Course Syllabus

Creating a Culture of Writers

Course Creator and Instructor: Dr. Annette Durbin, Ed. D.  

Course Description

Based upon the National Writing Projects beliefs, this course will provide participants with useful tools and strategies for teaching writing for K-12 students in public, private, and homeschool classrooms.

This course uses research-based instructional strategies to include writer's workshop, writing process, mentor texts, and cross curricular connections.

All instructional tools and strategies are grounded in best practices. 

Participants will examine strategies for building a learning community with a reading-writing literacy connection.

Participants will implement research-based strategies in their literacy instruction.

Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning

This course is informed by the Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning that outline the “characteristics of professional learning leading towards effective teaching practices, supportive leadership, and improved student results.”

As explicit in the standards, “professional learning is for educators to develop the knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions they need to help student performance at a higher level.” (

Instructional Goals and Defined Outcomes 


1.0 Instructional Goal: Introduce the research-based principles and basic structure of the language/literacy program within a workshop framework that encompasses the building of community through language, word study, reading, writing, and the visual arts.

Defined Outcome:

1.1 Participants will examine key elements of the language/literacy program.

1.2. Participants will describe the relevancy of the key elements to their professional experiences,  classroom practices, and student's needs.

1.3. Participants will examine best practices of a language/literacy program.


2.0 Instructional Goal: Provide a collaborative structure for participants to translate the essential principles and components of a literacy program into their classroom practices.

Defined Outcome:

2.1. Participants will examine the strengths and potential problems of the strategies supporting the essential literacy elements and will select/adapt strategies for implementation in their instruction.

2.2. Participants will implement best practices of a language/literacy program in their classroom practices.


3.0 Instructional Goal: Engage participants in “in-action” and “on-action” reflective examinations of the theories, their implemented practices, and the outcomes.

Defined Outcome:

3.1. Participants will analyze and reflect upon the principles and strategies of guiding readers and writers using a workshop framework, their application in the classroom, the outcomes of the implementation, and the implication for future direction in the classroom, as well as professional learning needs.

3.2. Participants will implement research-based writing instructional strategies, bring student sample pieces to share, and reflect upon student progress to plan the next instructional sequence and advance student learning. 


4.0 Instructional Goal: Familiarize participants with the district, state, and national standards addressed by the strategies and concepts presented.

Defined Outcome:

4.1. Participants will identify the standards met by implementing the strategies for student achievement.

4.2. Participants will identify the standards met by implementing the strategies for accomplished teaching as outlined by The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and Five Core Propositions. 

Danielson Domains

Domain 1: Planning & Preparation

*Demonstrating Knowledge of Students

*Designing Coherent Instruction

Domain 2: The Environment

*Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport

*Managing Classroom Procedures

*Managing Student Behavior 

Domain 3: Delivery of Services

*Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques

*Engaging Students in Learning

*Using Assessments in Instruction

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities 

*Maintaining Accurate Records

*Showing Professionalism 

Writing Style Requirements

Participants’ writing will reflect the clarity, conciseness, and creativity expected of post-baccalaureate certificated educators.

Related Professional Organizations

International Literacy Association

National Council of Teachers of English

National Writing Project

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Alaska State Writing Consortium

Course Texts, Readings, Handouts, and Library Reserve

Content References

Buckner, A. (2005). Notebook know-how: Strategies for the writer’s notebook. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Culham, R. (2018). Teach writing well. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Glass, K. and Marzano, R. (2018).  The new art and science of teaching writing.  Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

Graham, S., MacArthur, C., Hebert, M. (2019). Best practices in writing instruction.  New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc. 

Fountas, Irene C., & Pinnell, G. S. (2001). Guiding readers and writers 3-6: Teaching comprehension, genre, and content literacy.  Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hoyt, L. (2002).  Make it real: Strategies for success with informational texts. Portsmouth, NH:  Heinemann.

Jennings, P. (2019). The trauma-sensitive classroom: Building resilience with compassionate teaching. NewYork, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Lindsey, D., Jungwirth, L., Pahl, J. and Lindsey, R. (2009).  Culturally proficient learning communities.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. 

Marzano, R. (2003).  What works in schools: Translating research into action. Alexandria, VA:  ASCD.

Thomas, A. (2019). The journal writer’s companion. Australia: Exisle

Ray, K. (2004). About the authors: Writing workshop with our youngest writers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Routman, R. (2005). Writing essentials: Raising expectations and results while simplifying teaching.  Portsmouth, NH:  Heinemann.

Zemelman, S., Daniels, H., and Hyde, A. (2005). Best Practice: Today’s standards for teaching and learning in America’s schools. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Standards References

Alaska Comprehensive Center. (2012). Guide to Implementing the Alaska Cultural Standards for Educators.  Juneau, AK: Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.

Alaska Native Knowledge Network. (1998). Alaska standards for culturally responsive schools. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska Press.

IRA/NCTE Joint Task Force on Assessment. (1994). Standards for the assessment of reading and writing. Newark, DE:  NCTE/IRA.

Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for professional Learning.  Retrieved from

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (2019). What teachers should know and be able to do.  Retrieved from

National Council of Teachers of English/International Reading Association. (1996). Standards for the English language arts. Newark, DE:  NCTE/IRA.

NCTE Committee on Teacher Preparation and Certification. (1996). Guidelines for the preparation of teachers of English language arts. Chicago, IL: NCTE.

State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. (1997). Standards for Alaska teachers. Juneau, AK.

State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. (2006). Content standards for Alaska students. Juneau, AK.

State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. (1999). Performance standards for Alaska students. Juneau, AK.

State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. (2012). New Alaska English/language arts and mathematics standards. Juneau, AK.

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