University of Minnesota
minnesota writing project
center for writing

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.

MWP video: Teachers Celebrate MWP’s Invitational Summer Institute

From our first institute in 1991 to 2015, teachers share their experiences of participating.  Enjoy this short video featuring  several teachers identifying the impact the institute has had on their personal and professional lives.   

Ann Thompson, Producer
Charlie McCarron, Videographer

click here for a full-screen version of the video

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 teacherMolly Vasich
Grade you teach:
11th and 12th grades, IB Language and Literature
School: Washburn High School
Teacher website
Summer Institute Writing:
Shopping with Mom
Summer Institute Demonstration: PODCON: Adventures in Digital Literacy and Production (.pdf file)

Reflections on teaching:
How has the MWP experience impacted your teaching? The Minnesota Writing Project challenged me to incorporate writing in all aspects of my life—at home, in my community, in professional circles, and, of course, at school! Understanding and developing the relationship between teaching, learning, and writing is pivotal for building dynamic and connected classrooms. I love the idea of students and teachers working next to each other, in collaboration, through writing groups, read arounds, and digital production. I hope to share my writing with my students as a way to model writing as a process and a lifelong practice.

What are your beliefs about writing? To me, writing is self-discovery or self-expression, or sometimes both. I feel free when I write without a vision of a future audience. It is exciting to unearth a new realization, perspective, or feeling that was buried somewhere inside but I have yet to muddle over. Writing can also be self-expression. I find that an authentic audience can fuel me to produce more work. It is empowering when my writing encourages someone to reach out and connect with me because my words have sparked something in their hearts or minds.

book coverWhat is a book on writing or the teaching of writing that you would recommend (and why)? Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. I love Natalie Goldberg because she provides readers with writing prompts, encouragement, and advice. As a practitioner of Zen meditation, Natalie inspires writers to let go of expectations and to view the act of writing as a journey of acceptance and discovery. Throughout my life, I have returned to this book to remind me to stop complicating or judging my writing, and instead, just start writing!


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