Summer Institute


The MWP Summer Institute (ENT 540) is a writing- and teaching-intensive, four-week program at the University of Montana-Missoula. The MWP invites teachers of all content areas, kindergarten through university levels, to participate in the Summer Institute. Generally, mornings are devoted to writing experiences for all participants, writing workshops and editing groups, presentations by visiting consultants, review of curriculum materials, and research interpretation for classroom implementation. In the afternoons, participants present workshops based on personal, successful teaching strategies, participate in “hot topics” discussions and book talks. Throughout the Summer Institute, participants have hands-on experience in writing across the curriculum and with the computer as a tool for writing and teaching writing. Throughout the academic year, MWP Teacher-Consultants conduct in-service activities that promote and improve the teaching of writing in their schools and districts. They also participate in follow-up activities such as developing curriculum guides, assessing writing skills of Montana students, attending programs and presenting sessions at professional meetings.

Course Purpose

This course is designed for individuals who are interested in teaching writing in the public schools, grades K-12 and at the university in all curricular areas. The purpose of the course is to provide novice and experienced teachers in all content areas with knowledge, pedagogy, and attitudes about writing, about composing processes—across disciplines. The course is based upon current research, professional association guidelines, and informed practices in the teaching of writing across the curriculum. This course prepares teachers to design, implement, and evaluate methods of integrating writing instruction into content area instruction. Through reading/writing workshops, role-playing, small group/large group discussions, model presentations, mini-presentations, and model instructor/participant demonstrations, the course creates a community of writers and readers who reflect upon their own and their students’ language, literacy, and learning.

Course Objectives

In this course, we will focus on writing across the disciplines and grade levels in the context of participants’ teaching assignments. Participants will develop a theoretical articulation of what it means to write in their disciplinary area(s) of endorsement. Participants will use this articulation as a basis for designing and critiquing writing curriculum and instruction in their disciplines with attention to theory and research on writing in the content areas, for developing and assessing instructional methods for teaching and learning written language, and for developing and assessing disciplinary literacy lessons and practices. Participants will draw from their own experiences as readers, writers, and teachers in a learning community dedicated to literacy for all students; however, they will also extend beyond their own experiences to shape views of classrooms that are designed as literacy-rich environments for all students at all levels. In order to accomplish these goals, participants will explore the multiple meanings of “writing across the curriculum” individually, in subject-specific groups, and in interdisciplinary groups.
Specific questions that will be addressed in our reading, writing, and discussions include:

  • What are the nature and stages of the writing process?
  • What is writing across the curriculum and how can we develop writing across the curriculum programs?
  • What is the value of cooperative learning in writing-driven classrooms? What are the benefits and dangers of such collaborations?
  • What can we learn about assessing students’ writing abilities?
  • What connections can be developed between writing and technology?
  • What approaches to measurement, assessment, and evaluation promote or inhibit writing literacy?
  • How does a teacher best implement reading and writing workshop?
  • How does a teacher teach the six plus one traits of writing effectively?
  • How might writing teachers interpret and apply current research on literacy and learning?
  • How might teachers understand emergent literacy?
  • How might teachers implement instruction that helps students reach academic standards?
  • How might teachers promote equity and value diversity in the writing classroom?
  • See also attached hot topics list specific to the participants in your summer institute

This course is part of the M.A. in English Teaching program and satisfies literacy teaching requirements for secondary certification students in all disciplines. MA(T) students may substitute this course for ENT 440 and may count this course as part of their 500 level ENT seminar requirements. Students will be expected to exhibit the skills and dispositions of exemplary professional educators. While we all craft our own teaching styles, the basic minimum includes being prepared, punctual, and organized. In addition, you will be expected to work collaboratively to solve problems, take responsibility for your own learning, construct defensible arguments about your choices, and strive to understand your colleagues -- especially those who are different from you.