Teachers Teaching Teachers
The National Writing Project is the premier effort to improve writing in America. It began at the University of California at Berkeley in 1974 and now has over 200 sites around the country, including the Southern Maine Writing Project at the University of Southern Maine, now in its 9th year. The Writing Project fosters an interdisciplinary community and support system of teachers, administrators, and specialists from all grade levels and content areas, K‑University. More >
Teachers Write, Share Practice, and Collaborate in 2014 Invitational Summer/Fall Institute
by Brigid Smith-Franey
The summer portion of ISFI was a wonderful example of teachers coming together to create a professional learning community, that went beyond the professional to the personal. Resources were shared back and forth at a fast and furious rate, flooding the blog. The beautiful writing and courageous sharing during learning autobiographies brought tears and laughter. The words of fellow Jill Hewes are a testament to what teaching consultants know the ISFI can do: "Because of this class and the readings that I have done for it and for myself, my willingness to take writing risks...has increased. Although before taking the class I had read widely about writing...I still lacked the confidence to write the way I thought. This has now changed for me; I feel that my writing has a personality that it lacked before.
TC Publishes Poetry Book
As a fourth-grade teacher at Hall Elementary School in Portland, Maine, Pat Lammers used to challenge her fourth-grade writers to blend poetry, art, and research. Her love of verse and passion for learning about nature made this an easy sell for her students, and these efforts produced fun-to-read, fact-filled compositions.
Having retired from the classroom in 2012, Pat has had more time to enjoy the writer's life and apply her creative leanings. This 31-year teaching veteran recently collaborated with artist Ben Bishop (perhaps best known in Maine for his work with Don Fendler and Lynn Plourde on Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness) on her first published endeavor: The "Praying" Mantis: A Misnomer.
This clever book illustrates the life of the praying mantis, whose deeds are not as holy as one might expect. Paired with Bishop's vivid illustrations, Lammers' poetry amuses readers while dispensing several interesting facts about these mysterious insects.
A practiced presenter at several SMWP programs and conferences, Pat continues to live out the core elements of the Writing Project's focus in her new role as published poet: teacher as expert practitioner, teacher as leader, and teacher as writer.
The "Praying" Mantis: A Misnomer is available for purchase on Pat's website.
Young Writers Thrive in SMWP's Young Authors Camps
by Leah Siviski
What better way to spend a summer morning than sitting hunched over a composition notebook, thoughts whirling, pencil poised for brilliance? Dozens of school-aged kids in Southern Maine would say “Nothing’s better than that!” Those kids who attended SMWP’s Young Authors Camps spent many rich hours of summer exploring their imaginations and creativity with activities such as paint chip poetry, writing marathons, six-word memoirs, write around the room, and much, much more! Corinne Bevans, a rising seventh grader who attended the Yarmouth YAC, encapsulated her experience in this six-word memoir: “A marathon of inspiration to write.” Ahhhhhh...happy summer!
SMWP is one of the National Writing Projects of Maine