Check out the Schedule/Registration page to see our 2-week workshops for this summer. We’ll add more sites as we get them set up. Register soon!
Need some inspiration? Read some testimonials.
Thanks for joining us at CCIRA!
–Stevi and Karen
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 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!!
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!
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.
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.
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
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
Two weeks in July of 1992 changed my life as a teacher. I know that sounds a bit radical, but that’s the summer I learned about writers’ workshop – not just how to teach writers’ workshop, but how to be a writer in a writers’ workshop. Colorado Writing Project showed me the power of writing in a community, of writing for my own purposes, of writing with passion and power and joy. I never looked back after that summer. I believe unconditionally in the way writers’ workshops change people’s lives, whether they be five or fifteen or fifty. Join us for an unforgettable experience and transform your own classroom. It’s never too late and your students will thank you for it!
Shari VanderVelde, CWP Teacher Consultant
Graduate of Karen Hartman’s 1992 CWP and Stevi Quate’s 1995 CWPII
I took CWP in 1986 with two other members of the Thornton High School English department. Our department was working hard to move to a portfolio system; it seemed to many of us that assessing by portfolios called for a different way of teaching. We began reading, talking, attending conferences, and some of us took CWP. Our department grew as teachers of writing; I felt so fortunate to be working in a department focused on teaching with best practices in mind, helping each other grow as writers and teachers. I quickly learned that choice, time to write, authentic audiences, good written response, timely focus lessons, conferences, workshop groups, and celebration engaged my students and motivated them to get better at their writing. I’ve been with CWP for 30 years and love to watch how teachers grow as writers and as teachers of writing in our two weeks together. We hope you will join us soon!
My students are individual human beings with unique lives, struggles, interests, and talents. Giving them all the same book, the same writing prompt, and a strict formula to follow won’t engage them.
Always writing from a prompt won’t show them how to figure out what to think about the complexities of their lives.
My classroom should not be about what I think or about how I’ve figured something out or about what I’ve learned while living my life. I can share my thinking with my students in the effort to have them help me improve my ability to communicate my ideas, and to model for them the kind of work I intend for my classroom to invite them to do, but that work is not the primary focus of my classroom. I must create a space for students to think, to figure out, to create, to make sense of what they’re learning now and what they learned in the past and what they want to learn in the future.
I teach students.
Not books. Not writing.
Students should make decisions about the work they do, about the books they read, about the words they write. They should make decisions about the learning they need to do. They should be asked to determine for themselves what they have learned. They should have space to reflect, to plan, to revise. If I do all of this very important work for them, school is merely a place where they endure what people tell them to do all day, rather than a place where they go to figure out who they are and how they will contribute to our world.
Read the world to write your future.
Read books to make sense of our complex world, to practice dealing with complexity.
Write to figure out how you fit, how to make a future in our world.
This is why I use workshop.
–Sarah M. Zerwin, CWP Teacher Consultant