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Embracing Teacher-Directed Professional Learning

Terri Howell, Mary Spring

40 percent more grade 4 to 8 students believe they are effective writers; 20 percent more say they enjoy writing at school.

The spinoffs from our group and the benefits of the TLLP grant have been many. We started small with representation from two schools. As word has spread, our group has grown to include teachers from five different area schools.

In our schools, there is discussion about teaching writing and an air of excitement about writing among students. We have a common “writing language” and use common tools, like special writers’ notebooks for our children. We have a common architecture for teaching writing using a workshop approach. Daily writing is important if students are to improve, and we expect them to use their learning each and every day. We know that sharing student writing and critiquing each other is an important part of growth as a writer. We know that teachers must write and model writing for their students.

We use a First Class Conference to communicate and we have started a wiki to share our learning with a broader audience ( thewritersworkshop.wetpaint.com). Best of all, the TLLP has afforded us the opportunity to take charge of our own professional learning and we feel we have wisely invested the funds provided.

It is 5 o’clock and as we prepare to leave the meeting Shannon turns to Angela and says, “I’m changing my day plans for tomorrow . . .”

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