National Writing Project

The Quarterly

Vol. 27, No. 3-4, 2005

Special Commemorative Edition


This expanded and final print edition of the National Writing Project Quarterly celebrates the journal's twenty-seven-year history with reprints of fifteen vital and still relevant articles.

Beginning with writing project founder Jim Gray's 1979 piece that raises questions about the value of a writing achievement test that demands "twenty minutes of fluency," this retrospective issue takes readers on a journey through some of the major literacy issues of our time.

By Sarah Warshauer Freedman
Having been a writing project groupie for most of my professional life, which now is stretching into a third decade, I will begin with some history.

Letter to Our Readers
By Art Peterson

Twenty Minutes of Fluency—A Test
By James Gray
In 1979, NWP founder James Gray observed that on-demand writing for the College Board's English Achievement Test produced some magnificent student performances, but the twenty-minute time limit prevented most high school seniors from approaching the topic in more than a superficial way.

The Teacher as Researcher
By Marian M. Mohr
Mohr describes her early forays into teacher research, when she began "asking why things happened the way they did in my classes ."

Becoming Your Own Expert—Teachers as Writers
By Tim Gillespie
In this 1985 piece, Tim Gillespie argues that teachers need to write so that their teaching of writing can be "based on knowledge we have earned ourselves."

“Whose Writing is it Anyway”? Kids Love To Write...Don't Wait Until They Read
By Diane Borgman
Borgman describes the joy of working with kindergarten writers entirely unburdened by the bogeyman of first–draft correctness.

Computers and English: Future Tense...Future Perfect?
By Stephen Marcus
In 1990, Marcus made some predictions about what might happen with technology in the classroom during the next 15 years—prophecies that are interesting to examine in hindsight.

Mozartians, Beethovians, and the Teaching of Writing
By Diane Christian Boehm
In this essay from 1993, Diane Christian Boehm directly confronts the myth of the sequential writing process, finding that writers create as "Mozartians" or "Beethovians," or sometimes a little of both.

Skeletons Out of the Closet: The Case of the Missing 162%
By Bob Pressnall
A Quarterly article often reveals a teacher's mind at work, providing readers a ringside seat as the teacher observes, changes, rearranges, and fine-tunes classroom practice.

Getting Real: Authenticity in Writing Prompts
By Patricia Slagle
Teachers often strive to develop exercises in which students write "authentic" pieces for an audience beyond the teacher.

The Parallel Universes of Theory and Practice: One Teacher's Journey
By Beverly Paesano
Frustrated that the traditional approaches she'd been taught "did not help children write more fluently," the author describes her evolution as she came to understand the work of Britton, Moffett, and others."

The Only New Thing Under the Sun: 25 Years of the National Writing Project
By Sheridan Blau
Blau recounts the core NWP idea that the most reliable and credible solutions to the problems of learning and teaching are found in the wisdom and knowledge possessed by experienced and successful classroom teachers.

Tolerating Intolerance: Resisting the Urge to Silence Student Opinion in the Writing Classroom
By Sarah Rider
Encountering one student's white supremacist views, a teacher realizes that the expression of diverse opinions in class mustn't be restricted to those that please the instructor."

Theory, Politics, Hope, and Action
By Carole Edelsky
In this article Edelsky employs the arguments of theory and the techniques of case study to make a plea for rationality in the education of English language learners.

Teaching in the Time of Dogs
By Todd Goodson
This account of a classroom incident makes clear that it's the students who bring "the uncertainty that is the beauty and the challenge of teaching."

Linking Genre to Standards and Equity
By Tom Fox
Fox describes the work of teachers who link genre and purpose, bridging the gap between disenfranchised students and schools.

Reflections on Race in the Urban Classroom
By Janice Jones
Jones describes her mishandling of her encounter with the only white student in a class of primarily African American and Latino students.

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