Programs and Events
Exciting news! You can now register for RIWP Spring and Summer Events. See below for more information on each event. If you have questions, please email email@example.com.
The Rhode Island Writing Project is hosting a Spring Conference Series through the end of March and beginning of April. Our theme is “Re-Vision: Advocacy in our Classrooms and Beyond.” Most of the events focus on literacy pedagogy and practice, but all subject and grade level teachers will find the discussions and teachings meaningful. You can attend any or all of the events, which are a mix of in-person and virtual. This is a pay-as-you'd like series and we will distribute PLU certificates when all of the events have concluded.
Here is the lineup of events:
- On Saturday, March 26 from 10-12, we begin with a Writing Marathon, in-person at Rhode Island College. We seek inspiration for our writing from the re-visioned campus around us.
- On Thursday, March 31 from 4-5:30, we're hosting a High Quality Curriculum Hack Jam on Zoom to help you think about how to revise mandated curriculum to meet the needs of your students.
- On Tuesday, April 5 from 4-5:30, we'll offer a Student Activism Panel on Zoom. We'll have students from across the state share their experiences as activists in their schools and communities.
- On Saturday, April 9 from 4-6 we'll end with a Celebration Mixer in-person at Proclamation Brewery, offering space for teachers to network and socialize.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Open Air Institute Spring 2022: "Providence's Past and Presence"
April 30, 2022 9:00-2:30 (approximate)
In today's fast-paced world with digital distractions, we tend to take for granted the real life locations around us. This school-year version of the OAI invites you to explore the "passed by" places of Providence. SI Fellow Tina O'Brien will provide a day of writing and reflecting in this city once called “a lively experiment" by Roger Williams while discovering best practices for the classroom as well as the soul.
Cost: $20 5 PLUs available
Register here: OAI Spring 2022
Download OAI Flier Spring 2022
Open Air Institute: Summer 2022
August 2-4, 2022, 8:30am-3pm (approximate)
The OAI is a three-day, place-based form of professional development that integrates state and local history, geography, and culture with writing and educational practices. This unique, largely outdoor opportunity exposes participants to a wide variety of locations and experiences as we explore the features that make Rhode Island special. Each year’s event centers around a common theme; past years’ themes have included topics ranging from rivers and coastlines to libraries and farms. What’s in store for 2022? Watch for updates in future newsletters for this year’s theme and registration information.
Cost: $100 for teachers; $75 for teacher candidates. 18 PLUs available.
Reflection on Summer 2021 OAI Event
The Summer 2021 version of the OAI represented a welcome relief from the pandemic struggles that occurred over the preceding months. As a direct response to those trying months, we settled on the theme of “Fun and Games.” Led by facilitators Kim Parente, Melissa Tallardy, Keith Sanzen, Maggie Stormont, Jeff Lawton, and Jane Allard, we explored Westerly, Warwick, and North Smithfield/Smithfield, examining the history, geography, and culture of each locale with an emphasis on the recreation and amusement in our state that made us all smile, laugh, and reflect. We started with two beautiful days that ranged from the seaside Westerly Carousel and the Fantastic Umbrella Factory to the echoes of Rocky Point and lunch at Iggy’s Boardwalk. Even the heavy rains we faced on Day 3 failed to dampen our spirits, as we experienced a trip to Camp Phoenix summer camp in North Smithfield and an improvised carnival at the Smithfield Senior Center (Games! Prizes! YAY!). Our three-day adventure ended in typical OAI style; we left armed with new knowledge and learning activities, enriched by the writing and sharing, and, especially, rejuvenated by the camaraderie of special friends.
Snippets from Participants
What are you taking with you?--“The writing I did and some stronger connections with my RIWP friends,” “a.) New writing ideas to try out in my classroom--which I love! b.) A sense of renewal and rejuvenation for the importance of the written word,” & “My hope to figure out a way to utilize local areas of my town for day trips.”
New Teacher Camp: July 11-15, 2022, 9am-2pm
Find your Magic. Fill Your Knapsack. Always Swim with a Buddy. New Teacher Camp is a week-long professional development experience for early career teachers. You’ll join a supportive and fun community of “campers” who will work together to understand the RIWP philosophy, develop strategies for successful teaching practices, efficient daily routines, self-care, and lifelines for your first few years. You’ll take away increased confidence in your identity as a teacher and writer, insights into the daily life of strong teachers, and a knapsack full of strategies to make next year less hectic, more adventurous, and truly magical.
Register here: https://tinyurl.com/riwpteachercamp
Reflection on the Inaugural New Teacher Camp
Identifying a need to be of service specifically to emerging educators, RIWP added New Teacher Camp to its slate. This July, its designers Nora Pace and Seth Curran, along with 14 participants, took it out for a spin. Here are the details and their takeaways:
Who were the Counselors?
Nora Pace: Since 2015, Nora has taught middle grades, high school, and adult learners. She currently works at Founders Academy in Woonsocket.
Seth Curran: Seth started teaching in 2005. The following year, he became the music teacher where he currently works — Tri-County in Franklin, MA.
What were Camp’s goals?
Knowing the teachers would arrive recently minted from their preparation programs, we intentionally opted away from pedagogical instruction and chose instead to focus on practicalities. We tried to provide strategies, tips, and when possible, real solutions for making the first few years of teaching less hectic, less stressful, and more magic. To that end, we invested our energies in the following areas:
Master the small stuff so you can focus on the big stuff.
We talked about the nitty gritty, from “What do you eat in between classes?” to “How do you arrange a classroom?” to “How do you handle cliques or gossip in the teacher’s room?” Campers had 24/7 access to an “Ask Me Anything” form to get at those potentially embarrassing or seemingly silly questions. Their concerns led to very productive moments during the week. A sampling of their actual questions:
“Gradebooks: Electronic or paper? Pros and Cons?”
“How long after the students leave do you generally stay each day? Do you ever go into school on the weekends?”
“Where do you draw the line at buying needed supplies or wanted supplies?”
Making the abstract concrete is an evolving process.
We knew it would be difficult to articulate, but we were also as committed to discussing those practicalities that are harder to quantify. These are ideas good teachers spend entire careers getting their heads around. We tried anyway.
How to actually grade writing. How to actually tell when and whether learning is taking place. How to actually create a classroom community. How to know the difference between actually being a good educator and when the students just like you. Although we couldn’t show the campers every brick in the path to becoming a successful teacher, we think we successfully showed them which way to walk.
We’re all colleagues and resources now. Be in touch any time.
We plan to continue the spirit of Camp in two ways moving forward. We will hold monthly “office hours” during the year. We see these gatherings as both informal opportunities to engage with one another as well as community-sourced professional development, attendant to and benefitting from our specific classroom experiences. For the moments in between our meetings, we’ve built a Camp website that will exist in perpetuity and provides access to a prodigious shared resource folder that will grow with each year’s Camp.
Who were the campers?
No matter how much knowledge and eagerness the counselors had stored up, they couldn’t have done it without the amazing campers! We had teachers from elementary, middle, high school, and even preschool; many were English teachers, but special ed and math were represented as well. We were surprised and delighted that we had two campers participating from 12 hours away, in Taiwan and Shanghai. This huge plus would have been impossible in a traditional face-to-face camp and was one of the hidden benefits of running virtually. As a bonus, two campers received offers and accepted their first teaching jobs during Camp!
What did campers get out of it?
Campers were most excited about the resources and the network they have now begun to build. In their surveys, some focused on activities they could carry into their own teaching: “I enjoyed the different group activities we did throughout the week. I am excited to implement a lot of writing in my own classroom when I start this fall (just got hired two days ago!!).” Other campers were enchanted by morning writing and valued this time to get back to writing poetry and journaling. We are most gratified to hear the increase in confidence and self-efficacy after such a short time. “New Teacher Camp gave me permission to feel like my classroom and my teaching can be 'me shaped', which is sort of refreshing; as a new teacher, I find it difficult to lean into what I think will work or a new idea I have.”
Summer Institute: July 11-22, 2022, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Registration ends June 1
Meet and Greet is Saturday, June 11 from 10-11:30 a.m.
All events are in person.
The SI is a 2-week immersive professional development experience for teachers of all content areas who are committed to writing and the teaching of writing. Built on the teachers-teaching-teachers model, together we will renew our identities as writers, share our pedagogical expertise, and explore texts to help us push back on the inequities in education. Through practices like daily journaling, writing groups, and lesson workshopping, we build community and share ready-to-use strategies that we can take back to our classrooms (be it virtual or in-person). This summer we’ll continue our work with the theme of Re-Vision: Advocacy in Our Classrooms and Beyond.
In their exit surveys, participants wrote about their gratitude for the opportunity to focus on their writing. One teacher said, “I loved having the space to journal every morning. I reconnected with myself as a writer, and produced a piece I'm proud of. I'm also walking away feeling more empowered to build a strong writing community in the online classroom.”
Participants agreed that their greatest takeaway was “understanding others’ point of view” and “that expressing yourself through writing makes you feel more human, and that sharing your writing with others builds community.” They want other teachers to know that “The Writing Project empowers teachers to connect with themselves as writers, to make writing in the classroom a less formulaic and more joyful experience.”
Youth Camp: July 11-22, 2022, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Registration ends July 5
Led by experienced local educators, students in grades K-12 will gather each day on the RIC campus and participate in a wide range of activities. The camp helps students develop their writing skills and creativity, encourages collaboration and interaction with peers, and fosters a love for writing. Spread the word to parents and students who might be interested! For more information, contact camp coordinator Jeff Lawton at email@example.com.
Summer 2021 Reflections
After being forced to conduct the 2020 camp online due to the pandemic, RIWP was thrilled to return to our traditional in-person camp for 2021. We once again welcomed students from grades K-12 who participated in two weeks of nurturing and fulfilling activities and experiences. Whether indoors or outside, masked or unmasked, RIWP continues to provide opportunities for our young, aspiring authors – and they continue to demonstrate their talent and enthusiasm for writing. Many thanks to all the students, parents, and facilitators who worked so hard to make Writing Camp 2021 a success!
Camp features include:
- Writing exercises designed to jumpstart thinking and improve each writer’s craft
- Exploration of the work of published authors to use as models in a variety of genres
- Freedom to explore individual writing interests
- Opportunities to collaborate with instructors and peers and to receive constructive feedback for revision
- A space for students to see themselves as writers with individual voices
At the end of the program, each participant will publish a self-selected piece in a compilation of student writing. All students will receive a copy of their group’s anthology.
RIWP Parent Feedback
My son looked forward to camp every day. He never once "didn't want to go". I believe that is because each day he had fun, learned, was included in all activities and was proud of his work. We will be back next year!
What was most important to me is that my kids woke up each day and looked forward to going. They had to get up at 7:30 for two weeks and there was never a morning of complaining or grumbling. Once you set up an environment in which kids actively want to participate, the growth (be it academic, creative, or social) will happen.
As a reluctant writer, my son was not initially excited for this camp. Happily, it turned out to be “surprisingly good!” Fun counselors, amiable co-participants and a safe creative outlet. Thanks!!!
The camp turned out to be, by a very considerable margin, my daughter’s very best summer experience ever! The camp succeeded not only in teaching its students about many dimensions of the writing process but also in establishing a bond buoyed by trust that never wavered.
It is a very relaxed environment and you do different things everyday.
For anyone who loves writing but hasn’t done this camp, it is worth it!
Writing Institute for Educators: July 18-22, 2022, 9am-2pm
The 5th Annual
2022 Writing Institute for Educators
Join us for a chance to write and connect!
What: The RIWP Writing Institute is a week-long intensive workshop for teacher consultants and other RIWP affiliates (seasoned and new!) who want to hone their personal and professional writing and engage in a summer workshop.
- Want to work to publish? Cool.
- Want to reconnect with your craft? Yasss.
- Want to share space with other teachers who love to write? Amazing.
It will be a focused, productive, workspace for participants to not only work on their own writing, but also an opportunity to collaborate with others for a true workshop experience. Whether you’re collecting ideas or refining a journal article or experimenting with ways to articulate #life, writing vignettes for an emerging memoir, or any other writing, this space is for you! And the most amazing bonus? The practices we embrace are ONE HUNDRED percent applicable to our teaching spaces. The question isn’t why you should do this with us this summer...the question is why shouldn’t you? Note: All participants will have the opportunity to publish digitally through the RIWP blog.
Who: Educators who write. While teacher consultants who have completed the Summer Institute are the most likely candidates, anyone connected with the RIWP, or anyone who wants to be connected with the RIWP and wishes to hone their personal and professional writing for the purpose of the publication is welcome!
When: July 18th-July 22nd from 9AM-2PM
Where: Rhode Island College and potentially open-air spaces around Rhode Island (Please note: due to #CovidProbs, we will make decisions as a cohort and be responsive to what is best for our crew).
Facilitator: Anne Barnhart (Westerly High School)
Register here: RIWP Summer Programs 2022
Voices of the Participants:
“I need to keep my craft and these discussions going with this incredible group. I'm realizing how much writing solo has discouraged me from writing in the first place. I'm no best-seller, but I damn near feel like one every time we break out for independent work time now.”
“Today I wrote BEFORE eating lunch which was huge. I got a lot more done that way. So something I already knew about myself but was confused. Writing, like yoga, needs to be done on a fairly empty stomach :). I also love reading other people's work. I'm learning a lot.”
“Here's something I wrote from my manifesto reflection: I am beginning again. Luckily writing is a practice that still waits for me, vastly patient and kind. Writing says, "Great! You're back, sweetheart! I missed you!”