So, what’s out there for teacher writers? – NVWP Summer Institute – Day 15 pt. 1

Our penultimate day!

Continuity Panel: What Can TCs Do?
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Michelle Haseltine – Educator, NVWP superstar
Karen Hickman – NVWP alumnus
Nick Manino – NVWP Co-Director
Kim Sloan – Former NVWP Co-Director
Cathy Hailey – NVWP Co-Director

Today is a Continuity Panel. What can Writing Project Teacher Consultants do? Our Fearless Leader (OFL) hands out a double-sided sheet listing many of the activities and opportunities available to TCs.

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We’re now part of a group. A righteous posse. Not unlike Beecher’s missionary teachers of the 19th century, we’re charged with spreading the word of the power of writing. I’m operating from the stance that all teaching is political. It’s impossible to escape politics when working in a wide-spread institution that receives significant money from federal funds/tax payers. (See a previous post on politics and teaching from Amber.) In a political landscape when curricula is often tied to privately backed standards and privately created high-stakes testing, what a teacher covers in the classroom has power.

Writing across the curriculum (using writing as tool for learning in every class). Writing in the discipline (writing as a historian in history class, writing as a scientist in science class). A recent issue of the NCTE’s middle school journal, Voices from the Middle, covered these topics in detail in their issue on Disciplinary literacy.

The Writing Project has various ladders and roles and responsibilities. Although there is an organizational flow-chart of sorts, the project is refreshingly non-hierarchical. We have a free-flowing discussion of all things NVWP/NWP related.

Sorry I’m not blogging about this. The ideas are flying at such a rapid pace; it’s hard to nail down how to simplify and organize it for presentation.

One of the themes of our talk is, ‘Say yes!’ To presentations, to invitations, to courageous conversations, to making yourself available and getting out of your comfort zone. The only way to get better at something is by doing it.

We end by talking about how the Writing Project is also about raising the status of educators in this country. We work with students. We work with teachers. We work with administrators and counties and superintendents. Getting knowledge, getting paid to present that knowledge, and elevating the status of teachers (and therefore serving children better).

Also, speaking of children, here’s a nice handout to offer families to help them converse with their child about writing.

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