Writer’s Retreat: Developing Writing Skills with a Vintage Typewriter, Wells, Spring 2020

Course Number: EDU 5620 C14
Instructor: David Wells
Location: Montpelier
Dates and Times: March 7 - April 18, 2020
Credits: 3 Graduate Credits
Tuition: $1,100 includes a vintage typewriter

Note: Course payment by check or purchase order, payable to Castleton University, is due at the time of registration. A purchase order number can be entered into the online registration form and the purchase order can be uploaded to the registration form. If paying by check, please mail the check to: Financial & Registration Services, Castleton University, 62 Alumni Drive, Castleton, VT 05753. To help us ensure that your payment is applied to the correct course, PLEASE WRITE “CFS” IN THE CHECK MEMO LINE. Thank you.

Course Description

Teachers of writing must be writers themselves!  Jump-start your summer writing by spending a morning on a mountain side with a vintage typewriter that you will bring back to your classroom.  Why a typewriter?  Typewriters force one to slow down and savor the permanence of the words on the page.  Typewriters force us to think more carefully about what is being written, and this is exactly what we want to teach to our students.  In the process, participants will learn and utilize cutting edge teaching strategies to develop their own personal writing skills. 

Course Goals & Objectives

Course Aims:

As a result of active participation in this course students will:

  • Develop their own writing skills through a number of writing assignments and class discussions.
  • Learn teaching techniques that help students develop writing skills in the classroom.
  • Become better able to model the writing process in their own classrooms.
  • Have an opportunity to slow down and take time to appreciate writing with a vintage typewriter.

Course Expectations

Course Outline:

 Wilderness Retreat:  Getting to know your writing tools & process

  • Using a writer’s journal for organization
  • Getting to know your typewriter and its benefits as a writing tool
  • Writer’s workshop, getting to know each other as writers.

 Reading prior to week one:

Polt, Chapter One: The Insurgency

Polt, Chapter Three: Choose Your Weapon

Seravallo, Chapter Three: Generating and Collecting Ideas


 Week Two:  Developing as a Writer

 Developing a life as a writer


Polt, Chapter Five: Writers at Work

Seravallo, Chapter Two: Engagement

Assigned Learning Task:

Written narrative: Describing the “ah, ha” moment when one of your students genuinely becomes a writer.

 Forum Response:

Feedback on each other’s writing pieces and a comment on the classroom environment that supports student writers.


Week Three:  Becoming a Focused Writer

  • Developing close writing skills for yourself and your students.


Seravallo, Chapter Four: Focus/Meaining

 Assigned Learning Task:

Writing Practice Piece: Developing the details from an earlier draft

Writing Practice Piece: Focusing on a poem

 Forum Response:

Reflection on strategies that get students to focus on their writing.

Feedback on poems


Week Four:

Feedback and collaboration with writing partners


 Serravallo, Chapter 10: Collaborating with Writing Partners and Clubs

Forum Response:

Partner feedback on persuasive essays

Discussion on partner work in the classroom

Assigned Learning Task:

Writing Practice Piece: Persuasive Essay


Week Five: Paying Attention to Details

  • Focusing on writing conventions


Seravallo, Chapters 8 & 9: Writing Conventions

 Assigned Learning Task:

Writing Practice: Crafting a procedural piece to help your students focus on conventions.

 Forum Response:

Editing your own typewritten work: Not so easy without a backspace key!


Week Six: Writer’s Workshop Celebration

  • Publishing and celebrating: Why anyone writes.
  • Reflection on lessons learned in the course
  • Final drafts and an anthology.

 Assigned Learning Task:

Contribute a final piece to the class anthology which will be printed and sent to each class participant.

Required Texts

Serravallo, J. The Writing Strategies Book (2017). Heinemann

Polt, R. The Typewriter Revolution (2016). The Countryman Press

For additional course information

David Wells
(802) 661-4049

For additional registration information

Bethany Sprague
(802) 468-1325

Register Online Now!