Happy Spring 2018!


"I believe you’re an amazing writer and you would benefit from an opportunity like this." These words, softly spoken by a few elementary teachers to a few of their students around this time last year, prompted several children to sign up for OWPC’s writing camps for young writers. These students reported to their camp leaders: “I didn't know my teacher thought I was a good writer until she said that! So, I guess I’m a good writer and I’m here to learn more.”

It is moments like this that educators live for, the small shifts in identity that bring students into greater understandings of who they are and what they might accomplish in the world as a result of their learning and interactions with others. We invite you to consider the ways you might influence the writers around you, who might not yet know or see what you see in them. With a word of encouragement and a brief word about these opportunities, you might be the one to inspire your colleague to apply for the institute, or a child to sign up for camp.

We hope you find lots to celebrate in this newsletter from OWPC. Take a moment to read through all the good that is happening and think about ways you might want to join us.

-Susanna Thornhill, Director of OWPC @ GFU

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Institutes in the Teaching of Writing

2018 Summer Institute: Register now!

We are accepting applications for our upcoming 2018 summer institute, to be led by writing teacher Carol Brazo. This summer institute will be specially focused on inquiries into how teachers of writing might best teach and learn writing alongside students whom English is not their first language. See a short video of the thinking behind this institute here. We encourage you to come explore these questions and others alongside Carol and her team of teacher writers.
Reserve your spot today!

Special offer for this year's Summer Institute: Bring a colleague with you from your school and you will both receive half off the PDU price!

More info here.

Meeting dates and times:

  • Saturday, June 16 | 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (GFU Portland Center)
  • Wednesday-Friday, June 20 - 22 | 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (GFU Newberg Campus)
  • Monday-Friday, June 25 - 29 | 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (GFU Newberg Campus)

2018 Winter Institute Going Strong

Thirteen teachers and four coaches are writing together one weekend a month during our 2018 Winter Institute. This year’s group hails from districts across Woodburn, Salem-Keizer, Tillamook, Beaverton, McMinnville, Corvallis, and as far away as Eagle Point near Medford. Our fellows have been exploring questions of how mentor texts can fuel creativity in student writing, how poetry helps us appreciate creativity in the world and elicit more empathetic responses to historical documents, and how to support students in constructing strong thesis statements in answer to specific questions.

After some imaginative writing on what we teachers think the perfect Monday might look like and laughing together about our ideals, coach Tracy Velez reached out to the group on Facebook: “I loved spending my weekend with you all. There is nothing more inspiring to my teaching practice than days like today because they inevitably lead to days not too far off from the 'perfect Monday' we imagined today. I know they aren't every day, but the more I get energized from other teachers' passion and wisdom, the more my students benefit. Thank you to each of you who make our writing and teaching community so rich."

College Ready Writers Program

The National Writing Project has responded to the need to teach students effective ways of engaging in respectful discourse by developing an extensive collection of resources including lessons, protocols, formative assessments, and text sets-- all organized to integrate and practice skills throughout the school year. The project is called the College, Career, and Community Writers Program and can be accessed by all teachers.

This semester, middle and high school teachers from the Salem-Keizer SD are using these NWP resources in their classrooms to help their students read critically, explore multiple points of view, and take a stand on important issues. For example, middle school teacher Katie Knehans is currently working with her students on “Connecting Evidence to Claims.” In this mini unit, students selected a topic and read a provided text set that included articles both for and against the practice of keeping endangered animals in zoos. Her students then planned their writing by drafting an initial “nuanced claim” and learned how to select and use evidence that directly supported their claim. Learning focused not only on making logical connections between the claim and the evidence, but also in helping students think about using evidence to help their audience understand an issue, change a person’s thinking, clarify an impact on the world, or provide examples of actions that might be taken. More Formative Assessment Tools can be found at the C3WP website, as well as other Professional Development Resources.

Most teachers would agree that teaching students to read critically, develop a thoughtful stance on an issue, and use evidence in logical and strategic ways to engage in respectful discourse is an important educational endeavor. This NWP resource supports teachers in that work by providing units of learning that focus on building specific skills through continued practice, informed by formative assessment.

Questions about continuing C3WP programs with OWPC can be directed to Karen Bezanson at kbezanson@georgefox.edu.

Summer 2018 Young Writers Camps

Writing and Art Camp

July 30 - August 3, 2018

Cost: $85

Led by teacher-consultant Laura Shingleton, this Writing & Art Camp will be held at the Hallie Ford Art Museum at Willamette University.  This camp promises to be a week filled with inspiration from and access to some significant works of art at Hallie Ford. Camp is open to participants in grades 6-8 to explore various types of art within the museum and learn ways of “seeing” art, writing description and critique, and writing and drawing expressively in response to art. This Young Writers Camp will run July 30 - August 3 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will culminate at noon on Friday, August 3 with a light reception when students will share their writing and take their families and friends on free, guided tours of the museum.

Writing Fairy Tales Camp

August 6 - 10, 2018

Cost: $85

Led by teacher-consultant Christy Beckstrom, this Writing Fairy Tales Camp will be held at the Hallie Ford Art Museum at Willamette University. This camp will give students in grades 5-9 the opportunity to develop imaginative and creative writing in response to fairy tale structures. We will explore original, traditional, and reimagined tales while using the art at Hallie Ford to explore setting as a lens to develop new and interesting scenes and environments. This Young Writers Camp will run from August 6-10, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day and will culminate at noon on Friday, August 10 with a light reception when students will share their writing and take their families and friends on free, guided tours of the museum.

Register for a 2018 Young Writers Camp here!

Theatre Design Institute 2018

Sound Design for Theatre

June 25 - 29, 2018

Cost: $495 (+ up to optional 3 graduate credits for additional $100 each)

GFU professor Bryan Boyd is offering another summer workshop for theatre instructors. Geared toward high school teachers and staff, this course is designed to deepen your understanding of sound design for live theatre. Participants will explore the playback software QLab and learn how to use it effectively for live performances. While the course will focus primarily on sound, some basics of video projection will also be covered. The five-day course can be taken for PDUs only or for 2 continuing education credits, with the option of a third credit for work related to a production or class at a home school or theatre.

In partnership with OWPC, the Theatre Design Institute is an outreach program of George Fox University that equips high school educators in the areas of design and technical theatre, inspires them to turn their production ideas into reality, and helps them build stronger arts education programs.

Theatre Design Banner