Despite the challenging times, this summer the Morehead Writing Project was able offer an Online Summer Institute for educators and a Journalism Camp for teen writers. In addition, several Morehead WP site leaders took part in state and national programs. “Membership in our powerful state and national networks is one of the benefits of writing project work,” said Director Dr. Deanna Mascle. “Even as we lead programs we are continually inspired by and learn from teachers both within and without our region. I love that this work continues to help me grow as both an educator and as a leader.”
In June 2020, Sarah Webster led a group of teens from across Kentucky and Ohio on a journalism adventure. The “Power Your Story” summer camp, originally intended as a track within Morehead State’s Summer Arts Academy, was reinvented as a virtual writing camp. With the support of Deanna Mascle, MWP director, the two-week camp, helped each student identify a passion topic, write a pitch, research, and produce an article for publication. Webster teaches 6th grade English at Gallatin County Middle School.
In June, 2020, Leslie Workman translated her experience as the Morehead Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute Co-Director to a new role as co-director of the Online Summer Institute. During the Online Summer Institute Teachers from all over Kentucky joined together through the use of Google Tools to create community and engage in professional learning designed to improve teachers as leaders, writers, researchers, and practitioners. Leslie Workman, new principal at Fairview Elementary, stated, “The OSI was like nothing I have ever experienced before. It demonstrated how teachers can use technology to engage learners in new ways. This will be even more important during these trying times when we may be asked to do online learning like never before.”
In July 2020, Liz Prather led a week-long Story Matters institute for Kentucky Writing Project, looking at ways to incorporate narrative writing in argumentative and informational texts. Fifteen teachers participated from schools in Kentucky, Texas, Missouri, and Ohio. Teachers developed three lesson plans to help students notice craft moves in mentor texts, generate ideas and topics from their own lives, and then practice those moves in order to communicate their ideas. The institute, originally slated for a conventional face-to-face institute at the University of Louisville pivoted to Zoom and was able to offer professional development to teachers outside our service areas. Prather teaches writing at LaFayette High School.
In addition, Brandis Cox and Jennifer Kidd participated in National Writing Project Kid Writing training. The Kid Writing Program offers a systematic, research-based approach to early literacy with the goal of engaging children in strong and joyful work as they become writers and readers, integrating phonics instruction from the very beginning. The work connects reading and writing to offer a metacognitive, problem-solving approach to help young learners become fully literate writers and readers. Both teach at Straub Elementary School.
The Morehead Writing Project also hosted a stop on the National Writing Project’s Virtual Writing Marathon. Deanna Mascle worked with a team of National Writing Project leaders from across the country to organize the nine-stop #WriteAcrossAmerica event. In addition, Leigh Koch, a participant in this year’s Online Summer Institute, and Leslie Workman helped with the story map for the Eastern Kentucky stop. Morehead Writing Project Fellow Alora Chesney also helped with the story map design and provided support during the event. Chesney is a 2020 Morehead State University graduate and teaches English at Fleming County High School. Koch teaches English at Mercer County High School.
National Writing Project Executive Director Elyse Eidman-Aadahl organized a CoLab featuring Deanna Mascle‘s work with HyperDocs and specifically her HyperDoc templates and KonMari approach to teaching online and hybrid classes. In the CoLab, Mascle talks through her “KonMari” approach to simplifying her use of Hyperdocs, recurring cycles of instruction, and asking, always, “does this activity bring joy?” Mascle walks through her planning and instructional process around recurring cycles of predictable processes for students and discusses her use of Hyperdocs as a way to make those cycles transparent.
If you would like to know more about the professional development and community programs offered by the Morehead Writing Project as well as how those programs can help individual writers and teachers, schools, and districts, contact Dr. Deanna Mascle, site director, at email@example.com.