“All things seem possible in May.” — Edwin Way Teale
It is the ultimate, or penultimate, month of the school year for many teachers and students. We celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander culture and history and, then, in the second week, May 7-13, we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. And then we say goodbye to graduates and ready our classrooms for the quiet of summer and ourselves for rest, restoration, and new learning. Indeed, everything does seem possible this month.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month marks the May arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States in 1843. This May, the Bay Area Writing Project and the National Japanese American Historical Society will share a curriculum they developed together called "We Are All Americans" that focuses on the hidden themes, government actions, and lives of people of Japanese ancestry incarcerated during World War II. Learn more through a self-paced Write Now Teacher Studio Deeper Dive called "Teaching Japanese American Incarceration" which includes examples of how elementary and secondary teachers from around the country have taken up this curriculum in their own contexts.
Fans of Gene Luen Yang are excited to see his bestselling graphic novel, American Born Chinese, coming to Disney+ on May 24. What better time, then, to revisit the National Writing Project’s conversation with Yang that started our special NWP Radio series The Write Time? In this conversation, Yang talks about his basketball-themed graphic novel, Dragon Hoops and is joined by Bryan Ripley Crandall (Director, CWP-Fairfield), Mark Crandall (Founder, Hoops4Hope), and teachers Abu Bility and William King.
The DigDiscourse Summer Collaborative is a free, open online experience for teachers in the humanities this summer kicking off on June 3. Organized around three, two-week "Make Cycles," each designed around different aspects of using digital discourse to enjoy and explore the literature, art, and materials we love, the collaborative supports us in designing exciting work for ourselves and our students. Each cycle has a different focus: Social Exchange, Social Annotation, and Social Making. Intrigued?
For over 92 years, The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco has recognized excellent books by California authors through their California Book Awards, and their collection of award-winning YA authors makes for great summer reading. Now, the National Writing Project and the Commonwealth Club have joined forces to invite readers aged 13 and older to share their thoughts about the finalists on a new youth publishing site. This opportunity is open to readers in all states and is perfect for summer reading programs, library activities, and even just plain vacation reading at home. The winners will be announced in May, and the youth publishing site will stay open for young people to continue to read and write into the school year.
Join colleagues to Write, Learn, and Lead in The WRITE Center‘s annual Summer Learning Series June 29, July 6, and July 13. Based on the NWP motto Write. Learn. Lead, this series invites you to write together, learn together, and prepare to lead together as you explore self-care, revitalize yourself and your teaching, and advocate for powerful and humane literacy instruction. The series will feature three leading scholars and experts in the field: Brynn Saito, Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, and Cathy Fleischer.
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With nearly 6,000 members, the Write Now Teacher Studio invites you to hang out, give and get advice, and learn alongside other teachers interested in the teaching of writing. There’s an activity feed with resources and conversations, webinars, and deeper dives into specific topics like the dive into Japanese Internment curricula listed above. May is a great time to join The Studio if you haven’t and to familiarize yourself with what’s happening now and what you might want to jump into this summer.
Advocating for YA Literature in Politically Divided Times is a webinar taking place on May 8, 4:00 p.m. PT. You’ll hear from YA authors who will talk about why they write YA literature and tell stories about the difference their books have made in young people's lives. Participants will join breakout rooms to tell their own stories about YA literature in their classrooms, libraries, and work. Finally, leaders of Everyday Advocacy will lead us in understanding how to use those stories to advocate for YA literature.
Writing to Understand Literature, a Deeper Dive running from May 8 through June 16, invites you to delve into writing experiences designed to deepen understanding of character, theme, and point of view. Run as a series of Make Cycles, teachers will try out a series of short lessons based on Rudine Sims Bishop’s metaphor of “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” The lessons, are designed to invite students to make connections between themselves and a text’s characters, will provide teachers with transferable writing experiences to deepen understanding of literary elements that can be used with students of all ages.
Plan to take a dive into Gholdy Muhammad’s newest book as part of the Unearthing Joy Book Club. Jump into the group and grab the book now, and then beginning in June, NWP site director Deb Kelt will host three synchronous meetings for teachers interested in diving in and exploring how to bring Muhammad’s special brand of joy into their classrooms.