The Colorado Writing Project is planning to meet participants in person this summer, but we will also offer the option of our online courses. We will add sites as we schedule them.
Our on-site workshops meet for 2 weeks. In the mornings we study the teaching of writing, and in the afternoons teachers participate in a writing workshop. We believe:
teachers of writing should be writers themselves
our students need choice in what they write
our students need time to write
our students need timely response to their writing from both their teachers and their peers
our students need direct instruction
Or join us in a 4-week synchronous/asynchronous online workshop. You will do much of the work on your own at your pace. Participants will meet online with their instructor for weekly class meetings and with small workshop groups to share writing. You will also meet online for one-on-one writing conferences with your instructor. Participants from outside of Colorado are welcome!
Note from Karen Hartman: Melissa Tobin, a 3rd grade teacher at University Hill Elementary School in the Boulder Valley School District shared her Connections Project to the Boulder CWP at our celebration. We laughed until we cried!
Congratulations! Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes.
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.
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.
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.
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.