Among the participants at the 2014 Writing Institute were 14 master teachers and supervisors from Saudi Arabia, who came with the mission to learn to teach writing in order to pass that knowledge on to hundreds of teachers across their country. This is a video they made of their trip.
In Mary Ehrenworth's keynote address at the July Reading Institute, she suggested working on argument during read aloud. Below you will find a protocol for engaging students in argument work on a regular basis.
As TCRWP reading and writing institutes continue across the country, Colonial Williamsburg and staff developers from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project hosted an Institute in American History and Content Area Literacy.
The weeklong institute is designed for history teachers with experience leading reading and writing workshops and a keen interest in developing a literacy-rich history curriculum. Participants traveled to Williamsburg, VA to study early American history "on location", while working together to explore ways to intersect best literacy practices and history instruction.
Across the five days, participants exchanged ideas with Colonial Williamsburg historians, and took part in reenactments of key events in American history—all the while, considering the methods and approaches for integrating these practices into the teaching of history.
Emily Butler Smith, lead staff developer at the TCRWP, helped participants draw on the latest methods in reading, note-taking, and writing informational and argument texts in connection to best practices in content area literacy in order to develop new ways to fold the teaching of literacy and history together.
Summer institute season is in full swing! Now that the first two Teachers College Reading and Writing Project institutes are over, participants from across the country, and across the world, have returned home, with full hearts, full minds, and certainly full notebooks!
One participant tweets from her plane ride home! Already planning an interactive read aloud!
But here at the Project, things are just getting started, as we enter the next phase of institutes. Staff developers are packing their suitcases to travel to towns, cities, and nations across the globe to work with schools and entire districts that have assembled for "homegrown institutes." These institutes might be as small as thirty spirited teachers, or as large as 800--each locally situated and tailored to the specific needs and goals of the hosting district or school.
Those who stage these institutes appreciate the opportunity to work with teachers, coaches and administrators in ways that build professional networks within schools—helping form the support teams necessary in keeping the literacy work going strong, long after the institutes end. This ultimately matters most.
One participant tweets an important message from the NYC Institute.
After all, it's not a small thing for teachers to gather side-by-side, and read and write together, exploring new territories, moving out of comfort zones, reflecting and trying again, and outgrowing themselves in the company of others—all the while, thinking about ways to bring new methods and strategies into their classrooms to refresh their practice to best support children as readers and writers. Participants in recent institutes have said, "I used to think that giving kids the topic helped make their writing better. Now I realize, ideas needs to come from within. Engagement is everything." "I can't believe I'm saying this, but I wish we were going back to school sooner. I'm so excited to start all over!" "It always felt like separate pieces to me. I always felt so scrambled. Now, it all makes sense. Everything fits together."
You can follow the Dancing Lady on her travels! She's already climbed the hills of San Francisco, scored tickets to a Broadway show, visited 3M Headquarters- home of the Post-it, posed next to Minneapolis' famous sculptures, and taken a walk beneath the palm trees in Florida.
Where will she go next? Find her, along with the voices of our growing TCRWP community on Twitter, using @TCRWP and #TCRWP and on Facebook, search: The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Be sure to share your #TCRWP moments with us this summer! We’ll be sure to share ours!
Read through the #TCRWP's Twitter Guide to learn helpful ways to improve the learning in your schools and districts! Information on the Summer Chat series, the new Middle School Units of Study in Writing Twitter Festival, and TCRWP staff handles are also available!