Monday, April 7, 2014

Jazzing it up at Hill Central and checking literacy wingspans. @kwamealexander @writingproject #TheCrossover

Kwame Alexander's Acoustic Rooster,
illustrations by Tim Bowers
For the last two years, CWP-Fairfield has collaborated with teachers at Hill Central, K-8, to coordinate best practices for writing instruction while emphasizing the teachers teaching teachers model. This year, with a NWP 2013-2014 High Needs School Supporting Effective Educator Development grant, teachers have been looking at supporting a community around literacy, improving argumentative writing, designing cross-curriculur instruction, aligning school goals through vertical teaming, and promoting student work - including a poetry SLAM to be hosted later this week.

The rockstar that made this jazz possible has been author Kwame Alexander, whose books Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band and The Crossover were used in classrooms and with teachers to initiate multiple conversations about finding a personal song (with thanks to Erik Komoroff of Community of Unity for his powerful contributions). Teachers have also been writing narratives and using Troy Hicks' Crafting Digital Writing to embark on the art of digital storytelling (professional development that they requested last year to Principal Glen Worthy - the captain at the helm of an incredible ship).

Today, Hill Central's literacy team welcomes Kwame Alexander as he brings to life the books students and teachers have been reading.
A shout-out is also due to Tim Bowers for his illustrations (students have been doing the same in art classes). Between the art, the historical references to the Harlem Renaissance, and the craft and brilliance of the author, Hill Central is totally in line to celebrate National Poetry and National Jazz Month.

My creative path did a 'crossover' with Kwame Alexander in Liverpool, New York, almost two years ago and I continue to be humbled and honored to have his friendship. His writing has helped me to carry forth excellence in supporting effective educator development.

Not only will the students and teachers be making jazz today, they will also be hooping it up in an afternoon in a basketball game between students and staff. It is a great day for Hill Central School, CWP-Fairfield, and New Haven, Connecticut, as we celebrate Kwame Alexander's tremendous contributions to young and adolescent writers/readers/thinkers/ and do-ers.

Congresswomen Rose DeLauro also deserves a round of applause for her tremendous support of the National Writing Project and her continued advocacy for youth in her district.

We gotta write. A'ight? 

And we also got to read. That is why Kwame Alexander is exactly what we need.

Here's to the National Writing Project for making this possible! And for the author, there are not enough words to thank you for being a part of this work!

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