There was a time when Bryn Orum was thinking about leaving teaching. But the Greater Madison Writing Project – celebrating its 10-year-anniversary on March 21 – was such a revelation for her that she stayed in the field.
The program, which she attended in its first year, engaged and empowered her.
“The teacher work is the center of the writing project,” Orum, now an Outreach Specialist at the Greater Madison Writing Project, said. “Teaching is incredibly hard and schools are taxed with an endless list of needs to meet. Much of the professional development out there for teachers lacks much choice. The Writing Project provides a home for teachers to come and say, ‘this work is super hard and super important, and I want to talk to people who are curious about it, and want to work to try new things,’ and improve themselves in their work so that trickles down in their classrooms.”
When Director and co-founder Mark Dziedzic began the Greater Madison Writing Project a decade ago (an affiliate of the National Writing Project) it was a small affair. Much of the growth has come from teacher participants suggesting things like the Yearlong Institute for teachers who couldn’t attend the summer counterpart. Even the young writer’s camps began as one class with teachers volunteering, and is now an eclectic mix of classes covering rural journalism and graphic novels, bringing in around 300 children each summer.
“There’s a focus on teachers and teaching over curriculum,” Dziedzic explained. “There’s a lot of ways to teach writing. There’s not one right way to teach writing. And this belief that if we really dig into the literature and our own practice with it, that we can learn from one another and integrate new and engaging practices into our classrooms. What we know about teaching writing comes from both: research and literature and classroom and practice. Those two things are of equal importance.”
“Writing is a huge component,” Orum said. “It’s for every educator. There is an emphasis on the teaching of writing, but we also think a lot about how to use writing to solve problems, teach students about themselves and their learning.”
After 10 years of writing programs, a milestone anniversary celebration will showcase different teacher projects. The event is open to the public, and you can find more details about and register for the event below.
As for the future, the Greater Madison Writing Project is working on a statewide network focused on argument writing.
“We want to make sure every teacher, not just around Madison, has opportunities to work together on meaningful work and connect on issues,” Dziedzic said.
Greater Madison Writing Project Ten Year Anniversary Celebration
When: Saturday, March 21, 2020 1 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Union South 1308 W Dayton Street, Madison
What: Join us to celebrate the first 10 years of the Greater Madison Writing Project (GMWP) and dream with us about the next 10! The afternoon will be filled with inspiring workshops including:
- College, Career, and Community Writers Program
- Humane Assessment
- Teachers as Writers
Workshops will be followed by dinner, time to reminisce and reconnect, as well as chances to find new friends and future opportunities!
Registration: $25. All proceeds will be used to fund GMWP scholarships.