Welcome to the Western Massachusetts Writing Project!

WMWP is a local site of the National Writing Project, sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of English and College of Humanities and Fine Arts. WMWP provides professional development and literacy leadership programs by teachers for teachers. A growing number of educators in the region call WMWP their professional home.

WMWP is ...

... a professional community of teachers who value reflection and inquiry; who care about issues of race, gender, language, class, and culture; who come together to deepen our experience as writers, to share our knowledge and expertise, to transform our practice, to improve student learning, and to develop expertise and leadership. Click "Read more" to see a video about WMWP.

Project-Based Learning Transforms Practice at Two Elementary Schools

Thursday, September 6, 2018

By Jane Baer-Leighton, Karen Diaz, Karen Miele, and Diana Roy

During the 2017-18 school year eight WMWP teacher-consultants worked with two Franklin County elementary schools, Sanderson Academy and Buckland- Shelburne Elementary School (BSE), to implement Project-Based Learning curriculum units. Here are a few of the highlights of their work:

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Teacher Story: The impact of C3WP in the Classroom

Harriet Kulig
Thursday, September 6, 2018

I teach in East Longmeadow Massachusetts, a sleepy little suburb of Springfield located in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts. School has begun, but I am feeling in control of it all. This is indeed a change from last year when I embarked on a new venture, to add “claim writing” to the seventh grade geography curriculum.

I had recently completed the week long College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP) with the the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. The program  provides mini-units on skills students needed to write well thought out and supported claims. There were also text sets on a variety of topics that worked with the mini-units. There were meetings and webinars scheduled across the year and a group of wonderful experts to support the teachers. However, the truth was that, very shortly, it would be me and 115 middle schoolers and claim writing. 

WMWP Launches New Pathways to Teacher Leadership

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Like all other local NWP sites, WMWP offers teachers in grades PK-college what many call a career-transforming professional growth opportunity in its annual Summer Leadership Institute. (Our 25th annual SLI is currently in progress!) Supported by the WMWP facilitators and each other, participants spend several weeks immersed in personal writing, professional reading, and reflective inquiry into their own teaching practices. During the following school year, they conduct action-research projects in their own classrooms and reunite to share their findings. At the end of this process, they emerge as WMWP Teacher-Consultants (TCs), well qualified to take on leadership roles in professional learning and curriculum development.

To make the transformative Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) experience accessible and relevant to more teachers, WMWP has created three additional pathways to teacher leadership. These inquiry-based institutes include the strands of the SLI—teacher as presenter, teacher as writer, teacher as researcher—and participants still earn the TC credential, but they are offered during the school year, and they address specific content areas:

  • Science Literacy Leadership Institute (PK-12). Focus: the new STE framework

  • Civics Literacy Leadership Institute (PK-12). Focus: the new H&SS framework

  • College, Career & Community Writers Institute (6-12). Focus: teaching argument across content areas

Celebrating Teachers as Writers

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

It is an article of faith the the National Writing Project that "teachers who write are better teachers of writing." That's one reason why all WMWP programs begin with "writing into the day" and include many other opportunities for writing. As another school year comes to an end, we take this opportunity to celebrate some special teacher-writers who have shared their ideas with the larger community in the WMWP's monthly "Chalk Talk" column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, edited by Outreach Co-Director Kevin Hodgson.

Take a minute to browse through the quotations from the past year's Chalk Talk articles below, and follow the links to read one or two. These are inspiring stories by thoughtful, dedicated teacher-leaders.

And please consider joining the chorus of WMWP's Chalk Talk voices! Kevin is always on the lookout for new writers, especially those who live or teach in the Gazette's publication area. If you have an idea for an article or just want to learn more, contact Kevin at dogtrax@gmail.com.