Workshop 1. First Steps
This session provides an overview of the first steps teachers should take when working with student writers. The educators, researchers, and writers featured in the video programs talk about specific goals they share with their students, recognizing the local, state, and national standards that serve as a floor, not a ceiling, for their work. They also express the benefits and value student writers find as they grow as writers, communicators, and thinkers. Visits to classrooms throughout the country underscore their thoughts. Noted author Judith Ortiz Cofer leads the featured teachers in a writer's workshop activity focused on word triggers and their place in the processes of writing. Go to this unit.
Workshop 2. A Shared Path
What kind of atmosphere do students need to grow as writers? This session concentrates on the "hows" and "whys" that answer that question. The featured teachers talk about the physical set-up of a writing community, the importance of reading in a writing classroom, and their own roles as co-writers in the community, showing how these practicalities and philosophies actually work in setting up communities where trust and mutual respect are the hallmarks. In a writer's workshop, the teachers react in writing to Judith Ortiz Cofer's assignment: hiding and revealing through language. Go to this unit.
Workshop 3. Different Audiences
This session begins by examining the "self" most writers address, showing how the concept of writing for an audience is threaded throughout the dynamic and nonlinear processes of writing. From there, the session looks to a wider range of audiences, examining the demands the student writer encounters in addressing audiences in language arts and other disciplines, and audiences on other levels, such as those encountered in college and the job world. Classroom experiences show how writing community members think about, plan around, and address audience expectations. The teachers tackle the same theme for different audiences in a writer's workshop led by Judith Ortiz Cofer. Go to this unit.
Workshop 4. Different Purposes
Purpose directly relates to the form or genre selected to express writers' ideas. In this session, the teachers examine this relationship, presenting classroom examples of students working in many genres, including persuasive writing, memoir, and poetry. Their subsequent analysis underscores what students can learn by examining commonalities and differences among genres and the value of multigenre projects. In the writer's workshop, the teachers tackle this question as well, selecting a genre or a combination of genres to share vivid events from their lives. Go to this unit.
Workshop 5. Usage and Mechanics
This session focuses directly on key questions of grammar and mechanics: When should student writers and reviewers of student work pay attention to usage and mechanics? Does teaching grammar in context really work? Why should these things matter? Grammar experts add to the conversation, analyzing its role in communication and providing ways to bridge the connection between message and mechanics. In the writer's workshop, Judith Ortiz Cofer challenges the teachers to use only one sentence form to tell a story. Go to this unit.
Workshop 6. Providing Feedback on Student Writing
Student writing demands reaction — from both teachers and other members of the writing community. But what kind of interaction is most powerful and rewarding? The teachers, researchers, and authors tackle this issue in this session, talking about and demonstrating effective ways to conference and comment on student work and direct other members of the writing community to do the same. While offering great tips on structuring peer review, Judith Ortiz Cofer directs the teachers as they comment on each others' work during this session. Go to this unit.
Workshop 7. Learning from Professional Writers
What can young writers learn from those who make their living through writing? Educators, researchers, and noted authors consider this question, offering innovative ways to bring the voice of the professional into the classroom. Teachers show how professional works by favorite writers can be the seeds for engaging classroom activities, while authors talk about their own writing processes and writing heroes. Maxine Hong Kingston, Patrick Jennings, Margo Jefferson, Christopher Meyers, Amy Tan, Ruthanne Lum McCunn, and Tracy Mack appear in this session's video. Another noted author, Judith Ortiz Cofer, guides the teachers through an exercise triggered by a line from one of her favorite poets, Richard Hugo. Go to this unit.
Workshop 8. Writing in the 21st Century
Evolving technology has expanded the tools available to all writers. It has also opened new venues — with new requirements — for their work. How can teachers make the best use of these new resources? The teachers show some beginning steps they have taken to integrate technology into their instruction and their professional lives, and talk about the benefits and challenges evolving media present to them and their students. In the writer's workshop, Judith Ortiz Cofer leads the teachers as they reflect on the effect of technology in their lives. Go to this unit.