On the 10-year anniversary of the National Day on Writing (an initiative of the National Council of Teachers of English), across the country in schools, libraries, homes, businesses, and even on sidewalks, folks will be finding creative ways to tell the world why they write. All of this gets shared out using the #WhyIWrite hashtag. Join Gate City Writes in celebrating the importance of writing in our daily lives.
HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE?
Tell the world why you write in a post, picture, video or blog and then share using #WhyIWrite and #GateCityWrites.
2. GET YOUR STUDENTS WRITING!
Use this celebration as an excuse to play with words in your classroom. Check out www.gatecitywrites.com/blog for classroom activities you can use this month.
3. INVITE YOUR COMMUNITY TO WRITE!
Spread the word in your department and school about the National Day on Writing. Invite folks to write with your students and with communities around the Triad in Gate City Write’s Longest Story Ever. We’ll get you started, you write the rest.
“The goal is just to write—not necessarily to write well. Writing is hard for everyone; writing well is near impossible. But that’s the beauty of writing—that intense feeling of struggle when we’re putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard, is not exclusive to teachers. Our students feel it, too. And being able to have authentic conversations with students about the hardships of writing creates a more supportive writing culture in the classroom.”
Next month, on October 20, we’ll mark the National Day on Writing. Stay tuned for more information about a big ol’ GCW celebration that you’re invited to. But before that day, which will mostly be a celebration of student writing, we wanted to remind you, dear teachers, that you are writers too!
The quote above is from this article. Take a look and remind yourself that your writing matters for YOU. Writing in a notebook or on a blog or on Twitter or in Instagram/Facebook captions - doing these things every day as a reflective practice helps restore energy and balance.
For our GCW summer conference participants - go reread your OP and remember how you crafted something honest and beautiful, remember you could do that again, then go write some more! Next month we’ll celebrate student writers. For the rest of September we say, Teacher, go write!
Are you interested in a writing group? Do you need deadlines and accountability to finish the piece that’s been knocking around in your imagination? Want to write with other teachers who won’t judge you when grading got in the way of writing? Send GCW an email and we’ll get you in touch with other writers in the area! firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to get more regular updates from GCW? Find us on Facebook (Gate City Writes) and Twitter (@GateWrites) .
Now in its second year, Gate City Writes, in partnership with the UNCG School of Education, invited area K-12 educators for the Gates City Writes Conference July 10-13. Ten teachers from multiple content areas and one library specialist joined us to experience a writer-centered, strengths-based approach to the writing process. We continued the theme from our inaugural year, “Teachers as Writers, Writers as Teachers,” prompting conference participants both to learn about instructional strategies for young writers and to practice being writers themselves.
Discussions centered on the use of a number of instructional strategies to support young writers: occasional papers, daybooks, writing workshop, mini-lessons, conferencing, and mentor texts. Participants kept their own daybooks and met in workshop groups as they prepared their own occasional papers, which they presented at the end of the week. Beautiful pieces about family, pets, learning, math, identities and more were shared by our talented teacher-writers.
Participants also had opportunities to observe the Young Writer’s Camps sessions running concurrently in the UNCG School of Education. We saw students preparing spoken word poetry, composing fiction, using digital tools to create podcasts and publish their writing – all ideas our teachers can take back into their classrooms this fall. We were also privileged to observe and assist with the Community Voices Project, which helps immigrant and refugees from the Triad compose and record their autobiographical stories. Community Voices Project is a joint partnership between UNCG and the Coalition for Diversity, Language and Community. With THREE programs – one for students, one for teachers, and one for community members – all under one roof, we were wonderfully crowded with many voices imagining possibilities, crafting stories, rewriting their worlds.
Our work continues with Gate City Writes, and we look forward to a year of opportunities to reconnect our educators with one another and to engage Triad schools in the work of fostering student and teacher voices through writing.
When I taught high school English, I became familiar with the dramatic moans and groans from some students after I said, We get to write today! Some students, clearly uncomfortable with this task, resisted by saying, I’m not a writer or I don’t write or I’m not good at writing.
In my early years of teaching, I used to buy into that kind of fixed mindset. To help them, I provided structure (e.g., 5-paragraph essay worksheets) and strategies (e.g., daily journal prompts). Even though some of them improved on academic writing, they never said I’m a writer, and that really bothered me. I wanted my students to leave my classroom believing that they were writers in some way.
In my latter years, I responded to students’ comments by saying, Everyone is a writer. We just have to figure out what you want to write about and how you want to write it.
To read more, check out our publication on Writers Who Care.
Curious about occasional papers, daybooks, writing workshop, conferencing, and mentor texts as tools to support writers? Gate City Writes Conference participants took away these concepts and more at our session for in-service teachers. The Young Writer’s Camp that began five years ago to connect young writers with university education faculty has sparked a community that now includes UNCG graduate students and teachers pursuing continuing education in writing instruction.
Gate City Writes, in partnership with the UNCG School of Education and the Impact Through Innovation Grant, sponsored the first Gate City Writes Conference July 10-13. Twelve area K-12 teachers were invited to experience a writer-centered, strengths-based approach to the writing process. This year’s conference theme was “Teachers as Writers, Writers as Teachers,” prompting conference participants both to learn about instructional strategies for young writers and to practice being writers themselves.
In addition to spending time with student writers in the Young Writer’s Camp sessions, conference participants wrote their own occasional papers on topics ranging from the teaching profession to standards of beauty to the sometimes-bizarre nature of our dreams. On the final day each teacher-writer took a turn in the Author’s Chair to read his or her work aloud to the group.