Yellowstone Writing Project

YWP Summer Invitational Institute 2014

Pictures of YWP Fellows 2009-2011.

Click on the links below to see the results of inquiry group research for the 2011 YWP SII:

The Yellowstone Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute, which will be held M-F June 23 – July 11, 2014, with a required Pre-institute Workshop on April 30, 2011, is an intensive professional experience through which participating teachers immerse themselves in their own writing and in the study of writing instruction. Successful teachers from throughout the Yellowstone Region come together for four weeks on the campus of Montana State University to explore strategies for teaching students at all grade levels to write well and for enhancing student learning in general. Teachers work on their own writing, study current research and theory, share teaching strategies, and learn about writing and teaching.

The National Writing Project recognizes the primary importance of teacher knowledge, expertise, and leadership. The NWP believes that access to high quality educational experiences is a basic right of all learners and a cornerstone of equity. Essential components of NWP philosophy include the beliefs that:

  • Improving writing is crucial to learning in all subject areas, not just English.
  • Reading and writing are reinforcing literacy skills and need to be taught together.
  • Learning to write requires frequent supportive practice.
  • Students have diverse abilities and instructional needs, and so teachers must use multiple strategies to improve students’ writing.
  • Effective writing instruction pays attention to both the product and the process of writing.

Current research shows that students taught by teachers associated with the National Writing Project do better in all observed categories than students taught by teachers who are not.

Teachers who participate in the Summer Institute receive a stipend and earn nine graduate credit hours through Montana State University's Department of English. In addition, they also have opportunities to consult with schools in the Yellowstone Region and to engage in a variety of regional and national professional development activities. They become part of a vibrant community of committed and supportive educators from throughout the Yellowstone Region and also have opportunities to interact with educators on a national level.

Yellowstone Writing Project: A National Writing Project Site

Central activities in the Summer Institute include:

Writing Groups

Summer Institute participants meet regularly in groups of three or four to share and discuss their own writing. The writing groups provide participants with sustained attention to their writing in a community of peers; they provide ample opportunity for reflection on the teacher's experiences as writers.

Inquiry Groups

Summer Institute participants also meet regularly in study groups to engage in sustained inquiry into a selected topic related to writing and teaching. Inquiry groups offer teachers the opportunity for focused discussion of the topics and readings selected for the whole group and brought to the group by guest speakers. The work of the inquiry groups culminates in a collaborative inquiry project on the group's chosen topic that is presented to the entire summer institute.

Individual Teacher Demonstrations

Each Summer Institute participant has the opportunity to share a writing lesson developed from his or her own teaching situation and interests. During these 45-60 minute presentations, teachers demonstrate a writing lesson, explain the goals of the lesson, and engage in discussion of the lesson with the whole group. The purpose of these presentations is not only to share ideas for teaching writing but also to deepen teachers' understanding of teaching and writing.

If chosen, all teachers will attend a one-day introductory meeting on the MSU-Bozeman campus on Saturday, April 30, during which we will discuss the schedule and requirements of the summer institute and begin forming our community of teachers and writers.

Please consider joining us. We expect the Yellowstone Writing Project to become a vital part of the educational community in the Yellowstone region, and we hope to host a group who can form an early core of teacher-leaders and future consultants for the YWP. We also expect to have a lot of fun.

For more information about application requirements and deadlines, email YWP at