Letter from the Director re Saturday Seminar Program September 30, 2017

Dear Friends of the Writing Project,

On September 9, at our first Saturday Seminar session, an eager group of 3-5 students learned about oral story telling from Aeriale Johnson:

Aeriale's group

An equally engaged group of students and teachers participated in Katie Adelman’s workshop on using The Book of Qualities as a mentor text.

Katie's group

And a spirited group of teachers and students worked with Laurie Weckesser, using flash drafts to find a topic, then wrote their own essays defining their beliefs with the help of mentor texts:

Laurie's group

Under the direction of Parent Program and Inservice Coordinator Andrea Katz, even parents got into the act.  Here they are using the same warm-up exercise that engaged their children (creating a “monster” both collectively and individually) to write their own stories:

parent group

But the best is to come!

Our next Saturday Seminar, on Sept 30, will feature Jennifer Kim Baumgartner leading a traditional workshop specifically for K-2 teachers, on how to teach informative writing using technology, nonfiction books and mentor texts.  For those of you who’ve not had the pleasure of participating in a “Jennifer Kim workshop,” you’re in for a treat!

Jennifer Kim head shot

Our 3-5 group of teachers and students will be led by Alexis Doucette, who will focus on mapping your neighborhood to discover stories to write. This is sure to be a highly interactive session with lots of ideas you can use on Monday:

Alexis Doucette head shot

And new to our Saturday Seminar program, we’ll have young adult author and poet Margaret McMullen, from Pass Christian, Mississippi (see http://margaretmcmullan.com/about/) working with teachers and students at the middle and high school levels:

margaret mcmullen head shot

In order to prepare for this exciting line-up, we’ve re-configured our webpage (see http://sjawp.org/saturday-seminars/) to make it more convenient to sign up for either single or multiple sessions.

And as you’ll see, we’ve also added specific instructions for signing up for our PLC program. For this multi-session program, you pay nothing up front. When you arrive at SJSU to register, you fill out an Open University form for either 2 or 3 units at $150 per unit, and you are billed about three weeks later by the SJSU Bursar’s Office.

As the “instructor of record” for all our past PLC programs, I have had the pleasure and privilege of reading the papers written by our K to 12 PLC participants. In these papers, teachers explain what they learned from our Saturday Seminar sessions, as well as from their PLC cohort leaders and colleagues, and how they have implemented these ideas in their own classrooms.

It is simply exhilarating to hear what remarkable things are going on in these teacher’s classrooms! And as I read, I become convinced, once again, that this program provides what is simply the best PD in the Bay Area.  I urge you to experience this remarkable program for yourself, and I look forward to seeing you on Sept 30.

My very best,
Jonathan Lovell
Professor of English and Director of the San Jose Area Writing Project
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