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Posted on Oct 09, 2012

Teacher Trainings Lead to Strong Student Writing

October 4, 2012

Last year, Gillispie’s elementary teachers and administrators attended trainings for a writing program called Learning Headquarters, created by a company here in San Diego. In many cases, teachers found validation of the tried-and-true methods they already were using; in all cases, teachers found themselves challenged to try new ways of engaging students in the art of communicating their ideas clearly. The Learning Headquarters model consists of three parts: a teacher demonstrated “mini-lesson,” teachers and students practicing together, and students writing independently. One key to the program is the emphasis on planning, which in most cases begins with brainstorming followed by thoughtful use of graphic organizers. Another strength of the program is how students come to understand that revision is an expected part of the writing process. Finally, students learn through frequent practice and consistent feedback that writing is hard but rewarding work.

The energy invested by teachers last year to bring Learning Headquarters to Gillispie classrooms already is paying off during this second year of implentation. Beginning in kindergarten, the children now have a shared vocabulary about the process of writing. Students who previously struggled to come up with ideas are finding inspiration in the modeled lessons. And students who previously believed more words were always better are learning to be concise.

Thanks to The Gillispie School Endowment for Excellence in Teaching, our teachers will continue to receive updated trainings on Learning Headquarters and our students will continue to blossom as strong young writers.

Margie Edwards
Director of Curriculum

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