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TN Upper Cumberland WP Offers Stand-Alone Writing Workshops

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Dec 6, 2015
Posted by: nicoletteamann

Upper Cumberland Writing Project describes and reflects on their three recent writing PD workshops. 

In the fall of 2015, we’re conducting three standalone writing PD workshops for K-12 teachers (see attached PDF-format flyer). Each three-hour workshop follows NWP’s classic model for teaching demonstrations: a single, focused strategy for teaching writing demonstrated by an experienced classroom teacher, featuring hands-on writing activities for participants, student examples, and a robust debriefing session to help participants imagine how/why they might adapt the strategy in their own grade-level classrooms and their own subject areas. The NWP SEED grant provides compensation for the presenters and covers expenses for supplies and materials. A small registration fee ($10) generates a little income for the site but also requires participants to invest in their own PD. We provide a certificate and letter that participants might use to earn PD credit with their respective schools and districts. We encourage TCs to attend and bring a colleague. These workshops provide an opportunity for us to promote our Invitation Summer Institute and recruit potential applicants. 

All three workshops are designed to help teachers think about ways to broaden typical classroom conceptions of school or academic writing. Our September workshop focused on “The Argument Box,” a rhetorically rich alternative to two-dimensional essays with standardized formats. The October workshop explores “Zines across Subjects,” another strategy that expands the format possibilities for academic writing. November’s workshop focuses on “High-Interest Research Reports,” yet another re-conceptualizing strategy regarding informational writing. One potential mistake we made: we advertised the three workshops as targeted respectively toward elementary, middle-school, and high-school teachers. In fact, each workshop is easily scalable to any grade level; they’re merely led by teachers who have specialized in elementary, middle, and upper grade levels. Interest from middle-school and high-school teachers was low. With registrants primarily from elementary teachers, advertising each workshop as appropriate for all grade levels would potentially have attracted a more even distribution of participants across the workshops, correcting a low registration rate in the two workshops originally marketed toward middle- and high-school teachers.