#WhyIWrite: Join Us in Celebrating the National Day on Writing

October 19, 2017
Educator Innovator Blog
By Liana Gamber-Thompson

Why do you write?

Even if you don’t fancy yourself much of a writer, think of all the ways you might practice writing—across a range of platforms and mediums—from day to day. Writing can be expressive, explanatory, creative, or matter of fact. It can inspire, inform, and entertain. Writing looks like a journal entry, a poem, an Instagram story, a confessional video, a tweet!

In that spirit, the National Writing Project (NWP) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) invite you to use the hashtag #WhyIWrite every October 20 to celebrate writing in all its forms. Join us this year by telling us why you write on Twitter or by tapping into one of the many events hosted by educators across the country. Visit WhyIWrite.us for information on events, resources, the Twitter stream, and a brand new podcast series.

At Educator Innovator (EI) and the National Writing Project, we focus on writing year-round, supporting educators in sustained efforts to improve writing and learning for all learners. Sometimes, though, a re-examination of our own writing is called for; an opportunity to reflect on why we ourselves write and about the value of writing in creating a more active and engaged citizenry, a more just democracy, and an overall culture of curiosity.

Enjoy this set of resources from EI and NWP that illuminate the range of purposes for which writing can be used and the various forms it can take—and these are really just the tip of the iceberg! Then join in telling the world (or at least the Twitterverse) why you write; with more than 60,000 tweets and a reach of millions last year, you’re sure to be in good company.

NWP Radio: #WhyIWrite
The National Writing Project has two NWP Radio shows, the first of which originally aired on October 12, with Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and Vicki Meigs-Kahlenberg, teacher and author of The Author’s Apprentice about why they write. The second airs on the National Day on Writing (October 20 at 9a ET) and features authors, teachers, and others who are excited to give you a peek inside the Top Secret Story Box Project.

Writing Our Civic Futures
Last month, Educator Innovator announced Writing Our Civic Futures, a collaborative project of the National Writing Project and Marginal Syllabus for the 2017-2018 academic year. We invite educators to a year of social reading, collaborative web annotation, and public conversation that explores our civic imaginations and literacy landscapes. As civic engagement changes and evolves, Writing Our Civic Futures will discuss and consider implications for connected learning and teaching. Read, write, and annotate with us over the coming year!

Letters to the Next President 2.0
In the lead-up to Election Day 2016, thousands of young people from across the country wrote letters to the next president about issues that matter to them, publishing their multi-modal submissions online as part of Letters to the Next President 2.0. The project, which was co-sponsored by NWP and KQED, empowered youth voice and showed how writing is a fundamental part of civic life. We encourage you to read and share the powerful, thoughtful letters that were submitted (12,836 letters to be exact!). And although the project has ended, you can keep supporting youth civic action locally through our collection of resources.

Reflections on the Twist Fate Challenge
With a small twist of fate, any hero could become a villain, and any villain, a hero. That was the premise of 2016’s Twist Fate Challenge, a month-long challenge for youth ages 13-17 that kicked off during last year’s Teen Tech Week. A collaborative partnership between DeviantArt and Wattpad with the Young Adult Library Association and the National Writing Project as part of the Connected Learning Alliance, the challenge prompted youth to pick a story and character, and create an alternate scenario where a famous hero is the villain, or an infamous villain, the hero. They worked in their favorite modes and mediums, including pictures, written stories, comic panels, illustrations, etc. This CLTV hangout goes to show that writing can be participatory, convention-bending, and more. In this conversation, members of the editorial team for the Twist Fate Challenge discuss their experiences engaging with youth submissions in a wide range of genres and describe some of their favorites.

Resilient Writers!
In this recent blog post at Educator Innovator’s The Current, Katie McKay describes how educators and community members in Bastrop, TX have been convening over the past year to support student writing as part of the 2017 LRNG Innovators Challenge. The project, called Choice and Voice, aims to amplify elementary students’ voices through innovative publication in public spaces, highlighting Bastrop community stories, passions, and convictions.

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