Dear OWP Fellows

After the camaraderie of the Oregon Writing Project Summer Institute, too often teachers return to the isolation of their classroom. But you can reclaim your institute community during the Practicum in the Teaching of Writing. Whether you long for the laughter and tears of teachers sharing stories or you miss a community of teacher writers who seek to increase their students’ love for writing or their ability to punctuate, you will fill your needs in this class.

If you just completed the OWP Summer Institute, you are welcome. If you completed the summer institute two years ago, five years ago, twenty years ago, you are still welcome. The Writing Project is your home: You are always welcome. If you need credit, we can make that happen. If you need new ideas, we will have a room full of teachers to kick start your thinking. If you need a place and time to write, we welcome  you.

Practicum in the Teaching of Writing is a year-long series of Saturday workshops facilitated by OWP Directors Linda Christensen and Mark Hansen. This class will focus on practical classroom strategies and discussions that help develop students as writers as well as teachers as writers. Topics vary from session to session, but each will include time for teacher writing and reflection as well as a framework or lesson to take back to the classroom. Teachers will conduct a year-long study of their teaching of writing as part of the course.

I collected a few quotes from teacher portfolios that represent the wisdom of teachers:

“Remember the power of sharing.  Give no passes; letting kids out of the bit of squirming  they experience before giving their stories to the class is not actually a favor.  It prevents them from experiencing the oohs and aahs of their classmates.  It sets them apart and silences them.  It also deprives the class of making a new connection.” Rachel Pass

“I think I’ve shied away from the talk of class needing to always be ‘fun,’ because I want my content to sit in some serious and discombobulating places.  Fun doesn’t really encompass that.  But I think ‘joy’ can.  Facing complicated, difficult truths is a challenging process, but can bring you to a place of empowerment and growth.  And that’s the joy.  So I want to always keep in mind this coming school year.  Where is the joy?  How do I move my students forward to a place of agency and power?” Amy Lindahl

“Each revision is just another draft.  It can be changed at any time to incorporate new ideas and more detail.” Harriette Jackson Vimegnon

“I think it helps to have the collective energies of several writers working together, talking about their work, agonizing over their (imagined) inadequacies, providing feedback and support to each other.  Often, I would write a line and think ‘that’s terrible’ or less often, ‘that works.’  But not until I had read it in my response group did I feel the truth of the line.” Marjorie Brown

“These revisions are small, the writing strategies brief and simple — yet they make a huge difference in the same way that combining fabrics a piece at a time, changing them around, adding in new, ripping out seams, reconfiguring and re-visioning the possibilities — a quilt gets made one piece at a time — just as a piece of writing is crafted.” Jean Ann Hunt

“I will never again simply assign writing.  Instead, I will scaffold and teach it and support kids through it so that they will share out and turn in things they are proud of instead of fulfilling the assignment.  I will take the time to enjoy the process instead of rushing through the content. Trust me, it will be worth it.  I will remember to build in think talk think talk time – develop a clear process.” Amy Schuff

“Lifting the Bones from familiar text — the link between published text and the writing students will do.  This process of constructively creating criteria from familiar text,  I will definitely bring back.  I will need to be even more intentional in my selection of the works we read together in order to highlight the author’s craft.” Cinnamon Bancroft

“Figure it out.  Make it work.  Don’t get overwhelmed.  Find your allies.  Start small. Grow it.” Karen Cosper

“Ultimately, the most important skill that I will carry back to my classroom is not an instructional strategy, but rather the ability to better empathize with my students’ experience of writing and the writing process.” Jesse Hunter

Course details:

Instructor: OWP Co-Directors and Teacher Consultants

Dates: Saturdays, monthly September – May TBA, plus February Renewal Day

Time: 9 a.m. – noon

Location: Lewis and Clark campus; Room TBA

Credits: 2 semester hours

Cost: CEED 894 — $700; ED 594 — $1,426

Oregon Writing Project Practicum Dates

September 24

October 1 (Optional — Teaching for Justice Conference)*

October 29

November (No meeting)

December 3

January 14

February 16, Full Day Writing Retreat  with Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

March 10

April 28

May 12

*Can be used as a make-up day

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