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Friday, March 30 • 9:00am - 10:30am
Dialogues Across Difference - Teaching Civically Engaged Writing in a Polarized Age

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The National Writing Project recently completed work on a instructional tool designed to strengthen and assess civically engaged writing. This Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum (CEWAC) focuses on encouraging and supporting youth civic writing in two areas: 1) engaging with arguments and evidence; 2) engaging with others across difference.

Throughout this session, participants will explore the CEWAC and skills necessary for thoughtful and powerful civic writing. Emphasized skills include “employs a public voice,” “argues a position,” and “advocates civic engagement."

As an entry point participants will view clips from “American Creed,” a new documentary that airs on PBS in February. American Creed explores, through personal stories, the values that underlie the American identity, and efforts of groups and individuals to engage in dialogue across difference.

Participants will then further explore the focus of engaging in dialogue across difference by working with the CEWAC and two letters published on NWP’s 2016 “Letters to the Next President” website. The letters take different stances on a significant civic issue. Using the CEWAC as a guide, participants will discuss and/or write to the following questions and prompts:

What distinguishes public writing from academic writing? How might these differences shape your instruction?

Practice writing across difference by responding to one of the following prompts:
- As the author of one of the letters, write a letter of response to a writer who took a different position. Your goal is to both begin a dialogue and thoughtfully explain your position.
- As a teacher, write a letter to one of the writers that provides specific feedback and suggestions for revision and refinement.

How might the sharing of personal stories help bring us together as communities and a nation?

Participants will also preview related digital resources, including annotated writing samples, and discuss implications for designing assignments and instruction.


Janelle Bence

New Tech High at Coppell
avatar for Stan Pesick

Stan Pesick

Teacher, National Writing Project

Friday March 30, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am PDT
HTHI 123