Judy Gray shares her National Writing Project experience with the Coöp as part of #blog4nwp.
My name is Judy Gray. I took courses through PSWP beginning in the summer of 2008 at the
University of Washington. I was teaching a first grade class at a private school in Federal
My instructors, Janine Brodine and Bob McNamara were excellent. The course work was rich in
hands-on activities and the lessons taught by the other teachers were invaluable in helping me
to understand the concepts taught by the professors.
I used journaling in my first grade classroom. It worked great! The students began by drawing
pictures and moved on to writing prompts from the board.
I have had parents come up to me and share that these same children, now in third and fourrth
grade still journal on their own and enjoy writing.
On a personal note, as an African-American teacher, and a product of a racist educational
background, the professors put me at ease in their classroom. The writing became therapeutic
and helped my confidence. I didn’t realize after all these years, I was still hurting from
being in an all white parochial school where the “n” word and other racial slurs were a daily
Thank you Professors Brodine and McNamara. In many ways you saved my life!