Statement issued Thursday:
An area educator has been selected to participate in the Indiana Writing Projects Invitational Summer Institute, Teachers Focus on Writing, Learning, and Leading in the Digital Age for four weeks at Ball State University. Teachers from all content areas are chosen to participate based on their classroom practices and interest in becoming writers who inspire their students to become successful writers and learners.
William Valley, language arts, theater and sociology teacher at Leo Junior/Senior High School, is spending eight hours per day collaborating with teachers from 4th grade through university levels. These educators are immersing themselves in their own writing, in research about writing and teaching writing, and in collaborative work that models proven strategies for teaching young people how to write and how to use writing to learn. The teachers will emerge as writers themselves, empowered to create communities of writers in their classrooms while meeting academic standards.
IWP Director Dr. Linda Hanson explains that writing is a complex activity, more than a skill or talent. It is a tool for inquiry and expression in all grades and disciplines. Students in writing project classrooms come to appreciate writing as a powerful act and willingly participate in a wide range of writing tasks, according to. Hanson points out that not surprisingly, practices that writing project teachers take back to their classrooms correlate with higher student achievement in writing as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, 2005). IWP studies of writing project teachers student performance on ISTEP+ show similar results consistently overtime. Teaching students to write for life rather than for a test pays off, says Hanson.
Part of the National Writing Project, the BSU program has invited 14 area teachers to write, research, share, and reflect on their teaching practices this summer. Across the nation, over 3000 educators will participate in similar programs at local university sites.
The institute is facilitated by IWP Teacher Consultants, exemplary former institute fellows who continue to learn by teaching and participating in the NWP network of teachers.