Wednesday, August 1, 11:00-11:30, SUB Ballroom B, Theme: Partnership

Teachers writing with teachers at the Yellowstone Writing Project (YWP) create an engaged learning community. YWP capitalizes on writing’s capacity to foster creative approaches to ideas and cultures within communities as we extend our reach into remote, rural settings through partnerships with Big Sky Country Fair (BSCF), Montana State University (MSU) Library and the Ivan Doig Archive, Museum of the Rockies (MOR), and International Youth Silent Film Festival (IYSFF). This presentation provides snapshots into our partnerships, considerations of how these partnerships involve rural teachers and schools, and how we make use of multifaceted assessments to monitor and evaluate joint-success and mutual benefit.
Drawing upon Teacher Action Research methodologies, we offer preliminary findings: With BSCF, rural adults and children statewide participate in a writing contest that engages them in sharing their Montana stories. With MSU Library’s Doig Archive, primary documents reach rural Montana classrooms to open a window on an award-winning author’s approach to writing as creative process linked to place. With MOR, unique expertise and resources are shared amongst educators, museum professionals, and students to create writing  opportunities for museum guests, offer professional development for educators, and provide writing workshops for student writers. With IYSFF, Montana students engage in storytelling via silent film, giving international voice to their experiences.
Across YWP’s collaborative pairings, three implications emerge: (1) We are building robust connections across MT classrooms; (2) We have increased participation and leadership from rural MT students; (3) We are building university-related relationships with rural schools across the state.