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NYCWP Teacher-to-Teacher Conference, 2014

New York City Writing Project

Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (EDT)

NYCWP Teacher-to-Teacher Conference, 2014

Registration Information

Registration Type Remaining Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Teacher-to-Teacher Conference Registration 316 Registrations Ended $45.00 $3.24

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Event Details


Join us for the sixteenth annual

Teacher-to-Teacher Conference

April 5th at

Lehman College

 8:30 am - 4:00 pm

$45 registration fee covers breakfast, lunch, and a packed day of
workshops, fellowship and learning.

Select from over 30 workshops offered by NYC classroom teachers.

Hands on, experiential sessions are guaranteed to provide relevant strategies that will inform your classroom practice.

This year's keynote will be novelist Justin Torres.  His debut novel, We the Animals, won an Indies Choice Book Award (Adult Debut Honor Award) and was also a Publishing Triangle Awar finalist and a NAACP Image Award nominee (Outstanding Literary Work, Debut Author), and also is a New York Times Best seller. 


8:30-9:20 Breakfast 

Introduction of Conference

9:30-10:30 Keynote: Justin Torres

10:30-11:00 Book signing, book buying, and table visiting

11:15-12:30 Workshop session one

12:45-1:30 Lunch 


1:45-3:00 Workshop session two

3:15-4:00 Plenary workshop

4:00 Closing Remarks

By registering for this event, you are giving permission for the NYCWP to publish photography of the event in which your image may be included, in promotional material. 


Morning Workshops

1. Keeping It Creative (MS/HS)

Priscilla Thomas, Molly Sherman

Molly Sherman and Priscilla Thomas have taught around the world and across the Bronx, working with a wide variety of ages, cultures, and classrooms. They have found that with ELLs, struggling students, gifted/honors groups, and even teachers, the common denominator has been the desire of young and youngish, minds to express and to be heard. Molly and Priscilla will share strategies, unit plans, and activities that they have used to infuse creativity into the classroom, and further engage their students in the struggle and uncertainty of ELA. Come prepared to participate, question, and share!

2. The Power of Conversation: Strengthening Critical Reading and Writing Skills through the Harkness Method (MS/HS)

Vanessa Kabash

Before students can successfully read and write with the greater “depth and rigor” the common core demands, they must learn how to think deeply about the text they have read or are about to write. The Harkness method of discussion leads students to think carefully, thoroughly, and collaboratively about topics, texts, writing tasks and audiences. Further, it allows them to practice discussion skills, problem-solving, and even subject- or genre-specific academic discourse language. In this workshop, we will experience the Harkness method, hear about how it works in the classroom, and explore ways to adapt it to our own needs.

3. Interactive Activities to Engage Readers (ES/MS/HS)

Teresa Devore

Have you heard students complain that reading is boring? Participants will engage in three interactive activities that incorporate speaking, listening, and writing to enhance reading comprehension. These activities could be used in an ELL or content-area class. Participants will also look at examples of student work and discuss how they can use the strategies in their classrooms.

4. Higher Order Discussions: Expanding Students’ Roles in Literature Circles (MS/HS)

Kevin Marquez

Literature Circles are a well-known practice that engages students with their reading through individually focused roles and a group structure for discussions with peers. But how do you help students actually discuss ideas in a rich and un-scripted fashion? In this workshop, teachers will experience literature circle roles developed by a teacher over the last 3 years with his ELL students. Going beyond the familiar literary elements, teachers will experience what it is like to take on roles that engage them in reading, writing and historical thinking and then use those roles to engage in authentic discussions. Participants will see how this teacher has revised the roles to suit a variety of readings and provided the scaffolding to meet his students’ needs. Time will be given for teachers to consider how they might adapt this work in their own classrooms.

6.  The Power of Memoir: Writing the “I” into the ELA Curriculum (HS)

Andrew Ahn, Marcus McArthur

What is the place of personal and creative writing in the high school English classroom? Can memoir writing substitute for more traditional forms of assessment? How can the memoir genre help students grow as readers, writers, and critical thinkers? Traditional academic writing often leaves students frustrated and teachers bored. Memoir writing is not only engaging, it’s intellectually stimulating and rigorous. It provides a space for students to deepen their understanding of themselves, liven up their prose, and discover their writing voices. Memoirs are also interesting to read. In this workshop, we will discuss the role of personal voice in our classrooms, do some of our own writing, and learn different strategies for teaching craft, literary elements, and techniques through the reading and writing of memoir. We will also look at student writing samples to help us get a better sense of how students interact with the genre.

8. Writing in the Digital Age (MS/HS)

Scott Larsen

In today's classroom, finding ways to integrate technology into a lesson is becoming more and more essential but can be challenging for both you and your students. In this science-oriented workshop, we will explore how to bring technology into Inquiry-based writing projects in sensible, useful, and appropriate ways.

9. Don't wait: Poetry All Year (ES)

Catlin Preston

Don't wait for poetry month. Don't wait for tender spring. Start reading poems and enjoying poems with kids on the first day of school and keep it up through the year. Encourage students to collect poems that they love and want to read again and again. Together we will read, write, chant, act poems- look for rhythms, rhymes and who-knows-what. You will get to read some poems to yourself or to a colleague, and begin your own collection of poems you enjoy.

10. Forming Questions from Readings: Student-Made Study Guides (MS/HS)

Christopher Kelly

This workshop will demonstrate a reading activity that helps students form questions about readings through an activity called "Pass It On!" The end result of this activity is a Cornell-Notes-Style study guide that can be used for test preparation. It is a fast-paced activity in which the students read, summarize, and ultimately evaluate each other’s work in making their own study guides.

11. Social Action Picture Book (ES/MS)

Denise Galang 

In this workshop, participants will engage with a 4/5 week unit on reading and writing Social Action Picture Books. The students write a research-based author's note and create an illustrated book with a social message. The unit appeals to students of diverse levels and interests, involves both fiction and nonfiction, and is a community project because it involves reading to a local elementary school.

12. Using Superheroes in the Classroom (MS/HS)

Jason N. Fischedick

This workshop will focus on the many different ways one can use graphic superhero literature to teach classic literary concepts, as well as open discussions in a multitude of different fields. We will explore how to approach psychology through Batman, philosophy through Watchmen, civil rights issues through Captain America. In addition, we will look at how these works can fit into the Common Core approach to curriculum.

13. Youth Voices (MS/HS)

Paul Allison

In this workshop we'll show our colleagues the work middle school and high school students have been doing on Youth Voices, and we’d like to invite each of them to join us if it makes sense in their teaching. Too often, youth disengage from school, unable to see the connection between academic work and their cultural, community, or peer identities. Youth Voices is an environment with the potential to bridge students’ different worlds. We have learned to trust that committed, academically-oriented learning grows when students conduct interest-powered inquiries and publish digital writing and videos on our peer-supported social network. Through Youth Voices, students establish an “expert” identity through their work. Our work in July 2013 in the Youth Voices Summer Program built on our learning. Students and teachers re-made themselves into social-media power users, participatory learners who know how to raise important issues online, get the attention of peers and decision-makers, shape issues, and take action with others. We hope you will join us in this workshop to learn more about how we connect youth’s academic learning with their personal passions and wider concerns.

14. Revision (MS/HS)

Elizabeth Schurman

How do we show revision as a process, a playful act, an experiment, rather than a drudgery of fixing spelling problems or adding commas? In this workshop, we will discuss, brainstorm, and share how we encourage, cajole, and trick students into making real changes to their work.

15. Hands-On Writing Toolbox! (HS)

Georgina Giannikouris

For the student who hates to write, this workshop introduces a unit of hands-on activities and class practices that help push the student in the direction of writing in a fun and engaging way! My goal is to provide several short and easy activities and motivators to start the writing process, and to show you a few things from my classroom toolbox that bring the class to life. Using the five senses, group exercises, class stations and some great props, these exercises help reach all students, and are great resources for special educators and teachers of low performing students particularly! I hope to SHOW instead of TELL, and give you the opportunity to try these activities for yourself!

16. Fast and Furious: 25 Recent Books You MUST Have In Your Classroom Library (ES/MS/HS)

Jennifer Ochoa

Jennifer will give 25 quick book talks on recently published books that are a must for classroom libraries. All books have been published since 2012, and include picture books, early readers, middle grade and young adult. Come away with a list, and drive straight to Barnes and Noble, or bring your tablet and order on the spot! A variety of book talking strategies will be used that might help you talk up titles in your own classroom.


Afternoon Workshops

1. Watercolors Through History: Painting through Historical Documents (ES/MS)

Marina Lombardo

Where does art live within the Common Core classroom? Using complex texts, young students are beginning to learn how to engage in "close reading" while developing their visualization skills, attention to detail, and ability to make connections. Not to mention, they get to use watercolors! Students work towards extracting text, as well as paraphrasing quotes, in order to gain meaning from challenging passages. Participants will be introduced to a layout of how this was done within a 4th grade classroom and paint a picture using a document aligned with the NYC Social studies curriculum. We will have a discussion on how this work can be applied in other grades, topics, and areas.

2. Low-Stakes and Content-Area Writing Opportunities in the Primary Grades (ES)

Danielle Kramer

Be a part of a workshop that will focus on finding low stakes writing opportunities throughout the school day and in the content areas. These low-stakes writing assignments are designed to help you engage your students with new material in a meaningful way. They give your students a chance to get comfortable expressing new concepts and ideas and give you, the teacher, a perspective on how well new concepts are being absorbed. This workshop will include family books, What's New With You, faux tweets, top ten lists and trip/book reviews.



3. One Question, Multiple Entry Points (MS/HS)

Jamie Selip-Dyasi, Ayette Carrasco

Have you ever sat down to write a lesson only to find that you go back to the same bag of tricks to teach certain skills? In this workshop, participants will explore various activities that allow students to understand relationships between claims and evidence in ways that help them engage with the texts they are reading, share ideas with their peers and grapple with their own viewpoints. Together participants will explore and experience various strategies, such as theater games, instant debates, "according to" arguments and "lifelines" that will serve to enrich our own understandings of how we can satisfy the CCLS needs of our classrooms and engage in meaningful and creative ways with evidence-based arguments. Participants will try out some activities and discuss the implications for work in their own classrooms.


4. A Writer’s Survival Guide (MS/HS)

Ann Neary

Often students do not view themselves as writers. Writers are someone else—grown-ups or other people. But we must allow our students the opportunity to become writers and identify themselves as such to unlock their full intellectual and creative potential. By giving them the support, we can build our future writers confidently. Through a series of engaging activities, student writers will begin to understand what goes into the act of writing in a non-threatening and useful way. Using elements of observation, environmental awareness, preparation for the unexpected, sequencing of events and sharing the creative process, ALL students will be writers by the end of this lesson. One step at a time, using theatre warm-up exercises, and creating a word-by-word group story, participants will recognize many CCLS, including responding to literature, engaging in pre-writing and writing, collaborative discussion, vocabulary acquisition and creation of stories or poems.


5. The Monologue Project: What's Your Story? (MS/HS)

Zara Zuckerman

This workshop will be an example-filled introduction and how-to guide for the Monologue Project, an assignment in which students create and perform their own interview-based monoloques. We examine the unique style of "poem-monologues" using the collection With Their Eyes as the main text. With Their Eyes includes monologues culled from interviews with students, faculty, and staff at Stuyvesant High School in the days following the September 11th attacks. These monologues include the "likes" and "ums" of regular speech to capture the authenticity of these different voices and stories. The process of writing, designing, and performing the monologues draws upon many essential skills, including conducting interviews, editing to focus the monologue on a single story, speaking and performing publicly, and reflecting on the process in writing. The end result is part oral history, part journalism, and part dramatic interpretation.



6. Text-Based Debate, CCSS-Style: Where Fun Masks Rigor (ES/MS/HS)

Loretta Brady

Presented with support from New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL).

Watch video clips of students clashing over the meaning of content-aligned anchor texts and track their argumentative writing on the NYCUDL Debate blog. Then, be guided step by step through a simulation of mini, small group debates. Examine the backwards engineering that applies CCSS moves (i.e. identifying author's claims and counterclaims, "They Say/I Say" stems,) to this time-tested critical thinking model. Participants will leave with abundant web site resources for engaging, rigorous texts, graphic organizers and unit development ideas. All participants are granted access to NYCUDL's free membership, with elementary, middle and high school tournaments. All middle and high schools win invitations to Bella Abzug Women's Leadership Debate festivals (BALI).


7. Individualized Modifications for Emergent Bilinguals (HS)

Keri Twente

In this workshop, participants will explore various methods of differentiating content for emergent bilinguals from various linguistic backgrounds. What do effective language modifications look like in the content areas? How can we move beyond graphic organizers and blanket modifications that help students complete tasks but don’t necessarily help them learn English? How can we incorporate individualized modifications into our lessons? In this workshop, we will discover how to create and implement meaningful modifications that support the needs of each individual language learner, taking into consideration each student's L1, English proficiency level, and linguistic goals, among other variables.


8. Talk Used to Share Knowledge: Accountable Talk in the High School Science Classroom (HS)

Pamela Meyer

A method used to create a dynamic and engaging class discussion is explored in detail. After students prepare for a class seminar by researching sources they will cite during the discussion and participating in small group shares, the class is video-taped while sharing their knowledge during a seminar. Preparation for the seminar provides multiple entry points, and activities encourage equity of voice. Students explain their reasoning, cite sources, engage in peer and self-assessment and reflect on the experience. Students learn how to find evidence in a given text that supports specific claims, and the correct way to cite this evidence when engaging in scientific writing. The class learns to work as a team while individuals develop the skills needed to successfully contribute to meaningful discussion.

10. The Creativity Core (HS)

Daniel Weinstein

There's more to life than the Common Core! Participants will learn how to turn a language arts classroom into a Creativity Workshop.

They will leave knowing how to:

·         Set up the workshop environment.

·         Run the workshop day-to-day.

·         Incorporate it into the traditional course.

·         Conclude the year with student-portfolios.

Surf to thecreativitycore.com for more information on this goal-oriented project-based, student-centered method of teaching.


11. Generating Through Emulating: Mentor Texts as Muse Along the Journey of Writing (MS/HS)

Tricia Clarke

Motivating students to engage in rigorous and meaningful writing can sometimes feel like trudging up Mount Everest with a limited water supply. However, when students encounter model literature written by their peers and that speaks to their lived experience, interest and engagement soar. This hands-on workshop is designed to have teachers experience  resources that promise to do just that. Participants will have a multi-literacy experience that can be used in classrooms at various grade levels. They will read a mentor text that features award-winning student writing in various genres, examine the companion website, and emulate the text in writing. They will learn how teachers have utilized the mentor text and website in their classroom for generating writing. They will walk away with ideas for how to motivate students to generate publish-worthy writing that meets Common Core State Standards, and that students will enjoy.


12. Making History Come Alive: A Case for Simulations in Social Studies Classrooms (MS/HS)

Thomas Ng

The purpose of this presentation is to illustrate the value of simulations as an instructional strategy. Simulations are experiential learning opportunities, set by the instructor, which can occur in a classroom setting through constraints. While students feel like they are playing a game, this method can illustrate some of the most complex economic theories or social phenomena. This strategy increases student engagement and reflective practices, and is even Common Core aligned! I will introduce participants to my graduate research on simulations’ value and limitations, walk participants through a simulation they could execute in their classroom, and debrief with them regarding how to integrate this instructional model into their curriculum.


14. Youth Communication: Engaging Struggling Teens with Non-Fiction Text to Promote Literacy and Social and Emotional Learning (ES/MS/HS)

Keith Hefner, Founder and Executive Director, Elizabeth Johnson, Education Director

Struggling readers and writers benefit from classroom relationships and content that honor their experiences and help them construct meaning that is relevant to their lives. Youth Communication’s texts—non-fiction personal essays written by New York City teens—are uniquely engaging and help teachers build relationships with their most marginalized students. In this workshop, we will  explore story-based learning that supports reading comprehension and writing to-learn strategies, while preparing youth to successfully take on the challenges of formal writing. We will demonstrate a Youth Communication lesson and then talk about it, while also inviting workshop participants to share literacy strategies that engage teens, support youth development, and create positive learning environments. We will also show how these strategies align with the Common Core.        

15. Beginning at the End (ES/MS/HS)          
lisa schaffner
A teacher’s life is a series of hellos and goodbyes. We build a community of learners in September and disassemble that community ten months later. I have
developed ways that help the children in my class and myself reflect on the learning and experiences that have taken place over the school year. In this
workshop we will look at strategies to help our students and ourselves say goodbye in meaningful ways that mark the significance of our time together.

16. Global Citizenship Education and Common Core (HS)
Richard Capozzi

This workshop explores the 'link' between Global Citizenship Education and Common Core from within a CCSS-aligned thematic module on "Food." The module is focused on developing multiple student literacies and, contemporaneously, critical acumen in visual rhetoric, argumentation, research, marketing, health, sustainability, and human development. Common Core ELA standards prove to be necessary but insufficient for Global Citizenship Education. Workshop participants will compare Common Core ELA Standards with NYS Learning Standards for Health, CTE Standards, and standards for Sustainability Education, as well as other indicators of Global Citizenship Education, with the goal of beginning to craft their own module for Global Citizenship Education.

Have questions about NYCWP Teacher-to-Teacher Conference, 2014? Contact New York City Writing Project

When & Where

Lehman College
250 Bedford Park Blvd W
New York, NY 10468

Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (EDT)

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