Hawaii Writing Project

The Hawaii Writing Project (HWP), housed in the UH Mānoa College of Education (COE), recently completed its 2023 Invitational Summer Institute (ISI). This year, there were 19 teachers enrolled from across the state. Since 2016, there have been 130 teachers participating in the summer institutes.

“The HWP Summer Institute has a tremendous reputation for its engaging and relevant professional development, largely due to our expert literacy instructors, Drs. Stephanie Buelow and Charlotte Frambaugh-Kritzer,” said HWP Director Stephanie Furuta. “HWP is grateful to our teacher fellows across the state who provide effective and exciting literacy instruction to their students and support to their schools.”

For more than 40 years, HWP has been providing professional development in literacy and networking to teachers throughout Hawaiʻi. Partnerships with the COE’s Dean’s Office and with the Pacific Literacy Consortium’s ʻAha Lamakū ʻOiaʻiʻo-Hoʻoikaika Aʻe (ALOHA) project have enabled HWP to provide quality ISIs for the past five years, free of charge to participants.

The ISI has moved to a fully online format, resulting in a wider reach to more educators on Oʻahu and the neighbor islands. The HWP team includes Buelow, Associate Professor of Reading/Literacy in the School of Teacher Education (STE) Elementary Program; Frambaugh-Kritzer, Professor of Literacy/Reading, STE Secondary Program; and Furuta, Specialist in the STE Master of Education in Teaching Program.

This summer, HWP also participated in the National Writing Project’s Write Across America. More than 50 participants nationwide learned about the Mānoa Valley while engaging in personal writing during the 90-minute session. Anyone interested in participating in other writing stops in different states this summer, can register here.

Jill Sprott, Punahou School:
When I applied to the HWP Summer Institute, I did so with my fingers crossed, longing for a professional development experience that would invigorate and challenge me. The program definitely delivered! At every session and in every activity, the why and the how of writing and writing instruction remained central, uniting theory and practice in enlivening ways. The “teachers teaching teachers” aspect of the Institute was initially daunting to me, but it gave me just the push that I needed to explore an emerging area of interest (the use of AI to assist in the idea generation process), coached by knowledgeable and highly enthusiastic and supportive instructors. The peer-teaching focus also affirmed that regardless of whether we are English or math or social studies teachers, we are all writing teachers—and we are all writers. I’m heading into my twenty-sixth year of teaching feeling energized and hopeful, eager to continue to build—and to be a part of—a community of writers.
Shelea Boyd, August Ahrens Elementary School:
I am privileged to be a fellow in the Hawaiʻi Writing Project this summer. I am blown away at everything I have learned so far, being with Stephanie, Charlotte, and the rest of the teachers these few short weeks we’ve had together so far. Each class was packed with tangible takeaways, lessons, ideas, and strategies I can easily implement into my writing classroom this upcoming school year with my 5th graders! The HWP has impacted me tremendously as it has sparked a fire in me personally as a writer and has given me a deep passion to pass that love of writing to all those who are in my classroom! No longer do I see being a teacher of writing as teaching a formula to give a grade, but more so sharing ways to unlock creativity and expression with my students.
David Yung, Maunawili Elementary School:
Participating this summer in the Hawaiʻi Writing Project ISI was one of the best professional learning experiences I’ve had as a teacher. Every session, I took away practical research-based strategies I could apply in my classroom right away. The highlight of the summer was the demonstrations where we learned with and from our colleagues. I’m ready to use my new learning with my fifth graders this fall and look forward to sharing some of my learning with our faculty since writing is our school-wide targeted area of instruction as part of our Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) process. I am appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the HWP this year!


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