CURRINS 740: UWM Writing Project Teachers as Writers

Course Description

Bringing together a group of experienced teachers from all disciplines, kindergarten through college, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Writing Project supports teachers in a like-minded professional community to study current and past research in the field of writing that will impact the participants’ development as writers and teachers of writers.

The Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) is comprised of two three-credit graduate courses. UWM-WP Teachers as Writers inquires into the practical and theoretical question, “How might teachers of writing become more proficient writers?” Taken concurrently with UWM-WP The Pedagogies of Writing, this second course complicates this initial question by asking writers, “How might writers become more proficient teachers of writing?”

Participants in the ISI examine their abilities as writers and teachers of writing as they inquire into:

  • How do writers’ processes influence their products?
  • What role do writing groups and/or peer writing consultants play in revision?
  • How do writers talk about their writing processes, styles, and products?
  • How do writers develop a shared language for communicating about how they write and hypothesize as to why they write as they do?
  • How does race, age, class, culture, or gender affect writers and their writing?
  • How do writers engage in writing and maintain that engagement overtime?

In order to become more proficient writers and more proficient teachers of writing, participants will study themselves, one another, and others as writers in and out of academic settings. Mining what they know from their lived experiences as writers, participants turn to the experiences of others to expand their understandings of the complex variables and issues that influence the development of writers. Participants examine and compare their understandings to those of others, including other practitioners, researchers, and theorists in the field of composition, rhetoric and education. Participants will analyze the evolving role and function of writing and will scrutinize issues that relate to composers, composing, compositions, and contexts. This institute, then, functions at various times as a seminar, workshop, and laboratory.

Course Objectives

  • Improve writing (WTS1, 6)
  • Identify opportunities to write and research the experience of writing (WTS1, 6)
  • Identify opportunities to write and reflect on the experiences of writing (WTS1, 6)
  • Evaluate various genres of writing and experiment with those genres (WTS1, 6)
  • Craft in unfamiliar genres and for different audiences (WTS1, 6)
  • Describe and analyze the writing and composing process (WTS1, 6)

Course Projects

  1. UWMWP Writing Portfolio (50%)– This Portfolio provides evidence that fellows are working to improve their writing by writing for varied audiences and purposes in a range of modes/genres.  The portfolio also demonstrates that fellows are engaged in the type of introspection that leads to improving in writing.  To that end, the Portfolio will include the following:
  • Draft Writing:  At least 3 pieces of writing from 3 different genres.  The three pieces fellows select for inclusion should represent a range of modes, audiences, purposes and situations.
  • Polished Writing:  1 polished piece of writing with drafts showing process.  This polished piece will come from one of the drafts above and will be published in the UWMWP anthology.
  • Daily Writing:  Writing in response to community building, writing in response to demonstrations, writing in response to readings.
  • Reflective Writing:  A reflection of the self as a writer and description of how that understanding can impact teaching and student learning.  In this essay fellows reflect on themselves as writers and on their writing group experiences.  This may include what the fellows are learning about being effective teachers of writing by focusing on their own writing habits and beliefs.  This reflective essay references the draft pieces in the Portfolio.

2.  Writing Response Groups (20%)–These groups will meet daily throughout the summer institute in order to discuss drafts of works in progress.  Group members are expected to provide thoughtful and constructive oral and written feedback on drafts and portfolios shared.

3.  Informal Writing (20%)– Fellows will engage in a variety of informal writing experiences to include the following:

  1. Opening Writing Activity:  Fellows provide an opening writing activity on a rotating basis that sparks some writing in response to a quote or a provocative prompt.
  2. Daily Log:  Each fellow, on a rotating basis, will be responsible for providing a record of a day in the life of the summer institute.  Note takers will share their notes in an engaging manner the following day, post notes on NWP’s e-anthology, and provide the ISI facilitators with an electronic copy.

4. Professionalism (10%)– Much will be accomplished in this workshop during meeting time, so it is important that fellows attend regularly and respect their colleagues’ time and efforts.   Fellows will participate in all planned/organized sessions, provide thoughtful and detailed commentary, critically respond to materials studied and shared, and support their colleagues.

Fellows will show up for workshop activities prepared with all necessary materials. There are always special circumstances to consider.  Fellows should consult facilitators regarding their special circumstances.


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