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NYCWP Core Principles and A Writing Intensive School is one in which...

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2 additions to document , most recent over 4 years ago

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Dec-08-17 Useful language and ideas from the NWP
Dec-08-17 These seem like powerful concepts to guide our work

New York City Writing Project Core Principles

1. We believe in the value of talking about practice. Teachers need to be able to share their struggles and successes; to exchange ideas and resources; to ask for help; to admit failure… and to do this without fear. When such conversation happens, one's understanding of instruction grows and a sense of camaraderie and community, from having walked the same walk and talked the same language, develops. Teachers have always learned from each other through talk: that has been the way in which knowledge and expertise are passed from peer to peer and from one generation of teachers to the next. The WP understands and protects that. But it also ensures that we have such conversations in a way that honors our profession: no one is blamed or insulted; everyone has a voice; all ideas and questions are heard. And it's okay to talk about teaching - in the cafeteria, in the hallway, in the parking lot, at a party.

2. Listening as an act of professional practice. We believe that listening is essential to our work in schools. We listen to students as they read their writing or talk about their process. We do this to make wiser decisions about instruction and to get to know who they are as individuals. We teach students to listen to each other. We do this so they can help each other better and learn to respect each other. We listen to colleagues, particularly those we mentor or teach, before daring to offer advice or share an experience. We know that listening is hard work: it takes time to master; it takes patience and self-discipline. But colleagues and students appreciate it; they know they have been heard. They need and want the time to be heard.

3. We believe in process. This works on several levels. We believe in the process of writing, of course. That every person has his or her own way of writing and revising and that for everyone that process can be alternately exhausting and exhilarating. We want to provide support for that in schools just as we have received support for it from our WP colleagues. But we also believe in the process of planning - that good work and good results come from the way in which we prepare the work, whether that work is a lesson, a workshop, or a seminar. Across the country, you can tell a WP person by his/her respect for the process of planning, taking time to think of the right prompt or transition. Rethinking. Coming back to it yet again. Bouncing it off someone else. Process rules so that the product is what one wants.

4. We trust a teacher's perspective and want to hear a teacher's voice. Teachers need to have "a place at the table." When something is happening in a school, or a new initiative comes from the state, when a professional article or book is hailed, when an educational policy is discussed by a celebrity on Charlie Rose, when the NY Post bashes some new instructional approach, we want to know what teachers think. And we want to know what the range of teachers think- not just the union spokespeople or the veterans but everyone in the classroom. Teaching is an intellectually and emotionally demanding act and teachers are often under-siege from outsiders. They are on the front-lines and we need to always hear from them.

5. We believe in collaboration. For too long, teachers have been isolated in their classrooms. The WP has taught us to trust and believe in the benefits of collaboration, as difficult as it always is! We like to co-teach, co-present, co-facilitate. There is safety in numbers but we learn from each other and get better at what we do. Sure, it takes an awful lot of time and our different processes don't always meld easily. And there are philosophical differences and ego on the floor. But it's better than being alone. People know this in much of the business world. We are learning it in education.

6. We believe in students (adult and youth) at the center of their own learning. Learning that stems from the individual's own interests and needs is more valued and takes hold.

7. We believe in the human capacity to learn. No subject is too difficult or beyond anyone with the interest (motivation) and will to learn provided that they are offered the appropriate support (connections to prior knowledge, aligned to learning style, etc.) and opportunity to practice (study).

8. We believe in shared knowledge building, that the knowledge created by a group working together is more powerful than that created in isolation.

9. We believe in the power of the individual's voice and providing opportunities for each person to make his/her voice heard through the most comfortable means - writing, orally, digitally, graphically, musically.

10. We believe in the use of writing – in all its myriad forms – as a way to learn, question, express, communicate, and create, and what a valuable tool this is for the learner.

11. We believe that education is a powerful force for positive social change.

12. We believe that there is a deep connection between student voice and meaningful student achievement...that students are more likely to be invested in their own learning when their voices are heard and respected.

13. We believe that teachers who "live" (i.e. experience firsthand) a practice are more likely to bring it into their classroom in an effective way.

14. We believe that offering choice is an element of respect. We believe that this respect in offering choice is essential to the student as well as to the teacher in the active learning environments we hope to create.

15. We believe that writing is a tool for learning and that writing may take a multitude of forms - written texts, visual representations, digital images and those that we cannot yet envision but will be valued in our future work.

16. We believe that teaching and learning are not static and that they evolve with the ideas of a society and the people who participate in that society.

17. Our practices are founded in the deep belief that the best teacher of teachers is another teacher. We collaborate to explore, to learn, teach, to facilitate, to question, to express, to share, to reflect, and to think. We believe in the power of dialogue.

18. Our professional development model is built on teachers teaching teachers, on honoring the knowledge and experience that teachers bring to their practice and in their capacity to lead by example.

19. We believe that learning takes place over time and in different ways for each learner. As such, learning should not be measured by a single yardstick.

20.We are life-long writers and readers. We are people who think about writing (and reading) in all its dimensions. We use writing to think, to explore, to remember, to express, to communicate, to ponder, to wonder, to critique, to question, to learn, to reflect and to engage with ideas.

21. We have a deep knowledge about writing (theory, practice, praxis). We support authentic, thoughtful writing instruction in response to local knowledge and local circumstances by working alongside teachers, students, and administrators. We do not prescribe or endorse any pre-packaged materials. Along with a dialogical stance, we value and sustain inquiry-based approaches for using multiple literacies across the disciplines.

22. We believe in the role of multiple literacies to support and enhance human capacity and democratic living in the 21st Century.

23. We are part of a close, yet expansive and interconnected diverse community. Our members teach at the early childhood/ elementary, high school and college level. We are located in New York City and are part of more than 200 Writing Project sites throughout the US under the umbrella of the National Writing Project.

24. We believe that teaching (and learning) is a journey of personal and professional transformation.

25. We are advocates for teachers, students, and authentic learning.

26. We cultivate and support the writer in every individual.

27. We believe that teachers need - and deserve - a safe space in which they can grow their own teaching capacities.

28. We have respect for the human potential to be found in teachers and students. We believe that writing can release that potential

A Writing Intensive School is one in which:

Student voice is valued by:

  • Respecting the individuality of each student as expressed through writing

  • Building community in which voice is recognized and valued

  • Allowing students time to express themselves in writing

  • Providing for writing opportunities in a variety of genres

  • Permitting choice within writing assignment topics

  • Helping students discover that their voices can be heard more clearly through mastery of the conventions

  • Resisting the teacherly temptation to emphasize technical issues over content and voice

  • Allowing for the sharing of writing as it develops

  • Providing venues for the publishing of crafted student writing

Writing becomes an activity, not just an assignment by:

  • Developing the habit of using the pen to respond to and process classroom stimuli and information

  • Allowing opportunities to use writing to figure things out, raise questions, gather information, learn from and teach each other

  • Engaging in writing activities that are designed to help question, gather information, learn from and teach each other

  • Developing in the students an understanding that the capacity to write is a democratic right for all by validating their individual voices

  • Having the teacher share fully in the writing activities

All subject areas are seen as “owning” reading and writing by:

  • Showing students models of writing that are authentic to the discipline

  • Identifying and internalizing the particular literacy practices of each discipline

  • Encouraging at every opportunity the use of the vocabulary of the discipline in writing and talk

  • Making writing an essential, habitual part of classroom practice and regularizing the use of low-stakes writing assignments such as journals, freewrites, etc.

  • Providing class time for guiding students through the skills necessary to do the required writing

  • Making time for revision

  • Displaying final products

Writing is done in service of learning, to encourage deeper thinking by:

  • Approaching writing as an exploration

  • Giving voice to all opinions and attitudes in the class

  • Knowing, understanding and valuing the rationale - reading, writing and discussing the “why”

  • Providing activities to serve as the inspiration for writing to learn

  • Having writing as a valued part of all school interactions: administrative, faculty, teacher with students, students with students.

  • Creating and scaffolding formal writing assignments that highlight student experience and passion.

The NYCWP is committed to helping create Writing Intensive Schools.

A Writing Intensive School is one in which writing is experiential, reflective and activist by:


  • Helping students use writing to discover/create themselves

  • Celebrating the details through observation, perception, and expression

  • Looking for the "teachable," "writable" moments that occur in the classroom on a continual basis

  • Working with metaphors in all subject areas

  • Taking it to the streets; real-world experiences, the city, neighborhoods, writing marathons


  • Building awareness in each student of how he/she learns by process assignments

  • Using learning logs, journals, notes to confirm and question ii).formation

  • Writing to understand-finding what you think by writing it

  • Writing in community-all class members including the teacher

  • Looking again, evaluating the effects of a piece of writing, revising​​


  • Reading and writing are done in school and at home

  • Writing for a purpose beyond learning to write

  • Writing to challenge

  • Writing to assess self and one's situation

  • Writing to explore beliefs, attitudes, dreams

  • Writing to become more deeply human​

DMU Timestamp: November 30, 2017 18:21

Added December 08, 2017 at 10:05am by Paul Allison
Title: Useful language and ideas from the NWP

NWP Core Principles

The core principles at the foundation of NWP’s national program model are:

  • Teachers at every level—from kindergarten through college—are the agents of reform; universities and schools are ideal partners for investing in that reform through professional development.
  • Writing can and should be taught, not just assigned, at every grade level. Professional development programs should provide opportunities for teachers to work together to understand the full spectrum of writing development across grades and across subject areas.
  • Knowledge about the teaching of writing comes from many sources: theory and research, the analysis of practice, and the experience of writing. Effective professional development programs provide frequent and ongoing opportunities for teachers to write and to examine theory, research, and practice together systematically.
  • There is no single right approach to teaching writing; however, some practices prove to be more effective than others. A reflective and informed community of practice is in the best position to design and develop comprehensive writing programs.
  • Teachers who are well informed and effective in their practice can be successful teachers of other teachers as well as partners in educational research, development, and implementation. Collectively, teacher-leaders are our greatest resource for educational reform.

DMU Timestamp: November 30, 2017 18:21

Added December 08, 2017 at 10:23am by Paul Allison
Title: These seem like powerful concepts to guide our work

Principles of Connected Learning

Learning Principles

Interest Powered

Interests foster the drive to gain knowledge and expertise. Research has repeatedly shown that when the topic is personally interesting and relevant, learners achieve much higher-order learning outcomes. Connected learning views interests and passions that are developed in a social context as essential elements.

Academically Oriented

Connected learning recognizes that interests and relationships need to be tied to opportunities in order to realize life-changing outcomes. When workplaces and our civic and educational institutions draw from and connect to young people’s peer culture, communities and interest-driven pursuits, learners flourish and realize their true potential. Peer Supported

Connected learning thrives in a socially meaningful and knowledge-rich ecology of ongoing participation, self-expression and recognition. In their everyday exchanges with peers and friends, young people fluidly contribute, share and give feedback. Powered with possibilities made available by today’s social media, this peer culture can produce learning that’s engaging and powerful.

Design Principles

Openly Networked

Connected learning environments link learning in school, home and community because learners achieve best when their learning is reinforced and supported in multiple settings. Online platforms can make learning resources abundant, accessible and visible across all learner settings.

The most engaged learning happens while doing something for a meaningful goal or purpose, whether that is creating something, contributing to a community, or engaging in a friendly competition. Today’s social media and web-based communities provide unprecedented opportunities learners to collaborate, engage in creative production, publish, and mobilize online. The potential of cross-generational learning and connection unfolds when centered on common goals.

Production Centered

Connected learning prizes the learning that comes from actively producing, creating, experimenting and designing because it promotes skills and dispositions for lifelong learning and for making meaningful contributions to today’s rapidly changing work and social conditions.

DMU Timestamp: November 30, 2017 18:21

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