Online Prompts and Publication for Young Writers

owl photo CPITS online lessons

California Poets in the Schools is providing a great resource for families homeschooling during the Pandemic. Their online poetry workshops are easy to use and beautiful as well. Once students complete their poem, they can submit it for publication on the California Poets website. The opportunity to become a published poet is exciting!

There are over 30 workshops already and new ones are being added each week. These exercises make writing easy and fun. And the slideshow format means that students can work at their own pace. California Poets in the Schools is providing an amazing opportunity for students feeling trapped by the Covid-19 quarantine.

Stories of Arrival: Refugee & Immigrant Youth Voices Poetry Project

Somali Sky Omar Refugee Voices

This poem by Omar was written through the Refugee & Immigrant Youth Voices Poetry Project in Washington State.

Merna Hecht and Carrie Stradley, the Co-Directors of the project, put the poem into context: “Similar to our other students from countries with prolonged war, Omar Abdi, age 15, from Somalia, celebrates what is unique and beautiful about his homeland while at the same time he writes of the violence and danger that war brings. Omar wanted to picture only the beauty of Somalia in his painting, while including more about his country’s struggles in his poem.” The painting was created under the mentorship of teaching artist Melissa Koch.

To learn more about this project, visit their Facebook page.

Writing at the Kitchen Table

WOWTTeachers & Writers Collaborative in New York City is serving the educational needs of families “sheltered in place” with a new initiative called Writing Our Way Through. These are no-nonsense writing activities to help all the home-schooling families during the pandemic. As Matthew Burgess explains, you “do not need to identify as a writer or a teacher in order to make this happen. We are writing these lessons with the kitchen table in mind, or a circle on the carpet with notebooks. In most cases, the only materials you will need are sheets of paper and pencils or pens.”

These lessons capture the pure joy of writing and can be used with all ages. Start with Spring Poems” with E.E. CummingsorOde to Animals and remember that whatever you write, it’s right!

 

 

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

Celebrating Creativity in Ohio

Big things are happening at The Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University in Ohio.  Because of their established outreach program, Teaching Poetry in the Schools,  Wick is a member of the WITS Alliance. Their most recent public event engaged the community in the creative process and helped each participant discover more about their personal vision conjured up by the word HOME:

Last weekend the Wick Poetry Center welcomed hundreds of guests to the May Prentice House and Poetry Park. While the second annual Kent Creativity Festival—a collaboration of Kent State University, the City of Kent, Main Street Kent, local businesses and non-profit organizations—provided community members a chance to paint, act, build, and dance, we invited participants to create and decorate poems through our Emerge application. Our guest writers crafted their own poetry from sources including a meditation on our ever-present black squirrels, the history of Kent, and a response to the politics surrounding the renewal of DACA by prominent American writers. Working from these original documents, writers of all ages were able to leap over the daunting anxiety of the blank page and craft their own “found” Emerge poem.

Next, each visitor had the chance to offer up their own original stanza to a growing community poem about Kent:

Kent is the smell of firewood and wet soil after the first rainshower of the year. Kent is music flowing straight into your soul calling you to sing out for the place that is your home. Kent is crunching acorns and car engines. Kent is a rumbling train with a blue heron flying overhead, reflected in a crooked river. Kent is a paintbrush adding the most vibrant colors to every aspect of life.

The Wick Poetry Center, led by poet David Hassler, helps lead a number of national  movements, including the WITS Alliance, Lit Net, and the Poetry Coalition. For more information about their work in Ohio, click here.

Young Poets of Montana

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“Music is the sharp violet of the flute song. Music is the pine green of the guitar strings.”    Salome, 4th grade student, Missoula Writing Collaborative

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.

Photos Missoula Writing Collaborative Portrait Series Missoula missoulian.com

 

 

 

 

Terry Blackhawk Honored for Education Activism in Detroit

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On August 24th, InsideOut Literary Arts Project will honor founder Terry Blackhawk for her visionary work in Detroit Public Schools. This fundraising event, Share the Light, will support education programs serving thousands of inner city students. The gala will take place at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center, a masterpiece of world-renowned architect Minoru Yamasaki. The evening will feature live performances by InsideOut students and alum. Supporters can attend the event and/or purchase pages in a tribute book to honor Dr. Blackhawk. For more information, click here.