National Writing Project

Urban Sites Network Resources

Featured Resources

The Path Toward Opening Night: One Road to Literacy

October 2009
Ben Bates
Ben Bates, co-director of the Oklahoma State Writing Project, explores the premise that directed script reading and play production provide roads to literacy for his students. More ›

Resilience: Overcoming Adversity and Thriving

October 2009
The resources collected here illustrate approaches to teaching and curriculum that support the power of resilience for young people striving to learn in adverse situations. More ›

New York City Writing Project “Retreats” to Write Again!

June 2009
Joe Bellacero
Overcoming the challenges of expense, distance, writer's fear of rejection, and being "just-too-darn-busy," the NYCWP organized its own Professional Writing Retreat and integrated professional writing into its regular work. More ›


Additional Resources

African American Learners Project Annotated Bibliography

March 2008
This collection of readings reflects the contributions of the Thinking and Development Team for the African American Learners Project. These readings are intended to inform the thinking and practice of teacher-consultants and writing project sites interested in addressing the racial gap in student achievement. More ›

Tampa Bay Writing Project Helps School Improve Scores

St. Petersburg Times, May 2009
After partnering with the Tampa Bay Writing Project, Richey Elementary went from one of the county's lowest-performing schools in writing to scoring above grade level on this year's state writing exam. More ›

Philadelphia Writing Project Teachers Create 'Classroom Buzz'

June 2009
The Philadelphia Writing Project is profiled for reframing the "achievement gap" by using writing to help teachers explore issues of social justice, language, and race. More ›

Poetry Out Loud Makes Noise in NWP Classrooms

May 2009
Art Peterson
Poetry Out Loud, a program that encourages students to learn about poetry through memorization and performance, holds a competition that has inspired NWP teachers and their students. More ›

There Just Ain’t No Wrong Or Right Way To Talk

Bristol Herald Courier, June 2009
This newspaper column features Amy Clark, director of the Appalachian Writing Project, which recently won a $4,000 grant from the National Writing Project to study language patterns at public schools in southwestern Virginia. More ›

Bibliography Helps Sites Strengthen Work with New Teachers

June 2009
To help sites implement successful new-teacher programs, the New-Teacher Initiative developed a bibliography addressing the teaching of writing, culture and its implications for teaching and learning, teacher inquiry, and professional development through participation in a professional community. More ›

Spatial, Visual Rhetoric Meet New Media

UANews, May 2009
The First Year Writing Showcase, which incorporates teachings in writing and visual communication, began at the University of Arizona in 2007 and has since seen exponential growth in participation among UA students, faculty, and instructors. More ›

Connecticut Students Write from a Different Point of View

The Cheshire Herald, April 2009
Each year, middle-schoolers from Dodd Middle School tackle a unique assignment designed to address perspective: they look at a piece of art and choose any aspect about which to write. The results are wonderfully creative. More ›

Book Review: Reading for Their Life

Michael W. Smith
In this foreword to Alfred Tatum's Reading for Their Life, Michael W. Smith, former director of the NWP at Rutgers Writing Project, urges readers to read Tatum's book as a call to action, and for us to heed it. More ›

Philadelphia Writing Project Teachers Create a Pedagogy of Facilitation

April 2011
Christina Puntel, Carol Rose
Teacher-consultants from the Philadelphia Writing Project have collected some promising facilitation practices in a handbook so that they can better facilitate complex professional development. More ›

Book Review: Teaching for Joy and Justice: Re-imagining the Language Arts Classroom

February 2010
Vanessa Brown
Vanessa Brown, director of the Philadelphia Writing Project, outlines how Linda Christensen uses her critical pedagogy to confront the challenges of high-stakes curricular mandates for schools while promoting social justice with and for her students. More ›

Bringing Hard Talk to Your Writing Project Site—with the Theatre of the Oppressed

January 2010
Chris Tsang
Role play based on the Theatre of the Oppressed offers teachers the opportunity to rehearse conversations around uncomfortable subjects such as race, class, and language. The model can be replicated at writing project sites and elsewhere. More ›

Linda Christensen: Social Justice, Teaching Writing, and Teaching Teachers

February 2010
Pamela Morgan
Linda Christensen, site director, educator, and author, explores what it means to teach writing across the margins of life—and teach teachers—through the lens of social justice. More ›

New Teachers in Urban Contexts: Creating Bridges with Teach For America Teachers

August 2010
Dina Portnoy, Tanya Maloney
Teacher-consultants from the Philadelphia Writing Project use a one-week summer bridge course to address the complex needs, challenges, and opportunities facing new urban teachers in the Teach For America program. More ›

Patricia Smith: “How Do We Lose Our Own Voices?”

April 2010
In recounting her mother's life story, famous poet Patricia Smith discussed how African American children can lose their valuable histories in order to learn to speak "right" in her keynote at the 2010 Urban Sites Network Conference. More ›

Patricia Smith: Exploring Life Through the Poetry of Personas

February 2010
Grant Faulkner
Renowned poet and poetry slam performer Patricia Smith explores urban life and history by getting into people's skins and speaking their words. As the keynote speaker at the NWP's 2010 Urban Sites Network Conference, she'll discuss the intersections of poetry and teaching. More ›

Reading for Their Life: Poetic Broadsides

In this chapter from Reading for Their Life, Alfred Tatum shares poems and lessons in support of his argument that we should share "poetry worth reading" with African-American male students. More ›

Building Policy Platforms for Resilience

September 2009
Resiliency is a characteristic of individuals that allows them to adapt, persevere, and succeed despite adversity. But what sorts of approaches and policies would foster resiliency in institutions like schools? This brief from the KnowledgeWorks Foundation takes a look at platforms for resilience in policy. More ›

The Importance of Resiliency in Learning and Writing

February 2009
Art Peterson
Bonnie Benard discusses the role that schools and communities play in supporting the biological drive for normal human development and triumphing over adversity: resiliency. More ›

Putting Our Questions at the Center: Afterschool Matters Practitioner Fellowships

Afterschool Matters, Spring 2009
As detailed in the publication Afterschool Matters, an inquiry-based professional development program—supported by the NWP and the National Institute of Out-of-School Time (NIOST)—can contribute to professionalizing the field for practitioners who work with young people outside of schools. More ›

“We Make the Road by Walking”: Building the Urban Sites Network

April 2008
Richard Sterling
In his keynote address at the 2008 Urban Sites Network Conference in Denver, Colorado, Richard Sterling traces the development of the USN from its roots at City College of New York, describing the events, the people, the challenges, the passion, and the learning that make up its history. More ›

Louisiana Teachers and Students Make Poetry Rock with WordPlay

July 2008
Art Peterson
In a cooperative venture, LSU Writing Project and the Baton Rouge nonprofit organization WordPlay engage students in writing by bringing spoken word poets into the schools to model and spread their art. More ›

New York City Writing Project Helps Teen Immigrants Succeed in Bronx High School

July 2008
Grant Faulkner
Bronx International High School has received accolades for its success with English language learners, success attributed in part to its emphasis on professional development. The New York City Writing Project has provided professional development since the school's genesis. More ›

Resiliency: An Annotated Bibliography

December 2008
Jean Wolph, Gwen Snow, Linda Satterlee, Irina McGrath, Maria Scherrer
This bibliography includes selections from a wide body of literature about fostering resilience in urban students. More ›

Teacher Inquiry Publishing and Research Resources

July 2008
The following publishing and research resources provide support for teachers at various stages of the inquiry and dissemination process. More ›

Book Review: Young, Gifted, and Black: Promoting High Achievement Among African-American Students

Teacher Magazine, July 2008
Mary K. Tedrow
After reading this collection of essays by three leading thinkers in African American education, Mary Tedrow, a teacher-consultant with the Northern Virginia Writing Project, realized that "the ideas and potential solutions embedded in this book have gone on largely unacknowledged." More ›

Gloria Ladson-Billings: Biographical Information and List of References

January 2007
Bob Fecho
In a resource developed for NWP's African American Learners Project, Bob Fecho discusses Ladson-Billings' 2006 American Educational Research Association address as well as her writings and contributions to the field of education. More ›

Oklahoma Site Helps Community College Adjuncts Address Burning Questions

July 2007
Community college adjunct faculty members tend to have limited collegial support, so, funded by an Urban Sites Network minigrant, the Oklahoma State University Writing Project designed a mini-institute for adjunct faculty at Tulsa Community College to help foster a growing professional learning community at the college. More ›

The Professional Leadership Development Project

National Writing Project At Work, March 2005
Zsa Boykin, Jennifer Scrivner, Sarah Robbins
The authors describe a flexible model for promoting teacher leadership within urban schools. This monograph outlines both the individual inservice projects and the framework for leadership development that emerged from the inquiry. More ›

No More Fear and Loathing: The Family Writing Project in Las Vegas

The Quarterly, 2004
Arthur Kelly
Kelly, who created a family writing project to involve busy parents in their children's education, answers questions about starting a family writing project and describes activities he uses to get families writing together. More ›

Reflections on Race in the Urban Classroom

The Quarterly, 2004
Janice Jones
Jones describes her mishandling of her encounter with the only white student in a class of primarily African American and Latino students. Because of the experience, Jones has grown as a teacher and a person. More ›

The Family Writing Project Builds a Learning Community in Connecticut

The Quarterly, 2004
Valerie Diane Bolling
Connecticut teacher Bolling describes how, through NWP's Project Outreach, she learned of the Family Writing Project in Nevada and used this structure to help her school strengthen literacy and increase parent involvement. More ›

NWP Urban Sites Conference 2003 Scratches an Itch

The Voice, 2004
Joe Bellacero
Bellacero, writing in response to his participation in the National Writing Project Urban Sites Conference 2003, offers first-timers a view of and feel for the event that is both helpful and enticing. More ›

Whose Core Is It?

The Voice, 2004
Christina Puntel
Bilingual elementary school teacher Christina Puntel describes the challenges of adjusting to a city–mandated "core curriculum" that prescribes content structure and student performance standards for the entire year. More ›

Finding the Student in a High-Stakes World: A Challenge for Teachers and Test Makers

The Quarterly, 2003
Glenda Moss
Moss examines some of the unintended consequences of high–stakes testing and describes how she confronted them. More ›

Work of Urban Sites Network Evident at 2003 Conference

The Voice, Fall 2003
Marci Resnick
The NWP Urban Sites Conference is the Urban Sites Network's premier tool for disseminating urban teachers' work. Learn about the mission and objectives of this NWP network and the value of its annual conference. More ›

On-Site Consulting: New York City Writing Project

National Writing Project at Work, November 2002
Nancy Mintz, Alan Stein, Marcie Wolfe
Nancy Mintz and Alan L. Stein, teacher-consultants from the New York City Writing Project, describe their experiences with weekly on-site consulting in teaching writing at a middle school and with literacy-based school reform at a high school. Introduction by Marcie Wolfe. More ›

Urban Sites Network Conference Documentation

The Voice, September-October 2002
Marsha Tolbert
Middle school students benefit from a video documentation project for the Urban Sites Conference 2002. Link to the article and watch a video. More ›

Cityscapes: Eight Views from the Urban Classroom

Cityscapes, written by members of the Urban Sites Network, focuses on specific possibilities for teaching in an urban classroom. More ›

Teachers Battle Image Problem, Mistrust, Empowerment Gap

El Paso Times, July 2008
Jonna Perrillo, director of the West Texas Writing Project, explores the historical reasons why some leaders who have no "experience or expertise in the classroom" are chosen to head the state's education board. More ›

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