Testimonial from author James Van Pelt

Author and Colorado teacher, James Van Pelt

Author and Colorado

I’m a long-time veteran of the CWP (I did all the offerings, including the summer seminar in Greeley in 1991 or ’92), and I still tell teachers they should enroll.

This will be my thirty-fifth year of teaching in western Colorado, and I was looking back at all the classes, seminars, and workshops I attended. None of them did as much for me as the CWP. When I took the summer course, I’d just finished my masters at U.C. Davis in Creative Writing. I didn’t need to be sold on the idea of teachers as writers, but it was nice to see an entire movement devoted to the idea that all teachers should write, not just so they can teach it, but because writing is a way for individuals to explore themselves.

That’s a powerful learning tool for the teachers to examine their inner lives, and it’s a powerful teaching tool to bring to the classroom.

Thank you for the work that you and all the instructional coaches bring to Colorado teachers in this powerful program.


Read Van Pelt’s latest novel, Pandora’s Gun, or find out more at jamesvanpelt.com

Here’s what your colleagues are saying about CWP:

Erica Rewey

Erica Rewey, Palmer High School, Colorado Springs

The Colorado Writing Project forever changed the way I taught (and learned) writing in my classroom. Our young people have so much to say, and the writers workshop not only gives them a voice, but shapes them into articulate, well-crafted writers and thinkers who can use a variety of text types and audiences to articulate their ideas most effectively. I highly recommend going through the CWP experience!

Different Students, Different Needs: How Teachers Differentiate by Abby Mallett

A fourth grade teacher sits at her desk, the first rays of morning sunshine cutting through the blinds and striping the stained carpet. Her eyes move swiftly across the screen of her computer, open to a student’s writing from yesterday.  The only sounds are the click of keys and scribble of a pen as she types comments into the document and makes notes on a chart next to her.

The bell rings, jolting her out of concentration.  She quickly switches the document to a morning message to display on the screen for her students.  The teacher proceeds to the door, opening it with a smile.  She greets her students with a “Good morning” in a cheery voice.  The quiet room becomes a hubbub of children’s voices and movements as they unpack backpacks, sharpen pencils, and recount stories of yesterday’s adventures to their friends.

The teacher joins the hubbub, moving quickly, but unhurried around the room.  She stops at a student’s desk and discreetly gives him a graphic organizer to help with his morning spelling assignment.  “I hope your sentences make me laugh again today,” she tells another student with a wink.  A student struggling to hang up a backpack gets a hand from the teacher and a gentle point to remind him to read the morning message.  An energetic girl runs up to her, eyes lit with excitement.

“Guess what!” she exclaims. Continue reading