Teaching Writing in the Changing Classroom

October 23, 2013 | Register Online

The premise of the Gateway Writing Project is that when given time, teachers embrace learning from each other. This October day will be about just that...teachers learning with and from teachers. Join the energy of the day, and return to your classrooms powered up with new strategies, deeper thinking about teaching writing, and new friendships in the field.

The Gateway Writing Project has remarkable talent in its ranks. Each of the presenters is a highly successful Gateway Writing Project Teacher Consultant, ready to share what works with students. Sessions will have you writing in your Writer’s Notebooks (bring them!) and sharing your ideas and thinking with other bright teachers of writing across the region.

Keynote Speaker

Eric Turley teaches English classes at Kirkwood High School in Kirkwood, Missouri. He has taught writing and literature courses at both secondary and postsecondary levels and has published articles in English Journal and Phi Delta Kappan. His dissertation, The Scientific Management of Writing and the Residue of Reform, was awarded the CCCC James Berlin Memorial Outstanding Dissertation Award. His current publication, Our Better Judgment, was published in 2012, as a part of NCTE's Principles in Practice Series.

Session A | 9:30-10:45

Practicing Pre-Writing Strategies for Argumentation
Bonnie Staudt and Candy Holloway
Ft. Zumwalt West High School

Argument writing is all around us—in conversations, in newspapers and magazines, in advertisements and political ads. With the ELA Core Standards requiring more argumentation from students, it’s time for teachers to find flexible, non-prescriptive, and effective ways for students and teachers to delve into the argument world. In this workshop, these presenters will share lessons that help students use a variety of pre-writing strategies to create strong examples for argument writing. When we help students feel empowered with their writing and show them ways to reflect on what works for them, we give them the tools to think critically about themselves as writers and arguers.

Let’s Get Tech-Savvy: Digital Tools for the Writing Teacher in Every Classroom
Jessica Pilgreen
Wesclin High School

In this session, participants will learn ways to use technology to facilitate the writing process in any curriculum. The presenter will highlight websites that inspire creativity and prompt writing, such as free online photography collections and manipulatives, while exploring tools for collaborating with students and teachers during the drafting and editing process. Finally, participants will view methods of publishing writing in dynamic, multi-media formats to be shared with a global audience. Together, we will “play” with PicLits, Wikis, and Podcasts, among others, and see teacher-tested lesson plans and student products that you can bring to your classroom right away.

Invitations to Notice: Constructing Knowledge of Language Conventions
Angie Muse
Hazelwood School District

It is common knowledge that students will solidify their understanding of conventions when they apply (and struggle with) those conventions in their own writing. But what comes before that? We know we shouldn't drill the skill in isolation. How do we introduce students to the rules of our language in meaningful ways? This session, loosely based on the work of Jeff Anderson and discovery-based learning, will allow participants to experience a few lessons where students notice the use of conventions in mentor texts and construct rules for our language.

Sailing to Byzantium: How Will We Know When We Are There?
Caroline Hackmeyer and Declan FitzPatrick
University City School District

How can we teach our students to read critically and think analytically so that they can facilitate their own identification, articulation, and exploration of BIG IDEAS? Join these presenters for a glimpse into scaffolded notetaking and reading response techniques designed to make students aware of and responsible for the evolution of their own deep thinking. Based in George Hillocks' hierarchy of analytical questions, the presenters will focus on the journey readers must take to reach the Common Core State Standards' destination of narrative, argument, and informational writing.

Session B | 11:00-12:15

Crowdsourcing Feedback: Creating a Campus-Wide Audience for Argument Papers
Michael Burke
Saint Louis Community College

In this session, the presenter will share a successful writing project that helped his second-semester composition students expand their notions of visual rhetoric and its power (as well as its limitations). As an extension of the classic researched argument paper, students were asked to prepare poster sessions to accompany their drafts. Using a three-panel poster board, students had to design their own layouts and reduce a multiple-page paper to images and text. The posters were eventually put in a central campus hallway for a week, with Post-It notes and pencils, inviting feedback. The experience led to the best revised papers he had ever seen, but more importantly, it helped his students rethink organization and content and made them aware of audience. Participants will walk away with how to tailor this work for their own classroom, as well as review important facets of the project, including student preparation, grading, feedback, and results.

Integrating Creative Writing in the “College and Career Ready” Classroom
Katrina Knebel
Collinsville High School

With research showing that creativity in America is declining, it is important that we preserve creative writing opportunities in our classrooms despite outside pressures. In this session, the presenter will argue that teachers can accomplish both; that is, we can teach students the skills necessary for higher education and/or their future careers (thereby meeting Common Core State Standards), and we can provide important opportunities for students to be expressive. Ample ideas and resources for how one can integrate creative writing into a classroom that emphasizes necessary career/college skills will be provided as well. Participants will leave with tips on how to set up a successful writing classroom, target essential writing skills, and grade and respond to creative work.

TED Talks, You Write
Tracy Brosch
Sunrise R-IX

In this session, participants will examine the vast collection of TED talks and how to utilize them in nearly any classroom. The presenter will introduce a process for using TED talks to teach argument writing, to teach creative writing, and as a model for public speaking. We will also explore TEDed by going through the process of creating an account, and discussing what it takes to find and flip a lesson. Walk away ready to watch, think, write, speak, repeat.

Writing: It's Not Just For the Language Arts Class Anymore
Sioux Roslawski and Holly Camacaro
Griffith Elementary in Ferguson-Florissant School District

Participants will discover how using a picture book to create an argumentative piece of writing can have an impact on student thinking, no matter what their grade level. Various other cross-curricular writing strategies will be highlighted, including a “letter to self” (which can be used in the science, math or social studies classroom) and the “puzzling the pieces together” writing activity. Teachers will get the opportunity to practice writing and will receive an annotated list of books and some ready-to-use handouts

Session C | 1:15-2:30

Common Core: We've Got an App for That
Cathy Cartier and Troy Kozak
Affton High School

These presenters represent a group of teachers who decided to build an app that would help teachers build lessons and units that would fulfill the goals of the Common Core State Standards across multiple disciplines, with a special tie-in with the Social Studies C3 standards. This presentation will feature a demo of an early version of the app, as well as the thinking that went into creating it, including expository writing and mapping strategies.

Finding Your Top Gear with Informational Texts
Tony Primeau, Candy Holloway, Jenni George
Ft. Zumwalt School District

To help students become career and college ready, teachers need to provide students with the skills to tackle a variety of genres—one being informational texts. Join these presenters as they look at the nuts and bolts of informational writing. Roll up your sleeves and be prepared to get greasy as they lift the hood on the CCSS standard for Informational Texts, kick the tires on some strategies for teaching your students how to write and read informative material, and load up a toolbox that will help you tune up your teaching and your students’ learning.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: YA Literature, 2013
Cathy Beck
Clayton School District, Retired

Participants of this session will examine the relevancy and power of some of the most recent publications in Young Adult literature, particularly in light of the recent controversy about the genre’s dark and sometimes questionable themes. The presenter will discuss (and recommend) several provocative books, both fiction and nonfiction, that will be sure to pique your interest and the interest of your students.

Your Writing Spark
Gwyndolyn Savens
Gateway Science Academy of St. Louis

In this session, teachers will learn how they can use NPR (and other news medium) in the classroom to spark authentic brainstorming. This presenter will focus on leading students to writing fiction, argument, and non-fiction writing in line with Common Core State Standards. Using Hillocks’ Procedural Knowledge of Substance—knowing how to get the stuff to write about—this fun and open-ended activity leads to many types of products.

Conference Fees


Register Online or contact Jennifer Clemente at (314) 516-5994.


For questions about programming contact:
Nancy Singer
Director of the Gateway Writing Project
(314) 516-5517