Rhode Island Writing Project's Annual Spring Conference Saturday

The Rhode Island Writing Project (RIWP) will host its annual Spring Conference at Rhode Island College on Saturday (March 9) from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The RIWP is thrilled to welcome keynote speaker Ernest Morrell, president-elect of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), professor of English education at Teachers College and director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME) at Columbia University,” said Moira Collins, a teacher consultant for the RIWP.

Morrell is a renowned educator and researcher in the areas of critical pedagogy, literacy, cultural studies and urban teacher development, but, according to the biography page on his website, he considers himself “first and foremost a writer.” He goes on to say, “Even in this new media age, I am awed and humbled by the written word. Words are power and freedom; words are life.” The RIWP is pleased and excited to bring to our conference a teacher leader who can speak equally to our pedagogically focused minds, to the developing literacies of our students and to our writers’ hearts.

The Spring Conference also includes presentations by some of RIC’s faculty, including RIWP director Jennifer Cook, who will present on using graphic memoirs in the classroom, Collins said. There will also be presentations by Feinstein School of Education and Human Development faculty members Gerri August, Julie Horowitz and Janet Johnson.

In alignment with the Writing Project’s commitment to teachers teaching teachers, many of the workshops will be led by teachers from local school districts, Collins said. They will focus on topics as varied as incorporating low-stakes writing and writing-to-learn activities in an age of high-stakes testing, and an interdisciplinary fourth-grade unit on Biomes that leads to students presenting their research in the form of graphic novels and short films.

The conference will also include workshops on topics such as creating life-long writers and preparing students for peer writing workshops, Collins said. These will be led by some of RIC’s secondary English teacher candidates, who are currently student teaching in local schools.

“This conference is a rare event where educators at every grade level (K-16) and every level of experience, from novice to veteran, come together to share ideas, to teach and to learn from each other,” Collins said. “It promises to be a fun and intellectually engaging day that will inspire new ideas and provide participants with fresh perspectives, new energy and the support of a like-minded community of writers and educators.”

RIWP, housed at the Old Alumni House on the RIC campus, is an affiliate of the National Writing Project. The National Writing Project is a network of teachers who are dedicated to the improvement of teaching and learning in all schools. Rhode Island Writing Project teachers work in all content areas and at all grade levels, helping students become thoughtful readers and writers and connecting reading, writing and content area learning.

For more information about the conference or RIWP, visit: www.ric.edu/riwp/programs_springconference.php. Register for the conference now at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/301671