Teachers Hone Literacy Teaching Skills Over Summer
(July 15, 2011) As fifteen teachers from Coastal Georgia and South Carolina start school this fall, they will be returning with new ideas to help students improve their writing. They will also be better connected with colleagues—and therefore better equipped to teach their students how to write in this digital age after participating in the second annual Coastal Savannah Writing Project (CSWP) Summer Institute in Writing hosted by Armstrong Atlantic State University.
The summer institute addressed all modes of writing, including narrative, expository, persuasive, and writing to learn, as well as a wide range of genres. Participating teachers worked on their own writing skills, learned about the latest research on teaching writing and planned and presented sample strategy workshops to their peers. The schools represented included Blessed Sacrament and Savannah Country Day in Savannah, Beach High School, Charles Ellis Montessori, Coastal Empire Montessori, Gadsden Elementary, Garden City Elementary and Largo-Tibet in the Savannah-Chatham school district; Ridgeland Middle School in Jasper, S.C., Bluffton High School in Beaufort, S.C., and Richmond Hill Primary in Bryan County, Ga.
The CSWP advocates the exemplary teaching of writing and use of writing for learning across the curriculum in schools across the region. CSWP is dedicated to helping primary, middle and secondary school teachers in Coastal Georgia and South Carolina to build student success in writing by offering an annual summer institute in writing, professional development in-service offerings for schools, monthly Super Saturday strategy workshops, fall and spring teacher conferences and ongoing support for Summer Institute Fellows. In 2012, CSWP plans to offer a Summer Institute in Reading.
The teachers who participated in the first summer writing institute in 2010 have reported significant gains in their students’ writing performance and comprehension skills directly linked to strategies learned in the CSWP Summer Institute in Writing.
The Coastal Savannah Writing Project, hosted by Armstrong Atlantic State University, was established in 2010 to offer professional growth opportunities for Savannah and the Georgia-South Carolina coastal area teachers from Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, Bryan, McIntosh, Effingham, Beaufort, and Jasper counties.
Lesley Roessing, a retired middle school teacher and current instructor in Armstrong’s College of Education, serves as director of CSWP. She is the author of The Write to Read: Response Journals That Increase Comprehension. Associate directors and co-facilitators of the summer institute are retired Savannah teacher Donna Loyd, SCCPSS elementary teacher Barbara Grimm, and Julie Warner, an instructor in Armstrong’s College of Liberal Arts.