Putting It Into Words: The Future of Writing Instruction

Putting It Into Words: The Future of Writing Instruction

It’s no surprise that as technology has infused education, it has also impacted the teaching of writing. So we’ve put our figurative pen to paper with the hope of highlighting what writing instruction looks like today, and how it might continue to evolve to meet the needs of all students.

We start by asking questions. One author wonders, How do you assess creative writing? Another asks,“How do you teach writing in a personalized learning classroom?” Our own reporter asks educators, "Is the Five-Paragraph Essay Dead?" Their answers may surprise you.

Here's what won't: evolving digital mediums mean more opportunities for students to write, and more ways for them to do it. We show you how one educator teaches students to write for an online audience, while others integrate video and virtual reality into their writing instruction. We’ve even got an up close look at high school journalism in the digital age.

We tracked down inspiring educators who are helping students tackle barriers on their path to writing mastery. One social entrepreneur uses hip-hop to bridge cultural gaps when teaching literacy and writing. A former high school teacher explains how Google Docs can support bilingual student writers. And a youth artist collective uses urban storytelling to work toward a more caring and just society.

As we all know, writing instruction isn’t just for humanities class. Even future programmers need writing skills too. This means, of course, that every teacher is a writing teacher. Check out one veteran educator’s lineup of favorite conferences, workshops, and Twitter chats that will help any teacher integrate writing instruction into daily curriculum.

At the end of the day, students learn to write they way they learn to do most things—with practice. To that end, we point toward 30 places youth writers can publish their work. Please check back frequently for stories delving into writing research, grammar gurus, and more.

—Mary Hossfeld, Guide Editor

Spread the Word: Classroom Practices

A Way With Words: Equity & Inclusion

Words to That Effect: Digital Mediums

Words to Chew On: Writing About Writing

Words of Wisdom: Professional Development

Just as every writer needs an editor, so every writing teacher needs support from and collaboration with the broader community of educators engaged in writing instruction.

In her article for this guide, English teacher Teresa Ozoa shares her favorite professional development opportunities for writing teachers. We highlight some of her suggestions below, along with a handful from Christina Ponzio, who works with bilingual writers; Michael Hernandez, who teaches cinematic arts and broadcast journalism; Sage Salvo, whose edtech start up is tackling illiteracy; and Amanda Zeligs Hand, who explores writing instruction in the personalized learning classroom.

Please share your own ideas in the Comments section at the end of this page.

Conferences, Camps and Workshops
CUE Rock Star Teacher Camps. Summers and school year; mostly in California; 1-2 day workshops; very affordable, free if district-sponsored.
CUE Fall Conference and Annual Conference. October and March; 2-3 day conferences; registration fees.
UCI Writing Project. Workshops (fee) and Summer Institute (stipend) in the summer, other events during the school year. Check out the National Writing Project for other regional information.
Orange County Department of Education. Year-round; fees and stipends.
Cybrary Man’s list of edchats and educational hashtags
Twitter chat #caedchat, Sunday nights at 8 pm PST
Twitter chat #HipHopEd, Tuesday nights at 9pm EST
Blogs, Websites, and Videos
Digital Writing, Digital Teaching
Free Technology for Teachers
Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day
Writers Who Care
Kelly’s blog
YouTube channel about Noam Chomsky’s language work
TEDx Talk: The Myth of Average, by Todd Rose
Middle and High School Writing Prompts, from Revision Assistant
Books and Papers
The Translanguaging Classroom: Leveraging Student Bilingualism for Learning, by O. García, S.I. Johnson, and K. Seltzer
Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning: Teaching English Language Learners in the Mainstream Classroom (Second edition), by P. Gibbons
The Digital Writing Workshop, by T. Hicks
Create to Learn: Introduction to Digital Literacy, by Renee Hobbs
Spoken Soul, by John Rickford
Rules and Representations, The Minimalist Program, Syntactic Structures, and Universal Grammar, by Noam Chomsky
The End of Average, by Todd Rose
What's Possible for Personalized Learning, from iNACOL
Nine Lesson Plans: Engage Students & Improve Writing Skills, from Turnitin
What's Wrong with Wikipedia?, whitepaper from Turnitin

Beyond Words: Future Outcomes

Image Credit: Turnitin; full size image here

The Last Word: Youth Publishing Resources

Sometimes there's nothing more inspiring to aspiring authors than seeing their names in print. The following list of organizations that publish youth work was curated and developed by Lizzy Lemieux, herself a young writer. It was originally published by The Telling Room, which has generously shared it with EdSurge. If you're looking for even more motivation to get your students started, check out The Telling Room's list of 30 books penned by kids, including the writer's-block-busting, Because, Why Not Write? by Cameron Jury.

Print and Online Publications: For individual guidelines, visit the publication's website.

Name and Age Range Details
Canvas is a teen literary magazine, run almost entirely by its own Teen Board. They accept all types of written work, from all over the world. They publish quarterly, releasing a print book and ebook copy of each issue.

Fluctuating submissions capped at 500, online.
This website, blog, and magazine publish a variety of written pieces as well as artwork. They have thematic submissions and general submissions, and a great blog.

Submissions accepted year round, online.
The Claremont Review
This international magazine is published twice a year—spring and fall—and welcomes poetry, short stories, and nonfiction writing. They steer clear of science fiction, fantasy, romance, and rhyming poetry. All work submitted receives a personal response.

Submissions accepted September - April, online.
Creative Kids
By kids, for kids, Creative Kids is published quarterly. Submit cartoons, songs, stories between 500 and 1200 words, puzzles, photographs, artwork, games, editorials, poetry, plays, and any other creative work that can fit in a magazine.

Submissions accepted year round, not online.
Magic Dragon
Elementary school
This magazine comes out quarterly and publishes stories up to 3 pages, poems up to 30 lines, and artwork.

Submissions accepted year round, online.
Matador Review
High school and older
They call themselves an “alternative” magazine; that is to say: their purpose is to promote work that is thought-provoking and unconventional. They want the controversial and the radical, the unhinged and the bizarre; they want the obsessive, the compulsive, the pervasive, the combative, and the seductive. They believe that every work of quality art has a home where it belongs, and for the “alternative”, The Matador Review is a home.

Submissions accepted year round, online.
One Teen Story
One Teen Story is looking for great short stories focused on teen protagonists and dealing with teen experience (issues of identity, friendship, family, coming-of-age, etc.).

Submissions accepted year round, online.
Skipping Stones
All ages
A magazine that celebrates ecological and cultural diversity. Published 5 times a year, they accept essays, stories, letters to the editor, riddles and proverbs, and other creative writing up to 750 words or 30 lines for a poem.

Submissions accepted year round, online.
Stone Soup
This magazine is printed six times a year and is entirely made up of stories, poems, book reviews, and artwork by children.

Submissions can be up to 2500 words, accepted year round; online with fee.
Teen Ink
Grades 7-12
This website, monthly newsprint magazine, and quarterly poetry magazine features personal essays, short stories, reviews (books, CDs, concerts, movies), and interviews from young authors.

Submissions accepted year round, online.
Teen Voices
Girls 13-19
Teen Voices, the global girls’ online news site of Women's eNews, is looking for girls who are interested in journalism and media to write for it site. All girls 13-19 years old are invited to join its writing staff. Teen Voices also publishes a series by and about girls with physical disabilities, called Girl Fuse. For more information about how to get paid to write, check out the submission guidelines.

Submissions accepted year round, online.
The Telling Room
We publish kids' work in a variety of ways: in books and anthologies sold in bookstores, in project chapbooks, and on our website. Email writers@tellingroom.org to learn more, or submit your story or poem!

Submissions accepted year round, online.

Contests: Many contests include publishing in the prize package. For more specific information, visit the contest website.

Name and Age Range Details
The Adroit Prizes
High school and college
All secondary and undergraduate students are eligible, including those undergraduate students who have graduated a semester early (i.e., in December 2015). Submissions should include up to eight poems, and up to three works of fiction or nonfiction.

Submissions accepted online.
Columbia College Young Authors Writing Competition
High school
The Young Authors writing competition is a national competition for high school writers of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.
Foyle Young Poets
Each year 100 winners (85 Commendations and 15 Overall Winners) are selected by a team of high profile judges, and will receive their awards at an annual prize-giving event on National Poetry Day. Overall Winners will have their poems published in the annual Foyle Anthology. Additionally, winners attend a week-long intensive residential Arvon course where they develop their creative writing skills alongside fellow poets or benefit from long distance mentoring.

Submission deadline: July 31.
The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers
High school sophomores and juniors
The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers recognizes outstanding young poets and is open to high school sophomores and juniors throughout the world. The contest winner receives a full scholarship to the Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop. In addition, the winning poem and the poems of the two runners-up will be published in The Kenyon Review, one of the country’s most widely read literary magazines.

Submissions accepted online.
Princeton University Poetry Contest for High School Students
Grade 11
Princeton University Poetry contest for High School Students recognizes outstanding work by student writers. The jury consisted of members of the Princeton University Creative Writing faculty.

Submissions deadline: November 27.
Scholastic Art and Writing Awards
Grades 7-12
This is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious writing contest in the world. The window is in January each year. Submissions are accepted in all genres. See details on their website for submission requirements.

Submissions accepted online, $5; deadlines vary by region.
The Telling Room
We run a writing contest open to all Maine residents, ages 11-18. The contest is themed. Full submission guidelines are available here on our website. Winners are published in Maine Magazine and in our annual anthology, and win a cash prize.

Submissions accepted December - February, online.
15-18 or Grades 10-12
The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages from across the United States. Winners receive valuable support, including financial awards of up to $10,000, professional development and educational experiences working with renowned mentor. It is the nation's only path to becoming a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

Submissions accepted online, $25.

Conferences and Camps: Tools to help you create publishable work, oftentimes with in-house publications. For updated costs and dates, visit the organization's website.

Name and Age Range Details
New England Young Writers Conference
High school
Teachers may nominate five students and up to two students may attend. The New England Young Writers’ Conference (NEYWC) at Bread Loaf is a four day writing-focused workshop for high school students in New England and from around the country. The long weekend is packed with writing seminars, workshops, readings, and opportunities to meet fellow young writers.

Applications: Two students per school; $375.
Idyllwild Youth Writing Program
Located in Idylwild, California, workshops are open to multiple grade levels, including introductions to genre and writing workshops in both poetry and fiction.

Applications: $3,150.
Interlochen Arts Camp
Grades 3-12
Located in Interlochen, Michigan, the daily schedule includes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and playwriting workshops, "studio time" to work independently and meet one-on-one with faculty, as well as evening readings by the faculty and visiting authors.

Applications: $5137.
Juniper Institute for Young Writers
Grades 10-12
Hosted by the University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers and the Juniper Summer Writing Institute for adults, the JIYW offers participants a unique opportunity to participate in intensive creative writing workshops, craft sessions, and studio courses designed especially for young writers.

Applications: $1700.
Slam Camp
Grades 9-12
Hosted at the University of Indiana at Bloomington, students will study creative writing conventions and performance techniques for slam poetry. Students will be exposed to the roots and tradition of the spoken word movement.

Applications: $650-$700.
The Telling Room
The Telling Room offers a variety of city-based options that allow for exploration both on foot and on paper. A wide variety of genres and mediums are available through different camps, including fiction, poetry, essay, and sports writing.

Applications: Open until full; $325 unless otherwise noted.

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