National Writing Project

Special-Focus Minigrants for 2004-2005 Announced

By: NWP Staff
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 9, No. 2
Date: 2004

Summary: The special-focus networks of the National Writing Project—English Language Learners (ELL), Rural Sites, Teacher Inquiry Communities, and Urban Sites—recently awarded funding to support 32 minigrant projects.


The special-focus networks of the National Writing Project—English Language Learners (ELL), Rural Sites, Teacher Inquiry Communities, and Urban Sites—have recently awarded funding to support 32 minigrant projects. An add-on to a site's core grant, minigrant awards enable sites to develop and test innovations or models that may address specific challenges posed by location and demographics. Minigrant funding is offered on an annual basis in conjunction with the annual funding cycle. Each network sets forth its own priorities and criteria for funding. Minigrants range in amount from $3,000 to $4,000. For more information about project awards and network events, click here.

Sites receiving grants this year include:

English Language Learners Network

Philadelphia Writing Project, "Celebration of Literacy in English Language Learner and Bilingual Classrooms." Teachers from K–12 bilingual and ELL classrooms will work with Philadelphia Writing Project teacher-consultants to examine how writing unfolds and connects to all areas of Philadelphia's core curriculum and content areas.

Crossroads Writing Project, Michigan, "Collaborating to Achieve Understanding." The project will invite teachers of ELL in its service area to attend a two-Saturday open institute to introduce them to the NWP model, elicit areas of concern in their teaching practice, and plan for a miniconference in which these teachers will demonstrate best practice.

UNC Charlotte Writing Project, North Carolina, "Cultural Voices Workshop: Developing Literacy Through Narratives." The project will sponsor a one-week writing workshop for English language learners and limited English proficiency (LEP) students. Parents will be involved in follow-up activities.

San Jose Area Writing Project, California, "Developing a Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Program with Emphasis on Second Language Learners." The project will develop a program to assist teachers in all subject areas to use writing to teach their content more effectively and improve the literacy skills of second language learners.

West Texas Writing Project, "El Paso English Learners Curriculum Writing Project." The project will develop a curriculum for ELL and LEP students.

Oregon Writing Project at Southern Oregon University, "ELL Embedded Institute." The project will pilot an embedded ELL institute, working in cooperation with the local Educational Service District Migrant Educational/ESL Program.

MSU Writing/Thinking Project, Mississippi, "Exploring English Language Issues Impacting Native Mississippians." The project will bring together teacher-consultants and Choctaw educators to explore English language issues impacting Mississippi Choctaw K–12 students, specifically as they relate to writing.

Montana Writing Project, "Storytelling, Poetry, and Beyond: Honoring American Indian Ways of Knowing." The project will provide inservice to examine Native American–friendly writing curricula and teaching strategies in poetry, storytelling, and other narrative forms of writing.

Hudson Valley Writing Project, New York, "Visiting Teacher-Scholar Program for Specialist in Issues of Migrant ELLs." Minigrant funds will support a visiting teacher scholar who will help further develop the site's successful Youth Writing Program for migrant youth and provide professional feedback and support to the site study team focused on ELL issues.



Teacher Inquiry Communities Network

Gateway Writing Project, Missouri, "Building Teacher Leadership through Teacher Inquiry." The project will sponsor two semester-long research seminars, the first devoted to launching and supporting participating teachers' action research project and building an inquiry community, the second to providing a means for participants to extend their work through an inquiry-based leadership project.

Oklahoma Writing Project, "Building a Community for Teacher Inquiry." This project will provide resources and training to an initial group of Oklahoma Writing Project teacher-consultants who have expressed a committed interest in using teacher inquiry in their classrooms.

Red Cedar Writing Project, Michigan, "Digital Portfolios as a Place of Inquiry." Participants will develop their own digital portfolios and share ideas related to authentic assessment and how this assessment can be represented through new media. They will collaborate online in threaded discussion.

Southern Nevada Writing Project, "Going the Distance: Urban and Rural Representation in Southern Nevada's Teacher Inquiry Community." Minigrant funds will be used to support the project's urban/rural teacher inquiry community. Communications will be facilitated via a Web log that allows teachers at rural sites full participation.

Hudson Valley Writing Project, New York, "Infusing Inquiry to Build Knowledge, Leadership, Community, and Advocacy." Minigrant funds will enable the site to build on a successful pilot of a 2003–2004 study team to further study the intersection of migrant youth, English language learners, and writing instruction.

Montana Writing Project, "Montana Writing Project: Creating Professional Learning Communities." The project will engage teachers in inquiry through the development of professional learning communities, groups of three to seven teachers who will form support study groups to conduct research on classroom writing questions, study their pedagogy, plan strategically around particular topics, and challenge their teaching in a nurturing environment.

Nebraska Writing Project, "NeWP Partnerships: How an Embedded Institute Influences a School and Its Writing Community." Teacher-researchers at Pius X High School will be sustained as they examine how the implementation of an embedded writing institute influences their school's goal of "writing across the curriculum," and how student writers benefit as a result of this institute.

UNC Charlotte Writing Project, North Carolina, "Sharing Teacher Research: Writing for Publication." Minigrant funds will be used to offer an extended writers' retreat for the drafting of articles by teacher-researchers whose work is at a point where it should be prepared for publication and made available for sharing.

Rhode Island Writing Project, "Writing Up the Embedded Institutes: A Writing Retreat." The project will bring together 15 Rhode Island leaders of embedded institutes to turn their presentation materials into a publication about embedded programs and the blending of these programs with the NWP model.


Urban Sites Network

National Writing Project at Florida Gulf Coast, "Doing It Write from the Start: New-Teacher Professional Development Program." The grant will further develop and expand the partnership between the NWP at Florida Gulf Coast University and the Lee County urban school district in order to introduce writing-based learning into the individual curricula of new teachers.

Appleseed Writing Project, Indiana, "Study Group Designing a Writing Camp to Address Needs of Urban Students" and "Becoming Writers in a Diverse Society." Minigrant funds will enable experienced teacher-consultants to provide leadership to beginning teacher-consultants as they design and implement their first summer writing camp for urban students. This exchange will take the form of an online conversation focusing on the writing needs of African American learners.

Central Massachusetts Writing Project, "Sullivan-LEI-CMWP Collaborative Writing Project." The writing project and the Latino Educational Institute will form a partnership with the five small schools housed within the Sullivan Middle Complex. The students, parents, and surrounding community will join together to create a celebration of culture through writing.

Red Cedar Writing Project, Michigan, "The Capital Voice Project." The grant will be used to provide development for both new and experienced teachers, preparing them to integrate "digital, visual, multimedia, and multimodal" composition into their teaching by engaging in such "writing" themselves. Additionally, the funds will be used to provide professional development opportunities for teachers in an urban school district and will familiarize policymakers with the strengths and needs of urban English language arts teachers.


Rural Sites Network

Montana Writing Project, "First Annual Rural Mountain Conference on Writing Education: Confronting the Educational Gap Between Assessment and Instruction." This one-day conference, linking teacher-consultants with rural teachers and administrators, will focus on strategies to help students develop the writing traits required by the statewide writing assessment.

Plymouth Writing Project, New Hampshire, "Culturally Responsive Teaching in a Rural Area Through Personal Interest Plans." Inquiry groups will focus on helping teachers use "personal interest plans," a strategy that allows teachers to gain insight into how to work with learners in context and, in the process, build stronger relationships within communities and with families.

West Texas Writing Project, "Hearing Is Believing." The project will conduct outreach to rural schools to develop a family literacy program that involves place-conscious writing.

Puget Sound Writing Project, Washington, "In Support of Peninsula Voices." Teachers of students from five Native American nations on the Olympic Peninsula will take part in a professional development workshop and participate in Peninsula Voices, a student/teacher writing project.

MSU Writing/Thinking Project, Mississippi, "Rural Voices, Rural Concerns." Minigrant funds will enable teachers to further examine how to improve access, relevancy, and diversity with the rural schools in the site's service area. Teachers will address and write about issues such as multiple extracurricular duties, lack of access to professional growth opportunities, professional isolation, and changing demographics.

Southwest Georgia Writing Project, "Significance of the Trivialities that Mold Us into the People We Become." The grant will allow the site to develop a project that explores the significance of how seemingly trivial childhood experiences mold us into the people we become. The project will feature a common reading selection, writing activities, and online collaboration from the perspectives of rural students at the third, fifth, and tenth grades, as well as the college freshmen and sophomore levels.

Live Oak Writing Project, Mississippi, "South Mississippi People and Place: Weaving Stories, Environmental Respect, and Writing Strategies." The minigrant will fund an ongoing teacher-consultant study group focusing on heritage and celebration of place.

Nebraska Writing Project, "Telling the Stories of Our Places: Teacher Research in Nebraska's Rural Schools." This project will support eight K–12 teacher-researchers in central Nebraska rural schools who wish to continue inquiry into place-based writing instruction.

Hudson Valley Writing Project, New York, "The Rural and Migrant Youth Writing Project." The minigrant will support continued development of the site's Youth Writing Programs for rural and migrant students, many of whom are English language learners.

University of Mississippi Writing Project, Mississippi, "Young Rural Voices in Rural Mississippi: Hearing Us Loud and Clear." Through this project, teachers and students from rural schools in north Mississippi will use place-based writing to promote cultural awareness, while also integrating place-based writing into professional development workshops.

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