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Quality Teaching Resources for K strategically designed lessons to help "fix" teachers who don't enjoy teaching writing How this website came to be. Teachers should share with each other, and the Internet is the perfect tool for promoting sharing.
I don't know why I enjoy teaching writing so much, but I do. I like it so much, in fact, that when I was asked to start designing professional development courses on writing instruction way back when, I jumped at the chance.
I have been fortunate in that I have had so many great mentors over my year teaching career. From these here to help writing and generous mentors, I borrowed and adapted writing strategies and teaching ideas, and then I began sharing those adaptations with other educators during inservice courses which I was designing--mostly to pay the bills that earning my Master's Degree had created for me.
Back inI was one of the first teacher-trainers in our area to provide electronic resources before, during and after teacher inservice courses.
For ten years after establishing WritingFix, my wife Dena and I continued to design inservice courses that were purposefully different; in them, teachers were required to collaborate and actually design new lessons they would implement with their own students so that they might ask our inservice's other participants for revision advice.
Through this "make-and-take" style of teacher workshop, I saw some truly great lessons being created; I also saw some stinkers, and it's important to be honest about that. The teacher-built lessons that were truly outstanding, well, they needed to be shared.
Dena and I had been stocking WritingFix with our own inservice materials and student samples, and now it was time to ask teacher participants if they would mind us including the lessons they had created at the WritingFix website too. Some were so excited to be asked. Some were too shy to grant permission to post them, which makes sense if you think that, in its heyday, WritingFix was receiving over 20, hits a day from teachers across the globe looking for good writing lessons.
That kind of traffic can be intimidating. Being Director allowed me to seek out new grant monies, and it was so helpful to already have a tried-and-tested "make and take" model of inservice ready to share with the potential grantors I met with.
Our NNWP was pursuing some pretty innovative ideas for new, research-driven inservice courses back then. With a promise to the grantors that a brand new webpage of teacher-built lessons and resources would be one of the outcomes of the class if they helped us pay for it, we impressed a lot of people, and we did some pretty great stuff with the grants we then earned.
In a very short period of time, we doubled and then tripled the number of lessons and resources posted at WritingFix, and we kept being discovered more and more teacher followers who eventually saw us as one of the best places to go if you wanted an innovative idea for teaching writing. One of my favorite grants we earned bought all class participants a classroom iPod; in exchange for this small piece of technology, participants simply had to design and implement a writing lesson based on the lyrics of a song.
We hired some of our best K NNWP teacher-presenters to write "model lessons" that used songs as their "mentor texts," we paid those presenters stipends to come share their lessons with our classes' participants, we selected the very best lessons written by those same class participants, and--with permission--we posted those lessons alongside our presenters' lessons at our " iPods and Song Lyrics Lesson Page " at WritingFix.
It was a pretty creative way to enhance an already-established website, and our writing project's reputation as a professional development provider soared to new heights both locally and nationally. At the local level, we had never been asked to provide so many courses and workshops as we were during these years; at the national level, we were admired as writing project site that had used the Internet to create a well-respected national presence.
Inthe National Writing Project--despite its amazing reputation as an effective provider of professional development that changes teachers' practices--had its budget horribly slashed.
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With just barely enough money to keep its basic functions going, our local Northern Nevada Writing Project had to stop providing sponsorship to WritingFix.
It was too bad too. We had some great new directions planned for the website, but there was no money available to implement those plans. With our NNWP's economic "crash," all planned growth for WritingFix went directly to the back-burner, and it has now remained there for so long that I am convinced the WritingFix website is a "completed" project.
WritingFix, however, should NOT go away; Dena and I decided that we would take over paying the bill for all annual fees that keep the website online and free-to-use. The lessons that were created and posted between and were very good and deserve to be housed on the Internet for all teachers to find and use; we know there are brand new teachers out there just discovering WritingFix for the first time, and they deserve to have access to these resources.
Perhaps some day, a grantor will read this page and send Dena and me a sizeable check so that we can organize and give WritingFix another chance at another heyday, but we doubt that will happen.
We are ultimately happy with what the website became during the ten years that we had support and funding to keep it alive and strong.
While in its heyday, WritingFix was truly one of the most exciting projects I've ever been involved with. I ultimately watched hundreds and hundreds of our local K teachers collaborate and implement research-based strategies in new lessons we asked them to create in exchange for recertification credit.
Face to face in class, they inspired each other while sharing these lessons, and then the lessons we chose to post at the website went on to be used by tens of thousands of WritingFix's national and international followers.
Dena and I are both still creating new lessons and posting them online at our own websites.menu (C), select To Do (D).. You can also access assignments from your Calendar (A) and choose to see them by day, week or month (B). To see assignments due on a particular day, simply click the day.
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