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Teachers as Leaders and Writers Conference

April 1, 2017
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Second floor of the WVU Mountainlair on University Ave.

The TLW conference is for teachers seeking to re-inspire their writing and writing instruction. Co-sponsored by the National Writing Project @ WVU and NCTE’eers, the conference seeks to build a community of teacher leaders. 

There will be four rounds of workshops led by local teachers and WVU English and education professors. Most workshops will focus on a particular aspect of teaching writing. Additional workshops are available for teachers to share and revise their own writing.  

The conference will conclude with a 30th anniversary celebration of the NWP@WVU site. The celebration is from 4-5 p.m. in the Rhododendron Room. 

Download Event Program


Early registration begins on Friday, March 10, 2017 and runs through March 26, 2017.
Early registration fee is $20. 

Regular registration is from Monday, March 27, 2017 through the morning of the conference (accepted between 8:00 - 8:30 a.m. on April 1).
Regular registration fee is $25.  

REGISTRATION IS FREE FOR WVU STUDENTS! Students need to register in order to participate.

Register using the first link below. Your registration will be date and time stamped at the link below so that you can pay now by credit card (use second link below) or on-site at the conference according to the date of your registration. At the conference you can pay by either *cash or check. Checks should be made out to “West Virginia University”.

Click here to register online!
Click here to pay by credit card online!
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Paid parking is available under the Mountainlair. Kiosks accept cash or credit card. 

Conference Schedule


Sessions and Descriptions

Collaborative Writing in the Inquiry-Based Classroom: Increasing Audience Awareness, Revision, and Peer Review Through a Shared Writing Experience

Presenter: Andrew Patrick, Morgantown High School
Target Grade Level: Middle School, High School
Focus: Argumentative Writing, Analytical Writing

Nothing creates community like a shared experience. Google docs has changed the way we collaborate and offer feedback to young writers as a means of communal writing support. In this session, teachers will be presented with a way to use Google docs to allow students to work together to create a shared writing product that also develops their sense of audience, singular voice, and purpose in writing. The session will also highlight the use of Socratic Seminar and inquiry-based learning to support writing and critical thought in the classroom in order to create student accountability, autonomy, and choice.

Poems as Recipes for More Poems

Presenter: Geoff Hilsabeck, WVU English Dept. (former high school English teacher) 
Target Grade Level: Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School
Focus: Literary/Creative Writing

I'll lead participants through a reading/writing exercise using a single poem, which we'll read, discuss, and then pull from for an original poem, to be drafted in the session. Those original poems will be shaped around various features (ex: tercets, a childhood memory, two questions, a simile) identified in the poem we read.

Guided Imagery

Presenter: Erica Rodeheaver, South Middle School
Target Grade Level: Middle School, High School
Focus: Literary/Creative Writing

Through guided meditation practice, students begin to embed imagery into their writing. 

Online Publication, Authentic Audiences, and the Creative Classroom

Presenter: Robert Dugan, Berkeley Springs High School
Target Grade Level: Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School
Focus: High School (currently implemented in secondary level, but applicable to all levels)

Participants will learn how to have students manage an online publication process through a modified version of the writing workshop. This approach is applicable in a variety of classroom settings, but is currently being used in a 9-12 creative writing setting. Student management of the website and selection for class publication promotes student ownership of writing. Modern students interact online, and this includes reading. Moving student creative work to a social, on demand, and online atmosphere allows students to share their creative work and allows their peers to read literary fiction from the student voice. Students can view analytics for their articles, have discussions about how to increase readership, and receive comments from the public on their work. The public nature of this method also encourages writers from the community to participate in critiquing and mentoring student writers, providing voices and perspectives other than the instructor's. This authentic experience is valuable to any student seeking a career or hobby in writing.

Creating Stories for "Naked" Graphs in Algebra

Presenter: Keri Valentine, WVU College of Education (former middle school math teacher)
Target Grade Level: Middle School
Focus: Literary/Creative Writing, Analytical Writing, Writing in Mathematics

In this session, participants will investigate opportunities to engage mathematics learners in creating stories about "naked" graphs (without numbers). Opportunities like this allows learners to read and write about patterns shown by the overall shape of a graph, the slopes of segments of the graph, and so on. Stories will be shared by middle school learners engaged in this creative writing activity.

Writing Through Close Reading

Presenter: Toni M. Poling, Fairmont Senior High School 
Target Grade Level: Middle School, High School
Focus: Analytical Writing

Students in my classroom practice close reading as a writing strategy. This session will explore close reading strategies and how to transition those skills to writing.

Writing Poetry in the High School Classroom: Instruction, Creation, and Assessment

Presenter: Amy Alvarez, WVU English Dept. (former high school English teacher)
Target Grade Level: High School
Focus: Literary/Creative Writing

Instruction, creation and assessment practices for writing poetry in the high school classroom. 

Discussion: An Exploration of Craft

Presenter: Cassie Griffith, Ripley High School
Target Grade Level: High School
Focus: Literary/Creative Writing, Argumentative Writing, Analytical Writing

This session will focus on how exploring an author's craft through collaborative discussion can improve students' writing. 

Implementing a Writing Workshop into a Kindergarten Classroom

Presenter: Kelsey Frantz, WVU Elementary Education Student
Target Grade Level: Early Elementary (Pre-K - 2)
Focus: All

A WVU student teacher shares her experiences of implementing a writer's workshop with Kindergarteners. 

Cultivating a Modern PLC: Connecting Teacher-Writers Through Blogs, Twitter, and More

Presenter: Shana Karnes, WVU College of Education lecturer, Education consultant, Former High School English Teacher
Target Grade Level: All Levels
Focus: All

Teachers are inspired, sustained, and improved through regular interactions with colleagues. While the ideas behind Professional Learning Communities are solid ones, too often these meetings with department members in our own schools are encumbered by administrative agendas. To create a Modern PLC, teachers can seek out their own like-minded friends for ideas, support, strategies, affirmations, questions, and resources. Through the vast world of blogging, Twitter, and professional organizations, teachers can beat burnout, improve their pedagogy, and stay fresh and refreshed with the help of colleagues near and far. Join me to learn more and cultivate an active professional presence, learning network, and family tree.

Mysteries, Boxes, and Lamplight: Helping Students Write like Readers and Vice Versa

Presenter: Daniel Levi Summers, University High School 
Target Grade Level: All Levels
Focus: Literary/Creative Writing, Informational Writing

Let us face it, holding someone's attention is hard. We try to give students tools like imagery, tone, details, etc..., to help them engage readers. In this session we explore how curiosity and connotative understanding help students become better story tellers. This is a skill that has helped my students develop as both creative and informative writers. Imagine students approaching writing as an act of discovery. The presenter imagines that all the time. Come explore some of his musings, and maybe write a little.

An Authentic Writing Process Using

Presenter: Jamie Johnson, Wheeling Park High School English Teacher
Target Grade Level: Middle School, High School
Focus: Argumentative Writing, Analytical Writing, Informational Writing

In our social media post-first-edit-later-or-never society, many teachers face the problem teaching the importance of the writing process to our students. They see little value in drafts, and peer editing is more of a popularity contest than a tool to improve writing. In this session, teachers will be presented with the many ways can improve the experience of writing for them and for their students. Students use online drafting posting, double-blind peer editing, teacher comments (oral and written), informative, argumentative, and narrative rubrics, reflective writing, and a plagiarism checker to create an online portfolio. It can also streamline grading for teachers—something we can all appreciate!

Getting Started with Place-Based Writing

Presenter: Rosemary Hathaway, WVU English and Isabella Alexandratos, WVU MAC Student Teacher at Wheeling Park High School
Target Grade Level: Middle School, High School
Focus: Literary/Creative

Intrigued by the idea of place-based learning and writing, but don't know where to start? The journey begins here! ELA classrooms can connect deeper learning of literary themes and genres with a community in rebuild by building a connected third space for learning. Creative writing can impact the way students think about their community and, through authentic publishing and community resources, the community can learn from the next generation. This two way communication can work toward revival and renaissance.

Traditional Recipes of Appalachian Students

Presenter: Carrie Beatty, University High School English Teacher
Target Grade Level: All Levels
Focus: Literary/Creative

This is a practical approach in getting students to publish their writing. At the end of the year, this is our way of celebrating our accomplishments while participating in fellowship and state pride. Students may pair up for this project. Each student or pair is responsible for completing a slide or page of the cookbook. Each page is to have a complete recipe including all ingredients (nothing secret), an explanation about how the recipe is traditional to them, the name of the recipe with their name and finally a picture of the prepared dish. These slides are put into one power point publication. My creative writing students are responsible for editing the slides, naming the cookbook, and organizing the slides into categories.

True Revision: Developing Students' Identities as Writers through Peer Review

Presenter: Danielle Poling, Sarah Reynolds-Carper, Katie Nowak, and Charity Costilow; Secondary English 5-Year Program Interns
Target Grade Level: Middle School, High School
Focus:  Peer Review

Peer review is an often-recommended tool for improving student writing, but its difficult and lengthy process can deter teachers from implementing it fully. Students who experience ineffective peer review come to view it as a grammar check rather than an opportunity to explore and improve one another's content. This session details strategies, concepts and positive results that arose from a semester-long focus on peer review in a high school English classroom. Through explicit instruction in both content-based aspects of writing and skills of peer review, students gained a foundation of knowledge from which to speak. Subsequent review sessions saw a rise in specific, content-focused, positive remarks and an increased sense of student independence in writing. Students began considering complex transactions between authors, editors, and readers as their outlook on writing and peer review improved.

Re-building the WVU Council of Teachers of English

Presenter: Karla Hilliard and Jessica Salfia, Berkeley High School English Teachers - Audra Slocum, WVU College of Education, English Education
Target Grade Level: All Levels
Focus: Teacher Leadership

The president and vice president of WVCTE will share how they have restarted WVCTE and their vision for its role in the state. Along with the co-directors of the NWP@WVU, they will faciltate a discussion about developing WVCTE across the state.