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Open Air Institute

August 4-6, 2020

To the outside world, summer for teachers is free time, time not spent thinking about school. To us, however, summer is a time to reflect on and engage in new ways of evolving our practice.

In August of 2013, the Rhode Island Writing Project initiated a unique professional development opportunity for Rhode Island educators in an effort to encourage the integration of the history and geography of our state into our practices. The Open-Air Institute provides a three-day, place-based outdoor experience for teachers to immerse themselves in the places that make Rhode Island so unique and so special.

We have moved from exploring islands to rivers to coastlines to parks to movements in Rhode Island.

collage Open Air Institute 2019

Please consider joining us this August for some of the best PD around, PD where you can write, rejuvenate, reflect, and reconnect with RIWPers, your practice, and the place we call home! ​​

School Year Open Air Institute

Ambling through Concord, Massachusetts with the words of Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne echoing in our ears and through our writing, the RIWP experienced our first annual School Year Open Air Institute on Saturday, Oct. 5. Led by Lisa Ricci of Burrillville High School, we truly came to understand Thoreau when he wrote, “This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” Thank you to all the participants and we are looking forward to this new tradition. Keep an eye out for future opportunities!

Reflections on Summer 2019

Once again, a group of educators trekked and wrote and reflected across Rhode Island for our annual Open Air Institute. On August 6th-8th, educators from Rhode Island and Massachusetts came together under the intentional and generative guidance of Jeff Lawton, Kim Parente, Tina O'Brien, Aimee Ryan, Brittany Ahnrud, and Brittany Dunn as we explored this year's theme: Shelf Care--"Checking Out" RI's Local Libraries. It was truly informative, inspirational, and revenating as always! Here is one writing from the week that asks us to consider which way we're swimming. We look forward to our School-Year Open Air Institute experiences to continue the magic.

“Which Way Is Up?” by Jeff Lawton
As our time of wandering in Nature’s library comes to an end, I am left to wonder one last thing. Are we the salmon, swimming against the current? Or are we the current, flowing in the right direction, hoping that one day the salmon will turn around and join us?​​​​

Page last updated: October 18, 2019