The National Writing Project’s (NWP) project, Assignments Matter 2.0, is designed to develop and support 30 teacher leaders (TLs) at two local NWP sites in Birmingham, Alabama and New York, New York to lead 600 peers over two years in improving instruction of writing. NWP TLs engage teachers in using the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) Core Tools to develop writing assignments and to teach in ways that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards-aligned writing assignments will be tested and refined, and contributed to the LDC curriculum library as open educational resources for all teachers to access. At each participating NWP site, four site liaisons oversee the development of a cadre of teacher leaders, who are supported to then design and deliver teacher-to-teacher learning opportunities through school-based professional learning communities (PLCs) focused on incorporating LDC into instructional practices, reviewing writing tasks for CCSS alignment, and looking at student work.
Strategies for Supporting Teacher Leaders to Advance Common Core
Network Support for Teacher Leaders
Site liaisons plan learning events for TLs and participating teachers at each of the two local NWP sites, while supporting the development of their TLs. Initially, TLs participate in local training in the LDC Core Tools and use of lesson analysis protocols at a kick-off meeting led by the site liaisons. TLs are provided with continuous support from site liaisons on leadership skills, LDC materials, and technical help with the LDC Core Tools’ online professional learning platform, so that TLs are able to effectively lead their school-based teacher cohorts through LDC Core Tools’ professional learning experiences.
Teacher Leaders Working with Teachers
Each NWP TL leads teacher-to-teacher learning for a PLC of 10 teachers at their school site. TLs facilitate monthly two-hour PLC sessions focused on building LDC knowledge to develop CCSS-aligned writing assignments. TLs lead peers through professional learning experiences, and each teacher develops at least one LDC-based writing assignment and three mini-tasks to support student learning of evidence-based writing. Teachers upload their assignments to the LDC Core Tools site and reflect on their work. In addition to leading monthly PLCs and guiding the online LDC professional learning experience of their teachers, TLs help site liaisons lead two full-day, face-to-face professional learning events for all participating teachers in that NWP project.
Partnerships with Local Education Agencies
NWP draws on a five-year relationship with LDC in planning and implementing this initiative. NWP plans to work with LDC to collect data and analytics from the LDC Core Tools site related to teacher use and change in instructional practice as exhibited in the uploaded assignments and teacher reflections.
NWP is implementing Assignments Matter 2.0 in two existing Writing Project sites: Red Mountain Writing Project in Birmingham, AL and New York City Writing Project in New York, NY. These Writing Project sites have relationships with high-needs schools, whose teachers will be targeted for this initiative.
National Writing Project
University of California at Berkeley
2105 Bancroft Way #1042
Berkeley, CA 94720-1042
Tanya Baker, Director, National Programs
Learn more about the 2014 – 2015 initiative of the National Writing Project.