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robert@writercoachconnection.org
WriterCoach Connection works one-on-one with students in class to help develop their writing and critical thinking skills.
Recent Activity
In my first year as a volunteer writer coach at El Cerrito High School, I learned a lot about what my role was and why it was called “WriterCoach Connection.” I had been a newspaper reporter at one point in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2015 at WriterCoach Connection
By Terri Lynn Sullivan El Cerrito Recruitment Coordinator For months, it was like pulling teeth just to get my coaching student to put pencil to paper and begin any essay prose. Caught in the throes of middle school madness, brilliant... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2015 at WriterCoach Connection
Writing Your Way to Happiness By Tara Parker-Pope New York Times January 19, 2015 The scientific research on the benefits of so-called expressive writing is surprisingly vast. Studies have shown that writing about oneself and personal experiences can improve mood... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2015 at WriterCoach Connection
What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades By Maria Konnikova New York Times 6/2/2014 Even as the emphasis shifts to the keyboard, experts say that learning to write by hand improves motor skills, memory and creativity. Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at WriterCoach Connection
Susanne Eneya Berkeley/Albany Volunteer Coordinator While reading this recent amusing New York Times article, "But I Want To Do Your Homework: Helping Kids With Their Homework," I couldn’t help but be reminded of the tendency I sometimes observe in our... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at WriterCoach Connection
from Jana Haertl's blog Tangled Up In Life Unfolding "Success is not necessarily the perfect essay or even a job well done. Sometimes it’s just showing up on Wednesdays." “School sucks, but I always try to come on Wednesdays…” That... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2014 at WriterCoach Connection
From Michael Dickens' blog, A Tuesday Night Memo Writer Coach Michael Dickens reflects on his first Read-and-Write-a-thon experience. Looking back on a year ago this weekend, I had never participated in a read-a-thon and, honestly, didn't really know what to... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2014 at WriterCoach Connection
The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), being rolled out gradually over the next eight years, changes the way education is funded in California, funneling extra money to districts with high proportions of historically under-served students and giving districts increased autonomy... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2014 at WriterCoach Connection
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Oakland Reads 2020, an initiative of the Oakland Literacy Coalition, of which we are a charter member, recognizes that the academic success of children requires engaged communities mobilized to remove barriers, expand opportunities, and assist parents to serve as full... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2014 at WriterCoach Connection
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Were you there? No one has an exact count, but it looked to me like well north of 100 of our coaches jammed the light-filled space at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley on May 5, a sunny Cinco de... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2014 at WriterCoach Connection
Recently at Richmond High, coaches worked with the students in the ELD4 (English Language Development) class on a reflective essay about a Life-Changing Event. Many kids jumped right in with stories about a sports team win or the death of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2014 at WriterCoach Connection
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Last week at Richmond High School, writer coaches worked with the 10th grade students in the Law Academy as they researched a social justice organization. But instead of going to a card catalog in the library or (god forbid!) an... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at WriterCoach Connection
Teacher Voices: Teaching Young Men of Color - National Writing Project. Summary: The newest report in the Teacher Voices series features conversations and ideas from twelve teacher-leaders working in diverse contexts and communities across the country. Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2014 at WriterCoach Connection
Excerpted from Celebrating philanthropy: Giving Tuesday, giving every day by Patty Enrado The Dress at 50 It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving. – Mother Teresa, Albanian Roman Catholic nun, humanitarian, and Nobel... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2014 at WriterCoach Connection
Maureen's description of her experience as a writer coach goes to the heart of what we do. It's her one-on-one connection with this student, and her skills in developing that connection, that will yield results.
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Thanks for the comment, Joyce. Alfredo is so right. I don't know anyone who has ever coached in this program who doesn't have breakthrough stories like this, some small, some not so small. But not all of us can tell them the way Alfredo can!
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Yep, make no mistake: our coaches treasure these expressions of sentiment from students. We all know that students will say only what they mean. If only all adults were like that!
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You're so right that spreading the impact of WriterCoach Connection in Oakland classrooms requires constant effort to be visible, to tell the story about how this individual coaching helps students improve their writing and critical thinking skills. We're at public events all over town, at Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council meetings, talking with the faith-based community, anything we can think of. The response in the Oakland community has been astonishing -- our first year in Oakland, four years ago, we were overrun with volunteers, and the flood has continued every year since then. As we expand the program in Oakland, and elsewhere, we'll need even more volunteers, of course. And funding for the program, to pay for all the organization it takes to find and train volunteers, organize and supervise them,and assess the program every year, is a constant challenge.
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2012 on Ring-a-ding-ding! at WriterCoach Connection
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TypePad HTML Email I agree with Maureen. Everything about this program is rewarding, including working with the 450 (!) dedicated community volunteers who make up our coach contingent.
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To Mr. Miley: No, it's not the same person in Lake Havasu to whom you refer, and there's certainly no reason for the Jeff Wyneken who has served our literacy program with such dedication to change his good name.
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These comments come from the mother of Sahib-Amar Khalsa, the WCC site coordinator at Berkeley High: "Thanks so much for that coach experience. It makes me think how much rich material there is in these experiences for a good short story. It also gives me the feeling of how sad and complicated are the lives of these students. "On the other hand I think back to my students. Their lives were filled with problems, too, of a different nature, of course- but just as profound and unsettling to them as the greatest challenges. "What I know is helpful to them is the opportunity to write about them--get it out of their systems."
Toggle Commented Mar 29, 2011 on Meet them where they at at WriterCoach Connection
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Jesse's point is a really good one and reflects a view of Oakland students (and teachers) that I know is shared by all of us who work in WCC with students at Media and Mandela high schools. We're continually inspired by the bright minds and stimulating potential we have found in Oakland classrooms. Alfredo's comments may be more reflective of the alarming disparity of resources we encounter in Oakland schools as compared to schools in other districts.
Toggle Commented Mar 27, 2011 on Meet them where they at at WriterCoach Connection
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Last word in above comment should have been "not." I need an editor!
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2011 on Meet them where they at at WriterCoach Connection
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Alfredo's devotion to coaching, and his connection with his students, are so clear here. And so is is heartfelt evocation of another truth about working with these kids: you don't always know whether you're making a difference, and epiphanies about what's going on at a given coaching session can come at you right out of the blue. Above all, Alfredo keeps returning to work with his students, no matter what. And over the years, we've learned that this consistency makes an impact on our students, whether they show it overtly or night.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2011 on Meet them where they at at WriterCoach Connection
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Lisa is in a great position to really understand the impact of WCC at our Fremont Federation schools, Media and Mandela, since she was one of the original WriterCoach Connection site coordinators when we expanded to Oakland for the first time three years ago. Her words are a powerful evocation of what inspires all of us in this program. Bob Menzimer
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