By Katie Farley
National Day on Writing, Oct. 20, was celebrated in many different ways throughout All Saints Catholic School.
Seventh-graders helped kindergarteners create a holiday book; fourth- and fifth- graders worked on writing lunes (poems similar to haikus), and first -graders wrote about their senses in rhyme. In each classroom pencils were working feverishly to express ideas, dabble with words and describe imaginary worlds.
Writing is often thought of as a scary and daunting task. Most students and teachers become discouraged when asked to write. It is not a skill than can be learned in a short amount of time, but rather a skill that needs to be fostered and encouraged over a lifetime.
The Eastern Iowa Writing Project (EIWP), a division of the National Writing Project, offers a four-week summer program to teachers at St. Ambrose University in Davenport to learn new strategies to help their students — and themselves — become proficient writers and learners. The program is available to teachers at all grade levels and all subject areas.
Focusing on writing, this program serves as a nurturing community sharing ideas, materials and support. Several years ago I became involved in the EIWP. Since then I have taken part in several journal seminars, a leadership institute, and joined the EIWP Advisory Committee. I am a stronger teacher because of the guidance, research and encouragement this program has given me. I have greatly benefited from all the program has to offer and I know that my students have benefited as well.
(Farley teaches literature and language arts to sixth- and seventh-graders at All Saints Catholic School.)