Writing Project Conference Saturday, Dec. 2

Learn Better Practices to Teach Writing
at the STWP Conference at TAMIU Dec. 2

Teachers in all disciplines and prospective teachers interested in learning new ways to teach students to write should make plans to attend the Annual South Texas Writing Project Conference, “TAKS Rx: Student-Centered Learning,” Saturday, Dec. 2 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Texas A&M International University’s Western Hemispheric Trade Center.

Registration is $50 for professionals and $10 for students. Lunch will be provided.

Pick up a registration form at the College of Arts and Sciences department of language and literature, Anthony J. and Georgia A. Pellegrino Hall, room 314 or call 326.2470.

The keynote speaker for this year is Carlos Flores, founder of the STWP and writer of the critically acclaimed young adult novel, “Our House on Hueco.”

“People who attend the Conference will take some excellent strategies to teach writing to students on all grade levels. We will have actual classroom instructors, from grammar school to college, to demonstrate lessons and techniques that have worked well in their classes,” said Dr. Ellen Barker, STWP co-director and associate professor of English.

“The Conference represents a compendium of ‘best practices’ among Laredo teachers and emphasizes the motto of the National Writing Project—‘teachers teaching teachers,’” Dr. Barker explained.

“The STWP, established in 1996, is one of 195 sites (14 in Texas) of the National Writing Project, an organization composed of teachers, kindergarten through university from all disciplines, working to improve the teaching of writing,” noted Lucinda Farrokh, STWP co-director and English instructor at Laredo Community College.

STWP strives to improve literacy and the teaching and use of writing to learn in all classrooms through young writers’ camps and family literacy programs in the community and provides leadership opportunities and recognition for South Texas and Laredo teachers.

Opportunities include the annual fall Conference, various in-service, development, afternoon and institute programs and the Summer Institute for the Teaching of Writing, offered annually at TAMIU since 1996.

“Conference sessions are classroom-ready lessons presented by STWP teacher consultants who have attended an intensive, 126-hour Summer Institute on the Teaching of Writing. Too often, in-service presenters only ‘tell’ teachers about a lesson; STWP shows or demonstrates its lessons with teachers. The lessons teach skills that will benefit students in all writing situations, including test taking,” said Farrokh.

“Anyone who is teaching now, regardless of discipline, at any grade level, should consider coming to the Conference. Right now, there is a considerable emphasis on writing across the disciplines at all grade levels, so science and math teachers can also benefit from this Conference. People who are curious about the STWP and its presence at TAMIU should consider attending; the Conference might be able to clarify for others STWP’s role in education. Attending the Conference could solidify for interested students that teaching English or writing is the avenue they want to pursue at TAMIU,” encouraged Barker.

“Teacher evaluations consistently rate STWP programs as excellent,” noted Farrokh.

In the past 10 years, more than 100 teachers have become STWP teacher consultants. Last year, STWP conducted nearly 10,000 contact hours of programs for teachers and students: it sponsored the Annual Fall Conference and the Chicano Movement Symposium and co-sponsored the Border Literacy Conference with the TAMIU College of Education. STWP teachers conducted in-service at schools at all levels and hosted three young writers’ camps.

For more information, please contact Barker at 326.2470, e-mail ebarker@tamiu.edu or visit offices in PH 314C or contact Farrokh at lfarrokh@laredo.edu

The University will close for the holidays at noon on Friday, Dec. 22.  Offices will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007.

Despite office closures, registration for the Spring Semester 2007 continues 24/7at UOnline, located at schedule.tamiu.edu

Spring 2007 classes beginTuesday, Jan. 16.

University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu