Blog4NWP: 19/31 SOLC

I’m late with this Slice. It took extra time and I hope if you are connected to the NWP you write a slice for blog4nwp too.

Late last night I began to read blog posts already written and shared at Blog4NWP and instead of beginning my post I began to scan my writing project photo library, shot and collected over my 11 years with the Hudson Valley Writing Project.  I had lots of great shots to chose from: posed group shots over the 11 years, shots of renewals at the Hudson River, shots of teachers writing, kids writing,  national conference photos…so many photos. But this one called to me.

Ann is a high school math teacher and Eric a middle school social studies teacher. Both applied to our most recent summer institute and came to their interview with wonderful literacy projects from their classrooms, but like most teachers,  they felt intimidated in our SI community because they WERE NOT WRITERS.

As they relaxed into the routine of writing into the morning, writing during workshops, writing reflections at the end of each day and then sharing their work in pairs, in their writing groups and soon with the whole community in the author’s chair, they began to feel that yes, they were writers!

It sounds so simple, so logical as I write this, but it wasn’t for Ann or Eric or for me, and I’m an English teacher.

Why is it that most teachers who give up a month of precious summer vacation to join a writing project community experience that transformation.  Why hasn’t it happened sooner, during professional develop programs offered previously during their teaching careers?

What makes the National Writing Project model so unique?

Good question.

I came to the Hudson Valley Writing Project  11 years ago, with some sense of myself as a writer but I was a private writer.  I shared some of my writing with my students but never with colleagues.  Administrators often referred to our  school community but when the bell rang for each class period we all closed our doors and created our private classroom islands rarely shared or even talked about.   Outside our islands we never seemed to even try to create department communities.  Luckily my love of high school theater did offer me a community of kids and teachers passionate about theater and every winter together we created a community focused on bringing a play to life.

But it wasn’t until  that I was welcomed into the Hudson Valley Writing Project’s  community of lifelong  learners at that I left truly at home in a community of passionate teacher writers.

As a Co-Director of the reconstituted HVWP leadership team, my world opened beyond our local site to the National Writing Project for annual meetings and specialized retreats in areas of educational innovation. In 2006, I spent a week in Chico, CA attending a workshop called Tech Matters and I took the plunge into the world of digital technology with the NWP community of digital pioneers and my community went national.

What happened? How did we get here?

Please, Mr. President, pivot. Save the National Writing Project so more teachers can become NWP  teacher consultants in this community of writers.

Here’s what Ann has to say about her HVWP experience:

http://vimeo.com/17775147

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7 thoughts on “Blog4NWP: 19/31 SOLC

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more! My experience with NWP here in Iowa was similar to Ann and Eric’s. I didn’t feel like a writer (and some days I still don’t), but the community that NWP brought me to that summer changed the way I think about how, what, and why I teach and write. It’s such a valuable program for teachers from all disciplines. Everyone deserves the opportunity to experience the NWP. I wrote about this same topic on my blog for my 8th slice last year, but I think I might need to revisit the topic. Here’s my old post in case you want to read it:

    http://minnesotatoiowa.blogspot.com/2010/03/nwp-life-you-save-just-might-be-your.html

    Thanks for reminding me of NWP’s significance in my teaching and writing life!

    -Carrie F.

  2. Thanks Carrie,
    I probably read your slice but I’m going to click right over. Why not share it at blog4nwp

    Bommiw

  3. Thank you for explaining all about it. I hope that it will be saved. There is one teacher at our school who has completed the project; I wish there were more. I use the lessons often & value the information they offer.

  4. Pingback: Sunday Morning: 20/31 SOLC « Blog Archive « blkdrama

  5. The NWP also gives teachers the inspiration and tools to create a community of writers in their classrooms. Our students benefit greatly from our professional connections.

  6. It’s amazing all the educational programs that are on the verge of being cut. All the talk of making our educational system better and this is what America gets instead. But the government can bail out the financial system to allow for them to get their bonuses and award trips. Really?!

  7. Pingback: The #blog4nwp archive « Cooperative Catalyst

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