The Pandemic has led many families to homeschooling, and WITS Houston has created Quick WITS as a free resource for students in grades K-5. Let Writers in the Schools help you with the writing portion of the school day. These 8-15 minute videos make writing fun and easy for children. Led by incredible teachers such as Jasminne Mendez, Dr. Kathryn Peterson, and Elizabeth Keel, these lessons will make you fall in love with writing.
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
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.
Young Poets of Montana
Congratulations to the Missoula Writing Collaborative on a beautiful series of poems and photographs by young writers featured in The Missoulian. The portrait series demonstrates the power that children can harness through the art of writing. See the entire series here. An article by Caroline Patterson explains more about what students gain through the writers-in-the-schools experience.
Teach It to the Moon and Back
Peter Markus, senior writer with WITS Alliance member organization, InsideOut Literary Arts Project of Detroit, has a featured lesson plan in this month’s Teachers & Writers Magazine.
Markus (aka Mr. Pete) engages his students in conversation and asks the class to rethink what they know about the moon. Together they dig into their imaginations and create metaphors for the moon. “What I love about bringing the moon into the classroom is that it’s a universal object. A little girl in Manhattan—Kansas or New York—or an old man in Kenya, a mother in Missoula, each of these people has equal access to a shared sky, a sky that has up in it a communal light—a light that is sometimes a circle cut in half, a light that is at other times a hammock hung between stars—a light, in short, that all eyes can see in new, never-before ways.”
Let Your Voice Be Heard
The Young Writers Project in Vermont publishes The Voice for young writers, photographers, and visual artists in middle and high school. For students to get involved, first open an account on youngwritersproject.org. Join the community, receive feedback, in order to be considered for publication in The Voice. The editors offer writing challenges to help get students started — or students can write about anything under the “general” tag. Students from WITS programs across the nation are welcome to join.
Teachers and Writers Launches the Digital Resource Center
The WITS Alliance welcomes the very much needed Digital Resource Center to the Internet. It is an online repository of lesson plans designed by writers for teachers and writers. Access to these materials is FREE.
Teachers & Writers Collaborative in New York has led this project, raising funds from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently the resources made available by the site include materials from the extensive Teachers & Writers archives, several decades of book publications and magazine articles. In the coming year, member organizations of the WITS Alliance will help build the collection by adding their best lessons. According to Amy Swauger, the Executive Director of Teachers & Writers, “The Digital Resource Center grew out of our desire to give new audiences easy access to T&W’s 45 years of print resources. We are delighted to work with our colleagues in the WITS Alliance to add materials from other organizations to this new database, which we believe will be of value to both existing programs and to those just starting to send writers to teach in K-12 schools.”
Teen Authors and Artists, Get Trill
Trill is a new online publication made by and for teen writers and artists. It is created through the auspices of the Asheville Writers in the Schools program in North Carolina. Their first issues are very inspired. Check it out.
2011 Bechtel Prize Deadline Approaches
Submissions for the 2011 Bechtel Prize are due on June 30. This year the Bechtel Prize will be judged by Patricia Hampl. Here is more information from the Teachers & Writers site:
Since 2004, Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W) has honored the author of an exemplary essay on literary arts education with the annual Bechtel Prize. Submissions for the award address important issues in creative writing education and/or literary studies.
For more information, click here.
Bechtel Prize for Essays on Teaching Writing
Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W) awards the Bechtel Prize annually in recognition of an exemplary essay addressing important issues in the areas of creative writing education, literary studies, and/or the profession of writing. The deadline to receive submissions for the 2009 Bechtel Prize is 5:00 PM (Eastern), Tuesday, June 30, 2009.
In 2009, T&W is seeking Bechtel Prize submissions that explore the teaching of creative writing in combination with another artistic discipline, such as dance, media arts, music, theater, or the visual arts; or with another academic discipline, such as math or history. We are seeking essays that shed light on the nature of the creative process and want to read your stories about viewing the art of writing through a different lens, and your take on the benefits and challenges of such cross-disciplinary work.
Questions that might be addressed in essays include, but are not limited to, the following:
What are the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to teaching creative writing?
Are there aspects of the creative processes central to the literary arts that students can understand more clearly in the context of other disciplines?
What are the complications of teaching creative writing with another discipline?
Do writers who teach in an interdisciplinary way find that work influencing their own creative processes?
The winning essay appears in Teachers & Writers magazine, and the author receives a $1,500 honorarium. Authors of submissions selected as finalists for the award share honoraria of $500, and their essays may also be published in Teachers & Writers. The previous winners of the Bechtel Prize can be found here.
Prospective entrants for the Bechtel Prize are encouraged to review a sample issue ofTeachers & Writers to familiarize themselves with the magazine’s style. To order a sample issue of the magazine for $5.00, click here.
Complete guidelines are available on the Teachers & Writers site. Questions regarding the Bechtel Prize should be directed to <bechtel(at)twc.org> (replace (at) with @).
[cross-posted on the WITS blog]
Writer and Artist Residencies in Italy
What: Rockefeller Foundation Accepting Applications for Bellagio Center Creative Arts Residencies
When: Deadline: February 11, 2009
The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center creative arts residencies are designed to give composers, novelists, playwrights, poets, video/filmmakers, and visual artists time for disciplined work, individual reflection, and collegial engagement free of the usual interruptions of their professional and personal life.
Located on a peninsula adjacent to Lake Como, two hours north of Milan, Italy, the Bellagio Center typically offers one-month stays for no more than three to five creative artists at a time. The foundation seeks applicants from any country in the world who are able to demonstrate a history of significant achievement in their respective artistic disciplines. Individuals from developing countries and young artists with significant accomplishments — exhibitions, publications, performances — are particularly encouraged to apply. Decisions are based on the quality of the proposed project, the ability of the applicant to articulate the project’s purpose and goals, the professional qualifications and achievements of the applicant, and the suitability and value of the center for the proposed activity. Spouses/life partners may accompany the resident, or may apply for a concurrent residency. The center also offers collaborative residencies for two to four persons working on the same project.
Residencies are typically four weeks long; however, shorter periods may be available. Room and board are provided without charge to all residents and their spouses/partners. Residents and spouses/partners must pay for their own airfare and local transportation to/from Bellagio. Assistance with round-trip economy airfare between the home country and Milan is available on a financial needs basis to qualifying residents and their spouses/partners from developing countries.
The February 11, 2009, deadline is for a possible residency occurring between mid-August through November 26, 2009.
For detailed program information, visit the Rockefeller Foundation Web site.