia project. Rather than offering a summative assessment of quality, the protocol invites group members to share how the work 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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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 co-create 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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I Teach, (I Feel), I Write: Professional Writing with Emotion

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Author: Joseph 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 emotion in 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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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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We Are All Teachers of English Learners (NWP Radio)

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Summary: Many NWP sites have retooled their recruitment efforts, inservice offerings and institutes in light of the significant demographic changes that have placed English learners in almost every classroom. On this NWP Radio show, teacher consultants from four sites offer a look at their work with multilingual students as a foundation for the development of site inservice and continuity offerings. This resource may be of use to teacher leaders looking for specific ideas and plans to support teachers of English learners in their schools and service areas.
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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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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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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 following Kathleen Gonzalez’s journey as she stepped into a key leadership at her site may help set you at ease. Her story confirms what we know deep down: trusting your writing project instincts and staying true to NWP core principles will lead to positive experiences and  outcomes. In the process of telling her story, Gonzalez shares several concrete strategies and suggestions for how to help writing groups develop community and maintain momentum throughout an institute.
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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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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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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.
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#engchat: Community, Conversation and Collaboration for English Teachers

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Author: Meenoo Rami

Summary: The creater of #engchat, Meenoo Rami, describes how #engchat began as a weekly online chat for English teachers and has grown into a platform that has thousands of followers and hundreds of weekly tweets and retweets. Read a little about #engchat here and then join the conversation on Twitter.
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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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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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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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C3WP: Extended Research Arguments

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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 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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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.” On page 10 in the document, teachers share designs for professional development sessions using the tools and forms.
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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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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 teacher’s presentation on using mock trials in teaching literature, 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 Value of Teacher-Writers (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Christine Dawson, Leah Zuidema, and Troy Hicks

Summary: This NWP Radio show brings together the authors of two co-published books on teacher-writers, Christine Dawson (The Teacher-Writer), and Troy Hicks and Leah Zuidema (Coaching Teacher-Writers). For teachers who want to start a writing group, or for site leaders who are looking for guidance in coaching the development of writing groups, this radio show details experiences and offers practical methods for support and success.
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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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Reading in a Participatory Culture (NWP Radio)

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Summary: This radio show discusses the book Reading in a Participatory Culture and the complementary digital book Flows of Reading. The show examines what it means to be a reader and writer in an increasingly participatory and social culture, in which readers read across different media and understand reading as an act of sharing, deconstructing, and making meaning. This resource is useful in digital learning professional development and also offers curricular ideas, including an extended discussion of how the authors worked with an inner city theater director to re-think Moby-Dick in this new context. A few sections may be of special interest: at 2:31, Erin Reilly discusses the book’s “big idea”–what it means to talk about reading in a participatory culture. At 10:55 a description of teacher professional development begins. Around 40:20, discussion moves to the Moby-Dick project.
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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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Coaching Guide and Protocol

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Summary: This coaching guide and protocol from the Southern Colorado Writing Project may be a useful resource for program leaders 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 along with 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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Teachers at the Center: A Memoir of the Early Years of the National Writing Project

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Author: James Gray

Summary: In 1974, Jim Gray and his colleagues convened a group of teachers for the first summer institute of the Bay Area Writing Project at UC Berkeley—the first writing project site in the country. In the over four decades since, Gray’s then radically new vision of professional development for teachers, and his inspired work establishing what became the National Writing Project model in sites around the country, generated a national network that has served more than two million teachers. In this chapter from his candid memoir, he looks back on the early years, describing the mentors who influenced his thinking, the mistakes he made and strategies he used to refine the model, and the difficulties overcome to gain widespread support for the project. A key reading for NWP teacher leaders, this engaging and thoughtful narrative will also be of interest to anyone concerned about education, literacy, and teacher professional development.

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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 site and teacher leaders contemplating hosting a Professional Writing Retreat: a sample flyer and application requirements along with different retreat options, and manuscript requirements.
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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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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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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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Tapping the Potential: Building Teacher Leadership While Rethinking Your Site

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Author: Ellen Brinkley and Anne-Marie Hall

Summary: Considering a leadership retreat? This article frames the experience of two site directors who used an NWP directors’ retreat as an opportunity to explore ways to invite new teacher leadership for the site. As they addressed site leader strengths, roles, and burnout, they used several writing and thinking exercises to focus on specific talents and interests in site leadership, then looked at teacher leaders who could be invited in and whose work could build capacity for the future.
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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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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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Book Review: Teaching Reading in Middle School

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Author: Rosalyn Finlayson

Summary: This review of Laura Robb’s book, Teaching Reading in Middle School, is a useful resource for professional development program leaders and teachers looking for strategies to implement reading workshop in their classrooms to benefit students at all reading levels. Sharing the impetus for and insights drawn from her inquiry into reading in her middle school classroom, Robb has identified a framework that enables all students, including struggling readers, to realize that being a successful, strategic reader is within their reach.
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What We’ve Learned About School Partnerships

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Author: Kim Lanza

Summary: School and district partnerships for contracted professional development have become more important as sites develop additional revenue streams and look to expand the impact of their work beyond traditional summer institutes to school-year programs. In this brief article, the National Writing Project at Rutgers University shares an overview of the key lessons learned from a four-year intensive site focus on partnerships with local schools and districts. Sites embarking on partnership development will find this article to be a useful resource for discussions among teacher leaders– both those developing the partnership and programming, and those facilitating professional development. The lessons highlighted (mandatory inservice doesn’t work, maintain flexibility, keep administrators involved, evaluate and reflect) cover partnership issues from planning to initiation to evaluation.
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Thrust into Leadership: 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?” Author and reluctant teacher leader Beth Halbert tells her story of being thrust into a site leadership role just two weeks before the start of the institute, demonstrating how remaining true to the NWP principle of “teachers teaching teachers” is foundational to the role of a successful teacher leader.
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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, including all of the protocols shared as part of the webinar, are included in the linked Google folders.
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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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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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Reading, Writing, and Reflection in the Holocaust Educators Network

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Summary: Each summer for the past ten years, NWP teachers, many from rural sites, have participated in summer seminars offered by the The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), a NYC-based organization dedicated to furthering the knowledge of teachers and students about human rights and social justice through the lens of the Holocaust and other genocides. TOLI seminars use an inquiry-based approach to provide educators with tools to heighten their students’ engagement with this sensitive subject matter, guiding students from shock and denial to compassion and social action. Teachers who complete the seminar become part of the Holocaust Educators Network.

Developed by Sondra Perl, one of the founders of the New York City Writing Project, TOLI seminars place writing at the center, both as a way for participants to process their learning and as a key dimension of the curriculum projects designed by participating teachers. If you are exploring ways to address issues of human rights and social justice in your work with other teachers or in your own classroom, check out the resources below to learn more about TOLI.
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The Story of SCORE: The Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute Takes on a Statewide Reading Initiative

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Author: Lynette Herring-Harris and Cassandria Hansbrough

Summary: The SCORE monograph (Secondary Content Opening to Reading Excellence) from the Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute offers an overview of programming for content area teachers as part of a statewide reading initiative. A useful resource for teacher leaders, the monograph includes a rich description of five days of workshops (p. 14-19) along with timelines (p. 24-25), and agendas (p.26-31) that structured and organized this work.
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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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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 NWP 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. Teacher leaders developing and facilitating school-based study groups will find that this offers a wealth of useful resources.
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National School Reform Faculty: Learning Communities Protocols and Activities

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Summary: 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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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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The Professional Leadership Development Project: Building Writing Project and School-Site Teacher Leadership in Urban Schools

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Author: Zsa Boykin, Jennifer Scrivner, and Sarah Robbins

Summary: Motivated by a desire to have opportunities for professional development for their teaching colleagues similar to those they had experienced as participants in the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project, teacher-consultants created a structure for building a school-based professional leadership development project. The authors of this NWP monograph describe a flexible model–grounded in participating teachers’ own collaborative inquiry into their work–for promoting teacher leadership within six urban schools. Teacher leaders interested in developing similar models of school-based learning communities will find inspiration in this resource along with a useful planning guide.
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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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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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School Partnerships: A Year of Professional Development

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Author: Mark Dziedzic

Summary: Is your site currently working in or working to develop a school partnership? If so this rich 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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How Teachers Become Leaders (the Epilogue)

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Author: Ann Lieberman and Linda Friedrich

Summary: The epilogue to Ann Lieberman and Linda Friedrich’s excellent book on teacher leadership, How Teacher Become Leaders, highlights three overarching themes that emerged during their study: teacher leadership is reframed as advocacy for students and transparency of practice, NWP participation was foundational to teachers’ growth and identity as leaders, and bridging the research/practice divide is essential to educators’ progress as literacy leaders. This brief reading equally useful in an advanced institute to remind NWP veterans of the power of the network or as an early reading and introduction to the work of the NWP in a program for teachers new to the NWP experience.
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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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Resources for Teacher Inquiry Communities: An Annotated Bibliography

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Author: Ann Dobie

Summary:  Compiled by NWP’s Teacher Inquiry Community, this annotated bibliography of approximately 50 books offers a wealth of important designs, guides, case studies, and much more. It provides a rich resource for individual teacher researchers and those planning on leading teacher inquiry projects and professional development.
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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 system.” Marchionda shares the checklist and specific step-by-step directions she has students follow in her class when editing/reviewing one another’s writing. She also shares specific examples of how the strategy led to improved student writing. The article would be useful as a stand alone discussion piece in a professional development session, but even better if it were read, discussed and followed up with teachers engaging in the process with their own pieces of writing, enacting the NWP core belief that teachers of writing should also be writers themselves.
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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 of this exercise and the use of metaphor as a mode for analysis for writers from middle school through college and beyond.

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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 used their linked courses (First Year Seminar and Composition) to rethink the interaction of their university students with literary texts and writing assignments. This 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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A Work in Progress: The Benefits of Early Recruitment for the Summer Institute

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Author: Anne-Marie Hall, Roger Shanley, and Flory Simon

Summary:  Of particular interest to teacher leaders planning their site’s invitational institute, this monograph from the Southern Arizona Writing Project describes how site leaders’ addressed the challenges of recruitment by revising their year-round calendar to more seamlessly integrate pre and post-institute experiences with other site programming. By starting recruitment efforts for the next summer immediately following the current summer’s institute and building in stronger mentoring and pre-institute events focused on the development of teacher demonstrations, site leaders found that institute participants were better acclimated and prepared. An additional benefit they found was that this new sequence increased the diversity of participating teachers.

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Sustainable Practices through Purposeful Partnering at Shoreline

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Author: Steve Pearse

Summary: This article describes the successful, longterm partnership between the Puget Sound Writing Project and the Shoreline School District that focused on improving student achievement in writing. Following a model of a year-long, embedded invitational institute, P-12 teachers engaged in writing, working in writing groups, and conducting research on the teaching of writing. The resulting teacher-designed curriculum, aligned with NWP core principles, was posted on the district’s website for district-wide use by teaching colleagues.
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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 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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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 of 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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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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Protocols: Looking at Student Work (for participants) and Looking at Student Work (for facilitator)

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Summary: This protocol from the Hudson Valley Writing Project 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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Strengthen Your Work with New Teachers

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Summary: Teacher leaders developing or jumping into an existing program for early career educators will find this brief overview from NWP’s New Teacher Initiative useful. Included in the overview is an annotated bibliography of key readings you will want to consider using with your new teachers. The readings are conveniently organized into the following categories: 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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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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Summer and/or Extended Institute Schedules, Outlines, and Adaptations

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Summary: Will you be leading a Invitational Summer Institute or a similarly deep and extended PD offering? Are you thinking about adapting your Invitational Summer Institute to include more online and less face-to-face time? Wondering how other sites are modifying the format of the traditional Summer Institute while maintaining the integrity of its goals, philosophies, and practices? This collection of resources can provide you with a window into how Writing Projects across the country are adapting structurally while holding true to the core tenets of the National Writing Project.
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Creating a Team of Teacher Leaders in Remote Schools and Local Communities: The Yellowstone Writing Project’s New Pathway to Leadership

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Authors: Allison Wynhoff Olsen, Kirk Branch, Alan Hoffmann, Amber Henwood, Hali Kirby, Cassandra Moos, Tyrel Shannon, Peter Strand, and Nigel Waterton

Summary: Written as part of the Building New Pathways to Leadership initiative, this narrative and accompanying resources tell one site’s story of building a pathway to teacher leadership in a remote rural school district. Site leaders interested in supporting teacher leadership development in remote rural areas of their service area may find this narrative helpful.
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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. This piece, along with the suggested readings included at the end, may be useful in genre study workshops and professional development focused on content-area literacy.
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Strategic 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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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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“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 teacher inquiry to demonstrate connections between theory and practice, and as models of how teachers can use theory to articulate their own journeys of discover as teacher researchers.
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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 that you are here exploring this site and its resources because you, like tens of thousands of other teachers, found your experience with your local National Writing Project 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 will 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 of how the NWP is different from other professional development experiences and how, through all the shifts in educational fads over the decades, the NWP model has stayed true to the core tenets of “teachers teaching teachers” and writing as a powerful tool for learning. In addition to serving as a shared reading for teachers new to NWP work, Blau’s speech also serves as a discussion piece for teacher leaders during the planning and development stages for new programming. As he 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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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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Program Recruitment Flyers: Some Models

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Summary: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Likewise, if a great professional development program is offered and no one shows up, was it great? Here is a collection of flyers that NWP 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 your site recruit a large and enthusiastic crowd for the fabulous professional development programs that you offer.
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Professional Development in the Digital Age: A Virtual Conference on Digital Literacy

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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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Disciplinary, Content-Area Literacy: An Annotated Bibliography

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Author: Judith Rodby

Summary: Elizabeth Birr Moje offers some of the most provocative viewpoints in content area literacy research today. This annotated bibliography serves as a primer of some of her recent works. It offers an effective starting point for teacher leaders looking for resources to discuss disciplinary literacy across content areas.
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A Year of Action Research: An Adaptable Model

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Summary: This advanced institute program overview from the Lake Michigan Writing Project 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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From Annual Conference to Saturday Seminars: New Forums to Present Teachers’ Work

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 in this piece..
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Planning a Cohesive, Year-long Program with a Partner School: The Arc of Professional Development

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Authors: 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 goals. The focus then shifts to specific examples of how the site developed and facilitated the PD sessions throughout the year. A particular strength of the webinar, for teacher leaders developing their own long term professional development partnerships, is the inclusion of a link to a google folder with all of the materials discussed in the webinar.
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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 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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Sustaining Work with New Teachers

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Summary: Teacher leaders interested in supporting early career teachers may find this resource useful as it describes how several National Writing Project sites developed programs for teachers new to the profession.  Originally supported by NWP New Teacher Initiative grants, new teacher programs were integrated 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 are protocols and other resources in this collection 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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Working With New Teachers: Building Networks and Allies (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Kira J. Baker-Doyle

Summary:  Are you interested in developing programming for new teachers? If so, listen to this interview with Kira J. Baker-Doyle about her book The Networked Teacher to learn about the research and theory behind social networks, both face-to-face and online. Listeners will hear practical advice about how new teachers can join and create networks of peers and mentors and access resources for support in the early years of their professional careers. CONTINUE READING

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 in the second year 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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Becoming Your Own Expert—Teachers as Writers

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Author: Tim Gillespie

Summary: In this brief article, the author argues that teachers need to write so that their teaching of writing can be “based on knowledge we have earned ourselves…. We don’t need to give up our curriculum to experts. We can just watch ourselves write.” In recounting what he knows as a result of being a writer, he provides a great resource for teachers in summer institutes, writing groups, or professional development series that could be used for discussion or as an impetus for participants to create their own “what I know about writing because I am a writer” piece.
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Narrative Knowers, Expository Knowledge: Discourse as Dialectic

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Author: Anne DiPardo

Summary: DiPardo addresses the divide between narrative and expository writing, noting the problematic tendency in composition teaching and scholarship to privilege “pure” exposition. She argues that instruction which fosters this divide, which contends narrative and expository are separate modes, denies students the opportunity to develop a complex and more realistic way of knowing and writing. This article is useful for professional development on expository writing to encourage rethinking of the genre, to realize that the best “real-world” examples of expository writing are indeed multimodal in nature and embrace narrative in myriad ways.
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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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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 professional development, the resource includes a sample schedule for a yearlong professional development program along with tools for evaluating student writing.
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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 the National Writing Project’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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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 that want to engage in continuity across rural areas, or teachers who want to try the argumentative writing modules and compare processes and outcomes with other educators.
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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 of 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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Changing Teaching from Within: Teachers as Leaders

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Author: Ann Lieberman & Linda Friedrich

Summary: For sites and individuals interested in exploring why teachers become leaders in their schools and communities and how they move into positions of leadership, this paper and accompanying slides provide a rich and in-depth look at stories from a research study of NWP teacher-leaders recognized as effective models of teacher leadership. Exemplary in its research methodology and rich in detail and examples of collaboration, coaching, reflective practice and professional growth within school reform contexts, these resources could be useful in study groups and a variety of other contexts where teachers seek to learn about teacher leadership and NWP social practices in action.
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(Re)Visioning Site Work: Extending the Reach and Relevance of NWP Sites

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Author: J. Elaine White, Jane Frick, and Tom Pankiewicz

Summary: This monograph captures how two National Writing Project sites, at different points in their institutional lives, used visioning retreats as a strategy to take stock of their work and look forward in order to align programs with capacity, to develop leadership, and to continue to engage teachers in the professional community of the site. By engaging teacher leaders in collective inquiry at visioning retreats, both sites continued to build leadership capacity and support new learning. Of interest to site and program leadership teams, this resource describes in detail both sites’ planning process and subsequent results and includes an extensive appendix with support materials that are adaptable to planning visioning and similar types of retreats.
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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 as the site transitioned from a traditional face-to-face summer Invitational Institute to a year round, online institute. This thoughtful and comprehensive study reviews the rationale for moving to an online institute documenting the successes, struggles, and modifications implemented during the first several iterations; the changes in roles and relationships as a result of the move; and the ways in which the touchstone activities and rituals of the Summer Invitational 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 professional development experience or to transition to a fully online institute experience, site leaders will find this report to be an invaluable resource.
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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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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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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. Led by questions posed by the authors and links within the text, a study group, individual teacher or professional development program facilitator can use this guide to invite thinking about the role of assessment in teaching writing and approaches that can inform teachers about student writing growth. Available through iTunes as a multi-media iBook for iOS and Mac users, the e-book is also available as a PDF below.
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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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One-Day Workshops for Outreach and Revenue

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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 the University of Mississippi Writing Project 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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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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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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Reflection and Practice on Leadership and Facilitation

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Summary: This series of scenarios for planning professional development programs can serve as thinking and discussion guides for site leaders working with teacher leaders who are developing and delivering professional development. The scenarios guide leaders through a process of considering multiple brief PD requests, how they would put together a team of teacher leaders well positioned to respond to the requests, what materials and resources they would need to deliver the PD, and what protocols and approaches they might use.
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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 describes the National Writing Project at Kent State University’s journey into the development of a sustainable Professional Writing Retreat that not only supported teachers’ professional writing but also contributed to the development of new site leadership. The goals and priorities that guided their work may serve as a helpful guide for teacher leaders planning their own writing retreats.  CONTINUE READING

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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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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Teaching in a Time of Dogs

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Author: Tom Goodson

Summary: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”  As most teachers will tell you, there may be no truer statement about teaching. In this essay, the writer reflects on an incident that occurred years ago in his middle school classroom that has continued to serve as a guiding metaphor for “the uncertainty that is the beauty and the challenge of teaching.” In seeking to place students, not standards, as our starting point, this article could serve as an inspiration for teachers–in any inquiry group, institute or professional development program–to reflect on the lives of their students and the dynamic of teaching and learning in their classrooms. 
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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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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 the support of the writing project’s teacher consultants, could serve as a model for any school engaged in similar work.
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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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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 resource 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 tools can be used to develop a collective vision to guide the development and evaluation of site programs. The final review doc, a charette protocol, can be used not only to review programming but also to look at writing and discuss interpretations of student work.
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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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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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C3WP: Formative Assessment

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Summary: This resource from NWP’s College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP) 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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Mandated Reform vs. Classroom Reality

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Author: Joe Check

Summary: How should teachers pro-actively respond to school reforms mandated from above? This article advocates for teachers to take the lead in determining how these reforms are best implemented at the school and classroom level through reflective inquiry practices. Specifically, the article covers three main lines of inquiry: 1) What effect is reform having on the climate for reflective practice in our school system? 2) What is the teachers’ understanding of system-wide change? 3) Has the reform honestly acknowledged the social, cultural, and contextual barriers to students’ academic success? These questions, and Check’s discussion of them, offer great starting points for teachers to confront problematic mandated reforms in a professional development context.
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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. The authors offer numerous examples of rich and integrated ways educators have found to meet state standards through connected learning and leverage the ability to share ideas, resources, and information across digital spaces. This chapter offers background and perspectives that may be useful in promoting conversations related to the changing roles of teachers and students within a dynamic digital environment.
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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 readings groups may engage with as part of an institute, teacher study group, or professional meeting. 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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Thrive: Five Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching—An Interview with Author Meenoo Rami (NWP Radio)

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Guests: Meenoo Rami

Summary: Described by NWP Executive Director Elyse Eidmann-Aadahl as “the book I would want to give all new teachers,” Meenoo Rami’s Thrive celebrates the influence of mentors and membership in a professional community as catalysts for the author’s own intellectual growth and personal empowerment as a teacher. In this NWP Radio show, Rami shares the stories of the mentors and communities that have shaped her practice.
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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 teachers engaged in or planning college-preparatory reading/writing initiatives.  It describes the statistically significant impact of a statewide professional development program designed to improve students’ understanding of and ability to write academically in high school, 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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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 other strategies for the benefit of our students?
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The National Writing Project: 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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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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Composing Literacy Leadership in Professional Development: New Meanings of Practice and Process

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Author: Linda Friedrich, Kyle Shanton, Marilyn McKinney, and Tom Meyer

Summary: This paper offers three illustrations of NWP teachers engaged in literacy leadership while navigating complex contextual demands including the fundamental challenges of sharing their expertise and establishing trust. The authors offer a framework that suggests that leadership often involves trying to influence others, who themselves may openly or tacitly resist such leadership and learning. Site leaders and fellows who are ready to consider building their own leadership practice with other adult learners will find the portraits and framework useful.
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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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The Birth and Death of Portfolio Assessment

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Author: Pauline Sahakian

Summary: Although this short article is ostensibly about portfolio assessment, the author warns that promising teaching practices will only endure in a school or professional community if mentors facilitate ongoing conversations about the hows, whens, and whys of practice. In other words, regular practices cannot be taken for granted; mentors and facilitators cannot assume new leaders will simply take up time-honored practices.
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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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Annotated Bibliography for NWP Professional Writing Retreats

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Summary: The purpose of this annotated bibliography is to showcase examples 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 teachers interested in developing their own or learning from other teacher writers’ professional writing.  The range of genres highlights the kind of writing that is supported at NWP Professional Writing Retreats, and offers inspiration for sites interested in creating their own forums to support teachers as writers.
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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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“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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Creating a Pedagogy of Facilitation: A Facilitator’s Handbook from the Philadelphia Writing Project

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Authors: Christina Puntel and Carol Rose

Summary: Created by Philadelphia Writing Project teacher-consultants, this Facilitator’s Handbook and related resources invite emergent leaders to consider how they might plan, lead, and facilitate a 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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Saturday Seminar and Workshop Series Support Materials

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Summary: Are you thinking of developing a new or revising an existing weekend workshop series? This collection of flyers, marketing emails, and syllabi–from a Seven Valleys Writing Project conference program, the Greater Madison Writing Project’s Saturday Seminar Series, and the Colorado State Writing Project’s Just in Time Conference–offers not only models of support materials but also ideas and inspiration for planning, recruiting, and running your program.
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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. This is a rich resource for those engaged in family and community outreach and youth programming.
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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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Curating a Writing Museum: A Protocol

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Summary: This protocol introduces an activity 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 are ready for a collegial review of student writing samples. 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 help teachers examine their own writing in similar ways. 
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Why a Writing Retreat? Nurturing Confidence, Creativity, and Camaraderie Among Teacher Writers

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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 over time to work on their writing. Through this example, retreat planners can see how nurturing teacher creativity leads to better classroom instruction.
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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 reviewer 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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“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 their 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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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 illustrates the experience of teachers in a workshop and discusses how role-play inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed can be useful in helping educators navigate uncomfortable and troubling scenarios they have experienced or envision experiencing in schools.
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Multi-Session Calendar for School-Based Professional Development

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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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Nurturing Middle School Readers through Reviews and Book Trailers

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Author: Jeremy Hyler

Summary: Are you and your students looking for an escape from traditional book reports? Is it time to go digital? Check out this brief description of a strategy for engaging students as book reviewers and producers of 30-second book trailers using Animoto. A side-by-side graphic compares instructions for each, and there are additional links to research support with suggestions to visit YouTube for examples. This resource, an excerpt from Assessing Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely, may also be a useful tool in professional development sessions or professional learning communities focused on multimodal learning. It could inspire teachers to engage as reviewers/video producers to explore their own personal and professional reading as prelude to engaging their students in similar activities to capture what is most exciting in their own reading.
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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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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. This tool is helpful in assisting site leaders and program coordinators with funding deadlines, reporting deadlines, and organizational leadership meetings.
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Technology in the English 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 learner 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 digital learners and writers.
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