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Minnesota Writing Project.Center for Writing's home page.

Minnesota Writing Project

The Minnesota Writing Project aims to improve K–college literacy in Minnesota. Housed within the Center for Writing at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, MWP is the local site of the National Writing Project, an authorized provider of No Child Left Behind.

Showcasing MWP teachers:

Much of what we read in the local education section of the newspaper describes shifting tests scores or school closings. It is infrequent that we are offered a peek into the mind and heart of teachers. Our new Teacher Showcase feature will give our recent ISI participants a chance to speak their mind about the teaching of writing and the need for quality professional development. Return often to read these profiles.

photo of teacherMerrily Wolters
Grade you teach:
3rd grade, K-5 professional development
School: Lakeaires Elementary, White Bear Lake Area Schools
Summer Institute Writing: Breakfast with Dad; Summed Up By Dad; My Reading Places; Heartrise; Growing Tomatoes
Summer Institute Demonstration: “I See What You Mean”: Reading Response Through Sketching and
(.pdf file)

Reflections on teaching:
How has the MWP experience impacted your teaching? Participating in the Minnesota Writing Project has made me a more confident writer and a more competent literacy teacher. Although each member of my writing group had different amounts of experience with creative writing, we all provided valuable perspectives as we talked about powerful points in the writing, places where we were confused, and opportunities for improvement. I experienced first-hand how my students must feel when they don’t know what to write, are hesitant to share an idea, or are nervous about receiving feedback. Participating in demonstration lessons helped me start to formulate a mental picture of the K-12 continuum of development for writers. Each teacher shared classroom ideas that prompted me to become a literacy teacher who has more strategies for reaching more students with my instruction.

What are your beliefs about writing? Writing goes hand-in-hand with reading, both built on the foundation of listening and speaking. One never “arrives” as a writer so the goal is to be a growing writer, supported by a strong writing community. Teachers have the opportunity to lead students in this growth by reading aloud, bringing attention to great writing in mentor texts (including student writing), helping students learn and experience the writing process, and coaching students based upon what they are writing every day. A writing teacher needs an understanding of how writing develops, extended time for students to write, and a process for student-teacher conferring—the foundations for setting up instructional routines to support writing growth. There will be times to instruct the entire class, just as there will be times to instruct small groups and individuals based upon how they need to grow into new genres, new skills, and new writing behaviors. The key is understanding the specific teaching point (about craft, genre, or writing process) that is the next step for a student’s growth.

What is a book on writing or the teaching of writing that you would recommend (and why)? book coverAwakening the Heart opens the possibilities of making poetry an everyday phenomenon in your classroom. Georgia Heard shares classroom-tested ideas for creating an environment of poetry, reading and discussing poetry, guiding students to find inspiration for writing poetry, and helping students build mental Poetry Craft Toolboxes. The ideas are applicable for K-12. If you have been looking for a way to introduce poetry writing without following step-by-step directions, this book is a must read!


link to past showcases page

Believing that teachers can empower other teachers, members provide an environment in which teachers can learn from one another and then share that learning with others in their classrooms, departments, schools, and districts. MWP is committed to improving the literacy of all students, strengthening university and school collaboration on reading and writing instruction, and increasing the professional power of teachers in meeting state standards and the curricular demands of NCLB.


Identifies exemplary teachers who can teach other teachers

Encourages teachers to write

Assists schools and districts in identifying their literacy needs and supports them in meeting those needs through pertinent staff development

Supports long-term reform and improvement in literacy instruction through classroom-based, action research

Maintains partnerships between schools and the University

Promotes cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity and understanding within MWP

For additional information, see About MWP.


Muriel Thompson, Director

The Minnesota Writing Project is funded in part by the Center for Writing, the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, and the National Writing Project.

Join us on Twitter link to MWP twitter page

Interested in digging deeper into the ELA Standards? Attend the Saturday Session Workshops in January, February, and March 2015.

Give to the Max Day is over,

But it's never too late to give to MWP.

Join us in discussing The Burgess Boys, our next MWP Book Club selection, beginning 10 November 2014.

book cover