Name: Kim Douillard
I currently teach a multiage class of first, second and third graders. I co-developed this program 22 years ago and every year is still an adventure. Being in the classroom keeps me grounded in teaching pedagogy, a real asset when I think about and plan for writing project professional development opportunities.
All. As an elementary teacher, I teach all schools subjects and so much more!
I teach at Cardiff Elementary School in the Cardiff School District and direct the San Diego Area Writing Project located at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
Local Writing Project:
San Diego Area Writing Project (SDAWP)
Twitter and Instagram: @kd0602
Awards & Recognition
- SDAWP Director & Teacher Consultant
- Dr. Lynette Robinson CAC Memorial Award for Furthering Inclusive Education
- Moffett Award: Awarded for outstanding teacher research project inspired by the scholarship of James Moffett
- CATE Award for Classroom Excellence
I discovered our Writing Project early in my career and it has played a huge role in my professional life. Recently at an SDAWP continuity event we asked teachers to recall their own Invitational Leadership Institute experience and describe something significant—something that remains a vivid memory even as time passes. I wrote about my experience of being directed back to my own expertise rather than to “research” as evidence to support my thinking about the impact of standardized testing on students. In that moment I became a teacher researcher—and continue in that role to this day.
My involvement in the Writing Project has provided me with constant encouragement and support to write professionally. My writing has been published locally (in the Dialogue, SDAWP’s publication), in statewide publications, and nationally. Seeing myself as a writer helps my students see themselves as writers too. Writers write, they write in a community of writers, and they know that writing is a way to think and communicate—I learned that and live that in the writing project.
I have remained active in SDAWP since I first participated in the Leadership Institute in 1992. Through the SDAWP I have had opportunities to step into leadership roles including providing professional development to teachers in our region, working with other teacher leaders in our statewide California Writing Project network, and serving on national leadership teams through the National Writing Project. Teacher leadership is expected, recognized, and encouraged in the Writing Project network…and uncovering and nurturing potential leadership is part of my charge as SDAWP director and one of my favorite parts of this job.
For me, writing is something that people do throughout their lifetime, not only in classrooms. I believe strongly in choice, in authentic audiences, and purposes that matter to the writer. That means that writing within the classroom takes place in all areas of the curriculum. We use writing to think, to express, to convince, to document, and more. I also believe that purposeful and powerful writing doesn’t need to wait until the “basics” are in place. Children can be writers even before they are readers. There is simply nothing better than watching students engaged in writing, delighting over their own efforts, and taking time to revise because it matters. I’m passionate about helping students see that the texts they love to read can also support them as writers. My goal is for students to find all the ways they can support themselves as writers and to take their writing well beyond the walls of the classroom.
I read professional books constantly and recommend them to my colleagues regularly, personalizing recommendations based on the needs they express. I also seek recommendations from my colleagues and eagerly read those texts they say impact them and their teaching. An old book that influenced me greatly is In the Company of Children by Joanne Hindley. The book was recommended by a SDAWP colleague when it first came out in 1996, and I read it in a single sitting. What I took away was the importance of developing a safe and inclusive writing community in the classroom…a writing community that also includes the teacher and other adults in the room. I had the opportunity to visit Joanne’s classroom in New York City and see her community of writers in action. What I most appreciate about this book is that it was written by a practicing teacher sharing her successful writing practices with other teachers. Teachers know a lot, and continue to learn a lot through their teaching practice. We need teachers to share that expertise with others in public on the same scale that university researchers and other educational professionals do—in published books and articles, at national conferences, in professional development, and at policy level decision-making.