A delegation of elementary school students from Wales, United Kingdom visited the United States to engage in writing instruction with P.S. 60-The Woodhaven School, an elementary school in Queens, New York.
Accompanied by eight adults, the young Welsh delegation — representing St. Cadoc’s and St. Peter’s primary schools — are at the early stages of an academic journey that could be as life-changing as the expanded scope most people experience during overseas travel: learning how to express themselves coherently through writing.
“Writing can serve as a bridge between cultures where we learn what makes each of us unique, as well as discover how much more we have in common than what was previously assumed. I am heartened to experience the American and Welsh students learning so much from each other during the past week,” said Dr. Toni-Ann Vroom, Co-Executive Director of TWR.
The St. Cadoc’s and St. Peter’s teachers have been learning TWR writing strategies in preparation for the upcoming school year. The schools’ leadership teams wanted to visit an elementary school that has experienced success with The Writing Revolution’s Hochman Method.
After discussions with TWR, the Cardiff schools decided to visit P.S. 60, a TWR partner school.
Since 2017, P.S. 60 has been using the Hochman Method — a method of expository writing instruction that can be embedded in all grades and subject areas. The method was developed by Dr. Judith C. Hochman, former head of The Windward School in White Plains, NY, founder of the Writing Revolution and co-author of the book of the same name.
US News and GreatSchools.org have each identified P.S. 60’s statewide test scores and student progress as “Above Average”. In addition, P.S. 60 has earned an above-average educational equity rating from GreatSchools.org.
Elizabeth Orsini-Fox, principal of P.S. 60, captured the excitement her school’s students and staff felt during the visit: “I am proud of our partnership with TWR and how our teachers enjoyed sharing their command of the Hochman method with our new Welsh friends. I look forward to continued success implementing the Hochman Method and building a global relationship that will increase our students’ writing proficiency and love of [language].”
“It’s been a wonderful experience to be able to learn from the expertise of the teachers of P.S. 60, and The Writing Revolution team,” said Gareth Rein, headmaster of St. Peter’s. remarked about the St. Peter’s teaching staff who traveled with the students.
“This trip has been a chance of a lifetime for the whole group; to travel over 3,000 miles to learn incredible things about writing, about another culture. To have experiences like this for a group of such young children is something they will remember forever,” said Rein.
Rachel Fisher, headteacher of St. Cadoc’s, agrees: “[The trip has been] a lifetime opportunity for them … the students have been able to do things that you can only dream of doing at that age.”
“P.S. 60’s staff and students had the wonderful opportunity to meet and work collaboratively with the staff and students from St. Peter’s and St. Cadoc’s. Their students worked side-by-side with PS 60’s students, shared ideas, discussed cultural similarities and differences, and developed friendships that will last a lifetime,” noted Kathleen Degnan, assistant principal of P.S. 60.
Tata Njini, 11, a St. Peter’s student who loved writing from a young age, recalled the students in P.S. 60 as “very nice, [and] welcoming”.
Reuben Attard, 10, a Cadoc student, enjoyed learning how to “expand sentences, use appositives and the single-paragraph outline” from P.S. 60’s teachers.
“I feel very proud to come to P.S. 60,” says Katelyn L., a fifth grader from P.S. 60. “Kids came from Wales to visit us to see how we use The Writing Revolution … It’s been an awesome experience.”
P.S. 60, St. Cadoc’s, and St. Peter’s have expressed an interest in becoming pen pals and continuing their collaboration.
Founded by Dr, Judith C. Hochman and based in New York City, The Writing Revolution’s mission is to enable students, especially those from historically-marginalized communities, to develop writing skills, as well as the ability to read and think critically, so they will have enhanced opportunities to succeed in school, in the workplace, and in life.
TWR trains and supports teachers and school leaders in implementing the Hochman Method, an explicit set of evidence-based strategies for teaching expository writing. The method builds from sentences to compositions and is embedded in curricula across all content areas and grade levels. The organization believes that improved writing skills support the improvement of overall academic performance, and will position students with stronger personal skill sets that can help to narrow the social inequality gap. TWR has positioned writing instruction as a solution to help address the students’ learning loss that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published in 2017, the book, The Writing Revolution: A Guide To Advancing Thinking Through Writing In All Subjects and Grades, was co-written by Dr. Hochman and Natalie Wexler. A top-seller within the educator community, The Writing Revolution has been sold throughout all 50 U.S. states, 36 countries, and more than 1,000 colleges and universities.
Through courses, workshops, and webinars, TWR’s training footprint spans North America and 17 other countries.
While TWR’s book and courses are available for purchase by any educator, school, district, and community member, the organization focuses its partnership work on educational institutions that are located within historically marginalized neighborhoods.
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