by Kathy Ganske
For Readers in a Hurry, Here’s the Twitter-Like Version
The new Common Core State Standards place major emphasis on writing. Yet concern about students’ writing achievement and its potential impact on the individual and society are well-documented. To help professionals prepare students for the writing demands associated with the CCSS—language arts, content area, and assessments—we need to develop their expertise. Toward that end, we have a stellar line-up of keynoters and breakout-session leaders (see long version) that span the K-8 range and include regular education and special education. Come spend a stimulating day with us!
The Long Version of Why You Should Come to the Writing Institute
Reading is just one part of literacy, but writing is another. As with reading, concerns have been expressed about children’s achievement in writing and the impact of low achievement on their lives and ultimately society as a whole, e.g., National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2007; National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools, and Colleges, 2003; and the Report on Writing in the 21st Century (Yancey, 2009).
Although writing was not one of the National Reading Panel’s “five pillars” (NICHD, 2000), it is a significant part of the Common Core State Standards. Its role in the curriculum as outlined in the Standards encompasses literacy learning, content learning, evaluation of student reading performance, and in some states, evaluation of content knowledge, such as mathematics. The inclusion of writing in the Standards has increased attention on writing and the need for teachers, administrators, and others who work with students to know more about writing and how to teach writing effectively. In light of this, it is essential that professionals at this conference be able to develop their expertise in this area.
Our institute Making a Difference through Writing: The Other "R" in Literacy (institute number 13) will be of interest to K-8 classroom teachers, both inservice and preservice, literacy coaches and specialists, special education teachers, administrators, teacher educators, and undergraduate and graduate students.
This institute is all about making a difference, and a key to bringing that about is knowledge of the what, the why, and the how. The institute provides an avenue for teachers and educational leaders to expand their knowledge about a) the role of writing in students’ literacy learning, b) the critical importance of structuring environments that motivate and support writers, and c) research-based strategies and techniques to effectively develop the writing expertise of typical and challenged learners of various ages from kindergarten through middle school. By drawing on notable experts in the field of writing, all of whom have published in their areas of expertise, this institute will provide not only critical professional development but also professional development that represents current thinking from research and pedagogical perspectives, with strong support from case and classroom.
We’ll develop participants’ understandings through:
1. Keynote Addresses by leading experts who will draw on research and first-hand experience to build knowledge about developing effective and engaged writers and teachers of writing. These include:
- Tim Shanahan, Writing: Regaining Its Place in the Curriculum
No Child Left Behind emphasized research-based reading instruction, but largely ignored the teaching of writing. With the heavy emphasis on writing in the new Common Core State Standards this neglect has been reversed, with writing taking on perhaps the most prominent role it has ever held in U.S. literacy curriculum. This presentation will explore and explain the changes face teachers as writing regains its place in the curriculum.
- Ralph Fletcher, Engaging Boy Writers
Many indicators point to the fact that boys are struggling in our writing classrooms. This keynote will explore how we can better understand boy writers: their quirks, strengths, weaknesses. We'll look at specific ways we can widen the circle and create boy-friendlier writing classrooms. Writing teachers need to give boys more options but, at the same time, give them information about craft that can help them grow into stronger
- Steve Graham, 10 Things Teachers Should Know about Writing, Writing Instruction, and the Common Core
This keynote will draw upon young writer’s voices, the wisdom of professional writers, and empirical scientific research to establish the importance of social context, motivation, knowledge of writing and genre, fundamental writing skills, and strategic prowess to establish 10 principles critical to the teaching of writing. The convergence and non-convergence of these principles with the Common Core State Standards will also be explored.
- Georgia Heard, Growing Readers and Writers Who LOVE Poetry
Poet laureate Billy Collins lamented in his poem “Introduction to Poetry” that people sometimes “tie a poem to a chair,” attempting to torture meaning out of it. Often students don’t get to read or write much poetry, or we leave the reading of poetry to test prep. Georgia Heard will share how we can grow readers and writers of poetry throughout the school year who understand poetry's meaning as well as its heart and soul.
2. 90-Minute Interactive Breakout Sessions that provide participants with opportunity to learn and try out strategies/activities/techniques that they may later use in their own classrooms to develop engaged and effective student writers. There will be two breakout series, each with three different breakout offerings so that participants can choose sessions that fit their interests and grade range of learners.
Series I Breakouts will be conducted by:
- Matt Glover, Nurturing Young Writers: Beliefs and Practices
Young children are capable of incredible thinking, which can be seen in their writing when they see themselves as writers and when adults honor children’s approximations of writing. Using video clips and writing samples, participants will examine key beliefs about young writers. This session will provide participants with practical, developmentally appropriate strategies that support young children as writers. In addition, participants will learn how these beliefs about young writers translate into instructional practices in early childhood classrooms.
- Kathy Ganske, Building Knowledge, Motivation, Collaboration, and Writing Expertise through Multi-Genre Projects
Writing climate is crucial in the development of writers. It can motivate or stagnate writers. This workshop will engage participants in exploring collaborative zine-writing, a highly motivating project that can serve as a way to develop and reinforce students’ writing in different genres, connect writing to texts, and build content knowledge, while tapping into students’ interests. Hands-on learning and artifact sharing will be part of the session.
- Thomas DeVere Wolsey, Using Technology to Support Writing as a Complex Activity within the Disciplines
In this session, participants will explore two aspects of working in digital environments: How to work with digital sources to inform their writing and How to bring together digital images and composing processes, as means for increasing language learning. Participants will learn how to use online tools their students can employ to draw or reuse images found on the Internet in service of writing as a means of learning. Examples of digital stories that combine images and words will be provided, and participants with computers or smartphones will have the opportunity to try some of the tools. By linking the parts of the brain that process images with those parts that process language, written work improves and so does student learning.
Series II Breakouts will be conducted by:
- Lisa C. Miller, Make Me a Story: Teaching Writing through Digital Storytelling
In this session we’ll talk about the elements of a successful digital story: an interesting question the story answers; a clear point of view; impact; economy; the power of a student’s voice; art that helps tell the story; the sound track. We’ll also discuss the role of writing in digital storytelling. When you take students through the process of creating a digital story, you’re taking them through the writing process. The computers allow students to throw in lots of bells and whistles. But if authors of digital stories don’t do the writing, don’t take the time to draft and revise their scripts, then they don’t get to the deep thinking we all need to do to tell the best stories.
- Karen H. Harris, Powerful Writing Strategies for All Students, Especially Those Who Struggle with Writing
Children with challenges in composing need support not only in the development of skills, but also in developing composition strategies, understandings about the writing process, self-regulation of the writing process, and positive attitudes about themselves as writers. The role of and major components in evidence-based strategies instruction in writing will be discussed, with examples at the elementary and middle school levels. Materials available to support instruction will be emphasized.
- Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli, Using Mentor Texts to Move Students Forward in Writing
How can we help students become independent, confident writers across the curriculum? This workshop will focus on the use of children’s literature to teach narrative and informational writing skills. The concept of mentorship and how books and authors can serve as mentors will be explored. The presenters will use interactive strategies and a variety of rich literature models to show how teachers can help students integrate aspects of the craft of mentor authors into their own writing.
3. Other Modes including PowerPoint presentations, demonstration and modeling, explicit connections to relevant Common Core Standards, video- and internet-clip examples, classroom artifacts, handouts, etc. In addition there will be Q & A time at the end of each breakout.
Opportunities to interact with other professionals and to enjoy learning are sure to be part of this institute as well. We hope you’ll join us!
Schedule for the Day
- Welcome/Overview - Kathy Ganske
- Keynote: Writing: Regaining Its Place in the Curriculum - Timothy Shanahan, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Keynote: Engaging Boy Writers - Ralph Fletcher, Author/Consultant, Sponsored by Stenhouse
- Coffee Break
- Breakout Series I:
Strand A (Grades K-3) - Nurturing Young Writers: Beliefs and Practices - Matt Glover, Author/Consultant
Strand B (Grades 3-6) - Building Knowledge, Motivation, Collaboration, and Writing Expertise through Multi-Genre Projects - Kathy Ganske, Vanderbilt University
Strand C (Grades 5-8) - Using Technology to Support Writing as a Complex Activity Within the Disciplines - Thomas DeVere Wolsey
- LUNCH on your own
- Keynote: 10 Things Every Teacher Should Know About Writing, Writing Instruction, and Common Core - Steve Graham, Arizona State University
- Breakout Series II:
Strand A (Grades K-3) - Make Me a Story: Teaching Writing through Digital Storytelling - Lisa C. Miller, University of New Hampshire
Strand B (Grades 3-8) - Powerful Writing Strategies for All Students, Especially Those Who Struggle with Writing - Karen Harris, Arizona State University
Strand C (Grades K-6) - Using Mentor Texts to Move Students Forward in Writing - Lynne Dorfman, The Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project, West Chester
University and Rose Cappelli, West Chester Area School District
- Keynote: Growing Readers and Writers Who Love Poetry - Georgia Heard, Author/Consultant, Sponsored by Scholastic
- Closing Remarks - Kathy Ganske
Registration Information: This preconference institute will be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 19 before the 58th International Reading Association Annual Convention begins on Saturday, April 20. Register online for this or another institute and/or to register for the annual convention. Call 888-294-9167 or 415-979-2278 to find out how to register by phone, fax, or mail. To learn more about convention events in San Antonio, visit the annual convention website and the online itinerary planner (iPlanner), or read more Reading Today annual convention articles.