Takeaways from Participants of CWP’s Session on Revision at CCIRA February 2018

  • Take the time to share Golden Lines of student writing!
  • I wish I knew why we write.  I do not mean “authors” purpose.  I mean this writing that digs into my heart. Is it an important part of the human experience?  Can we get to the same stuff as oral processors?  Percolating on these questions.
  • I’m going to start writing – every single time my kids are writing.
  • Thanks for the time to write!  Today I realized I need to be my own writing teacher and encourage myself to do this  — that I have ideas worth exploring and revising.
  • *Golden line   *Teacher revision – live!    *Playing with writing, not fixing it.
  • Courage comes first – to write to tell your story.  Sharing makes us feel like writers. Then we are willing to revise.
  • I love the idea of looking for the true heartbeat of a piece.
  • This just adds to the plan I have after hearing Ralph Fletcher.  This new Greenbelt Writing Project I’m going to start where I encourage students to defy genre with their writing.
  • That revision does not have to be a difficult/teeth-pulling process!  Revision helps empower writers.
  • I am planning on exploring this idea of the heart of the writing.  Loved this!
  • There are so many things I’ve learned – is this method/idea the one thing I will have time to do?
  • Give students the space to try.
  • A good way to demonstrate the why of revision to students.  Give them a real world example—not just some other task they have to do.
  • A beautiful reminder that letting writers play as revisers builds courage and celebrates them as writers.
  • I wish there had been an invitation to play.  The writing and revising was the painful (traditional) way.
  • My take away from this session has been the ability to fail on the first try but be given chances to improve upon it, learn from it, and know I’m not the only one.  The “it” is writing.
  • Revision doesn’t mean scrutiny.  It means time to play – review, revise, re-see and spice things up!
  • How do we get kiddos more time to passion write?
  • Love the heart of the story.  How to integrate specific writing skills with the greenbelt?
  • Find time no matter what to allow kids to write about whatever they are passionate about.  Give them courage to understand it’s a messy process.
  • Sharing—reading your writing out loud is the key to revising.
  • My take away is that revision is what all writers wrestle with as they polish.
  • Georgia Heard’s Revision Toolkit has valuable questions that move away from basic questions to ones that dig deeper, yet are respectful of the writer.
  • Writing with kids makes all the difference in the world.
  • Revision is the love of writing.
  • Write Your Way Out—what a great start to a quick write.  I’m reminded that writing is a process that takes time—revision takes time and play.
  • We must change the way we talk about revision.  It is not a to-do list of doom but an opportunity to find your voice.
  • I love the questions for peer conferring – revision questions that you ask the writer before they share their writing.
  • I want to work to provide opportunities for my students to take ownership of their writing and feel that they truly are writers.

 

Thanks for joining us at CCIRA!

–Stevi and Karen

CWP Teacher/Consultant, Karen Crawford, retires after 30 years with the Colorado Writing Project

Colorado Writing Project is sad to announce the retirement of our dear friend and colleague, Karen Crawford.  

Karen began working with CWP in 1987.  For those 30 years, she has touched the lives of teachers throughout Colorado.  Karen believes deeply in the power of writing and the importance of allowing students the freedom to write about what is important to them.  Karen wrote for our website, “CWP fills my summer months in the company of teachers as students and teachers of writing, who often for the first time realize the power of the writer within and how that can transform their lives, their teaching lives, and the lives of their students.”  Karen will be missed by all of her CWP colleagues and by the teachers she has worked with during her time as a CWP teacher/consultant.

Karen, I will especially miss your support, enthusiasm, and your positive vibes.  You were always able to help me work through problems and keep me looking at the big picture.  I know you will find lots of wonderful ways to fill up those summer months. Love you!

Karen Hartman


Karen Crawford was my mentor. We team-taught a CWP in Grand Junction one summer.  Karen was up-beat, found the positive asepcts of each participant and their written work, and was unfailingly cheerful, even after staying up late to respond to papers!  She was always thoughtful and deliberate in her written response to people’s writing and left the teachers with new energy for their work.  During our annual retreats and attendance at state conferences, Karen provided encouragement and enthusiasm every day. Along with all these other qualities, Karen exemplified kindness and spread it around freely.  She will be missed!!

Shari VanderVelde


Karen is a delightful, supportive colleague with a beautiful smile and a gentle wit. I loved teaching in Adams 12 with her one summer, and I marveled at her warm laughter, compassionate insights, and deep commitment to teaching writing as an authentic, relationship-based practice. When it comes to the best practices of writing instruction, she is a fierce defender of the true craft. I will miss seeing her at CWP retreats and at CLAS conferences, but I know she’ll be enjoying a joyful retirement life either traveling to beautiful places around the world or enjoying her lovely home in Colorado Springs with her beloved hummingbirds. I will miss you, Karen! Thanks for your amazing energy and caring, humane spirit!

Tim Hillmer  


I first met Karen Crawford when I was new to the profession.  We ended up on a team of 9th grade English teachers from across the state doing professional development, and I was immediately enamored of Karen’s sweetness and serene, earnest manner.  She was a natural leader of our group, and she made us laugh with her at her funny observations, while also keeping us on track. 

Years later, when I met Karen again, we were joined together by the Colorado Writing Project.​  Along with our amazing team of teacher consultants, Karen and I always shared a bunch of laughs as we planned our CWP workshops each spring.  I also team taught one summer at Cherry Creek with Karen, staying at the same hotel and getting coffee every morning and dinner every evening.  We reflected on our teaching and enjoyed planning and each other’s company.  I know my teaching was enhanced that summer by all the conversation and collaboration I shared with Karen.

Karen’s legacy for me, among many other things, is that she reminds me of the importance of the soft skills and the special touches – in teaching and in life.  From using pretty paper for responses to student writing to coffee mugs with special sayings to her tiny little home on her tiny little street, Karen Crawford has made a difference in my life.

Sheila Kaehny


I will miss Karen Crawford’s infectious energy. She leaves a considerable legacy through the Colorado Writing Project via all the teachers who were lucky to get to work with her.  Her absence at the table during our annual CWP planning retreats will be palpable. She has been a source of encouragement and support for me in my work with teaching colleagues through CWP and in my own writing endeavors (thank you for the mug with the inspirational words that I put in front of me as I write).  I’m sorry I never had the opportunity to co-teach a CWP workshop with Karen. I know it would have been memorable and that I would have learned so much from her. 

Sarah M. Zerwin


It’s hard to imagine CWP without Karen Crawford. From the very start, she was by my side, first as a participant where we learned from the brilliance of Judy Gilbert and then as a teacher consultant. Her love of teaching, of the students and teachers she taught, and of powerful writing instruction was contagious and inspiring. A comment from a teacher this summer about Karen captures the impact she had on others. This teacher told me that Karen was her teacher consultant for CWP 1 and that each day was a love fest: for the community of writers, for the writing itself, for each individual. At the end of each day, this teacher hugged Karen as she left and since she wasn’t a hugger, she knew it was Karen’s care that created that need. So as Karen transitions to other endeavors in her life, she’s leaving behind many hugs and memories that matter for our kids.

Karen, here’s a hug from all of us to you.

Stevi Quate

Why I Did CWP

In 1987 I fell into a CWP two week course out of desperation! I was in need of (at that time) recertification credit and this summer workshop was a possibility. And what a possibility it turned out to be. I realized in my 4th year of teaching that I knew little about how to engage students authentically to write. I knew little about the nuts and bolts of writing as a writer and as a teacher of writing. I needed to learn more and unbeknownst to me at that time, that summer program set me on a course that made writing come alive to me and hopefully my students. Both happened, and my journey deepened my discovery of how writers’ workshop energized every classroom full of students from that time on. My passion for learning more about writing ignited and my students and I workshopped on together. We all grew as writers.

CWP is freeing. CWP is challenging. CWP offers possibilities and knowledge you as a teacher will receive no where else.

Grab a pen and join a CWP near you!

–Karen Crawford, CWP Co-Director

Why I use workshop

I use workshop because providing students with choice, time, feedback, instruction, and structure creates a magic that entices even the most reluctant and spazziest 6th grader, as well as the coolest and laziest 12th grader, to write and risk and create.

The days when I know my writing workshop is thriving are the days when I get to class and the students don’t even notice my arrival.  Full disclosure: The first time this happened, I felt insulted.  Hey, I’m the teacher and this is MY class! Everything revolves around ME!  Nothing begins in here until I get class going!

And then, I took advantage of this “fly on the wall” opportunity and I listened and observed my writing workshop at work.  I watched my students get their writing areas set up, lining up pencils, finding a fresh, clean page in a writer’s notebook, and powering up computers.  There was a happy buzz of productivity as the students greeted each other and got situated.  They were happy and excited and motivated.  I realized that while my students still needed me, they didn’t need me to get them started or to tell them what to do that day – they knew what THEY wanted to do as writers.  Because of the work we did to establish our workshop at the beginning of the year, my students were serious about their writing work, and they wanted to get down to business.

It was writing nirvana.  And it was magic made possible by workshop.

–Sheila Kaehny, CWP Teacher Consultant