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:
Student teachers (formerly middle school)
University of MN (formerly at FAIR School)
Summer Institute Writing: Grandpa, Mandela, DeShawn, and Me: What Did You Learn in School Today?
Summer Institute Demonstration: Paideia Seminar using Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Reflections on teaching:
How has the MWP experience impacted your teaching?
The Minnesota Writing Project creates a space of creativity and reflection, two crucial characteristics of progressive educators that may not be fostered enough in the middle of a hectic school year. MWP affirms a philosophy of student-centered instruction without dabbling in the potential panacea of a prescribed writing curriculum. Teacher leaders introduce engaging topics designed to address student skills and belief in their own practice of writing. MWP impacted my teaching by helping to keep in mind what’s most important to improve writing: meaningful sharing and being challenged by someone else’s words, in either their creation or their critique.
What are your beliefs about writing?
I believe that writing, like reading, is for two purposes: to further explore one’s own beliefs, struggles, and triumphs, and to explore a realm outside of one’s self. Writing can offer students a sense of style, pride, and purpose. I believe in using elements of the writing process to improve writing: mentor texts, sharing, re-writing, and putting text to a visual or publishable use, especially through the use of digital media.
What is a book on writing or the teaching of writing that you would recommend (and why)?
Linda Christensen’s Teaching for Joy and Justice
for student samples of mentor texts and pedagogical ideas that help push current curriculum into a critical space that engages and accelerates student learning.
Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promise into Practice
by editors Kylene Beers, Robert E. Probst, and Linda Rief. Including sections by Deborah Appleman, Yvette Jackson, Alfred Tatum, the editors themselves, and more, this book is organized to give teachers rationale, reflection, tools, and templates for unleashing student potential.
Kelly Gallagher’s Write Like This
for quick tricks teachers can mark and turn to throughout their busy year. Turn up!
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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MWP TCs: Join us for our online discussion of John Green's popular YA book, The Fault In Our Stars, which starts on Monday, July 7.
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