Q What is the difference between the 1-week Creative Writing Camps and the 2-week Writing Workshop?

The biggest difference is that creative campers have one teacher who works with a small class (16 students max.) entering the same grade level.  The teacher sets a theme, or focus for the week, but students have choice in their writing. At camp, students have art & craft projects during recess and lunch break.

In writing workshop, students choose two classes (out of 5 offered) that interest them and meet in combined grade classes, with one session in the morning and the other after lunch. Sessions are limited to 16 students maximum. Two weeks of workshop gives time to develop more ambitious projects, since writing, revising, thinking take time. During breaks on the SJSU campus, arts and crafts are not offered.  Usually students bring a book, chat with friends, or play games.
What is the same about all your options is that the classes are led by our teacher consultants – good classroom teachers who have also been through SJAWP summer professional development.  They relate well to children and have solid experience teaching writing,

Q What if my child is in 7th grade now?  Which program is best?

Your student in 7th grade this spring in 2018 will finish school by summer and be considered “entering 8th grade.” At this point students usually want to attend the Teen Writing Institute, directed by Kate Flowers and Jane Gilmore.  The TWI is for students entering 8-12th grades.
If your child is not comfortable yet with writing, has a sibling in Writing Workshop and wants to be with a familiar face, then enrolling in the 4-7th Writing Workshop is an option.  Some middle school students are ready for the high school atmosphere, and a few opt to start Teen Writing Institute when entering grade 9.
Both the Teen institute and Writing Workshop are dedicated to using writing processes and developing writing like the writing authors do in the real world.  More info at

Or visit the TWI program blog, full of photos, writing, and videos that capture the joy and energy of students writing with our experienced Teacher Consultants and a Writer in Residence

Q What if my child has difficulty with writing in school?

Our writing programs help motivate children to write and teachers do their best to make them enjoyable.  We are not a remedial writing program.  Our workshop approach allows students to have choice in their subjects and genres, see instruction modeled, converse with peers as well as have 1:1 conferences with the teacher.  We find that, when students care about the writing they are doing, they will invest in revision to make it better, and finally to edit for conventions, like spelling, punctuation and usage.  The amount of rehearsal and the freedom to revise at the idea stage, plus clear teacher demonstrations are the best support for students who are also learning English as a second or third language.  The time set aside for writing and the varied approaches – such as free writing, visual mapping, and oral rehearsal, set students up to be successful.

Q What if my child is learning English and doesn’t know all the correct spelling, grammar and usage?

The teachers understand language development.  They allow for oral rehearsal, peer support, and use various ways for young writers to get their ideas down.  Developing ideas has to come before editing a manuscript for correctness.  This is true for students writing in their native language.