2021 BAWP Forum: Welcome Participants!

Finding Our Way in a Shifting Landscape: Writing Practices That Ground Us

Welcome to our 5th Annual BAWP Forum

Schedule for the Day

8:30 am: Early Arrival Tech Support

Zoom Link
Passcode: preForum

8:45 am: Pre-Conference Mingle

Zoom Link
Passcode: preForum

9:00 am: Opening Welcome

Webinar Link
Passcode: joinus!

9:05-9:25 am: Keynote Conversation

Webinar Link
Passcode: joinus!

9:30-10:30 am: Workshop Selection #1

See links to workshops below. 

10:30-10:40 am: Break

10:40-11:00 am: Student Panel

Webinar Link
Passcode: joinus!

11:05-12:05 pm: Workshop Selection #2

See links to workshops below. 

This year our world as we knew it changed.

For months now, shifts in our instructional contexts have led us to think more deeply and differently about our practice and, more than ever, about meeting the needs of our students. While holding on to our core values of equity and social justice, we are reaffirming what works in writing instruction—in any context—and innovating to meet the demands of the moment.

This year’s Bay Area Writing Project Forum offers educators a place to share individual stories of what has reoriented and grounded us over this past year, and provides a time to share lessons we have learned and relearned about what matters most in writing instruction.


  1. Changing teaching modalities requires us to be both innovative and grounded in our approaches to writing instruction.
  2. As both a healing process and a way to promote social-emotional learning, writing raises awareness, develops and cultivates empathy, forges connections, processes loss, and imagines change.
  3. Our approach to teaching is shaped by the reality that disruptions in schooling disproportionately burden Black and Brown students and their families.  
  4. As teachers, we recognize that we operate within a white supremacist power structure. Given this reality, we can nevertheless reevaluate pedagogy, developing a reflective and responsible teaching practice that provides opportunities to promote equity and challenge racist systems.
  5. When teachers deliberately select and investigate curricula that resonate with current events that matter to students, we engage students and increase their ability to think and write critically.
  6. Teachers of writing make students feel safe and connected by dedicating time to building community and rapport in the classrooms (virtual or in-person). 
  7. By revisiting our multiple identities and values as educators in changing learning environments, teachers emerge with a renewed sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Inquiry Questions:

  1. In what ways have we already redefined the classroom through adapted instruction?
  2. In what ways do these new “landscapes” encourage meaningful innovation?
  3. What foundational practices related to writing instruction are both versatile and enduring?
  4. How can we encourage students to not only attend class, but also become active members of a community of writers?
  5. How can teachers creatively and empathetically respond to situations in which students do not have the resources they need to thrive in different learning environments?
  6. What teaching practices foster honest conversations among students about difficult subjects such as racism, inequity, and grief?
  7. How do we prioritize rigor and creativity to allow students to successfully demonstrate what they know and have learned?  

Conference Norms:

  1. Support each other as learners and leaders.
  2. Distractions happen - practice returning to the present.
  3. Utilize the mute feature while listening.
  4. Keep your screens on (unless your technology prevents this).
  5. Have a generosity of spirit towards each other as we work within this technology.

Need a letter confirming your participation in this event? Submit your request here

Keynote Interview

A Conversational Tour of the Shifting Landscape (passcode: joinus!)

Listen in as teachers offer their successes and frustrations in virtual classrooms, and share how they negotiated the need to maintain academic rigor while supporting the social and emotional needs of their students.

Jennifer Cook Sterling has been a BAWP TC since 2006. She teaches 5th grade language arts and history at Kent Middle School in Marin County. After five months of online teaching, Jennifer has worked in hybrid mode since November, simultaneously teaching students in a classroom and online five days a week.

For the past 15 years, BAWP Director Hillary Walker has taught middle and high school English and History courses in Berkeley and Oakland; this year, she is teaching courses in African American history through the College of Alameda.

M. Clare LePell has been teaching English for 35 years at Castro Valley High School, all grade levels. She became a BAWP TC in 1993 and has taught summer courses and led a variety of workshops throughout the Bay Area.

John Levine joined the College Writing Programs faculty at UC Berkeley in 1997 after working for a decade in radio and television. A professional playwright, he has had work produced throughout the United States, as well as in India, the Philippines, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the U.K.

Session 1

Evaluation for Session 1 Workshop

Please complete our evaluation after attending your session. Thank you.

Session 1 Workshops

Click on the workshop title for zoom link

  1. Cancelled - Author’s Chair in the Virtual Elementary Classroom (please select another workshop of your choice)
  2. What is My Linguistic History?
  3. Student Journalists: Reporting on the Pandemic to Develop Empathy
  4. Nurturing Student Engagement: Interactive Digital Learning - Part 1 Pedagogy
  5. Conscientization-Writing for Transformation
  6. What is Owed since 1619?
  7. Asking the Right Question – the Critical Question

Student Panel

The Student Experience (Passcode: joinus!)

Students reflect on being learners, thinkers, and humans in a pandemic.

Alaina is a junior currently attending Castro Valley High School. She enjoys reading, watching shows, and creating art. She hopes to pursue graphic design in her future. 

Bryan is a junior at Life Academy High School in Oakland who gets good grades. When Bryan isn't working on school he is playing soccer and improving his game.

Jesse is a sophomore at Castro Valley High School. His interests include history, geopolitics, and video games, and he hopes to get a career in the Department of State, possibly as a diplomat. Becoming a content creator wouldn't be too bad either, as he already streams on Twitch.

Kenya is a currently a junior at Life Academy High School in Oakland. Kenya loves studying neurology and interesting facts about the brain. She also really loves competitive swimming!