CWP Co-sponsors Colorado Day of Writing

CWP co-sponsored a Day of Writing for teachers on April 7, 2012.

Twenty-four teachers attended the session in Colorado Springs led by CWP Director, Karen Hartman. Host, Vince Puzick, gave the following report of the day:

After a 90 minute workshop session with Karen Hartman to get our narrative juices flowing and ground us in the idea of teacher stories, the participants wrote independently for the next three hours. When we gathered together to share our writing at the end of that time, we had a rich tapestry of teacher stories. Our narratives ranged from humorous lessons during TCAP preparation, to emotionally moving accounts of teacher-student interactions, to articulated frustrations when the cry for more accountability crashes into our plea for more authentic experiences for our students. As is usually the case after experiencing writing workshop and sharing our writing, a small community of teacher-writers came together and shared in meaningful ways.

Participants had this to say about the day:

This was a shot in the arm for me! I love that there was time to write deeply. When is the next one?

Excellent conference–I want to use the line “Who needs to hear this story and why?” in my class.

Today was a wonderful opportunity to get to sit and organize my thoughts and to be reminded that, as a teacher, I have to take the time to tell my story.

CWP Consultant Co-Authors Book

steviquateStevi Quate’s career in education has spanned many years as a secondary teacher, service as State Literacy Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Education and a professor at University of Colorado at Denver.  She embodies that dictum that teachers of writing must also be writers themselves.  Her recent book, Clock Watchers (Heinemann), draws on all her experience and addresses what she and her co-author, John McDermott, felt was an essential and necessary focus of their teaching: “How can I motivate my students and then create a context that will engage them?”  Clock Watchers is their powerful answer to that question—a plan that gets kids to care about learning and truly engage with the curriculum.

Quate and McDermott apply the research on motivation and engagement to support increased achievement and improved attitudes about school, using a framework that:

  • catches students’ interest across the content areas
  • holds it through meaningful learning and valuable interactions
  • uses assessment to create further opportunities to connect kids with content
  • sustains it all with ideas for projects, activities, and even classroom routines and rituals.

The book has received positive reviews from educators who have used its ideas and strategies to address issues of motivation with a variety of students across the grade levels.  Congratulations to Stevi.

CWP Grad Publishes Novel

Sharon McAnear of Durango recently wrote to CWP to announce the publication of her first novel, Corner of Blue.

Dear Karen,

Thank you, Colorado Writing Project, for lighting a fire under my pen to publish a novel. As of last week, my first novel,  Corner of Blue, is on the bookshelf of our local bookstores as well as all the online booksellers’ sites! It is the first in a series of five novels that all began with a short story I wrote in Karen Crawford’s CWP class here in 2001. The first chapter begins with that very story. The CWP pen Karen gave me was the same one that I used to sign the contract with my publisher. No lie.

Thanks again,

Sharon McAnear

Congratulations, Sharon!

CWP Consultant Publishes 2nd Novel

hillmer3Tim Hillmer’s 2nd novel, Ravenhill. explores school violence through the eyes of multiple characters on a fateful day in a public high school. Reviewer Clay Evans of the Boulder Daily Camera says the book “bravely addresses some tough issues for both kids and adults. Ravenhill is a fast, compelling read that offers a vivid, realistic glimpse into a (white, middle-class) school environment.”

Hillmer works with early career teachers in the Boulder Valley School district in addition to his position as a teacher consultant with the Colorado Writing Project. His first novel, The Hookmen, received the The Colorado Fiction Award and grew out of Tim’s other passion, guiding river rafts.

Both books are available at

CWP Collaborates in South Africa

shiela_sa.jpg.w300h229In June 2006, CWP Director, Karen Hartman, and consultants Sheila Kaehny and Stevi Quate spent 2 weeks in Dundee, South Africa, at the invitation of the South African Writing Project, working with teachers in the township schools there.

They worked at a high school in the township with about 35 teachers over 10 days. CWP had sponsored two teachers from Dundee the previous summer, Sizwe and Mpume Mchunu, to come to Colorado and participated in the summer CWP I workshop. They each spent an additional two weeks helping two of our consultants teach CWP I, so that they experienced the course both as student and teacher.

The South African North Star Writing Project helped arrange for CWP to come to Dundee in to work directly with a larger group of teachers.