Earlier today, a few of you already received this message, but incase I missed anyone I thought I would post it here…
Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to participate in a variety of professional learning opportunities including workshops, seminars, conferences, and informal learning groups on a variety of topics from technology integration to science education, site leadership, and literacy instruction. However, out of all of the professional learning I experienced as a teacher, one of the few that has truly shaped my career has been my participation in the Area 3 Writing Project Summer Invitational Institute. Perhaps you’ve heard me yammer on about it this year? The application for the 2011 Summer Invitational Institute has just been posted and if you live in the greater Sacramento area I encourage you to apply.
Area 3 Writing Project is just one of over 200 National Writing Project sites throughout the United States. Each summer every Writing Project site hosts their own Summer Institute where teachers gather together to focus on improving writing instruction in all content areas by focusing on their own writing first. The National Writing Project has long held the belief (with research to support) that when teachers become better writers, their ability to teach writing also improves. I have to admit, that as a science teacher initially I wasn’t too sure how much the National Writing Project would apply to me. However, I very quickly learned that all of us are writing teachers regardless of our content area and, at least in my case, even if you don’t know it. This article contains additional information about NWP and the Summer Institutes that are held throughout the nation.
Last summer I was an A3WP SI fellow and I can honestly say it was a transformational experience. As I met and interacted with 20 colleagues from various grade levels and subject areas from all over greater Sacramento, not only did I build and hone my personal writing skills (and published four pieces), but I joined a community of fellow educators who understand the power of student voice and teacher leadership. In many ways I felt like I had come home – to a home I ironically never knew I had. Now as a graduate of the Summer Institute, I have joined both a local and a national community of writing educators that has existed since the first Summer Institute at the Bay Area Writing Project in 1978.
So you might be wondering what is the commitment if I choose to apply? I don’t want to give too much away, but at Area 3 Writing Project, the heart of the Summer Institute involves immersing yourself in the craft of writing with 20 other caring, compassionate, and innovative educators for 16 days over four weeks. Each day you write, read, and reflect…and then write some more. Some days you write about things that are intensely personal, while other days you write about topics that are solely related to your career. During the SI you will also share the writing work you have done with your students through a demo lesson. Don’t fret – its completely easy and you’re in such a loving community that even when your lesson goes a little long and maybe not completely as you had planned (as mine did), you can’t help but count it as a success. Ultimately, through the Summer Institute you find your voice and a passion for the importance of writing for both you and your students..and if you happen to teach in a district with a focus on balanced and disciplinary literacy every thing you learn will be immediately applicable to your classroom next year.
The application window for this next summer’s Summer Institute just opened. All of the exact dates and details are posted on the application website including a few additional spring meetings.
If you need any further encouragement post a comment below.