The San Joaquin Valley Writing Project’s New Teachers’ Writing Collaborative (NTWC) demonstrates how new teachers can better engage their students in writing. Ultimately helping them become effective writing teachers.
The NTWC is open to all new teachers in the Central Valley who are between pre-service and their fourth year of teaching. This year’s NTWC, held in June, was full of a variety of teachers, from different districts to teaching different subjects and grades. Our very own Fresno State Teaching Credential graduates attended and took advantage of this unique opportunity.
Support doesn’t end after graduation for these new teachers.
Judy Duran, Fresno State Single Subject Teaching Credential graduate, stated “I like (the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project’s) professional development, it is different from what my district offers. You get to meet teachers from all over the county and you get to learn from teachers who are successful in their classrooms. You can learn their strategies for helping students.”
Duran is an ELD middle school teacher in Sanger Unified School District and has been attending workshops hosted by the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project for the past two years. She has just finished her first year of teaching and knew writing was one of the areas she wanted to work on. “It has been helpful to get strategies to help reluctant writers.”
The NTWC provides participants with ways to explore the idea of writing as research-based inquiry and think about how the Common Core writing standards translate to engaging classroom practice. New teachers from all subjects benefit from the strategies and learn how to integrate writing instruction into unit design. Ciara Kurtis, Fresno State Multiple Subject Teaching Credential graduate, stated “There is so much writing in math, science and reading, and this workshop helps you apply it in all of those areas. One thing I also love about it is, it’s K-12. These writing strategies can be altered and tweaked just a little bit and can be used for any grade.”
For Kurtis, this is her second time attending the NTWC. “The first time I did it, it was a wonderful experience. It was before I was actually in the classroom, so I found a lot of the activities valuable. I knew I wanted to try them. Now that I am in the classroom, it’s even more effective for me because I can plan my curriculum. I know exactly how I want to use those (activities) with my students.” Kurtis is now in her third year of teaching second grade in Clovis Unified School District.
Even science teachers benefit from this collaborative. Brandon Rice, Fresno State Single Subject Teaching Credential graduate and science teacher at Edison High School in Fresno Unified School District, stated “I always try to incorporate writing in my class, I want to increase literacy in my students. A goal is to have students writing better lab reports.”
Whether you are a first-grade teacher or a science teacher at a high school. Writing is used in all avenues.
Teachers Teaching Teachers.
One of the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project’s core beliefs is ‘Teachers Teaching Teachers’. The NTWC is organized by mentors who are teaching in the classroom. They provide new teachers with lessons and activities that they have used in the classroom. This allows the mentors to provide firsthand guidance and advice. Our Fresno State graduates expressed excitement of implementing activities in the classroom, such as: mini lessons, poetry, writing sprints and photography.
“My main takeaways are building student voice and student choice in the classroom. Also building a community of educators with a similar mission for the classroom.”
– Judy Duran, ELD Teacher