Bechtel Prize 2020 – Submit by 1/31/20

Teaching Artists can enter to win a $1,000 prize from Teachers & Writers Collaborative. The format is different this year:

” this year’s prize will be awarded to a classroom teacher or teaching artist for an innovative classroom project that supports student development as creative writers and thinkers. We are looking for projects that get students excited about writing, seek to educate the imagination, and promote a vibrant and dynamic culture of literacy in the classroom. The project should be one that you plan to complete in the next calendar year (eg. in 2020).”

There is no fee to enter, but you must submit your project proposal by Jan. 31st, 2020. For more information, visit the TWC website.

Marv Hoffman Launches a Blog

Marv Hoffman, the founder of WITS Houston and former director of Teachers & Writers Collaborative, has started a blog about his lifelong passion/career in education. You can follow him at http://marvhoffman.com/.

Hoffman is the author of numerous books, including Chasing Hellhounds: A Teacher Learns from his Students (Milkweed 1996) and “You Won’t Remember Me”: The Schoolboys of Barbiana Speak to Today (Teachers College Press, 2007). Having spent many years in the education field, Hoffman’s blog, so far at least, tends to glance backwards, but not in a typical or self-congratulatory way. One essay, The Decline of Daring, also appearing in Teachers and Writers Magazine, begins,

Wisdom is an automatic by-product of age. At least that’s what most people believe, but my experience suggests otherwise.

It is with humor, humility, and love that Hoffman shares his experiences and observations. His blog is a welcome addition to the Internet of ideas.

NYC Summer Institute for Teaching Artists

July 17-19, 2019

WITS Alliance Member Organization Community Word Project will offer a
Summer Institute for Advanced Teaching Artists in New York, NY
Application Deadline: June 15, 2019
Scholarship Assistance Available
Summer Institute is a three-day intensive for Creative Writers, Visual and Multi-Media
Artists, Musicians, Dancers, and Theater Artists with 2+ years experience teaching. 
  • Deepen your teaching with experiential, inquiry and reflection processes
  • Connect with Teaching Artists from around the country
  • Expand your impact teaching for social justice
  • Explore creative processes and critical thinking
  • Investigate techniques for project-based arts integration
  • Build new strategies for creating a positive classroom culture
Apply Now
Learn More

CREATIVITY FOR CHANGE ~ CalPoets’ 2019 Symposium with Juan Felipe Herrera

For 55 years, WITS Alliance Member Program California Poets in the Schools has brought the powerful magic of poetry creation and performance to over one million students. Our work is more important than ever! Studies show that student involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, greater involvement in community service and lower dropout rates. Creativity is the #1 desired skill in today’s job market. Poetry instruction builds empathy and a sense of belonging in the classroom setting. Poetry and the arts can be a powerful, healing tool for schools and communities recovering from natural disasters and other traumas such as gun violence.

California Poets in the Schools will offer a weekend conference is open to the public and geared towards literary teaching artists, literary arts organizational staff, classroom educators, poets, MFA candidates and more. Content will be engaging for those brand new to teaching the literary arts and to “old hats.” Juan Felipe Herrera will be the special guest!

At this Symposium, workshops will be geared towards the theme of Creativity for Change. How can poetry in the classroom be a transformational tool for positive change? How can our lesson plans respond swiftly with resilience and flexibility to the most pressing issues of our time? How do we need to change and grow ourselves in order to best serve our communities? We will learn from experts in our midst and pool our best practices for a weekend of learning, networking, community-building, poetry readings and some good old-fashioned fun.

Click to learn more and to register:  https://www.californiapoets.org/events/creativity-for-change-calpoets-2019-statewide-symposium-with-juan-felipe-herrera

49 Mission Vineyard Rd, 49 Mission Vineyard Rd, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045, USA

Aug 02, 2:00 PM – Aug 04, 12:00 PM

Spellbound and the Art of Teaching Writing

Congratulations to Matthew Burgess and a cohort of amazing writers on the publication of Spellbound: The Art of Teaching Poetry (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2019). This book represents the collective wisdom and best practices for teaching creative writing from the practitioner’s perspective. The writers included, many from WITS Alliance organizations, are Chris Cander, Tina Cane, Sarah Dohrmann, Jennifer Firestone, Joanna Fuhrman, Aracelis Girmay, Susan Karwoska, Jason Koo, Dorothea Lasky, Sheila Maldonado, Peter Markus, Jasminne Mendez, Cait Weiss Orcutt, Bianca Stone, and Tiphanie Yanique. The book contains both a practical how-to approach, as well as a more philosophical conversation explaining how a poem “works” and reflects our most meaningful ideas and experiences.

Writers Find New Ways of Seeing the World

Check out this essay by Peter Markus, THROUGH THE EYE OF A FEATHER: HELPING STUDENTS SLOW DOWN, PAY ATTENTION, AND SEE ANEW, published in Teachers & Writers Magazine.

The essay provides a procedural teaching methodology by one of the great WITS masters. Pete works with InsideOut Literary Arts in Detroit, and his most recent book is Inside My Pencil: Teaching Poetry in Detroit Public Schools (Dzanc, 2017).  Here is one student poem that came out of this lesson.


Through the Eye of the Feather
by Artez
I can see my dead uncle.
I can hear a pencil writing.
I believe I will heal and walk.

I can touch my future self.
When the feather speaks it says
get out of bed.
When the feather sings it brings
joy into my life.

  Read the complete essay here: https://teachersandwritersmagazine.org/through-the-eye-of-a-feather-helping-students-slow-down-pay-attention-and-see-anew-5686.htm