Little Kids Write about the Big Apple

The book is out!  A POEM AS BIG AS NEW YORK CITY, a collaborative work by the talented students of Teachers & Writers Collaborative, hit the stores this month. With illustrations by Masha D’Yans  and a forward by Walter Dean Myers, this is a truly beautiful book. Here’s part of the publisher’s press release:

A POEM AS BIG AS NEW YORK CITY could only come out of the hearts and minds of New York’s schoolchildren.
Hundred of lines of poetry created by New York City students were collected and edited to form a single poem that
speaks with many voices. The project was organized by the Teachers and Writers Collaborative, a 40-year old
nonprofit organization that offers innovative creative writing programs for students and teachers throughout the five
boroughs. This beautifully illustrated picture book offers a kids-eye view of the sights, sounds, and soul of NYC, as
well as a chance for kids of every age to rediscover the Big Apple. “These are young people learning to celebrate the
ordinary and to transform that ordinary into the rich stuff of life,” says award-winning novelist Walter Dean Myers in
his Foreword. “They boldly discard the stale as they bring their own rich and unique inner visions to the page. I am
sometimes surprised at the talent represented here, but not the creativity. It is what young people are capable of
when given the chance.”

If you are interested in helping your students write about their own community, here are some lesson plans and teaching ideas that worked well for Teachers & Writers. Congrats to everyone at T & W!

What? Free Writing Workshops in NYC?

Yes!  Teachers & Writers is pleased to offer FREE poetry workshops for children and teens this summer!

With generous support from The Lily Auchincloss Foundation and The Lotos Club Foundation, T&W is partnering with the Brooklyn Public Library, the New York Public Library, and the Queens Library to offer poetry workshops based on our 2008 A Poem as Big as New York City project. Bring kids of all ages to pay poetic tribute to New York.

These FREE one-hour poetry workshops will be held in select library branches on the following dates and times.

 More free workshops will be offered in the fall.

Kew Gardens Hills – July 2, 4:30-5:30 (Queens)

Mott Haven – July 10, 3:00-4:00 (Bronx)
Dyker – July 10, 4:00-5:00 (Brooklyn)
McKinley Park – July 11, 2:00-3:00 (Brooklyn)
Rugby – July 12, 2:30-3:30 (Brooklyn)
Paerdegat – July 13, 2:00-3:00 (Brooklyn)
Clason’s Point – July 16, 2:30-3:30 (Bronx)
Dyker– July 17, 4:00-5:00 (Brooklyn)
Flatlands – July 18, 2:30-3:30 (Brooklyn)
McKinley Park – July 18, 2:00-3:00 (Brooklyn)
Roosevelt Island – July 18, 4:00-5:00 (Manhattan)
Bellerose – July 18, 2:30-3:30 (Queens)
Inwood – July 19, 3:00-4:00 (Manhattan)
Coney Island – July 20, 4:00-5:00 (Brooklyn)
Paerdegat – July 20, 2:00-3:00 (Brooklyn)
Lefrak City – July 20, 2:30-3:30 (Queens)
Dyker – July 24, 4:00-5:00 (Brooklyn)
McKinley Park – July 25, 2:00-3:00 (Brooklyn)
Coney Island – July 27, 4:00-5:00 (Brooklyn)
Paerdegat – July 27, 2:00-3:00 (Brooklyn)
Melrose – July 31, 2:00-3:00 (Bronx)
City Island – August 6, 2:00-3:00 (Bronx)
Homecrest– August 7, 2:30-3:30 (Brooklyn)
Grand Concourse – August 8, 2:00-3:00 (Bronx)
Tottenville – August 9, 3:00-4:00 (Staten Island)
Children’s Center @ 42nd Street – August 11, 3:00-4:00 (Manhattan)
Broadway – August 14, 3:30-4:30 (Queens)
Castle Hill – August 14, 11:00-12:00 (Bronx)
Francis Martin – August 15, 3:00-4:00 (Bronx)
Soundview – August 20, 3:30-4:30 (Bronx)
Coney Island – August 24, 4:00-5:00 (Brooklyn)
The poems created in the project were adapted into a single narrative by T&W writer Melanie Maria Goodreaux, A Poem as Big as New York City, which Universe Publishing (an imprint of Rizzoli) will publish as a hard-cover, illustrated children’s book in fall 2012. The book includes a foreword by T&W Board member, three-time National Book Award finalist, and newly appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Walter Dean Myers. Masha D’yans will illustrate the book.

What Matters Most?

ImageIn fall 2012, Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T & W) will launch a searchable Digital Resource Center (DRC) on theirr website. Initially drawing on material from T&W’s 45 years of print publications, the DRC will also include resources provided by other members of the WITS Alliance–the professional network of literary arts education programs and individuals who serve K-12 students and provide professional development for their teachers.

Help them shape this new resource by completing a short survey here. Thank you!

In the News: Nick Rabkin’s Research Indicates the Power of WITS

education
education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

University of Chicago researcher Nick Rabkin has presented new data supporting the success of the Writers in the Schools model. Here is an excerpt from an article on the Huffington Post:

What is good teaching?

There is broad agreement among leading researchers and education organizations about good teaching. Reports and studies have repeatedly found that it is grounded in three principles that test-driven schooling subverts:

• Good teaching is student centered. It begins with students’ interests and what they already know, offers students new and real challenges, choices and responsibilities, and features curriculum that that they find relevant.

• Good teaching is cognitive. Learning is the consequence of thinking and work on compelling ideas and problems across subject areas, and the demonstration of real understanding through the representation of learning in a range of media, including art forms.

• And good teaching is social. Individual students build competencies and knowledge, but students do that better together than they do alone. Good teaching involves building a community of learners that works and thinks together, challenges each other, reflects on its work, and supports taking the risks necessary to learn new things.

Read more about it at the Huffington Post.

Immerse Yourself: “Writers on Writing” in Key West

The theme of the next Key West Literary Seminar is “Writers on Writing,” and  financial assistance is available to teachers and librariansScholarships are also available to students and writers who would not otherwise be able to attend.  “Writers on Writers” will be an opportunity to re-experience some of the world’s most enduring authors (think Thoreau, Dickinson, Hemingway, Melville, and Woolf) through the eyes of the contemporary writers who know them best (Geoff DyerPico Iyer, and Colm Tóibín, among others).

“Writers on Writers” has now expanded to include two sessions. Session One will take place January 10-13, 2013. Session Two will take place the following weekend, January 17-20. The writers’ workshop program takes place in between the two seminar sessions, January 13-17. The seminar and workshops are independent of one another; you may attend both programs or choose between the two.
Registration is open now. The scholarship application period is also open now. Priority deadline for scholarship applications is June 30, 2012.

For Advanced Teaching Artists Only

Writers in the Schools Alliance member Community Word Project is offering a summer training opportunity for Teaching Artists with 2 or more years of experience. Here are some details about the program:

2012 Summer Institute for
Advanced Teaching Artists
July 20, 23 and 24, 2012

WHAT: A three-day, intensive workshop focusing on Innovation, Multi-disciplinary Arts Integration, Curriculum Development, Evaluation/Assessment, Critical Thinking Skills and Classroom Management.

WHERE: Community Resource Exchange
42 Broadway, Suite 2000, New York, NY 10004

WHEN: Friday, July 20; Monday, July 23; and Tuesday, July 24

WHO: Creative Writers, Visual and Multi-Media Artists, Musicians, Dancers and Theater Artists with 2+ years experience teaching their art form in a public school setting.

The Summer Institute’s training curriculum is based on Community Word Project’s creative process exploration methods, teaching practices and philosophy developed over 12 years in NYC public school system.

Participants gain hands-on experience through classroom exercises, discussions, role-playing and collaboration in these focus areas:

• Transforming your Creative Process into Innovative Teaching Methods
• Developing Critical Thinking Skills through Arts Exercises
• Collaborating with Teaching Artists of a Different Art Form
• Evaluating and Assessing Student Work
• Arts Integration
• Cultivating environments of Social Change within classrooms
• Co-teaching with Classroom Teachers
• Classroom Management Techniques

For further details, please visit the Community Word Project website or contact Program Director Khalil Murrell at TATIP@communitywordproject.org

AWP Feedback for WITS Panels

Now that you’ve recuperated from Chicago, what did it all mean? If you benefited from the WITS activities at AWP 2012, please let the conference folks know by responding to their surveys, which are due soon. Here are the links:

Individual AWP Event Surveys: Available Online through March 14
Do you have something to say about a specific AWP conference event? To submit an individual event survey, click here:

http://www.awpwriter.org/forms/eventsurvey12/

General AWP Conference Survey: Available Online through March 22
Please take a few moments to provide commentary about your overall conference experience:
Here are the names of the WITS Alliance panels:

Celebration in Any Language: Teaching Bilingual Students  
Jack McBride, Alise Alousi, Merna Ann Hecht, Milta Ortiz, Cara Zimmer

What You Need to Know Before You “Stand and Deliver”: K-12 Teaching 101
Rebecca Hoogs, Cecilia Pinto, Valerie Wayson, David Hassler, Cecily Sailer

Finding a Common Language in the Public Schools
Long Chu, Renée Watson, Giuseppe Taurino, Keith Yost

The Wired Writing Classroom: The Marriage of Technology and Teaching
Cecily Sailer, Jeanine Walker, Janet Hurley, Jim Walker, Bertha Rogers

Marketing the Literary, or Putting some Poetry into your PR
Robin Reagler, Alison Granucci, Tree Swenson, Kristine Uyeda

Crisis Economics for Nonprofits
Amy Swauger, Rebecca Hoogs, Michele Kotler, Melanie Moore

Report from AWP Chicago

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We had a great time at AWP 2012. Thanks for your enthusiasm about the Writers in the Schools movement. We loved seeing you at the WITS booth, at our panels, and at our reception. Once you’ve recuperated, please be in touch.

Quick WITS at AWP Schedule

The Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance Agenda at the 2012 AWP Conference in Chicago

Bookfair Booth #609

Twitter Hash Tag #AWP12

Wed. 2/29 4:30 – 5:45 pm Membership Meeting (Prospects welcome) Joliet, Hilton, 3rd Fl
Thursday  3/1 9 –10:30 am Panel: Teaching Bilingual Students Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
Thursday 3/1 3 – 4:15 pm Panel: K-12 Teaching 101 Empire Ballroom, Palmer House, Lobby
Thursday 3/1 7 – 8:15 pm WITS Alliance Reception Astoria Room, Hilton Chicago
Friday 3/2 1:30 – 2:45 pm Dealing with Schools Private Dining Room 1, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Friday 3/2 3 – 4:15 pm The Wired Classroom Lake Huron Room, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
Sat 3/3 1:30 – 2:45 pm Marketing the Literary Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
Sat 3/3 3 – 4:15 Crisis Economics for Nonprofits Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor

Writers in the Schools (WITS) at AWP 2012 in Chicago – Join the Movement!

The Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance will present an exciting series of panels, meetings, and events at the 2012 AWP Conference in Chicago. Here is a schedule of all the WITS happenings. We will be in the Bookfair the entire time. Come say hello at Booth #609. See you in Chicago!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Membership Meeting
Wednesday, February 29th, 4:30 to 5:45 PM
Joliet, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance invites current and prospective members to attend a general meeting led by Robin Reagler, Executive Director of WITS-Houston.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Celebration in Any Language: Teaching Bilingual Students  
Jack McBride, Alise Alousi, Merna Ann Hecht, Milta Ortiz, Cara Zimmer
Thursday, March 1st, 9:00 to 10:15 AM
Location: Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
As student populations become increasingly diverse, most writing teachers work with bilingual students. We face specific challenges in creating an inclusive classroom community but ultimately celebrate linguistic difference through powerful writing and creativity. Panelists will discuss strategies for reaching all students, the challenges in navigating multiple languages in one classroom, and successes in creating a safe place for students to tell their own individual stories.

What You Need to Know Before You “Stand and Deliver”: K-12 Teaching 101
Rebecca Hoogs, Cecilia Pinto, Valerie Wayson, David Hassler, Cecily Sailer
3:00 to 4:15 PM
Location: Empire Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, Lobby Level
Standing in front of a classroom and delivering inspiring and effective lessons doesn’t just happen. And just because you’re a great writer doesn’t mean you’re ready to be a great teaching artist in a K-12 classroom. But this panel will help you understand the path to becoming the teacher you want to be, that your teachers expect you to be, and that your students deserve. We’ll share tips and tricks of the trade and offer concrete advice for how to get the experience you need to succeed.

WITS Alliance Reception
Thursday, March 1st, 7:00 to 8:15 PM
Location: Hilton Chicago Hotel, Astoria, Hilton Chicago

Friday, March 2, 2012

Finding a Common Language in the Public Schools
Long Chu, Renée Watson, Giuseppe Taurino, Keith Yost
Friday, March 2nd, 1:30-2:45 PM
Location: Private Dining Room 1, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
WITS organizations have deep artistic roots, and may approach the teaching of creative writing in ways public school administrators and teachers misunderstand or find irrelevant to their concerns. How do we make the case for WITS programs as valuable partners in meeting schools’ goals for student learning, but still remain true to our artistic identity? This panel of school administrators and WITS leaders share real world ideas to strengthen outreach to school partners.

The Wired Writing Classroom: The Marriage of Technology and Teaching
Cecily Sailer, Jeanine Walker, Janet Hurley, Jim Walker, Bertha Rogers
Friday, March 2nd, 3:00-4:15 PM
Location: Lake Huron Room, Hilton Chicago, 8th Floor
With an endless supply of evolving technology, how can educators capitalize on innovative web platforms and social media to augment classroom teaching, inspire students, and showcase their work? In this panel, several administrators from writers-in-the-schools organizations share multi-media projects that marry technology and traditional teaching methods. These stories of “teachnology” touch upon best practices while considering questions of safety and authenticity.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Low Res, Full Res, No Res: The Poet and the Terminal Degree
Christopher Salerno, Amy Gerstler, Bob Hicock, Timothy Liu, Robin Reagler
Saturday, March 3rd, 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM
Location: Wiliford C, Hilton Chicago, 3rd Floor
This panel will address what about the different MFA/CW program models is transcendent, what is common, and what is hindrance. We’ll discuss ways poets use, ignore, dismiss, or are damaged by aspects of each. What intersections are there amongst the MFA options? How does one take ownership of their track? Is an MFA necessary? Panelists will discuss why they did (or did not) pursue their particular terminal degree, and how those experiences inform their teaching practices in these programs now.

Marketing the Literary, or Putting some Poetry into your PR
Robin Reagler, Alison Granucci, Tree Swenson, Kristine Uyeda
Saturday, March 3rd, 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM
Location: Boulevard Room A,B,C, Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor
For many writers, the business of promoting literature does not come naturally. Many literary organizations are led by writers for whom marketing is unfamiliar terrain. But some programs are finding surprising ways to connect with a larger public through low-cost campaigns to promote individual writers, literary arts education programs, memberships, and donations.

Crisis Economics for Nonprofits
Amy Swauger, Rebecca Hoogs, Michele Kotler, Melanie Moore
Saturday, March 3rd, 3:00 – 4:15 PM
Location: Grand Ballroom, Palmer House Hilton, 4th Floor
How are some nonprofits thriving in the current economy while others struggle to keep the doors open from one day to the next? The panelists in this session, who represent presenting organizations, literary publishers, and writers-in-the-schools programs, discuss their strategies for weathering the financial storm by identifying different sources of funding, collaborating with other nonprofits and for-profit partners, and finding ways to maintain programs and services while cutting costs.