New Jersey Writing Alliance - Building bridges between secondary schools and colleges

Conference Program

March 28, 2014

Spring 2014 NJWA Conference Program


New Jersey Writing Alliance


15th Annual NJWA Conference

The New Jersey Writing Alliance Spring 2014 Conference

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Georgian Court University, Lakewood, New Jersey


Achieving College-Ready Writing:

The Common Core and Beyond

The 15th annual NJWA conference will focus on the practical pedagogical, institutional, and economic issues that face us as we help students make the transition from writing in high school to writing in college.




Darcy Gioia, Rutgers University, President, NJWA


SESSION 1:     9:30 – 10:30 am


  1.  New Literacies and the Common Core: Preparing Students for College and Beyond, Leslie Puente-Ervin, Willingboro High School

     This presentation features a series of instructional strategies that integrates technology in innovative ways to meet the common core state standards of New Jersey. Each strategy presented is directly aligned with the common core standards of New Jersey.


  1.  Writing and the Web: The Internet Doesn’t Have to Limit and Degrade the College Composition Course, Devon Pizzino, Seton Hall University
  2. B.  This presentation will focus on the problematic relationship between the college composition course and the Internet, and how instructors can encourage students to utilize Internet text resources in a way that will promote critical, analytical, and creative thinking and writing.


  1. Dual Enrollment as a Site of Pedagogical Exchange Between High School and College Teachers, Michael Goeller, Rutgers University, and  Ruth Yeselson, Piscataway High School                                          

  The benefits of a dual enrollment writing program go beyond college credits for students, as they also provide a unique opportunity for collaborative exchange between high school teachers and college instructors. The presenters — a high school teacher and college administrator — will discuss their experiences in developing a dual enrollment program, sharing materials and the results of their efforts.


  1. (Don’t Assign) Teach Me to Write Research Papers!, Chrystena Hahn, Seton Hall University 

   Tired of research papers that recount what students read rather than feeling that they have engaged in that reading? This workshop presents skill sets essential for writing research papers that lead to “conversation” among the sources and the writer.


  1. [Two Presentations]        I’m Doing the Assignment, Too,  Loriann Fell, Rowan University

                This 30-minute workshop will profile an interactive assignment that invites students to accompany the instructor as he or she plans a series of researched arguments and creates an argument draft. The presentation explores the process of defining subject-specific argument approaches, note-taking and organizing, and evaluating a rough draft. 


Making Parallels Between the Corporate World and the Teaching of Academic Writing, Sarah Ghoshal, Montclair State University

          This 30 minute presentation will touch upon the parallels between the teaching of writing and success in the corporate world, helping educators to help their students see the value in writing courses they feel have “nothing to do with their major[s].”  Ideas will stem from the insights of an experienced first year writing instructor who is also closely connected to a well-versed manager of a corporate recruiting firm. 


SESSION 2: 10:45 – 11:45 am


  1. Common Core Close Reading and Steps to Collaborative Conversation through Readers Writing Reflections, Danielle Sochor, Glassboro Public Schools, and Steven Hempel, Rowan University

          This presentation will investigate the use of close reading strategies and information text directly linked to Common Core and expanding reader understanding through reader response and group discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in best practice strategies.


  1. B.    [Two Presentations]  “But This Isn’t an English Class!:” Implementing Standards for Writing Across the Curriculum, Natalka Pavlovsky and Brenden Rickards, Gloucester County College

          In recognition of the importance of effective writing in every discipline, a faculty-led initiative at Gloucester County College led to the development of a Written Communication Rubric for college-wide use; two of the faculty involved, a biologist and a musicologist, will present the results.  For those teaching at the secondary level, this presentation will share clear expectations for college-level writing, while those teaching English—whether in high school or college—will take away helpful specifics to share with colleagues in other disciplines.  Participants will explore ways to tailor the rubric for implementation in various disciplines.                                                                                +

Youth and Issues : A Natural Fit, Judy Stevens and Audrey McGowan, Middletown High School North

 Capitalize on students’ interest in social justice through devising high interest projects that foster independence and creativity while enhancing research, comprehension and writing skills. Explore ideas, resources and templates.


  1. [Two presentations]   Using PARCC  Assessments in the Classroom, Olga Polites, Rowan University

                          In this workshop, you will be provided with sample assessments in English for 9th, 10th and 11th grades.  An overview of the assessments will be given, covering the literary analysis, narrative and research simulation tasks.  In addition, information regarding how the assessments align with the Common Core State Standards will be provided.


                  Set Me Free Project, Justine Durdack, Middletown High School

        “Relatable” rhetorical analysis of persuasive text for all levels. Students deconstruct the “Declaration of Independence” to see the “guts” behind the “glory.” When the mystery of good writing is exposed students are eager to leave their comfort zones to model effective persuasive writing, especially when they are then declaring themselves “free” from some oppressive force in their lives (Set Me Free project).

  1. D.       [Two presentations]  Trend Reporting and Truth: Practicing Research by Interrogating the Use of Evidence in the News Media, Amy Woodworth, Rowan University

        The journalistic genre of trend reporting often goes beyond sharing information to shaping narratives about society and culture by selecting and interpreting “evidence,” making it a rich object of study for courses that include research.  Examining trend reports from popular news media leads students to reflect on the use of evidence, the nature of truth, and the ethical obligations of writing.  This presentation will introduce trend reporting and a series of assignments that could be adapted for any research-based writing course, which lead students to evaluate popular and scholarly sources, synthesize findings, and reflect on both interpretations of evidence and the consequences of writing.


 Going with the Flow: How To Trick Your Students into Improving Themselves and the World Around Them, J Sage Hedges, Manchester Regional High School

                This presentation provides ways to encourage all skill levels in questioning, research and writing by engaging them in their interests while simultaneously yet surreptitiously pushing them towards inquiry into the world around them.  Furthermore, it allows students to use those platforms in cyberspace with which they are comfortable in order to slowly wean them through self-evaluation, to more appropriate and productive online resources.


  1. E.       [Two presentations] Addressing Comprehension Challenges in the Composition Classroom: Strategies that Work, Jessica Darkenwald-DeCola, Gwendolyn Kane, Raritan Valley Community College

    Both developmental and first-year composition students need guidance in learning to comprehend complex academic texts.  Research in college reading comprehension reveals a number of strategies for explicit instruction that can help students attain success in becoming “academically literate.”  Discussion in this session will include classroom applications of recent research in the area of reading comprehension.                                        +

Creating Bridges to Quotes: Best Writing Practices for Integrating Quotes into Paragraphs Using Transition Words and Context To Create Fluidity for College-Ready Writing, Marie Palma, Arthur L. Johnson High School

        This  presentation will provide background context as well as a solid definition of this specific writing flaw: “Hanging quotes.”  It will explain an approach to identifying this issue amongst students’ writing and the importance of teaching adolescent writers how to write colorful and strong  “lead ins” more commonly referred to as “Bridges” which function to connect their ideas within their body paragraphs.  The presentation takes a step-by-step strategy for hanging quotes that can be infused into the writing process for guided and repeated practice or as final editing strategy for more advanced writers. 



LUNCH 11:45 – 12:30 pm in  GCU Casino

Enjoy conversation and local New Jersey networking with other partner institutions.



SESSION 3: 12:45 – 1:45 pm


A. Teaching the Research Simulation Task:  Meeting the Core Content State Standards and Preparing Students for    the PARCC, Shannon Orosz and Megan Fritz, Point Pleasant Borough High School

Participants will learn about the CCSS requirements for text analysis and shorter research projects and how the PARCC will translate this into the Research Simulation Task on the test.  The workshop will overview the nature of this writing task and methods for teaching this to secondary education students.  A packet of information will be provided that will include a sample task, rubrics, and scored student writing samples.


  1. B.  ELA Common Core Standards through a 21st Century Lens, Laura DeSena, West Milford High School

This interactive workshop offers teaching strategies which integrate Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 tools toward achieving ELA Common Core Standards with applications to reading literary and informational texts, and writing academic arguments grounded in textual evidence.  Asynchronous and synchronous learning experiences will be demonstrated and practiced via iPads, laptops, and smart phones (with data access. The workshop will focus on teaching strategies that emphasize:  using textual evidence to support analysis, modeling academic structure in essays to illustrate the balancing of interpretation against evidence, writing unified academic arguments.  Objectives include: using informational texts to model rhetorical strategies, to study essay structure, to encourage the creative within the formulaic. Some tools used will be discussion boards in real time and delayed time and Google documents.  “BYOD” is highly recommended for full participation in this workshop.


  1. [Two presentations] Technical Writing Across Disciplines, Kenneth Ronkowitz, NJ Institute of Technology and Montclair State University

      This presentation looks at how a technical writing course can emphasize a research approach and problem solving unlike the academic writing done for most classes. Students learn to do audience analysis, work in collaborative environments and gain familiarity with tools used for writing digital modes. While designing professional documents, such as proposals, they become familiar with the cultural and ethical concerns of a global workplace. The writing tasks are all based on the content of their majors.                                                                             +

Education Through Minecraft, Sarah Roman, Raritan High School

      By using Minecraft in the classroom, students are encouraged to bring literature to three-dimensional life. Creativity, collaboration, and knowledge of the text are paramount in its implementation, allowing for positive integration with the Common Core Standards.         


  1. Demands of New Technology on Writing, Anne Erickson, Drexel University, and Wendy Waisala, Suffolk County Community College

This presentation will address the gaps between conventional writing and computer literacy or writing for the tech-oriented audience.  We will cover the tools and training teachers need to help students produce effective writing with links, audio, animations, and worthwhile sources to help students become contemporary writers.

  1. Norm!  How To Know It when You See It:  Consistency in Grading Essays 

      Join a standards calibration session and discussion. Compare your grading of sample essays against others in what’s sure to be an  hour of discovery and enlightenment.

SESSION 4: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm


  1. Implementing the CCSS Without Sacrificing Instructional Time, Dr. Kathy McCormick and Courtney McNeely, Northern Burlington County Regional District; Natalka Pavlovsky, Gloucester County College

 The Northern Burlington County Regional school district has chosen to fulfill state Common Core mandates by implementing locally developed assessments and pedagogical strategies. Two administrators from the district will detail how this initiative is designed to ensure that teaching the CCSS without teaching for the test will not reduce instructional time, and will ultimately improve students’ composition and technical writing to seamlessly transition from writing in high school to writing in college; the third presenter will add perspective concerning effects of these approaches on college-level writers. The presentation will encourage audience members to compare strategies and implementations.


  1. Everything Is an Argument: A Regional Effort To Advance Professional Learning in Argument Writing, Gravity Goldberg, Educational Consultant; Lauren Goldberg and John Wodnick, Northern Highlands Regional H.S.; Brad Siegel, Allendale, Hohokus, Northern Highlands, and Upper Saddle River School Districts

Progress in student argument writing requires effort and collaboration between all educators in a school.  This presentation highlights a regional articulation initiative combining targeted professional learning of teaching argument from many interdisciplinary angles with the process of creating a K-12 continuum of student writing. Attendees will engage in discussions and activities examining arguments; samples of essay prompts, student work, and professional learning modules will be distributed to participants.


  1. They Said, We Say: What Is “College-Ready Writing?” Maria Monteperto and Shiladitya Sen, Montclair State University

This workshop will focus on teachers’ understandings of college level-writing, particularly as related to the Common Core English Language Arts Standards. Facilitators will outline key classroom practices and assignments in teaching college writing, and challenges transitioning students from high school into college.  Participants will reflect on and discuss goals and practices that may help bridge gaps between secondary and post-secondary levels of education, as well as address Common Core issues.


  1. Using PeerMark in a University Composition Class, Charles Nelson, Kean University

This presentation looks the use of Turnitin’s PeerMark to provide peer feedback in a first-year university composition class with English language learners. The use of PeerMark with different types of writing assignments and rubrics, along with reflective tasks, will be explored.


  1. Composing in the Cloud: Transparency, Accountability and Engagement, Oona Abrams and Christina McCabe, School District of the Chathams

Housing formative student compositions in Google Drive engenders more dialogue, richer peer feedback and higher engagement. Tasks such as storing research notes, collaborating on shared narratives, and reflecting on self-assessments help students to see writing as a formative practice. Participants in this workshop will review and discuss abundant examples of student work and will also be provided with full digital access to our presentation materials and invited to create a backchannel of questions and comments throughout our presentation. All attendees are invited to bring their own devices.


3:15 pm

Distribution of Certificates of Achievement and Conference Evaluations

In CGU Casino

Light refreshments will be available.


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