Awards & Recognition
- CCWP Teacher Consultant
The Central California Writing Project (CCWP) has improved the structure of my writing assignments and helped me bring writing to new areas. Thanks to the CCWP, my students are writing arguments that integrate quotations and examples in truly persuasive ways. Now I have the tools to support them as they write about economic formulas and advocate for their preferred policies. My class discussions have also improved through models the CCWP has shared like the Gossipy Reading Model and improved Socratic seminars.
I've spent my career writing and teaching argument. The CCWP helped me explore ways to incorporate narrative into my practice. We make arguments, but we live stories, and I had let their power go untapped. During our Invitational Leadership Institute I was even able to write poetry that brought a few characters from my childhood back to life.
The CCWP has given me tools to work with my colleagues outside of social studies. Quiet reflection on content literacy has brought me a new appreciation for their craft, and revealed ways we can support each other. I've been asked to share a few tools from my kit with teachers and administrators across Santa Cruz County, and was honored to teach writing workshops in Monterey and Santa Clara Counties as well. There are still a lot of people struggling to adjust to the new standards. Helping them build their favorite plans into powerful new lessons has been very gratifying.
Stay away from the artificial like it's kryptonite. Writing is a personally meaningful art form with the potential to empower kids inside and out. Useful writing connects students to topics that really impact their lives. It is the greatest thinking tool we have. Sharing written work can validate students' thoughts and feelings and highlight disconnects between bias and reality. As a history teacher I'm obsessed with how quickly time goes by, but I know that well crafted writing assignments are worth every precious second.
You really must read the Player's Handbook by Gary Gygax. It gets kids to use math and logic to support their claims for power as they craft stories with their friends. No other book I've found so sneakily teaches students how to use probabilities as they work together to define themselves.