NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

Bringing Education to You

K-12 Professionals

Summer Writing Intensive Institute 2015

ENGL 600




Instructor: Kelly Sassi

Grading: Letter

Friday, May 15, 2015 - Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday, May 15, 5:15- 8:15 p.m.
Saturday, May 16, 9:00 a.m. - Noon
July 7 - 10, July 13 -16 & July 20 - 23, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. with course completion August 14, 2015

Location: NDSU Campus, Minard Hall, Fargo, ND

Available Seats: 12

Academic Level: K-12 Professional Development

NDSU Credit Fee: $150

Course Description:

The Summer Institute offers participants a place to read and discuss ideas about the teaching of writing and using writing to teach—plus time to write. Participants will learn a variety of instructional strategies that use writing to improve reading comprehension and content learning and will also engage in writing themselves as a way to reconnect with the process of writing as students experience it. Through the reading, writing, and research conducted during the Summer Institute, participants will develop leadership capacity in teaching writing aligned with and exceeding the Common Core State Standards.

The Red River Valley Writing Project is a site of the National Writing Project, a 40-year-old organization dedicated to improving student writing through a model of “teachers teaching teachers.” The NWP is a professional development network that serves teachers of writing at all grade levels, primary through university, and in all subjects. The mission of the NWP is to improve student achievement by improving the teaching of writing and improving learning in the nation’s schools.

We encourage teams (from the same grade level, building, or district) to apply for this institute to maximize the effectiveness of continuity.


  • Participants will grow in the understanding of teaching and learning writing through reading current research and theory, reflecting upon their own writing processes and workshop experiences, and learning from other experienced teachers.
  • Participants will demonstrate growth in giving response to writers by modeling responses in class and by describing appropriate classroom strategies.
  • Participants will become familiar with a wide range of print and on-line materials for teacher development and instructional use.
  • Participants will develop leadership capacity in teaching writing and using writing to help students learn.
  • Participants will develop a better understanding of the Common Core State Standards, including its affordances and limitations.
  • Participants will create their own teaching demonstrations (after seeing teaching demonstrations by Red River Valley Writing Project teacher consultants) which will be aligned with and exceed the Common Core State Standards.

Common Texts & Readings:

  • Gallagher, Kelly. Write Like This: Teaching Real World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts.  Portland: Stenhouse, 2011.             
  • Writing Next Report
  • “Common Core State Standards” (2011)
  • “Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing.” (2012)

Selected articles:

One professional book of one’s choice. In terms of locating additional readings, there will be a library for participants to browse.

About The Instructor

kelly sassiKelly Sassi

Kelly Sassi (Ph.D, University of Michigan, 2008). Sassi is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment—55% in the English department and 45% in the School of Education.  She coordinates the English Education program, co-directs the Red River Valley Writing Project, and teaches courses in both English education and composition. Her research agenda focuses on social justice issues, including race in the classroom, fair practices in writing assessment, feminist research methodologies, pedagogical approaches to Native American literatures, multicultural field experiences, and the high school to college transition in writing.

Sassi co-authored two books, Writing on Demand (2005) and A Student Guide to Writing on Demand (2006), with Anne Gere and Leila Christenbury. She has also published articles on anti-racist teaching practices (2008) and issues of plagiarism (2011) in English Journal with her collaborator, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. Some of her forthcoming articles include mentorship as methodology in Qualitative Inquiry (January 2013), “warm demander” pedagogy in Urban Education, and immersive field experience in Multicultural Education.

A former high school English teacher, Sassi has presented around 50 professional development workshops for teachers on writing and reading strategies. She is a consultant for the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) and a trainer for Project CRISS, a research-based learning strategies program. She was a reader for the College Board Advanced Placement English exam for six years and currently is the ND state representative for the Adolescent Literacy Assembly of NCTE. She has developed a new course on Young Adult Literature that will be offered at NDSU for the first time in fall 2013.

Special Instructions:

Participants are eligible to receive up to an $750 stipend to reimburse the cost of the tuition.

How to apply for the stipend:

By April 1, please send the following materials via mail or e-mail to Kelly Sassi at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address):

  • a brief resume with current contact information;
  • one supporting letter from a teacher colleague;
  • one supporting letter from a principal or supervisor; 
  •  a letter of application in which you share your beliefs about writing in the classroom, the ways you use writing in your classroom, your special interests in writing and the teaching of writing, and what you hope to gain from the Summer Institute.

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