Most teachers attend a conference for professional development, many choose to go to local events, a few go to national, and even fewer present at a national level… Chippewa River Writing Project is present at all levels.
Since the inception of Chippewa River Writing Project (CRWP) in 2009, we have been involved at a national level, attending the National Writing Project (NWP) Annual Meeting and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention for the past four years. These national conferences attract many participants—nearly 600 attend NWP’s annual meeting, and over ten times that attend the NCTE Annual Convention.
As a new writing project site, CRWP wanted to send teacher consultants to national conferences to gain information about best practice and new trends in the teaching field, not only to help with their own classroom instruction, but also to help foster the growth of CRWP and the Summer Institute. After a few years of attending these conferences, and renewing our excitement for the classroom setting, conversations post-conference eventually led to the submission of proposals. Even as a young site, we knew we had something to offer other colleagues.
CRWP’s national presence began in Orlando in 2010, with an invitation to Site Director Troy Hicks and Co-Director Kathy Kurtze to present at the NWP Annual Meeting as a first-year site. CRWP’s commitment to furthering writing and literacy education continued in Chicago (2011) and in Las Vegas (2012) with presentations by many teacher consultants. Most recently, in Las Vegas, Teacher Consultants Jeremy Hyler, Erin Busch-Grabmeyer, Elizabeth Nelson, and Co-Director Penny Lew, along with Site Director Troy Hicks, presented “Writing, Technology, and the Common Core.” In this presentation, the genres of narrative, informational, and argumentative writing were discussed, along with ways to incorporate different types of technology, including Glogster, Prezi, and digital stories into writing instruction.
In addition, Teacher Consultants Andy Schoenborn and Amanda Smoker, along with Co-Director Kathy Kurtze, presented “Alternative Approaches to Teaching Argumentative Writing.” Using George Hillocks’ book, Teaching Argument Writing as a framework, these three discussed how argument can be taught in a classroom setting without falling into the 5-paragraph trap, utilizing Prezi, Public Service Announcements (PSA), Glogster, and Voki.
Finally, several teacher consultants have participated in NCTE’s Tech-to-Go, an on-the-fly conversation about digital learning tools. Teacher Consultants – Elizabeth Nelson, Erin Busch-Grabmeyer, Andy Schoenborn, Amanda Smoker, and Site Director, Troy Hicks – have all offered their knowledge and experiences with various types of technology in the classroom.
In addition to our national presence, several teacher consultants have also presented in local districts and at statewide conferences, including Michigan Reading Association (MRA) and Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE), showing CRWP presence around the state as well.
Admittedly, it is common for all teachers to attend some kind of professional development. As we continue to grow, we fully expect to expand our voice in area schools as well as at the national level at both NWP and NCTE. Whether it is sharing our experiences about technology or guiding teachers in effective content instruction, CRWP is a presence that is here to stay.