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WA Central Washington Writing Project Develops Innovative Elementary Teachers Writing Workshop Series:

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Nov 18, 2015
Posted by: Jsinger2

WA Central Washington Writing Project Develops Innovative Elementary Teachers Writing Workshop Series:

Two teachers who had shared their work  at CWWP workshops, shadowed some veteran TCs at CWWP Common Core institutes, and attended site leadership training meetings, requested assistance with designing a writing workshop professional development series for their school district--which had adopted the Calkins writing curriculum without providing any training for the staff.  Subsequently, the two teachers met with the site director during summer 2014 to plan the series on using the writing workshop framework to teach argumentative and informative writing in grades K-5 for all teachers in the district serving the local community and the university. At the workshop planning sessions, the site director and the teachers (developing TCs) wrote clock-hour proposals, studied the research on professional learning communities and best practices in teaching writing, considered the teacher inquiry models and principles informing the work of NWP sites across the network, and set goals and the agendas for the workshop series.

With site mentoring, the TCs facilitated ten hours of professional development for 21 elementary teachers on teaching argumentative writing over five weeks (two hours every other week in October, November, December). In January and February, 2015, because the workshops were so propitious and effective, the TCs conducted four more two-hour professional development sessions on teaching informative writing for the same twenty-one K-5 teachers. The professional development series offered teachers (1) hands-on learning;(2) teacher demonstrations, teaching strategies, and practices relevant to teaching and learning in the real classroom; (3) the opportunity to problem solve as a community of professionals; and (4) a space to celebrate students’ successes and to address their academic challenges. At the workshops, teachers: (1) wrote and shared their writing; (2) practiced step by step the process and procedures for implementing writing workshop; (3) studied the components of writing workshop; (4) practiced using mentor texts to scaffold and develop student writing and reading; (5) used protocols to look at student writing; (6) used rubrics to assess student writing; and (7) explored the connections among Smarter Balanced Assessments, writing workshop, and the state teacher evaluation process.