National Writing Project

NWP Summer Writing Events Advance Local Work

By: NWP Staff
Publication: The Voice, Vol. 11, No. 1
Date: 2006

Summary: An array of national programs gives sites the opportunity to support their teacher-consultants in writing for broader audiences and disseminating new knowledge throughout the National Writing Project's network of sites—and beyond.

 

This summer teachers from writing project sites across the country will gather to mutually inform and inspire each other—and of course to write—at a variety of retreats. These events are part of the array of national programs created to advance sites' local work to improve the teaching and learning of writing in schools. The retreats give sites the opportunity to encourage their teacher-consultants in writing for broader audiences and disseminating new knowledge throughout NWP's network of sites—and beyond.

Here are a few examples.

Professional Writing Retreats A and B

The most long-standing of this set of programs, the Professional Writing Retreats grew out of efforts by sites in NWP's Project Outreach to support participating teacher-consultants preparing articles about their experiences for national publication. After the model was piloted through Project Outreach sites, the Professional Writing Retreats were opened to all sites that wanted to support their local teacher-consultants in preparing pieces for national audiences. Today the model is the same: in the Professional Writing Retreats teacher-writers have access to coaching and feedback in a community of fellow writers as they transform their ideas into first drafts and then into manuscripts ready for publication.

The participants in Professional Writing Retreat A—up to 20 teacher-writers—come with a beginning work in progress: a narrative of their teaching life, a classroom case study, an opinion piece on a teaching issue, for example. Then in four days in a rustic setting, full of long periods for writing, the inspiration of a writing community, and practical guidance from facilitators and editors, they each develop their beginning work into the first full draft of a professional article.

In Professional Writing Retreat B, which is limited to 15 participants, teacher-writers ready to polish a draft into a publishable manuscript have access to intensive coaching from facilitators and guest editors, and spend sustained time writing. Articles that were completed at these retreats sprinkle the pages of NWP's journal, The Quarterly: Margaret Simon's "Writing with William" (2005); Janis Cramer's "Learning a Lesson from the Girls Who Write Notes" (2004); William Strong's "Writing Across the Hidden Curriculum" (2003); and many more.

Rural Sites Network (RSN)

Resource Development Retreat
This brand-new retreat, open to teachers from RSN member sites, takes place for the first time in July 2006. Participants will write about a successful piece of work accomplished by their site—for example, a unique way of doing professional development or continuity in rural areas. Teachers from sites that were funded by an RSN minigrant are encouraged to develop resources to share with the network that illustrate what they accomplished, and especially to describe how their site is weaving that knowledge into the fabric of its ongoing work. Participants will be guided through the process of shaping a piece of writing into one or more publishable forms, such as a bibliography, a monograph, or an article.

Technology Initiative

The Writing and Technology Retreat
A creation of the NWP Technology Initiative, the Writing and Technology Retreat was held for the first time in 2005 and will be offered again this July. Here teachers have the time, place, and creative community to write about how they use technology in their teaching practice or writing project site work. Modeled after the NWP Professional Writing Retreats, it is open to all writing project teachers and includes large chunks of time for writing, and a writing community with a shared interest in technology. Although it is not a technology workshop, participants have the opportunity to write hypertexts or experiment with writing in other technology formats, with publication in mind.

New-Teacher Initiative (NTI)
Sustaining and Disseminating Retreat

Leaders from the nine sites in NTI cohort 2, now in its third and final year, will meet in June to focus on sustaining the knowledge and progress they have achieved. They will begin to develop resources to help carry on their work and to share their learning both with other NWP sites and with professionals throughout the field.

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