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
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.
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.
What 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!
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