A strong line-up of GMWP alumni presented at this year’s WCTE Conference in Milwaukee and at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. Check out this impressive list of presentations ...
WCTE - John Pruitt (2015) gave a literary tour of Wisconsin perusing through selections of poets, dramatists, novelists, and memoirists. John said, “I discovered the difficulty of defining a Wisconsin author, for it seems that few were born in, lived in, died in, and wrote about their state. For my presentation, then, I turned to three who met these criteria as closely as possible.” For the presentation, he compiled a Wisconsin Literary map: http://www.wisconsinlitmap.com/. The authors he included in this presentation were Glenway Wescott, Zona Gale, and Margery Latimer.
WCTE - Jen Breezee (2013) and Sandra Taylor-Marshall (2015) shared their expertise on writing assessment. Jen and Sandra have joined forces as the K-12 a reading specialist team from McFarland. They are continue their work in encouraging kids to develop learners rather than students who are good at playing school. Their presentation, called “Focus on Student Learning: How Do We Move Our Writers Forward,” demonstrated their enthusiasm for listening to and interacting with students. They conducting their session beginning with quotes from various sources and had teachers discuss them. Examples of their quotes that were discussed follow:
“Students believe that the teacher has the key to good writing and that they must match the ideas in the teacher’s head to get the good grade.”
“Always telling students what is wrong with their papers is a recipe for killing off young writers. . . I start by examining what good writers do. . . I am careful to take a stance as the reader rather than as the grader.”
“This year I have liked you giving us comments because if you gave us grades we wouldn’t know how to do better if we didn’t do great and we wouldn’t grow as a writer.”
WCTE - Amy Ruck (2015) from Stoughton Area School District, presented on entry points for literacy across the curriculum. She gave useful information for teachers of any content area to help meet the needs of students whether they are learning to “write like a historian, engineer, author, or film critic.”
WCTE - Wendy Bernett (2014) presented her findings about student engagement. She has “spent the last school year observing levels of engagement in [her] classroom.” She had predicted some of the results but not all of them.
WCTE - Amy Patterson (2015) shared her practices of teaching basic writing creatively. Her session was called “Beyond Grammar Drills,” and she presented activities including “real world grammar instruction, to technology-driven writing with digital storytelling.”
WCTE - Mark Dziedzic (director) joined forces with the UW-Milwaukee and Fox Valley writing projects to answer questions about the professional development options provided by the area writing projects. They informed attendees about the National Writing Project, the various Wisconsin writing projects, and about the “teachers at the center” philosophy begun by Jim Gray. Teachers were able to think about what it might mean to write and discuss their practice with other teachers as professionals.
NWP - Beth Torrison, Mark Nepper, Mark Dziedzic (directors) presented on the This I Believe, Educators’ Oath, and Imagine It Better work the sight has been doing over the last several years. The session built off of the enthusiasm from a similar session they led at the 2014 NWP Annual Meeting. Many of the previous year’s attendees joined the session again, as well as a host of new NWP educators interested in hearing how they might get involved with the efforts to better connect teachers’ beliefs with classroom practice.
NWP - Mary Buchholz, Mary Ann Fuetz, Chris Kuehn, Jenny Magee, Gretchen McClain, and Bryn Orum, led a session on the GMWPs Yearlong Institutes as part of the New and Innovative Practices sessions at the Annual Meeting. The session led by the GMWP Yearlong facilitators was probably the most well attended session of any of the round table sessions hosted during the Annual Meeting. Site leaders and teachers were packed three deep around to hear the details of how the Yearlong Institutes were developed and how they are running now that we are into the school year.