An Invitation

Dear Families and Friends of the Writing Project,

If your children have attended any of the San Jose Area Writing Project summer programs, then you may be happy to learn we offer a continuation through the school year for students in grades 3-12.  These four fall and four spring sessions are designed to motivate writers and lift the level of their work through expert teacher modeling, clear strategy instruction, time to apply and practice, as well as receive feedback.

And we offer complimentary parallel workshops for parents, so that you can discuss your questions, write in a support group, and learn ways to encourage your children’s literacy.

Each Saturday session, parents and students are invited to a meet-and-greet at 9:30 a.m. in the auditorium at Sweeney Hall.  (Parking is available nearby in the 7th Street Garage.)

Your child may attend all 4 Saturdays for $75.00. Registering online ensures a space in a Saturday workshop. Walk-ins are welcome for $20.00 per Saturday, but class sizes are limited to 25 student writers per class. [Walk-ins who increase a class to beyond 25 may end up on a wait list.] For questions about registration, email or call 408-924-4412.

Register Online

The Fall Seminars Described

September 9

Oral Story-Telling

ms J

You can’t write what you can’t say.

Ms. Aeriale Johnson, Heinemann author and instructional coach, is presently teaching kindergarten at Washington ES, Santa Clara USD

Ms. Johnson taught a popular course for middle and elementary students in the SJAWP summer Writing Workshop 2017, Writing Creatively for Causes.  She brings her expertise to the Saturday Seminar for teachers and students with a session on Oral Story-Telling, bringing the power of speech to writing.  Students will benefit from rehearsal, finding the voice for their messages and writing stories that matter.  Story is the power in argumentative writing, business proposals and informational texts.

September 30

Mapping Your Hood

read around ms cisco

Mrs. Alexis Doucette, trained in Reading & Writing Workshop at Teachers College, Columbia U, NYC, currently teaches 4th grade at La Entrada School,
Las Lomitas ESD.

Mrs. Doucette’s workshop will engage students and teachers in drawing an actual map of their neighborhood. She will model writing strategies from the mentor text, Nothing Ever Happens on 96th Street. As students develop their narratives, teachers will confer with students individually and in pairs.  She is an expert coach both for teachers and students who offers strategies that will transfer to all of the reading and writing students do in school.

October 21

Character Studies

Choice Workshop sharing with partner

Ms. Sarah Brennan, who teaches 5th grade at Discovery Charter School, SCCOE, led elementary and middle school workshops at SJAWP summer Writing Workshop 2017 in crafting fiction.  She brings expertise integrating history/social studies with writing to her session.

Students and teachers will create engaging character studies to people their story ideas. A complex, believable character is the best launch into the meaning and significance of a story, whether realistic or historical fiction, fantasy, memoir, or narrative nonfiction. Students will have ample time to rehearse and revise their ideas as well as write.  This workshop not only engages students in writing but will sharpen their reading comprehension.

November 4

Ms Lopez

Find the Gems

Ms. Lorena Lopez, co-director on the SJAWP site leadership team, and EL Instructional Coach at San Jose USD, has given numerous expert professional development workshops in how to teach writing with English language learners.  Ms. Lopez has also taught writing workshop in SJAWP summer programs for students.

A children’s book author and bilingual coach, Ms. Lopez will lead students and teachers through strategies for getting any kind of writing started, for getting unstuck during drafting, and for revising to bring real voice, humor, and significance to the writing.

If your child is bilingual, [and may not receive school writing instruction beyond formulas for organization], then this workshop will inspire and engage.  Ms. Lopez shares touching and funny stories about her own experience going to an American school not speaking any English.  She will help your children understand the writing process, as well gain clear ways to use their speaking skills to move their ideas onto paper, without fear.  Your child has stories, important stories to share, and Ms. Lopez will help bring them out.


Saturday Seminar Outline

9:00 – 9:30 Registration and Breakfast Snack

10:00 Students meet for an engaging writing warm-up activity.  Optional parent workshop begins.

10:30 Presenter and teacher and students begin workshop together.

11:30 Short break in the hallway outside designated classrooms.

12:30 Workshops end and students go home.

(Teachers stay to debrief the morning’s work)

peer writing conference


Q: What should my child bring?

A: Your child should bring a writing instrument – either an electronic device or journal and pen.

Q: What if my child struggles with correct spelling and conventions?

A: Your child will not be publishing a piece yet, so drafts and revised writing will not be edited for correct written English, beyond what the writer knows how to do as he or she writes.

Q: How will attending these workshops help my child with academic requirements at school?

A: These workshop experiences offer several things children need to thrive in writing:

  • choice of topic
  • agency as a writer
  • oral and visual pre-writing for upfront revision
  • positive formative feedback
  • peer audiences
  • real world reasons to write
  • low-stakes, ungraded practice trying on new strategies.

Here is a short slide show highlighting some of the classes from last spring and fall

We appreciate your support of the San Jose Area Writing Project.

For over 30 years the SJAWP has been facilitating teachers learning from expert teachers, to lift the level of writing at the student desk. The SJAWP student programs have offered high quality writing instruction for over 12 years.

Register Online