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Write Tools workshop offers teachers right tools for the classroom PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 29 September 2011 19:49


Theresa Riege discusses methods of teaching writing with teachers from Wauneta-Palisade and McCook Public Schools during a two-day workshop held in Wauneta this week.


By Tina Kitt

The Wauneta Breeze


While youngsters at Wauneta-Palisade enjoyed a break from the classroom Monday and Tuesday their teachers have been putting in long hours playing the role of students themselves during an intensive two-day instructional workshop held in Wauneta.

Theresa Riege of the Denver, Colo., area offered teachers from Wauneta-Palisade and McCook Public Schools “the Write Tools” during the workshop.

The Write Tools method is a comprehensive approach to writing, with teachers from the kindergarten level through graduating seniors encouraged to use the same techniques and terminology in incorporating the six-traits of writing.

The Write Tools encourages the use of common language, common strategies and common vision across grade levels and course subjects, explained Riege.

“We are using instructional strategies to see success in kids,” she added.

Continuity throughout a child’s educational career is a critical factor in the program’s success, said WP Superintendent Stan Sibley.

“What is key is the whole staff is on board so the same methods of teaching writing are used grade-to-grade and department-to-department,” said Sibley. “That way it doesn’t all fall on elementary and English teachers but is supported across the school system.”

WP teacher Kristy Vapenik joins workshop leader Theresa Riege in demonstrating some of the methods used in helping kids utilize descriptive words during the Write Tools workshop held in Wauneta Monday and Tuesday.


Teachers taking part in the training were excited about seeing a comprehensive approach incorporated in all classrooms.

“This is probably the number one writing program we can bring in. The methods we will put into use at all levels will supply the kids with the tools they need to be successful at writing,” said WP sixth grade teacher Marilyn Kunkel.

WP high school English teacher Liz Noler and social studies teacher Kathryn Pruter have both previously taken part in The Write Tools training and are already incorporating it into the classroom.

They are excited with the prospect that their methods will be reinforced in other classes like science.

“It’s important to have a writing program in place across all classrooms,” said Noler. “I love this program. All my strategies are based on it.”

Noler has incorporated The Write Tools strategies since her first year of teaching English at WP and has already noted improvements in the process, structure and approach of her students’ writing.

Aaron Behrends, who teaches music, band, computer, physics and science at WP, said that even in such diverse classes as the ones he teaches he can see the benefits of a unified writing method being incorporated across all subjects.

“Being able to write well helps students with reading comprehension and processing information. That way their textbooks will not be as challenging to read,” said Behrends.

Behrends sees areas where writing mastery techniques can be included in science writing assignments.

“Lab writing is expository writing. It needs to be accurate and precise.” said Behrends.

Among the teachers taking part in the workshop were several from McCook. While other teachers on staff at McCook Public Schools have already taken part in Write Tools workshops, some newcomers to the MPS staff are playing catch-up and joined the training in Wauneta.

Melissa Wallin, a second grade teacher in McCook, said the workshop provided her with several great ideas to take back to the classroom. She said she will focus on helping her young writers learn to see the big picture in their writing, how to methodically take a simple sentence to a cohesive paragraph to a multi-part essay.

Kristen Harris, a high school journalism teacher at MPS, said one of the most valuable concepts she garnered from the training was the importance of having students taking an organized, structured approach to their writing, especially during the planning stage.

“Sometimes they just want to jump in. This process makes them slow down and take a more thoughtful approach,” said Harris.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 September 2011 19:53