This page includes occasional articles about WMWP initiatives and programs, as well as the work of WMWP Teacher-Consultants. To submit an item for the page, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online form on the Contact page.
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Our WMWP intern -- Grace Duggan -- provides a valuable inside look at how Project-Based Learning sparks inquiry. Grace attended a PBL high school. WMWP is working with the South Hadley schools on implementing a Project-Based Learning curriculum.
At this year’s Best Practices in the Teaching of Writing Conference, Bruce Penniman, WMWP’s Site Director, presented the Pat Hunter Award for Outstanding Teacher Leadership as he usually does. Pat Hunter was one of the founding co-directors of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. As an educator and professional development leader in the Springfield Public Schools, she was a fierce advocate for teachers and students, recognizing them as our best hope for improving education. Rightfully so, this award annually recognizes a member of the WMWP community who has contributed substantially to the work of WMWP and who best exemplifies the values that Pat embodied in her work with teachers and writers. This year, Bruce presented the award to a truly inspiring educator and member of our WMWP community who is known for her outstanding teacher leadership and ability to embody “teacher as writer”: Alicia Lopez.
WMWP recently tallied up its programs and participants for the year running September 1, 2017, to August 31, 2018, to submit to the National Writing Project database. The numbers were impressive! How many of them include you?
We're looking forward to another great year and hope that you will find many ways to be involved as a facilitator and/or as a participant. Please check the Calendar tab regularly for program information. If you are not currently receiving announcements from WMWP, click the "Join Our E-mail List" tab at the right and sign up!
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.
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:
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 contentareas:
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
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 email@example.com.
Every March for many years, up to 200 students from multiple schools, especially underserved urban and rural public schools, gathered on the UMass Amherst campus to participate in the Western Massachusetts Writing Project’s Youth Writing Adventure, including interactive writing workshop sessions spanning genres from short stories to poetry to screenplays to songs.
Every year, that is, until funding cuts discontinued the program for a decade. However, two years ago, generous supporters revived the Youth Writing Adventure through crowdfunding. Popular among students, this program offers creative and exploratory literacy experiences for underserved youth, who often lack similar opportunities in their regular educational programs.
The impact of WMWP’s Youth Writing Adventure lasts far beyond the day of the program. A full-day college campus experience with lunch and materials introduces a sense of confidence and belonging within campus scholarship for students who may never have imagined a place in college, and after the workshop students polish their pieces for publication and receive a paperback anthology of their writing.
In order to make the 2018 Youth Writing Adventure a possibility, WMWP has launched a MinuteFund crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $5,000 by the end of 2017 to fund the program, including workshops, lunches, and publications. We have reached 11% of that goal on the first few days of the campaign. Can you help put us over?
Check out this short video to learn more about the program:
Chalk Talk is a monthly column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette that gives voice to educators. This summer we have been featuring some past columns by WMWP teachers who have written about their students, education, and themselves. We invite you to read what teachers are saying and to encourage awareness of educators in the public sphere.
This week's offering is by Elizabeth Devlin, who writes about connecting with families and inviting parents to share their hopes and dreams and dreams for their children. To read the full story, click on the quotation.
Best Practices in the Teaching of Writing Conference
Saturday, October 13, 2018, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.. View program. View highlights of the 2018 conference in the video below, by WMWP intern Grace Dugan.
Summer Leadership Institute
Have you participated in the WMWP Summer Leadership Institute? Applications are accepted for rolling admissions from fall to early spring each year. The annual three-week institute focuses on the teacher as writer, researcher, and presenter. It includes follow-up sessions in October, January, and April. Become a more reflective practitioner and build your leadership potential. Six credits available for summer institute and school-year follow-up meetings.