National Writing Project

Assignments Matter


NWP's Assignments Matter initiative was a professional learning opportunity intended to expand teacher knowledge and leadership about the creation of high-quality writing assignments. Assignments Matter supported a network of diverse local Writing Project sites in designing, testing, iterating, and disseminating writing assignments. Assignments Matter was a collaborative, knowledge-building and sharing experience open to any teacher who knows that meaningful tasks create powerful results.

Assignments Matter invited teachers to collaborate using tools from the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) as well as protocols and processes common in the NWP teacher community to create writing assignments for use in their own classrooms and to share with one another.


Begun in 2011 as an NWP initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation called the Literacy in the Common Core Initiative, and later renamed Assignments Matter (and Assignments Matter 2.0), funded through the Teacher Practice Networks grant program run by WestEd and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this continuous effort has supported cohorts of Writing Project sites to use tools from the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC). Between 2011 and 2016 these initiatives have supported more than 30 sites to learn these tools, share them with teachers, and provide opportunities for networked sharing and response beyond teachers' local sites.

Beginning with deep study of the Literacy Design Collaborative's work with assignments and teaching modules, this work eventually came to rest on the belief that small changes can make big differences, and to embrace a lively, fun, hacktivist mindset toward professional learning and community for teachers. This effort has brought both the task jam and shark tank into NWP collaborative learning practices.

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