This year, senior TC staff developers and leaders will lead grade-specific, distance-learning courses five times throughout the year, each designed to support a timely writing unit of study instruction (aligned to the books) as well as best-practice methods. These courses will be designed for teacher-leaders, in a partnership, if you’d like, with someone else.
October 16th, 2014
We hope you can join us on October 18 for our 87th Saturday Reunion! The schedule is ready! The day will start with three keynotes—David Booth at Riverside Church, Kelly Boland Hohne in Cowin Auditorium and Celena Larkey in Milbank Auditorium. As has been the tradition, this day is open to all, with no pre-registration, and no fee.
You can download the schedule here
TCRWP Featured Speaker: Grant Wiggins
October 8th, 2014
The TCRWP welcomed renowned educator, author and reformer, Grant Wiggins, to speak to an audience of school principals and classroom teachers on the topic of transfer. Wiggins is best known for the concept of “backward design” in curriculum planning.
Donalyn Miller Teaches Important Lessons about Fostering Lifelong Readers
October 7th, 2014
Donalyn Miller, also known as the Book Whisperer, was a keynote speaker at the TCRWP August Reading Institute. She came and spoke about the importance, the research, and the ways teachers can help students become lifelong readers. So what exactly do lifelong readers do? A few very predictable things...
Attend a Units of Study Conference
September 29th, 2014
Buy 5 tickets and get 1 free!
In these day long conferences, Lucy Calkins, author of Units of Study K-8, and co-authors Amanda Hartman and Mary Ehrenworth will walk you through the implications of the Common Core State Standards for writing and how to use the new Units of Study grade-by-grade curricula to help students reach these ambitious standards. Email firstname.lastname@example.org upon the purchase of five tickets to receive one free registration to the same event.
September 16th, 2014
“Writing Camp, a place where words really get on paper/Writing Camp, a place where stories come out sooner or later...” This reflection from a fourth grade student was written on the last day of the August 2014 Writing Camp for elementary and middle school students, facilitated by Audra Robb of TCRWP, and planned with Chappaqua school district administrators and teachers.
September 8th, 2014
Reports keep rolling in about TCRWP schools that did especially well this year. This is a beginning list of schools that are celebrating their progress. While celebrating progress, most of the schools yearn for a test that more closely reflects their hopes for children.
PS 77—the Lower Lab School
- PS 29—the John M. Harrington School-- in Brooklyn
- PS 40—Augustus Saint-Gaudens Elementary School
- PS 396 in the Bronx
- PS 158--The Bayard Taylor School
- MS 230 in Queens
- MS 223-- Laboratory School of Finance and Technology
- PS 9-- Teunis G. Bergen School in Brooklyn
- PS 249--The Caton
- M.S. 322
Congratulations to PS 158
September 8th, 2014
The TCRWP would like to congratulate PS 158! This past year the school took on a goal of making sure that their students were all engaged in more productive struggle—that the person working the hardest in the class is not the teacher. The efforts and early stages of this work can be seen on our Danielson videos which were filmed in PS 158 classrooms last fall. Across the year, visitors also got the chance to see the teaching and learning at the school in action when PS 158 hosted all three of our coaching Institutes—Reading, Writing, and Argumentation. The school has also been recognized for notable work with special education students by Insideschools. PS 158 has been acknowledged for having “an extensive special education program, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech services, vision and hearing services, and adaptive physical education for the disabled’ as well as team-teaching and self-contained classes” (http://insideschools.org/special-education/noteworthy-special-ed-elementary). No one will be surprised that the school’s scores are high and that it has been named a Rewards School, but it is the students’ work—the depth and quality of the work-- which is the true accomplishment to be celebrated.
Apply Now for the October Coaching Institute
September 8th, 2014
The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project is pleased to offer the 12th Annual Coaching Institute on Literacy Coaching and Whole School Writing Reform: Lifting the Level of Writing Instruction. This intimate and intensive institute will offer educators the chance to explore TCRWP’s Common Core-aligned units of study in writing with a specific emphasis on using learning progressions and rubrics to ratchet up the level of writing instruction, as well as to ensure school-wide consistency and growth.
Congratulations to PS 29
September 7th, 2014
The TCRWP wants to congratulate PS 29—one of its 2014-2015 Rewards Schools! It is important to note that this is a school that rallied against the ELA. Their protest was written up in The Nation earlier this April which also published their Teachers Resolution, calling it a piece of writing which “combines the intellectual clarity of the deeply informed with the urgency that only profound personal involvement can incite” (http://www.thenation.com/blog/179193/brooklyn-teachers-push-back-against-high-stakes-testing#). This is also a school where the kids did superbly well. PS 29 has been ranked as one of the top ten schools in New York State. We’re proud that three of their teachers attended the first Institute in American History and Content Area Literacy led jointly by the TCRWP and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation onsite at Colonial Williamsburg this summer. Congratulations for a curriculum that is not narrowly angled toward test prep but which is rich and offers students the chance to engage in meaningful, joyful work.
Congratulations to PS 396
September 7th, 2014
The TCRWP would like to congratulate PS 396! We’re proud to call you one of our own. The number of students considered to be working on grade level in ELA increased from 9% to 24%. This is an even more noteworthy accomplishment when the population serviced by PS 396 is considered. Almost 30% of students at PS 396 are considered to be special education population and the lower socioeconomic neighborhood the school services includes a homeless shelter. PS 396’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Nest program has been featured in InsideSchools as one of the noteworthy special education programs in the city with Dorothy Siegel, the project director of the ASD NEST support team, quoted as calling PS 396 "a very good school” (http://insideschools.org/component/schools/school/459). The school’s innovative schoolwide movement program has also been featured in United Federation of Teachers monthly journal. Congratulations to a school that Insideschools.org celebrates for “its can-do spirit in assisting children with special needs in ways that benefit all kids.”
Goodbye Summer Institutes, Hello Saturday Reunion!
August 21st, 2014
The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project team recently said goodbye to the last of our 5,000 summer institute participants. The final institute ended with glorious singing, with another uproarious video in which Kathy Collins makes fun of a world-gone-crazy, with a final favorite read aloud and then, yes, with hugs and tears and promises to see each other at the October 87th Saturday Reunion. The words, “You’ve come from…” that usually open our institutes became a send off. “You return to Greece and Finland, Singapore and Chile…”
Congratulations, Beckett Washington Elementary!
August 18th, 2014
Beckett Washington Elementary School, in Beckett, MA, has implemented writing workshop for several years. Most recently, they have adopted the Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing as well as hosted 'homegrown' summer institutes for teachers. This year, MA Secretary of Education, Matt Malone, visited the school to see the students' exemplary writing work. Students in 4th grade were working in partnerships and using checklists from the new writing series in order to set goals for revision. Secretary Malone was impressed with the quality of the students' work and the high-caliber writing workshops the teachers have implemented.
August 11th, 2014
Among the participants at the 2014 Writing Institute were 14 master teachers and supervisors from Saudi Arabia, who came with the mission to learn to teach writing in order to pass that knowledge on to hundreds of teachers across their country. This is a video they made of their trip.
A Protocol for Argument Work in Read Aloud
July 24th, 2014
In Mary Ehrenworth's keynote address at the Reading Institute, she suggested working on argument during read aloud. below you will find a protocol that she presented in how to engage students in this work during reading.
A Collaboration with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
July 18th, 2014
As TCRWP reading and writing institutes continue across the country, Colonial Williamsburg and staff developers from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project hosted an Institute in American History and Content Area Literacy.
Summer Institute Season is Here!
July 8th, 2014
Summer institute season is in full swing! Now that the first two Teachers College Reading and Writing Project institutes are over, participants from across the country, and across the world, have returned home, with full hearts, full minds, and certainly full notebooks!
June 30th, 2014
Read through the #TCRWP's Twitter Guide to learn helpful ways to improve the learning in your schools and districts! Information on the Summer Chat series, the new Middle School Units of Study in Writing Twitter Festival, and TCRWP staff handles are also available!
June 23rd, 2014
New York City is certainly no stranger to red carpet events, but needless to say, when PS 54, the Magnet School for Environmental Studies in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, hosted their own black-tie affair, it was a night to remember!
Preparing Children for the Summer Ahead
June 16th, 2014
With summer fast approaching, you are probably starting to think about ways to support your students' reading and writing development through the summer months. Many of you have read Richard Allington and Ann McGill-Franzen's article on the dangers of summer reading setback (http://www.jstor.org/stable/20440508?origin=JSTOR-pdf) and know that summer can jeopardize the strides you have made across the school year, especially for your most vulnerable students.
Parents as Writing Partners
June 9th, 2014
A look back on Mary Ehrenworth's article in Educational Leadership, "Parents as Writing Partners." Parents are eager to support their children's writing skills. Give them a tool kit that shows them how.
Units of Study in Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing, Grades K-8
May 30th, 2014
This new series not only provides a coherent, systematic curriculum in the three types of Common Core writing, it also reflects the latest research on data-based, responsive instruction.
Running Records -- Powerful Assessment Tools
May 19th, 2014
As teachers conduct running records, the initial goal is often to see if readers are ready to move into the next level. While using running records to track student movement and insure that students are matched to just right books is crucial to the success of any reading workshop, perhaps the most important information provided by running records is the analysis of the student’s reading process. In turn, this analysis informs the instructional plans made for a student.
A TCRWP Day for Classroom Tech
May 12th, 2014
Across the country, classrooms are changing. In some cases, the change is gradual, while in others, it is immediate. And yet, no matter the speed with which it is happening, change is inevitable: technology is changing the way that teachers plan and teach and the ways that students learn.
Five Easy Tips for Increasing Volume in Writing Workshop
April 23rd, 2014
When many of us picture our ideal writing workshop classrooms, we imagine students spread about, heads bent to the task, writing utensils filling page after page of writing, perhaps with some soft music playing in the background. We imagine conferring and pulling small groups in order to teach rich strategies and to give encouragement.
A Look Back at the TCRWP Argument Institute
April 18th, 2014
In December 2013, the TCRWP hosted its first institute on argumentation. The week was kicked off at Teachers College, beginning with words from Lucy, followed by a keynote from Doug Reeves. During initial sessions, participants learned about the Project's collaboration with the Educational Testing Service (ETS). In 2012, a group of staff developers from the TCRWP, a group of researchers from CBAL – the research arm of ETS, and a cadre of K-8 New York City classroom teachers and literacy coaches began a think tank in order to explore learning progressions in argumentation and ways to strengthen the argument writing and reading of elementary and middle school students.
TCRWP School Wins Multiple Morgan Book Project Awards
April 15th, 2014
Four students from PS 173 in Queens, a Blue-Ribbon TCRWP school, have received The Morgan Book Project Award for their Renaissance –inspired manuscripts, including a fourth grader who was named for a special award as the top writer in all New York City Department of Education schools that participated in the program.
Nell K. Duke, Researcher with a Heart
April 8th, 2014
"All kids have prior knowledge. The question is, does it match what they are learning in school?"
This was just one of many memorable quotes participants jotted down as Nell K. Duke spoke to principals during their January conference at Teachers College. Duke is a professor of literacy, language, and culture at the University of Michigan. She is also the author of numerous articles and books on early literacy development, reading comprehension instruction, and informational reading and writing in the primary grades. Her research often focuses on children living in poverty and issues of equity in literacy instruction. Passionate about children and about research, Duke shared many insights about what is truly important when it comes to developing children's reading and comprehension skills.
86th Spring Saturday Reunion
March 25th, 2014
On March 22, 2014 teachers from near and far gathered at Teachers College for the 86th TCRWP Saturday Reunion. The day began with three different keynote speakers. Shanna Schwartz, lead staff developer for the TCRWP, showed primary teachers the power of picture books and the ways that the same books could be used and reused to teach a variety of minilessons. Colleen Cruz, lead staff developer for the TCRWP, taught about the power of popular culture and provided teachers with ideas for how popular culture could be used to teach the most challenging work we tackle with students. Diane Ravitch, esteemed historian of education, gave the keynote address in Riverside Church. Frequently referring to her latest book, Reign of Error, Ravitch spoke about the need to fight for public education, against the misuse of standardized testing, and for appropriate interpretation and use of the Common Core State Standards. Throughout these keynotes, many listeners Tweeted highlights, allowing followers to track key points made by other speakers.
Top 5 Ways to Become a Stronger Writing Teacher: A Book Study of Writing Pathways
March 3rd, 2014
Writing Pathways: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions, K-5, by Lucy Calkins (Heinemann, 2013) has yielded insightful conversations about writing assessments and tracking student progress across the unit and year, as well as studying trends across the grade and school. This publication has also helped educators think about their own methods as writing teachers and how we can be more effective to promote the success of young writers. Here are five ways that you can study the writing in your school alongside a book study ofWriting Pathways. T
Five Quick Things Teachers Can Do to Increase Vocabulary Awareness
January 20th, 2014
Expanding children's vocabulary is critical to their success in school and in life. There is a connection between a wider knowledge of vocabulary and increased comprehension because the more words children know the more subtleties they understand, and the more nuanced interpretations they are able to develop. Learning words requires much more than mere exposure, it requires usage in both speaking and writing. Kids love learning and using big, fancy words, so often teachers who create literacy rich classrooms that highlight vocabulary throughout the course of the day find their students' vocabulary skills increase. Below are a few ideas that teachers can put to use easily and immediately.
Around the Room (and World): A View of Workshop Classrooms
January 13th, 2014
The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project is delighted to present a series of video clips highlighting the work of teachers in their classrooms. This fall, teachers all over the world have recorded video clips of their classroom environments and shared their ideas, decisions, and solutions related to establishing learning communities that support students’ continued growth.
January 2nd, 2014
The TCRWP has established Twitter Chats every Wednesday evening from 7:30-8:30 EST.
Read about Idaho Falls Incredible Work with the TCRWP Writing Program!
December 4th, 2013
Before entering Mary Ulrich’s sixth-grade class at Linden Park Elementary, Jamal struggled for inspiration, and couldn’t summon the energy and attention to dive into a writing assignment.
PS 173-Fresh Meadows, New York: A TCRWP Blue Ribbon School
May 28th, 2013
Across the country, the need to raise the level of reading achievement is one of the most pressing. In 2004, Public School 173, a K-5 school in Fresh Meadows, New York with over 700 students, 10% of whom are ELL, faced this same problem. Its new Principal, Molly Wang, walked the building of her school with her superintendent and Lead Instructional Supervisor (LIS) and observed that there was a need for some change.
The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Has Rewards Schools Across New York State...
May 20th, 2013
The New York State Department has announced the high achieving elementary schools in New York State, designating them as Rewards Schools. The TCRWP is proud that approximately 75% of the high performing elementary schools in New York City that are designated as Rewards Schools, have studied with the TCRWP .
TCRWP School Named New Jersey Reward School
March 20th, 2013
Collins Elementary School has recently been named a Reward School by the N.J. Department of Education. Collins was one of only 57 New Jersey schools recognized for their overall achievements.
Burnet Hill Elementary School - Livingston, New Jersey
December 19th, 2012
In 2010, Lisa Capone-Steiger was a new principal looking to increase the student achievement at Burnet Hill Elementary School in Livingston, New Jersey. The faculty was concerned that students weren’t reading enough and that they were not showing enough stamina on state tests. Lisa and her staff turned to the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project for support in raising student performance and strengthening the culture of reading.
Houston County Schools of Georgia
December 16th, 2012
“Our work with Teachers College has produced teacher leaders”—Nancy Richardson, Houston County Schools of Georgia.
Over the past eight years, Houston County Schools have been on a learning journey with Teachers College, working with staff developers at particular schools and providing Home Grown opportunities during the summers.
December 8th, 2012
“It has been our privilege to partner with an organization that shares our vision and sees the inherent value of [The Common Core State Standards] as a driving force for school change.” --Eric M. Casale, Katherine Byrnes, Ryan Scala, & Tracey Frazier, Springs UFSD, NY
2012-13 is our first “official” year working with the project. However, teachers throughout our school have been working for a long time, along with the leadership team, to bring this work schoolwide, and establish shared practices through collaboration. These past few months have been incredible.
Riverton Elementary School’s skyrocketing test scores
March 12th, 2012
First of all, a big, serious “congrats” to the Riverton Elementary School community — administrators, teachers, parents, support staff and students — for a Cinderella-like one-year turnaround on the school’s test scores. The school’s bump in New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) numbers from 2010 to 2011 is downright startling.
This Year, Just Call It The Little School That Could
September 6th, 2006
For failing to meet performance standards, the Clara T. O'Connell elementary school in Bristol, Conn., spent three years on the ''in need of improvement'' list under the federal No Child Left Behind program. When a new list came out last month, Connecticut had 290 elementary and middle schools on it, but the O'Connell School was not among them. It had achieved what no other school in the state had managed under the four-year-old program: It had worked itself off the list.