NCTE 2014: Writing Marathons in Washington D. C.

Jeff at the Gaylord

This November, I had the wonderful opportunity to represent the Nebraska Writing Project and Westside High School at the National Council of Teachers of English conference in Washington D. C. I also attended the National Writing Project national conference where we celebrated the 40th year of the writing project’s existence! The energy and enthusiasm was infectious. I felt surrounded by thousands of creative educational experts.



I was invited to present with Dr. Susan Martens, formerly of the Nebraska Writing Project and now the director of the Prairie Lands Writing Project in St. Joseph, Missouri. We were joined by Richard Louth of the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project and Casey Olsen of the Montana Writing Project.

Casey, Richard, Jeff, and Susan

Each of us shared our pedagogical approach to using Writing Marathons as an educational tool with students of writing. We presented to teachers from all over the country and capped off the presentation by taking them on a miniature writing marathon right there in the conference room. It was wonderful to be able to share our mutual love for writing and teaching with other professionals.

Teachers of Writing




Later that day, we invited everyone to join us on a rogue marathon into historic Alexandria, Virginia. Sixteen of us took a fairy across the freezing Potomac river and into the beautiful suburb filled with wonderful pubs and restaurants. I am confident that those first-timers will return to their classrooms to share the magic of the writing marathon with their own students.


The Rogue Writing Marathon

My own teaching was enhanced by partaking in presentations on teaching Shakespeare, the Gettysburg Address and many other reading and writing topics. The trip was a fantastic journey to the nation’s capital while staying at the festive Gaylord Resort center just south of Washington D.C.

Thank you to NeWP and Westside for making the trip possible and to Susan Martens for inviting me to join the panel!

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