What should a successful proposal address?
Every successful presentation proposal should include these things:
- A discussion of the instructional challenge (what you want the kids to do in writing). Specifics matter. “Teaching kids to use physical detail when writing arguments” is more helpful to your readers than proposing to talk about how to get kids to “write better”. You can certainly mention where and what and who you teach and what you’re challenged by when you teach writing. You may in fact not have any magic bullet, but still be figuring out how to approach something you’d really like students to do as writers.
- Writing time for the presenter and audience to actually spend five or ten minutes composing in the session and sharing or reflecting on that writing.
- A time to draw conclusions about the work we did as writing and imagining how it might work in our own classrooms (a presentation on “imagining audience” or “revision” might be just as useful to a college-level audience as a fourth-grade audience, though of course the approaches would vary).
How long should my proposal be?
- Proposals are to be fewer than 500 words. They can be written in first person (“I”) and are to be addressed to other teacher-leaders who are interested in learning something new from you.
We often hear that the work of writing is contained in one effective procedure: the writer should simply learn to argue, as Joseph Teller would have it. Or we hear that writers just need to learn how to let go and express themselves. Some say the trick is simply to make a schedule and stick with it. Or just do workshops. Or just learn grammar. The truth is, however, as teachers often claim, that the work of writing has many parts, stretching from reading to invention, to revision, to performance, and spread over many genres from lab reports, class notes, argumentative essays, personal reflections, application essays, resumes, and the like.
This conference asks teachers to do what they do naturally: lead hands-on discussions. In this case, however, the subject matter is writing. How do you (or would you like to) teach writing? What would you have students do if you had an hour and fifteen minutes to focus on that process?
Writing Matters IV, March 11 at SUNY Cortland, is put together to address those questions. The National Writing Project, of which the Seven Valleys Writing Project is a branch campus, models writing as reflective, intellectual work done in communities: classrooms, schools, hometowns, families. We are again hosting Writing Matters 2017 because we feel that teachers of writing comprise an important but hard-to-see community doing significant but overlooked work.
Questions? Concerns? Want to see a model? Contact the Seven Valleys Writing Project Leadership Team at 607-753-5945 or 7VWP@7VWP.com.
The Seven Valleys Writing Project is an approved provider of Professional Development through the Cortland County Teachers’ Center, and associated with both the State University of New York at Cortland and the National Writing Project, and the Empire State Writing Project Network.