While summer unfurls and kids everywhere climb into their swimsuits and knock off any suggestion of shoes, Allendale teachers are modeling the idea that June doesn’t signal an end to learning.
We are excited to share that Allendale English teachers Jenna Chisholm and Becky Karnes have been awarded Fellowships with the National Writing Project, a group committed to improving the level of writing in American classrooms by helping teachers become better writers themselves.
Our teachers are poised to give over 120 hours of their time–each–to sharpen their skills as writers and as writing teachers. Mrs. Karnes points out that she wants Allendale students to “look good on paper,” whether it’s in the form of a college entrance essay, on a job application, or in a letter of inquiry. “Looking good on paper” opens the door to the next steps, and she’s determined to see AHS kids stand out among their peers.
The National Writing Project runs for four weeks from late June through the better part of July. During this time Mrs. Karnes and Mrs. Chisholm will look at research surrounding the teaching of writing, will reflect on their current teaching practices with supportive colleagues, and will work to bolster their teaching skills while strengthening their own command of the writing craft.
In sharing why this experience means so much to her, Mrs. Chisholm said, “Every person who talks to me about their experience in NWP says it is life-changing. By the time the fourth or fifth person expressed the same sentiment, I started to take notice. I think the most enticing element of the project is that it opens space to do the real work of learning: reading, writing, researching, teaching (and learning from) one another.”
Because educators spend a bulk of their time grading student work, teachers who participate in the National Writing Project look forward to having time built in to their days to engage the creative process for themselves; they look forward to writing for the sake of writing. The desire to allow the pen or keyboard to sift one’s thoughts was affirmed by Mrs. Karnes; she not only wants this kind of writing in her own life, she wants this kind of authentic writing to come from her students. She hopes that what she learns this summer will help support her efforts at Allendale High:
“Writing can help us work through vital issues in life. It can help us sort out and express our own feelings, help us communicate important thoughts to loved ones as well as strangers, and help us build bridges between friends and maybe even foes. Those are just a few of the reasons I want to be sure I’m doing all I can to help equip our students with the great gift of writing.”
Congratulations to both Mrs. Karnes and Mrs. Chisholm on being awarded Fellowships to attend the National Writing Project! Thank you for modeling lifelong learning for our students and for embracing your craft!