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Jennifer is a former 4th and 5th-grade teacher from southeast Wisconsin. She began her teaching career like many teachers — without a clue as to how to teach writing. Her teacher prep courses did not cover writing instruction and she didn’t have a school writing curriculum to offer guidance so you can imagine how lost she was. Her first year of teaching, her students wrote ONE time — a poem for Mother’s Day in May of that school year.
Determined to make things better, she began to research the best practices for teaching writing. She read everything she could get my hands on and was lucky enough to come across Ralph Fletcher’s The Writing Workshop. She devoured this book in one weekend and was excited to bring more writing time to my classroom.
After a few years of having a classroom writing workshop, she felt better but still felt like something was missing. Her students were definitely writing more, but she was struggling with helping them move forward as writers.
In the summer of 2012, she participated in the National Writing Project’s Summer Institute at UW-Milwaukee. It was here that she had an important revelation — that teachers who write make the best teachers of writers. If she wanted to become an effective writing teacher, she needed to write.
As a teacher-writer, she experienced firsthand how writing works. How to push through the hard parts. How a writer’s writing process is unique to every writer. How struggle is something ALL writers experience. She brought all of this experience into her classroom and it made a HUGE difference. Once she became a teacher-writer, she became a member of her classroom writing community. She wrote alongside her students. She conferred with them writer-to-writer. They saw her doing the work of a writer so they pushed themselves to do the same.
In 2017 she left the classroom and began Teach Write LLC, a writing education company that helps teachers and their students grow as writers. She works with individual teachers and schools to support writing instruction that is grounded in the work of teacher-as-writer. Her Time to Write workshops offered through my Teach Write Academy brings together teacher-writers once a week on Zoom to write together, to talk about writing and our writing-classrooms, and to cheer each other on in our writing endeavors. Their monthly #TeachWrite Facebook Slow Chat (formerly Twitter chat) focuses on the life and work of the teacher-writer and has connected hundreds of teacher-writers across the country and world.
For more information on Jennifer check out her website, sign up for her newsletter, attend one of her workshops, join her Facebook Community, participate in the #TeachWrite Slow Chat, and follow her on Twitter!
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