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NYCWP Teacher to Teacher Conference, 2017 (#T2T17)

New York City Writing Project

Saturday, March 18, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (EDT)

NYCWP Teacher to Teacher Conference, 2017 (#T2T17)

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Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Early-Bird Ticket Mar 3, 2017 $55.00 $3.74
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Mar 20, 2017 Enter donation ($)

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Event Details

Join the New York City Writing Project for our 19th annual

Teacher-to-Teacher Conference


Registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, two keynote addresses, and a full day packed with teacher-created and -facilitated workshops and panels on a variety of topics. Select from over 25 sessions designed and facilitated by NYC classroom teachers. These hands on, experiential sessions are guaranteed to provide relevant strategies that will inform your classroom practice.  You will engage in examples of both theory and practice and emerge with strategies that you can immediately bring to your classroom and your students.  We offer workshops and panel sessions that are appropriate for teachers of grades preK-16 and of all content areas.

The morning address will be delivered by KIESE LAYMON. He is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State Univeristy before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana Univeristy and is currently a Professor of English and African American Studies at the Univeristy of Mississippi. Laymon is the author of the novel Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. 

DR. CHRISTOPHER EMDIN will provide the afternoon address. He is is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University; where he also serves as Director of Science Education at the Center for Health Equity and Urban Science Education. He is also the Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. 


 This event will be photographed.  By registering for this event, you grant permission for the NYCWP to publish photography that may include your image in promotional materials. 




1.) Playlists for Learning (Panel), Panel Chair: Paul Allison, New York City Writing Project

(MS/HS/College — ELA, SS, STEM, Arts)

Join six teachers who have been working with LRNG and Youth Voices, and learn more about connected learning! This panel will introduce the group’s LRNG project, which creates “playlists” of “XPs” (digital experiences) and digital badges on the LRNG ( platform and Youth Voices ( Over the years, we have found that there are many advantages to bringing students together in one site that lives beyond any particular class. It's easier for individual students to read and write about their own passions, to connect with other students, comment on each other's work, and create multimedia posts for each other. Join us for a play-test of our new LRNG formats for an example of replicable, tried-and-true blended learning experiences.


2.) Culturally Attuned Pedagogy: Exploring Multiple Cultural Realities and the Common Core State Standards, Jacobe Bell, Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists, and Colleen Rodgers, MS 50/John D. Wells


In the advent of standardized assessments, urban students in particular have become subject to exploring writing as a means for composing a product rather than a process extrapolating on larger ideas. This session will provide teachers across all subject areas with writing strategies that authentically incorporate students’ cultural realities while providing them access to the codes of power that Lisa Delipt describes. Participants will have access to a theoretical framework supporting the strategies and resources to developing similar practices within their classrooms.


3.) Take a Stand: From Literacy to Activism, Alex Corbitt, SCHOOL)


The public discourse of 2016 challenged our commitment to equality, democracy, and inclusion. We must now, more than ever, teach our students to advocate for all cultures, spiritual backgrounds, identities, and orientations. This workshop will explore strategies and performance tasks that bridge literacy and civic engagement. Participants will reflect on the purpose of literacy, and the role of literacy educators, in 2017. Then, the group will review podcasts, webisodes, and underground newspapers created by students, and reflect on the ways that performance tasks serve to marry activism with text analysis, composition, and rhetorical decision-making. Workshop attendees will then create their own collaborative underground newspaper and take it to the Twittersphere!


4.) Reading, Writing and Discussion Techniques for Emerging to Commanding NLLs, Teresa Devore, John Dewey High School

(HS — ELA, SS) 

Participants in this workshop will engage in a variety of reading, writing, and speaking activities that enable students to deepen their understanding, share ideas, and learn from each other. Participants will see how teachers can promote language development in transitioning through commanding New Language Learners alongside deepening content knowledge. Participants will engage in activities that provide multiple access points for learners to engage with text and each other as they make meaning of what they read and the world around them.


5.) Telling Our Stories: Education, Ethnomusicology, and Hip-Hop Narratives, Abimbola Kai-Lewis, Community Partnership Charter School, and Chosan

(ES/MS/HS — ELA, Arts)

Sierra Leonean emcee Chosan uses his lyrics to describe various life experiences. His songs explore topics including blood diamonds, citizenship, identity, immigration, and violence against youth. This workshop will demonstrate how musical analyses of Chosan’s songs can be used to promote narrative writing and storytelling among students and school staff. This workshop will provide an overview of the different elements of hip-hop culture, placing a focus on storytelling through lyricism, while offering participants the opportunity to both engage with musical storytelling and create their own personal narratives.


6.) bell hooks meet Beyoncé: Helping Educators Make Lemonade, Saara Liimatta, Urban Assembly for Criminal Justice

(MS/HS — ELA, SS, Arts)

 Tired of students resisting difficult texts? Learn how to use pop culture and other student-friendly media to engage students in discussions of challenging materials. Participants will see how choosing the right texts fosters rich discussions and writing among even the most reluctant learners. This workshop will focus on text-pairings, while engaging participants in feminist critique that is appropriate for use with students. Ask yourself: Is Beyoncé a good spokesperson for feminism? Come be at the center of a discussion about Beyoncé as a feminist role model, learn what bell hooks has to say, and pick up visual and written texts from a range of difficulties that can be used to engage students in a similar conversation. Opportunities to discuss extensions and adaptations will also be provided.


 7.) The Power in Memoir, Marcus McArthur, City-as-School, and Andrew Ahn, Teachers College

(MS/HS — ELA, SS, Arts)

 Why teach writing? This workshop attempts to answer this question through the transformative experience of engaging in the writing process through memoir. In this workshop, participants will consider, discuss and learn strategies related to the pedagogical utility and difficulties of creative writing, specifically memoir writing, in our current climate of standards. Utilizing culturally relevant texts, including an excerpt from one of Kiese Laymon’s essays, and analytical frameworks, we will discuss the ways to engage students in meaningful learning. Then, you’ll begin your own short piece to share in the workshop’s “Memoir Café!”


 8.) Making Published Writing Public, Sarah Merchlewitz and Jennifer Ochoa, MS 324


 “If only I could make my students care about this essay!” Has this ever been you? Have you wondered how you could add some extra motivation and visibility to your students’ writing? Research shows that students feel a greater sense of engagement and ownership over their writing if there is an authentic audience. If you want students to go through the writing process with more motivation and end with a piece they are personally proud of, put student writing out into the world! In this workshop, we will introduce two online platforms that have resulted in noticeably increased student investment in the classroom. We will explore these platforms and lay the groundwork for using them with your own classes. NOTE – a Gmail account is required for this session.


 9.) ‘Talking With’ as a Means for Engaging Students in Learning, Gina Paese, Wagner Middle School

(MS/HS/College — ELA, SS, STEM, Arts)

 Do you believe meaningful talk and purposeful writing are integral to learning experiences? If your teaching is inspired when you listen to students’ engaging conversations, this workshop is for you. “Talking With” is a procedure that provides a basis for meaningful conversations without an over-reliance on procedures that feel too rigid because they are used as rules to make people talk. This workshop draws on qualitative research methods to help teachers create a community of meaningful talk with students. Together, participants will establish methods of meaningful talk as a means for learning and writing in the classroom.


10.) Looking for a (Better) Argument, John Schmitt, Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies 

(MS/HS — ELA, SS, STEM, Arts)

 Teaching argument writing has become stagnant and stale. How can we push our students to go beyond tired essay structures, and at the same time encourage authentic thought? Looking for a (Better) Argument sets out to show teachers that there are more than just one way to teach argument writing – there are many! Together we will problematize the current method of teaching argument, and consider the limitations and assumptions we have about the ways we expect students to formulate arguments. This session will share novel pedagogical techniques developed through the National Writing Project’s College Ready Writers’ Program curriculum, and skills such as authorizing, forwarding, and illustrating as tools to show students how to enhance their arguments and writing.


11.) Acknowledging Student Identity—Literacy, Art-Making and the Restorative Circle Process, Emily Scibilia, International High School for Health Sciences

(ES/MS/HS — ELA, Arts)

How do we acknowledge student identity through literacy, art, and restorative justice circles? This workshop introduces participants to the circle process with the intention of modeling how circles are used as tools for teaching literacy in our classrooms. Participants will write and share poetry as a means of expressing their identity while simultaneously recognizing the identity of other participants in circle. Ultimately, this process creates a strong classroom community where students feel comfortable leading discussions; sharing thoughts, feelings, and ideas; and making choices. Additional resources and techniques for facilitating your own circles will be provided during this experiential session.


12.) Community-Based STEM Curriculum that Incorporates Students’ Cultural Experiences, Yvonne Thevenot, STEM Kids NYC


 A core concept behind community-based STEM curriculum is the collaboration of educators, families, community partners, and STEM professionals and students engaged in STEM fields that bridges the gap between school curriculum and the immediate need for schools to prepare students for STEM skills. In this workshop, you will experience a splash of STEM and develop your own STEM identity as an Engineer or Codester! You will learn how circuits work and utilize your newly acquired knowledge as an Engineer to create wearable technology. You will also wireframe your very own app, thereby earning the name of Codester. Finally, in this workshop, you’ll collaborate with others to create action plans to incorporate STEM Without Tears into your classroom. 


13.) Differentiating Texts to Fuel Authentic Seminar Discussion and Writing, Kevin Vachna and Travis Combs, Pan American International High School at Monroe


In a world where thinking critically about the slippery nature of truth is increasingly necessary, we will use Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as a starting place to explore how to successfully engage students in authentic discussions and writing activities. Participants will have the opportunity to explore how to meet the varied needs and interests of learners through the use of Socratic seminar, stations, and the differentiated use of texts (written and multimedia) around a common theme. This workshop will leave participants better prepared to use low-stakes writing to build prior knowledge, encourage collaborative group work, include scaffolding and support for NLLs and struggling readers, and to structure their Socratic seminar. The workshop will end with an idea-share and a space for participants to discuss topics addressed. 




1.) Gender Bender: Teaching Gender in Literacy, Christa Angelios and Jana Katz, Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary School


What will we tell our children? As teachers in the Information Age, we must engage students in discussions about what they learn from the media they consume. Gender representations—from Trump to Shakespeare, Taylor Swift to Naomi Shihab Nye—give children social cues we can teach them to critically analyze. Based on the “Girlhood” unit at Girl Prep Bronx Middle School, this workshop will focus on the socio-political conversation of gender representations in the media, and will include representations of all genders, not just the binary.


2.) Critical Thinking for a World in Crisis, Ryan Bartley, Richard R. Green HS of Teaching


Never has it been more important to apply a critical and analytical eye to the world around us. History often repeats itself and is certainly relatable to the contemporary world, yet we often rush to cover content and miss opportunities to invite our students into the world of critical thinking. In this workshop, teachers will experience low-stakes writing that connects historical topics to teens’ personal lives; consider compelling questions that prompt an inquiry mindset; and delve into some historical dilemmas that student groups may seek to problem-solve.


3.) It’s Debatable: Critical Literacy is Serious Fun!, Loretta Brady and Joe Pierce, PS/MS 278

(MS/HS/College — ELA, SS, STEM, Arts)

Debate is a vital way to raise literacy and advocacy for all students. Watch student-led prep groups debate simultaneously. Walk through a debate, noting scaffolding and differentiation. Gain ready-to-use resources and see how social justice causes can shape CCSS-aligned, experiential units. You’ll concur: such a powerful force multiplier, debate should be a frequently-used tool for raising critical comprenehsion.


4.) Using Visual Art to Develop Critical Analysis and Writing, Carla Cherry, Innovation Diploma Plus High School

(HS — ELA, SS, Arts)

The purpose of this interactive workshop is for teachers to explore and practice methods of using visual art to inspire and develop students’ critical thinking and writing skills as they engage with texts connected to social justice themes. Students are intrigued by visual art, and works of visual art generate powerful discussions and stoke student interest in reading about the artists as well as historical topics connected to the work. Moreover, visual art can inspire both fiction and nonfiction low- and high-stakes writing in various genres, including poetry, stories, monologues, skits, and analytical essays. Participants in this workshop will learn to hone their students’ observational, inferential, and interpretive skills using visual art, and provide students with meaningful opportunities to write.


5.) Umoja: A Research-Based Intervention Program for At-Risk Young Men, Ingrid Chung and Kimberly Melgar, Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science


It’s no secret that our young men of color are in crisis. Not only are their high school graduation rates lower than those of their white and Asian counterparts, their dropout and incarceration rates are startlingly high, and significantly higher than girls from the same ethnic and socio-economic groups. The Umoja Leaders’ Camp is a six-day summer camp designed to empower twenty of our most at-risk high school boys with the voice, tools, and leadership skills needed for academic success. During the school year, Umoja is an after-school and Saturday program that provides group counseling and academic support. This workshop will guide participants through both the vision and the proves behind Umoja, and afford participants the opportunity to articulate the next action step that they will take for the at-risk young men in their schools.


6.) Using Literacy to Examine Opportunities and Access in Higher Education Systems, Desiree Evans, Lehman College

(HS/College — ELA, STEM)

In the 21st Century, American college students acquire knowledge against the backdrop of a powerful political and social milieu. In 2016, a presidential election, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the threat of terror attacks penetrated classroom discussions and writing assignments across the nation. This workshop will help teachers consider how to motivate students in thinking about the financial and intellectual affects of college, and about how higher education institutions are preparing students for the labor market and problems in society. Participants will collaborate to define one problem in higher education and form a critical dialogue around the issues that impact that problem and its outcomes. They will read literature to explore their issue and find solutions. Sample student work will be provided, along with resources for classroom use.


7.) Working with HS Readers: A Digital Exploration, Laura Geary Cruz, Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom HS, and Suzanne Marten, Perceptual Development Center


Most students who struggle have elements of reading, they just can’t knit them together into robust adult reading. But what can high school teachers do about it? It’s rare that high school teachers are prepared to teach literacy, yet we encounter students for whom it is the obstacle to their academic work. In this workshop, participants will use interactive video to explore fluency, decoding and comprehension issues. They will then learn strategies that can help students who struggle in these areas by exploring (free) iBooks with text and interactive video that support instruction of struggling young adult readers.


8.) Writing in Math – Let Us Count the Ways!, Stef Hereira and Rosmery Milczewski, Flushing International High School


Writing in math class? Yes! Let us count the ways! We have seen how important writing is for students’ understanding of math concepts, as well as their understanding of their own learning processes. Low-stakes writing activities can help students enter into units and projects, while high-stakes portfolio projects can contain written components to demonstrate student learning. We will share the variety of ways our students—all of whom are NLLs—use writing to engage in and develop math concepts, as well as gain fluency and confidence with the writing process. You will leave this workshop with concreate tasks, strategies, and ideas to bring more writing into your own classroom.


9.) Social Justice – Lyrics as Literature, Donna Hill and Suzette Andrews-Parker, Medgar Evers College

(HS/College — ELA, Arts)

How can we, as today’s scholar-practitioners, create and contribute to a new narrative? Music taps into the consciousness of social change. The examination of music and its influence and reflection of the times is evident in songs of protest, hope, and vision. It is also examined in the ways that literature is analyzed and annotated. This workshop will offer an exploration of lyrics as literature through a new lens: the concept of music and visual mediums that explore the complexities of our society and the social justice issues that we face.  Featured songs include India Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair,” Gil Scot Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” and Prince’s “Mr. Man,” among others.


10.) Seminar, Revisited, Eleni Rammos, New Utrecht High School

(MS/HS/College — ELA, SS, Arts)

Have you ever wanted to try a Seminar-style class but were not sure how to get started? How about a tried and true NYC teacher’s adapted version? After minimal scaffolding, you will be amazed as your teenaged students lead text-based conversations, and discuss ideas and thoughts with one another, with no direct-teacher-led assistance. If this sounds intriguing, join this workshop for a step-by-step tutorial, during which you will engage in a fully-developed Seminar and leave with the tools to conduct your own when you return to your classroom.


11.) Epistle Apostles: Using Letter-Writing to Promote Social Justice, Padraig Shea and Mario Benabe, South Bronx Community Charter School

(MS/HS — ELA, SS, STEM, Arts)

South Bronx Community Charter School set a high standard with our first project, exploring race, power, and privilege through the lens of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me.” In this workshop, we will share how we incorporated activism, collaboration, and old-fashioned writing pedagogy to promote critical consciousness, empower students to engage in social justice actions, and get student work on the nightly news!


12.) Creating Writing Clubs for Teachers and Students (Panel), Panel Chair:Marta Stewart, PS 20


Teachers from four schools will introduce their after-school writing clubs, which provide teachers and students the opportunity to explore the writing process in creative ways as co-learners. Meeting twice a month, and in a community environment, both teachers and students support each other in experimenting with genres, through the various strategies and practices. This club benefits students with a range of abilities and emotional needs and serves as labs for teachers, who then take the practices to their respective classrooms. Learn how we structure our clubs and experience sample activities from each, in this interactive panel presentation!


13.) Improving Writing Complexity and Confidence Using a Heuristic to Guide Textual Analysis Across Disciplines, Angela Thomas, Excelsior Preparatory High School

(HS — ELA)

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the use of a writing heuristic, “1-2-3,” to help students deepen their analysis of the texts they encounter throughout all disciplines. By including the three elements of the heuristic in their writing (paraphrase, context, connect), students increase their immersion in discipline-specific writing. This method helps students show mastery of the first Common Core Standard for the reading of both literature and informational text: “Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis,” and incorporates both self-assessment and natural differentiation into the proves.



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Have questions about NYCWP Teacher to Teacher Conference, 2017 (#T2T17)? Contact New York City Writing Project

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When & Where

Lehman College
250 Bedford Park Boulevard West
Bronx, NY 10468

Saturday, March 18, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (EDT)

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