Amanda von Kleist
Special Education Inclusion English, Supported Study, Senior Transition
Hamilton High School/ Glenn County Office of Education
Local Writing Project:
Northern California Writing Project (NCWP)
CWP/CDE web resources:
Persuade Me to Purchase: Marketing as Argumentation
Upstanders, Not Bystanders: Lesson Planning Template Writing to Inform/Argue/Analyze in a Glogster Poster
Awards & Recognition
- NCWP Teacher Consultant and Co-Director
The Writing Project invited me to emerge from the solitude of my four walls as a classroom teacher into a community of educators who empower each other to share and grow as professionals. We read, we learn about and practice technology, we share our practices and our questions about them, we write, we think, we discuss, we cry, we eat. Being a part of this community has helped me become more reflective and more innovative as a teacher. Whenever I spend time with Writing Project teachers, I walk away feeling inspired, smarter, and more connected. I am constantly learning. The Writing Project celebrates and respects teachers’ hard earned knowledge and experience, and gives us an opportunity to share with each other in a way that no other professional development does. The ideas I explore through my involvement in the Writing Project continue to shape my beliefs, my practices, and my questions about teaching.
When I attended my first Invitational Leadership Institute in the Teaching of Writing, I was asked to write (and write, and write). It was the first time in years that I wrote for myself. I wrote to think through ideas and experiences. I wrote to contribute to a writing community. The Writing Project helped me remember that I am writer. I discovered how writing about teaching forces me to slow down, to examine and analyze. I learned that my writing can contribute to the profession. I even managed to even get two articles published! Being asked to write helped me to acknowledge, with empathy, the complexity of the writing process that my students also experience.
The Writing Project has provided me with numerous opportunities as a teacher leader. I have presented at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting in various cities around the country. I have provided inservice to local schools. I have demonstrated model lessons in classrooms full of children I have never met before. I have had lessons featured on the California Department of Education website. I have also had the privilege of co-directing the NCWP Leadership Institute for the past ten years. NCWP has supported me and countless others to become teacher leaders by recognizing what we have to contribute, and challenging us to share it.
Writing is a messy, complex process that requires thoughtful choices about words, structures and genre that will best serve to do the job at hand whether it is to describe a menu item, explain a technical process, or express undying love. Writing cannot be taught in a series of steps that come in a box. Writing serves too many purposes to be simplified into a set of formats and rules. As teachers of writing, we have the opportunity to see our students as makers of thoughtful choices, and to create opportunities that challenge and support them to read with awareness and a critical eye, and to write with increasing confidence and intent.
For high school English, I really enjoy using the ideas in Kelly Gallagher's Write Like This. Gallagher is a Writing Project Teacher Consultant and a high school English teacher in Irvine, California. He focuses on real world purposes of writing, moving far beyond the essay. In true Writing Project style, he shares the thinking behind his lesson development, the processes and mentor texts he chose to use, and examples and analysis of the student work that resulted. Gallagher’s writing is straightforward, and his emphasis on examination of mentor texts supports students to think critically and write with purpose.