North Star of Texas Writing Project

North Star of Texas Writing Project

Teaching Demonstrations

NSTWP Teacher Consultants have prepared these demonstrations to share what has worked with their students. Please borrow and adapt these ideas for your classroom. Let us know how it goes.

And please give credit to these teachers when sharing ideas with others!

Alphabetized by Topic:

Analysis and Questioning Ramonda Fields, Fort Worth ISD Catapulting Toward Analysis & Written Response with Questions
Character Development Sarah Chambers Getting Beyond the Demographics: A Lesson in Character Development
Creative Writing Lindsey Estill, PISD Sculpting Creative Writers
Culture Creed Hansen, PISD Writing about Culture: Empowering our Marginalized Students
Culture and Fairytales Jill Haltom, Lewisville ISD Exploring Cultures through Fairytales
Democratic Dialogue with Peer Journals Carol Revelle Developing Democratic Dialogue with Peer Journals (PP)

Handout (Word Doc)

ELL Students
Ilich Ramirez
Literacy Charts and the  ELL Student
Feedback Richard Edwards Listening Feedback
Freewriting and Voice Kellie Heckert Using Freewriting to Reclaim Voice
Generating Topics and Self-Selection Terisa Pearce, UNT


Grammar Assessment Beth Hubbard The Write Direction: Grammar Instruction and Assessment - Part I  Part II  Part III Part IV  Part V

Grammar & Mentor Texts

Audrey Wilson-Youngblood, Fossil Ridge High, Keller ISD

Making Meaning out of Grammar Using Mentor Texts
Group Work/ Collaboration Julie Love, Denton High School, Denton ISD Social Learning
Image Grammar Rebecca Glass Brushstokes
Imitation Kathy Carlson Literary Imitation as Instruction for Personal Writing:  Grammar and Literary Elements from Literature
Imitation Debra Cook, Liberty School, Denton ISD Writing Like a Pro
Imitation, strong sentences Kathy Page, Birdville ISD Super Sentences: Using Imitation to Strengthen Sentences
Literary Analysis Lynn Knowles, Lewisville ISD Using Movies as a Meof Literary Analysis
Literature Circles Shelley Blackburn, UNT Teaching Fellows Literature Circles
Mood, Music, and Prewriting Colleen Graves, Denton ISD Moody Music: Using Mood to Aid in Prewriting
Multicultural Classrooms Martina Flores and Tere Troncosom, CFBISD Reflections on Teaching in a Multicultural Classroom
Multigenre Research Kerri Harris, Keller ISD Genres, Voices and Thoughts: Research with a Creative Twist
Photography and Writing Jan Arrington Turning Photography into Writing
Poetry Kristi Gibson Channeling Emotions
Poetry Jeana Etame, Lewisville ISD Poetry: Capturing the Image
Prewriting Carol Nance, Northwest High School, Northwest ISD Blueprinting
Prewriting and Graphic Organizers Jennifer Mitchell Positive/Negative Graphs
Revision Belinda Henson A Lesson in Revision: Community Inquiry and Point of View
Science Notebooks Jennifer Roberts, UNT Science Notebooks: Writing to Learn


Reasons to Use Science Notebooks

Scientific Literacy Cari Cockrell, Denton ISD The Science of Writing and the Writing of Science


Scientific Literacy Katie Hart, Denton ISD Scientific Literacy: Thinking By Analogy
Scientific Literacy Tosha Hoefert, Denton ISD Using Haiku Poetry to Enhance Science Instruction
Suspense Writing Lisa Dominy, Frisco ISD


Theme Vonda McFarlin, Denton ISD Um…what is the author trying to convey in his/her story? OR  Finding the Theme in a Literary Work
Tone and Voice Isaac Thompson, Lewisville ISD From Tone Vocabulary to Voice:  Helping Students discover their Inner Voice
Writing and the Habits of Mind Brandi Schwertner
Using the Habits of Mind to Improve Writing
Writing Strategy Theresa Brown Freezing Time
Inquiry Cycle

Culturally Mediated Writing Research Team

For more information, contact

Inquiry Cycle
Mentor Texts
I Search Paper Assignment Sheet
Gradual Release of Responsibility Model
KISD High School 11-9-09 Handout


Professional Readings & Resources on Writing Instruction

We help teachers enact theoretically sound, research-based approaches to literacy instruction, with particular focus on writing instruction. We maintain a professional library for North Star Teacher Consultants. We recommend these as some of the titles that would be useful to teachers.

  • Atwell, N. (1998). In the middle. Second ed. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Bauman A., & Peterson, A. (2002). Breakthrough: Classroom discoveries about teaching writing. Berkeley, CA: National Writing Project.
  • Beers, K.(2002). When kids can’t read --- what teachers can do: A guide for teachers 6 – 12. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Calkins, L. M. (1994). The art of teaching writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Fletcher, R. (1992). What a writer needs. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Fletcher, R., & Portalupi, J. (1998). Craft Lessons: Teaching writing k-8.  Portland, ME. Stenhouse Publishers.
  • Fletcher, R., & Portalupi, J. (2001). Writing workshop: The essential guide. Portland, ME. Stenhouse Publishers.
  • Fletcher, R., & Portalupi, J. (2001). Craft Lessons: Teaching information writing k-8.  Portland, ME. Stenhouse Publishers.
  • Graves, D. (1994). A fresh look at writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Graves, D. (2003). Writing: Teachers and children at work, 20th Anniversary Ed. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Harwayne, Shelley (2001). Writing through childhood: Rethinking process and product. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • MacLean, M. S., & Mohr, M. M. (1999). Teacher-researchers at work. Berkeley. CA: National Writing Project.
  • Mallow, F., & Patterson, L. (1999). Framing literacy: Teaching/learning in K-8 classrooms. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publisher, Inc.
  • Romano, T. (1995). Writing with passion: Life stories, multiple genres. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.
  • Schuster, E. H. (2003). Breaking the rules: Liberating writers through innovative grammar instruction. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Van Horn, Leigh. (2001). Creating literacy communities in the middle school. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publisher, Inc.
  • Wanner, S. Y. (1994). On with the story: Adolescents learning through narrative. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.
  • Wilhelm, J. D., Baker, T. N., & Dube, J. (2001). Strategic reading: Guiding students to lifelong literacy, 6 – 12. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.

NSTWP Professional Development

As North Star of Texas Writing Project Teacher Consultants, we provide cutting-edge professional development for K-12 literacy teachers. We invite teachers to become lifelong learners and leaders. We advocate for teachers!

If you invite us into your district, we will:

  • Support your comprehensive school-improvement effort, including partnering with all stakeholders.
  • Use the latest research about effective teaching, adult learning, multiple modalities, and brain-based techniques.
  • Encourage professional dialogue
  • Always address student learning needs, using information from multiple sources--disaggregated data, teacher inquiries, and/or collaborative problem-solving.
  • Engage teachers in diverse and flexible professional development formats, using multiple learning modalities as appropriate.

What Makes North Star Professional Development Unique?

  • We are a part of your community!  We are here to stay!
  • We customize our PD to meet the needs of your campus or your district.
  • We focus on significant PD topics, providing opportunities for deep investigations connecting research to practice, rather than superficial coverage.
  • We offer a range of formats related to those topics, including follow-up (coaching, peer obs, online, etc.)
  • Quality assurance (we work together to be good!) We coach each other…and the advanced institute prepares TCs.



North Star of Texas Leadership Team


Dr. Carol Wickstrom
University of North Texas
Office: (940) 565-4568


Dr. Janelle Mathis
University of North Texas
Office: (940) 565-2754


Dr. Leslie Patterson
University of North Texas
Office: (940) 565-4800

North Star of Texas Writing Project

North Star of Texas Writing Project (NSTWP) is a local site of the National Writing Project.  We offer high-quality professional development programs for educators in their service areas, at all grade levels, K-16 and across all content areas. NSTWP:

  • develops a leadership cadre of local teachers who have participated in invitational summer institutes in the teaching of writing. 
  • delivers customized inservice programs for local schools and institutions.
  • provides continuing education and research opportunities for NSTWP Teacher Consultants.   
  • conducts programs for youth, for parents and community members, and for administrators.
  • proudly partners with north Texas school districts to co-sponsor professional development initiatives.
  • presents at professional conferences, publishes articles and books for colleagues across the country, and takes significant leadership roles in school districts and professional organizations throughout Texas.

Events and Activities

Annual Summer Invitational Institute -- June 13-July 8, 2011, Monday - Friday, 8:00-4:00, Denton ISD

Join us for an intensive 4-week institute where participants explore research-based approaches to writing instruction and work on their personal writing. The application for Summer Institute attached below. Due January 15, 2011. 

Inquiry Day

February 5. Join us to hear from NSTWP teacher researchers about what they are learning from their students. Watch for details here.

Denton Area Texas Association for the Improvement of Reading (TAIR) Conference

See for updates.


Customized workshops and inquiry groups can be scheduled for individual districts and campuses. Topics include  ELL support; technology integration; college readiness; reading/writing connection, and others.