University of Minnesota
minnesota writing project
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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 teacherSarah Bassett
Grade you teach:
11th grade English
School: Hmong College Prep Academy in St. Paul, MN
Summer Institute Writing: Practice Parenting
Summer Institute Demonstration: Socratic Seminar Discussions (.pdf file)

Reflections on teaching:
How has the MWP experience impacted your teaching? At the time of writing this, it’s still summertime for a few more weeks, but I’m incredibly excited to try out some of the lessons I saw my cohort-mates model during the Summer Institute. Their collective knowledge about teaching writing was SO encouraging, especially to know that there are teachers out there who are committed to writing, the teaching profession, and improving their teaching. I feel lucky to be counted among them.

It was also an amazing experience to participate in a writing group and become a writer again. It put me in the shoes of my students when I ask them to write; it completely shifted my frame of reference. I’m grateful for the feedback I got on my own writing and very pleased to say that our writing group will continue to meet throughout the school year to work on our writing.

What are your beliefs about writing? Students need to write frequently, have choice in writing topics, and write for authentic audiences in order to truly feel like their writing matters. If a student is only asked to write few-and-far-between formal papers on mandated topics, that’s the fastest way to lose student engagement and curiosity about writing. Also, there are so many ways to teach reading and writing simultaneously, which can really be powerful for students.

What is a book on writing or the teaching of writing that you would recommend (and why)? ANYTHING by Kelly Gallagher! I read Teaching Adolescent Writers during the Summer Institute, but Write Like This! and Readicide have also been recommended to me several times by valued colleagues and cohort-mates of the Summer Institute. Kelly Gallagher provides a practical approach to literacy theory with activities you could take into your classroom the next day, which I greatly appreciate.

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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

Join us in discussing The Good Braider, our current MWP Book Club selection.

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

Space is still available!

Give to the Max Day is over,

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