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.
Grade you teach:
Monroe Elementary, Anoka-Hennepin
Summer Institute Writing: It's...
Summer Institute Demonstration: Thriving with Poetry: Giving Students Tools to Think, Talk, and Write about Poems
Reflections on teaching:
How has the MWP experience impacted your teaching?
I am amazed how much I grew personally and professionally. The Minnesota Writing Project Summer Institute gave me freedom to explore, challenge, and express my voice as a writer and teacher of writers. Through class writing prompts and writing with my writing group, I had time and space to think, question, and create in new ways. The opportunity to learn alongside a diverse group with shared interests and optimism is something I want for the students in my classroom. I will use the relationships and experiences fostered by the Minnesota Writing Project to support my work with young writers in my classroom, along with colleagues in my building and district.
What are your beliefs about writing?
Writing is power. Regardless of the audience or purpose, writing gives us the power to create and send messages that are important to us. It is my job as a teacher of young writers 1) to honor and celebrate written messages and 2) provide the time and tools needed to create written messages.
What is a book on writing or the teaching of writing that you would recommend (and why)?
In Pictures and In Words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration Study
by Katie Wood Ray
is an excellent resource for teachers of writers in kindergarten through second grade. As a first grade teacher, I know how much my students love picture books and drawing pictures. Wood Ray’s In Pictures and In Words
helps me engage my first grade writers through illustration study and creation with the use of mentor texts and illustrations. Her ideas for planning and implementing a unit of study in illustration nurture and empower emerging and early writers by helping them identify, explore, and connect illustration and writing crafts and techniquess.
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.
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