Monday, March 28, 2011

Developing Successful Writers Through the Use of Mentor Text

On January 13, 2011, Sumter School District Two held its annual writing workshop for all 5th and 8th grade ELA teachers. The purpose of the workshop was to analyze data to identify weak areas and to present strategies/lessons to empower the teachers to implement the strategies in their classrooms. This year’s 5th grade workshop was presented by Mrs. Gail China and Mrs. Ureka Hilton.

Mrs. China started the workshop by presenting data from last year’s PASS test. She identified voice as an area of weakness across the district. Next, she guided the teachers in a word building activity found at Teachers were tasked with replacing general vocabulary with “Million Dollar” words. Then Mrs. China led the teachers into a discussion about Mentor Text (what they are and how they can be used to springboard writing instruction). Finally she modeled a lesson using The Important Book by Margret Wise.

Mrs. Hilton also modeled an Idea Development lesson using Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. She started the lesson by asking the teachers three questions. Have you ever had a disagreement with someone? Did you think about getting revenge on that person? If so, what? Mrs. Hilton allowed time for sharing. Next, she introduced the book and tasked teacher groups of three to write their recipe for Enemy Pie. After a brief sharing time, Mrs. Hilton read the book. The teachers were then guided back to the initial three questions. Using a graphic organizer found at, teachers began brainstorming their scheme for revenge. Due to timing, Mrs. Hilton brought the session to an end by sharing the next steps involved in the lesson. She then shared writing strategies and resources she uses in her classroom. Teachers were then prompted to complete a feedback form as presenters for the next session started setting up for their presentations.

-Submitted by Ureka Hilton

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Second Annual Poetry Contest

During the month of October, students from Districts 2 and 17 submitted poetry to the Santee Wateree Writing Project’s Fall Poetry Contest. The contest was an initiative of the Santee Wateree Writing Project in cooperation with the University of South Carolina, Sumter School District 2 and Sumter School District 17. As a part of the poetry contest, students were placed into categories (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12). Each student was able to submit a reflective piece of poetry that expressed their concerns, inspirations, hopes, dreams, passions, and fears. Students could write the poems in any format; however they were asked that the poem be reflective and less than 20 lines.
On December 2, 2010, over 70 people joined at the University of South Carolina to share in the celebration to honor the students. The following is a list of all of the poems that placed in the 2010 Santee Wateree Writing Project’s Fall Poetry Contest:

The following is a list of all of the poems that placed in the 2010 Santee Wateree Writing Project’s Fall Poetry Contest:

Grades K-2

My Contractions ~ Traycer Winn (Oakland Primary) Ms. Alberta Barrett Johnson
Me ~ Errin Reed (Shaw Heights) Ms. Mudd
Pronouns All About Me~ Samantha Smith (Oakland Primary) Ms. Alberta Barrett Johnson

Grades 3-5

My Great Baseball Life ~ Cody Welch (Pocalla Springs Elementary) Mrs. Gandy
I Am Me ~ Kadielynn McDonald (Pocalla Springs) Mrs. Gandy
All About Me ~ Jade McCoy (Pocalla Springs) Ms. Ward

Grades 6-8

Here I Am ~ Kijana Prescott (Furman Middle School) Ms. Pollard
I Am From ~ Casey Welch (Furman Middle School) Ms. Pollard
Where I’m From ~ Destini Nichols (Furman Middle School) Ms. Pollard

Grades 9-12

The One ~ Julian Holland (Crestwood High School) Mrs. Gwynette Waters
Lunar Rose ~ Emily West Wallace (Sumter High School) Mrs. Amanda O’Neal
What is Color ~ Ka’osha White (Lakewood High School) Mrs. Delawese Fulton

-Submitted by Ureka Hilton

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Books in our Library!!

Here are the new books in our Professional Library housed at USC-Sumter.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Writing Institute

What do you get when you put three elementary school teachers, a middle school English teacher, a middle school Math teacher, and a high school special ed teacher together for three weeks in the summer? The 2010 Santee-Wateree Summer Writing Institute. Together we spent time defining, creating, and shaping our personal writing styles. We exploded moments, played with punctuation, moved beyond the five paragraph essay, painted with adjectives and adverbs, and found poetry. Demonstration lessons allowed us to pack our toolboxes with ideas to bring back to our classrooms in the Fall. Overall, these experiences connected us, challenged us, and made us better teachers and writers.
-written by Shanitra Singleton

Pictures to come later!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Course--Advanced Institute

Having just finished taking this new course offered for Summer 2010 entitled, SWWP Advance Institute, I am excited to blog about its content and professors! With nine days packed with various activities and lessons, we explored several current famous authors and writing workshops with which we could incorporate strategies within our own classroom environments in the fall.

After undergoing my first SWWP in the summer of 2004, I discovered that I truly do have a desire to write and enjoy it in my spare time. I learned a few strategies that I incorporated within my fine-arts focused classroom and I discovered that my middle school age students really enjoyed when I varied my lessons with creative writing without losing the focus of the content unit and standards.

This second institute taught by Ms. Suzanne Koty and Ms. Lynette Creech has renewed my passion for writing and teaching its invaluable fundamentals within my own content area. Stephen King has always been a favorite author of mine and to be able to study his feelings concerning the professional writing process has been a true pleasure this summer. The in-depth study of the professional books and the unique writing workshops taught by Ms. Koty and Ms. Creech have given me a plethora of ideas to use in my own writing as well as within my classroom.

My love of writing has been renewed and I will truly miss the immediate sharing and positive feedback. My hat is off to these two instructors on a job well done with this new summer 2010 course and I hope for other TC's, who have not had the privilege to take it, that this Advance Institute will be the first of many to come!
-written by Janelle Saulsgiver

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Books Added into the Library

Here are some of the new books the National Writing Project sent us for our library:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Teacher of the Year

Spring 2010 Melissa Pollard, a Santee Wateree Writing Project Teacher Consultant, was voted Teacher of the Year at Furman Middle School!

Congratulations Melissa!!