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Appleseed Writing project

Department of English and Linguistics

Who We Are

A rich history of supporting educators.


The Appleseed Writing Project, established in 2003, takes its name from its proximity to the burial place of the legendary Johnny Appleseed. One of six Indiana writing projects and affiliated with the National Writing Project, the the project is supported in part through federal funding and seeks to encourage teacher growth through Summer Institutes, professional development, focused workshops, and a supportive community of educators.

The Appleseed Writing Project provides professional-development training on the campus of Purdue Fort Wayne. PFW serves the broad community of northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. As the area’s foremost education leader, PFW continues to establish itself as a center for excellence in writing, and with the Appleseed Writing Project, is committed to developing collaborative partnerships with area schools, to provide both instructional leadership and professional teacher development.


Focusing on teachers.

The Appleseed Writing Project fosters a dynamic, supportive group of K–16 educators from all disciplines to create outstanding teacher-leaders who provide quality writing instruction via
research-based best practices. By developing collaborative partnerships with area schools, the project empowers teachers to engage students as lifelong learners and critical thinkers who achieve academic and personal success in a digital, interconnected world.

A female student teacher reads to children while faculty looks on Accent texture
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Main Site

A forum for teachers.

The Appleseed Writing Project hosts a website on WordPress, with the purpose of providing a space where teacher consultants and other participants can interact on discussion boards featuring best practices in the classroom and the National Writing Project model, find forms and updated calendars, and access all the latest news from our leadership team.

Visit Our Site


Year Established


Teachers Who Have Participated in Our Institutes

Students studying together.


Teachers Teaching Teachers

Each year in the fall, the Appleseed Writing Project hosts a workshop, formally known as a “Day of Demos.” This is the National Writing Project’s central concept of “teachers teaching teachers” at its best. A demo is a teaching demonstration designed to spark new ideas for all teachers to implement within their classrooms.

The National Writing Project’s Summer and Writing Institute participants are very familiar with the term demo—the formal demonstration of a teaching practice that every institute fellow presents to all the other participants. The idea of a demo is not to present a lesson as if the participants are students and the demonstrator is the teacher, but rather that the presenter gives a research-based rationale, an order of procedure for a model lesson, and a reflection on the lesson in practice to their peers. This kind of interaction allows the presenter teacher to see the lesson from different perspectives and for the audience teachers to take away new vigor and fresh ideas to implement in their own classrooms. 

Any questions should be directed to Karol Dehr, Appleseed Writing Project director, at [email protected] or 260-481-6074.

Writing Institute

Teachers teaching teachers.

Each of the nearly 200 National Writing Project sites holds an invitational summer institute every summer. Several thousand teachers participate each year.

The invitational summer institute is at the core of the National Writing Project’s model of “teachers teaching teachers.” Read more about the intentional and complex design of the project’s summer institutes and how they support teachers as professionals, as researchers, and as writers at the National Writing Project’s website.

During the summer institute, teachers develop a deeper understanding of writing instruction and research, and are able to reflect on their practice. Based on the National Writing Project professional-development model, institute participants will experience the following:

  • Increase their individual knowledge and enjoyment of writing
  • Develop as writers
  • Participate in writing groups to share and respond to one another’s words
  • Present a demonstration of a successful teaching approach
  • Discuss applications of current research and curricular movements in writing and writing assessment, including standards and technology
  • Share best practices that will empower their students
  • Research and reflect on their own writing
  • Develop skills of collaboration and coaching

Find more information about this year's workshop, please visit our WordPress Site.

If you have questions, please contact Karol Dehr, Appleseed Writing Project director, at [email protected] or 260-481-6074.

Professor Betz shows some signing skills to visiting elementary children

Youth Camps

Getting children excited about writing.

Each summer, the Appleseed Writing Project is proud to host numerous youth writing camps. No previous creative-writing experience is necessary for any of the camps; only a desire to write and a willingness to participate in daily activities are required. Students must be able to behave in an appropriate manner at all times.

For more information, contact Cheri Pruitt, Appleseed Writing Project youth writing camp coordinator, at [email protected] or 260-710-3418.

All camps take place on the Purdue Fort Wayne campus.

Transportation to and from campus must be provided by parents and caregivers.

Contact us.