Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Collaborative Podcast from Lehua Writing Project's November Continuity

Please take a few moments to listen to what we learned at our November continuity. We collaboratively created a podcast. Mahalo to our continuity leader, Stephanie Shepherd!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November Continuity 11/14/09 Technology in the Classroom

Stephanie Shepherd led us through a FABULOUS technology workshop on blogging and podcasting and had the teachers set up their own blogs. Yeah!

To check out all the resources Stephanie provided, here's a sharetab of her links as well as some of our own blogs.

So why should we use blogs and podcasts/vodcasts in our classrooms?
Offers another sense modality (aural) for students to express themselves and absorb or manipulate information
▪Increased student motivation
▪Teachers or students can record audio about homework assignments, assignments, feedback, announcements, etc. thus the classroom is extended and enriched
▪Many students already have audio players, so it taps into an existing technology.
▪Blogging is highly effective way to help students to become better writers. Research has long shown that students write more, write in greater detail, and take greater care with spelling, grammar, and punctuation, when they are writing to an authentic audience over the Internet.
▪Anecdotal evidence suggests that students' interest in, and quantity of, writing increases when their work is published online and -- perhaps even more importantly -- when it is subject to reader comments.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Directions to NHERC

I hope we get to see as many of you as possible at the Nov 14 continuity training at NHERC with Stephanie Shepherd leading. Below is their phone, street address and a link to Google Maps! Please bring a laptop if you have one available! Mahalo!!!!

(808) 775-8890

(808) 775-1294

45-539 Plumeria St., Honokaʻa, HI, 96727
NHERC on Google Maps

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall Continuity Nov 14, 2009

The Lehua Writing Project Invites You

The November continuity session led by Stephanie Shepherd will be on writing and technology. Feeling overwhelmed? Feeling like your must do list is overtaking your want to do's? Join us, bring your friends, get inspired, get re-energized,and write with abandon.

November 14, 2009: 9-12
NHERC in Honoka'a

Fall Continuity Nov 14, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Writers- teachers - lovers of the Big Island, there are 26 days to submit your pieces to the local gallery Na Leo o Hawaii

Gallery Title: Na Leo o Hawaii - Voices of the Big Island

Gallery Description: This gallery will highlight the voices of the Big Island of Hawaii - from our kupuna (elders) to our keiki (children) - from the fishing village of Milolii to the town of Hawi. This gallery is about living on the Big Island.

If you'd like an easy tutorial to submitting your work, please watch the how-to video below:

How to submit your writing

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Our first continuity workshop: vocabulary with Ann Buffington

6 teachers/writers gathered in Honoka'a this morning to reunite, write, eat and learn from Ann Buffington (LWP'08) about what she learned last summer about academic vocabulary literacy.

If you missed it, look for our next one next month.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Lehua Writing Projects invites you to its first Fall Continuity
September 12, 2009
9-12 @ NHERC
Guest Speaker: Ann Buffington
Topic: Best Practices in Vocabulary Instruction

Bring a snack to share and come ready to share your stories of implementing the writing process.

There will be a discussion of upcoming events and the 2010-2011 renewal grant.
The Teacher Research Group will have Information about its formation and stipends.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hawaiian Women Writers Reading 8/30/09

Native Hawaiian Women
appearing in newly
published anthology
Readings, Reception, Discussion, Book Signing

Sunday, August 30, 2009
2:00-5:00 p.m.
UHH Performing Arts Center

Readings by Writers: Phyllis Coochie Cayan, Pualani Kanahele,
Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, Mahealani Perez-Wendt, Nalanikanaka`ole,
Rachelle “Snookie” Maikui, Doodie Cruz, Muriel Hughes, Cathy Ikeda,
Jackie Pualani Johnson,Jerelyn Makanui-Yoshida, Tamara Wong Morrison

Other writers include Keonaona Aea, Cheryl Bautista, and Relyn Timbal, of the continental states;
the late Eleanor Ahuna of Hilo; and the late Haunani Bernardino of O`ahu and Hilo.
Free and Open to the Public

Sponsored by: the Performing Arts Department, the English Department, Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, Ka Haka Ula O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language; the Hawaiʻi Life Styles Program from the Hawaiʻi Community College; and the Hawaii Council for the Humanities, with additional support from the “We the People” initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Na Leo O Hawaii Now Accepting Submissions

In celebration of the October 20, 2009 National Day on Writing, and with the help of NCTE (National Council for Teachers of English), we now have our own local online gallery that is a part of the larger National Gallery. Na Leo o Hawaii, the voices of Hawaii, is for all of us who live on the Big Island. Please help me to get the word out to your colleagues, your students, your kupuna, and please submit your own piece. We are looking for any kind of writing about growing up or living on the Big Island - from eating ice shave at Kawate's, camping at Spencer Beach Park, shoveling snow into your pickup truck from Mauna Kea and making "ice men" in your front yard, or spending New Year's at grandma's house with all the cousins. More information and a flyer will come out when school starts, but the site is up and ready for your own submissions, as well as your family's submissions.

  • Go to
  • Create a login
  • Add personal information and your piece
  • If your children or grandchildren are submitting and they are under 13, a parent will need to help them sign up with your email
  • The NCTE will send an email back to you with an online permission form
  • Once the permission form is submitted, you will get an email back when your child's piece can be submitted (it's a fast process)

Thanks for passing on the word.
If you have other questions, please contact me.

Curator, Na Leo o Hawaii local gallery

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


- NWP Site Bulletin -


Please take a moment this summer to write or email your legislators. Let them know you appreciate their support for the writing project. Tell them something you did in your classroom this year or plan to do next year. Give them a glimpse of your summer institute or another writing project opportunity that is making a difference to your teaching. Be brief. One or two short paragraphs from an educator like you will assure members of Congress that their commitment to the NWP has a specific and lasting impact. Let your voice be heard and your work be recognized!

Here are three great opportunities. Pick one. Pick all if you choose!

* WRITE DURING THE SUMMER INSTITUTE -- a chance to write from your heart and from the program that is the heart of the writing project.

* WRITE BEFORE YOU GO BACK TO SCHOOL -- a chance to share your excitement about returning to school with new plans, new ideas, new enthusiasm. Forward your summer writing, such as Op-Ed pieces and other reflections on the importance of writing and the impact the writing project has on teachers and students in your area.

* PLAN A LOCAL EVENT FOR THE NATIONAL DAY ON WRITING, OCTOBER 20, 2009 -- For more information go to

Let us hear from you. Share your letters to Congress and any responses you receive by sending them to us at This not only helps us keep up with the extraordinary work you do, but also helps shape our national advocacy effort.

For more tips on writing to your legislators, follow this link:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Teachers as Connectors

What do you think about Will Richardson's quote? Agree?
Will Richardson is a Web 2.0 guru as well as the author of the blog Weblogg-ed. The graphic was done by Dean Shareski.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer Institute Orientation 5/23/09

Ten of us, all women, made our way upcountry to Kalōpā, Hāmākua to meet, greet, write, share, and take in the serenity of the park. It was also a time to orient ourselves to the shared journey of summer institute, as well as a time to think about our inquiry topic and vision for our classroom. All the women came with strengths, talents, a willingness to write and a desire to improve their teaching, so thank you! We are looking forward to a transformative summer experience.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NCTE Web Seminars for Fall 2009

NCTE is excited to announce the 2009 Fall Web Seminar lineup. Don’t miss another opportunity. As a bonus, you will receive a copy of the Web seminar on CD. This On Demand version offers the convenience and flexibility to share this quality professional development experience with colleagues any time.

Here’s just a sample of the upcoming Web seminars:
Supporting Beginning English Teachers: Induction, Mentoring, and Assistance
Tom McCann
August 12, 2009
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Administrators and School Leaders

Planning for Success in your Gradual Release of Responsibility Classrooms
Nancy Frey
August 19, 2009
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Administrators and School Leaders

Homework: To Assign or Not to Assign? What to Really Consider
Kay Haas, Stacy Kitsis, Buffy Salee, and Neil Rigler
August 26, 2009
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Administrators, School Leaders, and Teachers

Creating Your Digital Writing Workshop
Troy Hicks
September 17, 2009
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Middle, Secondary

Middle School Content Area Literature: Picturing the Possibilities
Mary Jo Fresch and Peggy Harkins
September 22, 2009
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Middle

Reach Out & Learn Something: Classroom Connections Wherever You Are
Bud Hunt
September 30, 2009
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. EDT
Audience: Secondary and Teacher Leaders

Storytelling 2.0: New Possibilities within a New Practice
Sara Kajder
October 21, 2009
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. EDT
Audience: Elementary, Middle, Secondary

Integrating Grammar into the Context of Writing
Jeff Anderson
October 27, 2009
Time: 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EDT
Audience: Elementary, Middle
Literature Circles in the Middle and High School Classroom
Katie McKnight
November 4, 2009
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST
Audience: Middle

Write from Wrong: Strategies for Addressing Student Plagiarism
Barry Gilmore
November 10, 2009
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST
Audience: Secondary
Reading Shakespeare with All Our Students
Mary Ellen Dakin
December 3, 2009
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. EST
Audience: Middle, Secondary

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Principals are Writers Too!

Lehua Writing Project is grateful for Art Souza, west Hawaii superintendent, for allowing Merle Yoshida and I to present a mini writing project workshop with his principals and SRSs (school renewal specialists).

We had a great time yesterday at NHERC as the principals participated in our memory box exercises, talked, wrote, laughed, ate, shared, wrote more, responded and reflected. We also were able to push again for investing in teachers, and the ways that Lehua Writing Project can help with the state's new literacy initiative.

The principals are also willing to model for their teachers by submitting their first draft writing that we did yesterday. We'll get it up soon. They felt that if they want their teachers to take this kind of risk, they need to lead. Ho'omaika'i!

In addition, the 4 complexes were able to get together and start talking about their vision of an excellent writer, not just for their school, but for K-12.

Please mahalo your principals for being so open and enthusiastic participants.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Unlucky Arithmetic for Teachers: 13 ways to raise a nonwriter

(This is a post from my blog Mana'o for Educators that I thought I'd share here) - Cathy

Did you have a journal? Were you a writer as a child? Did you lose that passion when you grew up? How long has it been since you, as an adult, have written for yourself -- not because you had to, or it was expected of you, or you were grading papers, but for the pure joy of writing?

Cathy Song, Hawaii's own "poet laureate" started writing at a young age. She says, "our family travels started my writing. I guess I was around nine years old when I decided I wanted to be the family chronicler." My own journey started with a Holly Hobie journal given to me when I was seven as a way for me to fill in the empty spaces left from my parents' divorce. My mother gave me a journal every year for the next 30 years.

Are we nurturing that passion for writing in our students? Or are we killing that passion with our focus on writing for testing, formulaic writing, and the unhealthy balance of reading first?

Choice Literacy, working off the text "Unlucky Arithmetic: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader" by Dean Schneider and Robin Smith came up with a list for teachers on sure fire ways that we, as teachers, can effectively kill the passion for writing in our students. Just some mana'o to think about.

Unlucky Arithmetic for Teachers: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Non-Writer

1. Tell children that writers write at desks, not under them and most certainly not on the carpet.
2. Correct all misspellings, including letters spelled backwards; Howe kaan wee reed mistaaks? Puuulease.
3. Squash the talk. Writing is for learning vocabulary and sentence structure. Talk is time away from thinking about their writing.
4. Absolutely, positively no writing-in-the-style-of another author. Children have to find their own voice.
5. Don't encourage drawing in writer's notebooks. They're for writing, obviously. If you allow drawing though, ignore the scribbles. There's no story there. Promise.
6. Once kids learn how to spell, throw out the markers and crayons. Only use pencil. That way, mistakes can be erased.
7. There is a time for reading and a time for writing. By no means mix the two. It can get confusing.
8. Limit writing on the computer. Serious writing only happens on the page.
9. Under no circumstances talk about the relationship between art and language in picture books. It's right there; they can figure it out, surely.
10. Lined paper is for writing, unlined paper is for drawing. Get it right. If you don't, who will?
11. Children are writers-in-waiting; you already know how to write so you don't need to keep a writer's notebook, they do.
12. Make sure children revise and edit on days set aside for revision and editing. There is a writerly plan - stick to it.
13. Avoid showing children your own writing (if you do it); they're more interested in published writing, not yours. Come on.

Want other ways to nurture the passion for writing in your students? Join us for the Lehua Writing Project summer institute. Send an email to Jeannine Hirtle ( or me, Cathy Ikeda ( Be nurtured, be validated, be a writer, grow writers.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Summer Writing Institute Reading List

If you are joining us for this summer's writing institute, here's the books we'd like you to choose from for your professional library book conversations. Please choose one. They can be ordered at Borders, or Heinneman.

  • The Art of Teaching Writing, Lucy Calkins (ISBN 0-435-08817-3
  • What You Know By Heart: How to Develop Curriculum for your Writing Workshop, Katie Wood Ray (ISBN 978-0-325-00364-1)

  • In the Middle, Second Edition: New Understanding About Writing, Reading, and Learning, Nancie Atwell (ISBN 978-0-86709-374-2)
  • Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide, Ralph Fletcher, JoAnn Portalupi (ISBN 978-0-325-00362-7)

  • High School Inside Out, Third Edition: Strategies for Teaching Writing, Dan Kirby, Tom Liner, Dawn Latta Kirby (ISBN 978-0-325-00588-1)
  • Content-Area Writing: Every Teacher's Guide, Harvey Daniels, Steven Zemelman, Nancy Steineke (ISBN 978-0-325-00972-8)

  • Writing to Learn Mathematics: Strategies That Work, K-12, Joan Countryman, ISBN 978-0-435-08329-8

Thursday, March 26, 2009

National Writing Project E Voice

Welcome to E-Voice, the National Writing Project's bi-monthly email newsletter that provides news updates, links to articles of interest to writing teachers, and other information about the NWP community. Read the current issue.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Resources for parents and educators: Adolescent Literacy.or

Adolescent is a resource for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12. It's a free e-newsletter and it's got a nice balance of writing and reading resources as well as blogs, multimedia videos with experts and YA authors as well as literacy strategies.

Right now I'm watching a video by Dr. Steve Graham of Vanderbilt University. It's long, so it would be a great shot of PD for spring break. Not only does he talk about why he was interested in writing, he also says that the best preparation for writing teachers is to go through writing project.
He also talks about self-regulated strategy development, peer revising, collaborative writing and grammar instruction.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy Square Root Day!

I'd like to officially say that although most of us at the Lehua Writing Project are current or former English teachers, we are NOT allergic to our math colleagues, and in fact we are more alike than not. So in that spirit, Happy Square Root Day! (3/3/09) For the math challenged amongst us, 3 is the square root of 9 8-)

The last square root day was on
Feb. 2, 2004, and the next is seven years away, on April 4, 2016.

Enjoy the day by reading a math children's book like:
Math Curse by John Scieszka
Your Momma Thinks Square Roots are Vegetables by Bill Amend
The Grapes of Math by Bill Tang or
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Reporting Data

Pat and Paul suggested that LWP go online site profile to get the categories to get the categories for collecting data.

Resources on

Please check out these great online resources through NWP. These are reading resources that will help support the work of the Writing Project.

Viva la Revolución: Transforming Teaching and Assessing Student Writing through Collaborative Inquiry

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nominate a Teacher to Attend SI 2009

Aloha, We are requesting your nominations for teachers who you feel who benefit, enjoy, and contribute to SI 2009! Our best recruiters are teachers who have been through the writing project, so we want your nominations!

We have a flier we'd like to you mail to teachers who you think might be interested in the LWP. It is located in the SIDEBAR of Please take a few moments to consider who you might nominate. E-mail them your invitation and the flier, and e-mail us, your nomination/recommendation. and


Lehua Writing Project Invitations


We have two events for the Lehua Writing Project. They are both "meet and greets" to talk to national leaders,Pat Fox and Paul Oh. We are inviting Lehuas to one or both events and/but for your convenience we have put an event on the west side and on the east side.

East Side, Friday, February 20th from 5-7 @ UH Hilo in UCB 312
West Side, Saturday, February 21 from 9-11@ Parker Ranch Food Court

We miss you all and want to see you at one or both of these events and we want your input to the national leadership about your perception of writing on the Big Island. We want all your ideas as we build our new writing project. Any of you who want to contribute and/or play a leadership role, we welcome!

Please RSVP so we know how many people to prepare for!

Cathy and Jeannine

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Off with their heads!"

This Sunday's Star Bulletin ran an article on Hawaii State superintendent of schools, Patricia Hamamoto's push for the legislature to give the DOE more power to replace teachers, principals and staff at some campuses that have been failing the No Child Left Behind law despite extra support to help them raise student achievement over the years.

The plan would allow Hamamoto to replace staff if the school was in restructuring for at least three years. The proposal would allow Hamamoto to replace workers at schools that have been under restructuring for three years or longer. It also could change membership of school community councils and control of the campus could be handed over to private companies.

Harsh? I thought so, but the most interesting thing about this topic is that the comments to this article are not really all that harsh. In fact, I was intrigued by the number of posts that think that this idea sounds pretty logical, and despite the all or nothing nature of this proposal, many people thought it might work to bring up scores.

According to the article,
"28 state schools, including one charter school, have been unable to exit restructuring in three or more years, prompting the Education Department to consider "reconstituting" those schools - a more aggressive aspect of restructuring aimed at changing a school's culture.

"What we are trying to do is work with those schools that are not making significant academic growth after three or more years," Assistant Superintendent Daniel Hamada said about the idea, noting schools have had "the opportunity to improve."
Hamada's saying that the 28 schools have had "the opportunity to improve" basically means that 5 million was given to these schools to implement the program of the day (like America's Choice), provide training to at least one overworked teacher leader that then becomes the one responsible for getting the rest of the hostile staff to buy into the program, as well as consultants that come in and check your bulletin boards. When one program is not working, they bring in the next program of the day.

The 28 schools they're looking at for possible replacement of staff (teachers and principals) are: Honolulu District: Central Middle, Dole Middle, Kalihi Kai; Central District: Wahiawa Elementary, Wahiawa Middle; Leeward District: Kamaile Elementary Public Charter School*, Maili Elementary, Nanaikapono Elementary, Nanakuli Elementary, Nanakuli High and Intermediate, Waianae Intermediate, Waipahu Elementary, Waipahu Intermediate; Windward District: Kahaluu Elementary, Parker Elementary Hawaii District: Hilo Intermediate, Kalanianaole Elementary and Intermediate, Kau High and Pahala Elementary, Keeau Middle, Kealakehe Elementary, Kealakehe Intermediate, Laupahoehoe High and Elementary, Naalehu Elementary and Intermediate, Pahoa High and Intermediate; Maui County: Hana High and Elementary, Kaunakakai Elementary, Molokai High, Molokai Middle

* The Education Department's proposal to the Legislature would allow Hamamoto to recommend that a charter school be reconstituted. (Source: Dept. of Education)

Here's what's pissing me off about this. I admit that I'm no longer in the "system" and in fact have been out of the system for 6 years now, but you know that thing with people that have lost weight -- when you see them every day, you don't notice, but for those people that are on the outside, who haven't seen this person every day, they notice when there's a change. . .well I have not been in the DOE system to see the changes every day, but I've been watching from the outside, and what I see breaks my heart. I listed the schools and it all looks very "dataish," but I know these schools. I've been on the campus of every single school that's listed from Hawaii District. I know some of these principals and teachers. I know what they bring to the table. What experiences they have, what training they've been through. What talents have been squashed and swallowed in these six years. I've been watching the disempowerment of these strong, talented teachers who know their students more than any consultant will ever know these students. They understand their communities more than any outside program will ever understand their communities. Yes, I am the coward who left. Who could not stomach the feeling of helplessness. I am the one who stood in front of my AP class at Hilo High and realized that there were no Hawaiian kids and decided to leave the system, follow the Hawaiian kids to what many believe is a "cushy" job at an independent school. But I've been watching and mourning for my colleagues who had the guts to stay, and the professionalism to try and make it work.

The state of California has 100 schools who have not met AYP in over six years, and yet only 10 of them opted to hand school management over. Even with that, there were very mixed results. ????

I think Hamamoto needs to talk directly to Lehua Veincent, principal of Keaukaha School, who brought his school out of restructuring by knowing his kids, knowing their strengths, bringing in the community to educate the children, and bringing in support staff who also knew these kids and were committed to helping them. While she's at it, come talk to Merle Yoshida (Kalanianaole School) and Cynthia Perry (Pahoa High and Intermediate). Give the power back to the teachers who know these kids, are committed to seeing them succeed, and are committed to these communities where they live and work. I mourn because our teachers, my friends, must work in a hostile environment where their voices are not valued, their experience is not treasured, their cries for help fall on deaf ears. You can replace these teachers and their 20 years of experience, but there's no one out there who will love these kids and love this community as much. Look closely at these teachers, especially our outer island teachers. They are not sending their kids to private school. They are born and raised in these communities. Why would they stay so long in a profession that does not treat them as professionals if not for the kids that they cannot leave behind? They ho'omau (persevere) because they must.

They DESERVE more power. They DESERVE to be heard. We need to LISTEN with our mind open and our mouth closed.

Originally posted in Mana'o for educators