Thunder rolled. The lightning stuck. And I woke up 40 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. Woke up widely with the same giddiness I feel upon waking on a party/big event day, or a painting/redecorating my house day, or new-project-that-you-know-is-going-to-rock-at-school day. Why — in the name of Garth Brooks— why?
I just wanted to sleep for 40 more minutes, but my brain turned on and immediately stopping, planting, and pointing like an Irish Setter, I was focused on the list I had made the previous day… You are about to read the best top 10 list (This is not the list that woke me up; keep reading.) of reasons why you should take part in any National Writing Project Invitational Institute. (Find one here!)
The SAT on-demand essay, as anyone who has prepped students for taking it knows, is a 50-minute written rhetorical analysis of a non-fiction article. This rhetorical analysis is the final test in the SAT exam – when students are already drained and hungry. Last year, when I prepped my students, I focused on Aristotle’s appeals of persuasion – logos, ethos, and pathos – to look for in the article they were to analyze. This year, I improved the SAT practice opportunities by combining Aristotle’s appeals with the Harris moves from the C3WP, and the outcome, I believe, will be a better SAT essay from the students.Continue reading From the College, Career, and Community Writers Program to the SAT Essay: A Simple Step→
On August 25, the Chippewa River Writing Project welcomed Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein — authors of They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing — to Central Michigan University. During the morning, they led a roundtable discussion of approximately twenty-five CMU graduate assistants and writing/writing intensive faculty. After lunch, they led a similar roundtable for approximately fifteen teachers 6-12 who represented school districts across the lower peninsula. From 3:30 – 5:00, Graff & Birkenstein gave a public talk in French Auditorium of the EHS Building, followed by an informal reception.
What follows is Liz Brockman’s introduction to Graff and Birkenstein’s public talk:
My name is Elizabeth Brockman, and I’m an English professor here at Central Michigan University and a founding co-director of the Chippewa River Writing Project. On behalf of the writing project, I’d like to begin by thanking our partners in the sponsorship of today’s event: the CMU Writing Center, the College of Humanities and Social & Behavioral Sciences, the College of Education and Human Services, and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.Continue reading A Visit with Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein→
The Chippewa River Writing Project will host an open institute from June 19-23 for any teachers in grades 6-12 who would like to learn how to implement the College-Ready Writers Program in their classes. The $100 registration fee includes three days with a continental breakfast and boxed lunch, as well as a copy of Joseph Harris’s book, Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts. All sessions will be facilitated by K-12 teacher consultants affiliated with the Chippewa River Writing Project. Learn more here.
The College-Ready Writers Program
In 2012, the National Writing Project was awarded an Investing in Innovation grant to provide professional development to teachers in rural schools in ten states. The PD was designed with an end in mind of improving students’ college- and career-ready writing. The initial launch of the program yielded significant improvements in student writing. In 2015, SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research center, reported that students in the districts where the College-Ready Writers Program had been implemented outperformed students in control districts on four attributes of their writing: content, structure, stance, and conventions. In 2016, then, the National Writing Project decided to scale up the College-Ready Writers Program to 50 new sites for the 2016-17 school year. The Chippewa River Writing Project was selected to be one of those sites.
Components of the College-Ready Writers Program
Routine Argument Writing
The College-Ready Writers Program is built upon some core principles and shifts in thinking about the teaching of argument writing. First, teachers are taught to meet students where they are in implementing routine argument writing activities that help students redefine argument and recognize the ways in which they encounter arguments every day. For example, an early lesson in routine argument writing asks students to record a daily agenda for themselves starting with when they awake and proceeding through all of the activities of their day. Students then look at their daily schedule and ask themselves where in the day they might find something to argue, coding those times with an A. Teachers model the process for students in their own daily schedule. Here is a portion of my daily schedule that I modeled for students on the document camera during this activity. Continue reading The College-Ready Writers Program at the Chippewa River Writing Project→
This is the second in a series of posts by Angie Reid. You can read her first post here.
William Shakespeare famously penned, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players” in his famous poem, “The Seven Ages of Man.” So what happens to a woman on the cusp of middle age who wants to abandon her acclaimed role as English teacher but still wishes to remain on the grand stage of academia? This was the question that was on my mind as I wholeheartedly packed up my high school classroom and exited stage left in hopes of a less stressful, simpler life.
If you were to ask William Shakespeare, or at least read the poem, you might reflect on the subsequent line, “One man in his time plays many parts.” What was to be my part now? I had just said goodbye to my high school classroom, but I was unsure what to do next. It seems that as the years go by there are many teachers who leave the profession either because of burn-out or because they seek a career change, but many of them find that there are few employment positions for education majors outside teaching.
I began to weigh my options. I still wanted to play a role in education, but I was confused as to what that would be. It was in my soul-searching and contemplation that I decided to pursue my MA in English at Central Michigan University. I had always wanted to earn my masters, but I had been unwilling to take on additional student loan debt. A graduate assistantship seemed to be a good solution. In the English Department at CMU, graduate assistants play quite a few roles in the department, including teaching English 101 and working in the writing center. In return, the university pays the GA a small stipend and waives tuition. It was a perfect fit for me, and when I got my letter of hire in early spring of my final year of teaching high school, I felt as if I’d been cast in the role of a lifetime. I would teach English 101 in the mornings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I would be free in the afternoon to pursue my degree.Continue reading New Role New Audience: My Experience of Moving from the High School to the College Classroom→