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University Communications

Area educators attend NPWP institutes at MSU

The Northern Plains Writing Project Institutes at Minot State University started July 6 and ended July 31. In addition to numerous writing and teaching exercises, the nine participating teachers also read and discussed Kelly Gallagher’s “Write Like This,” which involved getting students engaged in authentic writing, and his book “Readicide,” which presented ways to improve students’ literacy levels by getting them to love reading.

“Three teachers were from Minot with one each from Surrey, Mohall, Lignite, Makoti, Glenburn and Ray. Several of the teachers explored how to teach ‘The Great Gatsby.’ One of the most interesting lessons about showing versus telling in your writing actually involved learning how to recognize and express emotions,” said Ron Fischer, English associate professor and NPWP director. “While we like to say the NPWP Institutes are about teachers teaching teachers. It’s more than that. Sometimes, it is teachers being there for other teachers. The teacher from Ray was processing the tragedy from February and lost another two students this summer. I’m glad we were there for him.”

Fischer has facilitated the Summer Institute since 2006 and became NPWP director in 2009. The North Dakota Council of Teachers of English honored him this year with an Award for Service.

“The biggest reward is seeing how teachers blossom into writers themselves and witnessing how eager they are to bring writing activities to their students. But, I will say, it meant a lot hearing the words of KiMar Gartman, Laurie Larson and Kelly Sassi at the awards luncheon. I’ll keep the plaque on my wall as a reminder.” Those who attend NPWP have a chance to travel to Minneapolis in November to attend the National Council of Teachers of English Convention.

“It’s not so far away and not so exotic a place this year, but the conference is never about the place,” Fischer said. “It’s about what happens there to connect teachers to how wonderful our profession is and to connect them to the network of all those who teach writing, who write and who love teaching.”

“I feel like it was a giant feast for me each day. Learning here wasn’t rote or intimidating, but organic and thoughtful,” Jesse Radzwill, Mohall teacher wrote about NPWP. “I imagine what kind of teacher I could be if I dined daily with the educators I met here; they challenged me to be my best, they listened, they disagreed — respectfully, they gave me valuable resources and nodded with understanding when I admitted my weaknesses. When they shared the deep parts of themselves, it only made me respect them more. NPWP is a magical place.”

For further information, contact Fischer at 858-3174 or


Published: 08/04/15

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