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WI Greater Madison WP Traces the Path to the Development of a Yearlong Institute Model

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Jul 28, 2015
Posted by: pfox

The Greater Madison Writing Project shares how programs grow organically and are developed strategically, inspired by the vision and professional interests of the site's teacher leaders.  This excerpt from their 2014 site report traces the development of plans for the site's 2015 Yearlong Institutes:

Advanced Institute/Teacher Research Group

The final program/initiative that we would like to discuss is our Advanced Institute/Teacher Research group that was initiated by participants in our writing retreat and our spring book study group. The Advanced Institute program met for the first time in June, 2014, and will continue through June 2015. We anticipate we will have great things to say about the program when we are writing the 2015 Site Report! As part of the February writing retreat we had a group of teacher-leaders who met to discuss the possibility of partnering with local school districts to offer a yearlong institute (two weeks in summer and monthly meetings throughout the school year) as part of the 2014-16 SEED Teacher Leadership Grant. Unfortunately, we were not able to bring the yearlong institute in partnership with school districts to fruition this year, as one district backed away after making an initial commitment and another district did not bring as many teachers to the program as they had thought they would.

But with every door that closes, another opens. It was after informing the group that our plans for the yearlong institute were not going to go forward that our spring book group began reading Make Just One Change: Teaching Kids to Ask Their Own Questions. During one of the meetings we were engaged in a question generating activity where for seven minutes we wrote as many questions as we could based on the statement “teaching writing.” At the conclusion of the activity a number of the people in the room said they wished they could do the ISI again so that they could explore some of the questions we had just generated. And that is when the door opened. We almost immediately began discussing the idea of an Advanced Institute/Teacher Research group. The group would meet the needs of individuals and the site in multiple ways. Such a group would allow us to support our teacher-leaders’ continued professional development as they pursued their inquiry together, give us a testing ground to experiment with various activities and protocols we’d like to use during the yearlong institute, increase the facilitating capacities of our teacher-leaders and give us time to get more firm commitments from districts/schools in order to get a yearlong institute in partnership with the schools in place for the 2015-16 school year.

Greater Madison Writing Project Yearlong Institutes