Teach It to the Moon and Back

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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.”

Read the full lesson at Teachers & Writers Magazine >>

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WITS Alliance Events at #AWP17 in DC

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WITS Alliance
AWP 2017 Schedule
Washington, D.C.
Booth #202

Wednesday, February 8
AWP 50th Anniversary Gala
5:30 p.m.
Independence Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis

 

Thursday, February 9
Dr. STE(A)M-Love, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Technology
1:30-2:45
Room 102B, Washington Convention Center, Level One
Moderator: Jack McBride
Panelists: Rick Brennan, Elyse Eidman-Aadah, Virginia McErneny, Amy Swauger,

As digital technology becomes a given in classrooms of every discipline, educators are experimenting with a wide range of approaches to teaching. These national experts will share their successes and failures in the realm of education 2.0. Examples will include game-based learning, connected classrooms, and digital media production. Panelists will consider the ways in which technology can enhance or detract from student learning in the current STE(A)M environment.

 

Who Runs the World? Women with Power and Purpose
4:30-5:45
Marquis Salon 9 & 10, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
Moderator: Meggie Monahan
Panelists: Jen Benka, Mahogony L. Browne, Amy King, Lori Pourier

Despite longstanding inequity and gender gaps, women are succeeding as nonprofit literary leaders. Panelists will share the political and theoretical stories that propel them with purpose, as well as the personal journey toward their visions. Additionally, they will provide insight on how women can attain leadership roles, find and become mentors, and be successful agents of change.

Friday, February 10

WITS Membership Meeting
9 – 10:15
Ballroom B, Washington Convention Center, Level Three
Moderator: Robin Reagler

Poetry as Public Art in Public Spaces
10:30-11:45
Room 102A, Washington Convention Center, Level One
Moderator: Tina Cane
Panelists: Kate Brennan, David Hassler, Alice Quinn, Steve Young

In cities across America, public places are becoming the canvas for poets, transforming American cities and communities. With words adorning sidewalks, walls, banners, trains, and trees, poetry ignites moments of joy and cross-cultural connections between people. Panelists will discuss innovative ways to make poetry more accessible and how to foster literary destinations. Examples will range from the commercial to the monumental.

 

From Margin to Center: Developing Diverse Leaders
1:30-2:45
Salon F, Washington Convention Center, Level One
Moderator: Michele Kotler
Panelists: Lauren Bullock, James Kass, Ramiza Koya, Brandie MacDonald

Most organizations and university departments seek a more diverse faculty and staff, but the path to diversity goes far beyond placing a classified ad. Despite challenges in creating meaningful change, how can we build opportunities and systems that fuel those most often marginalized? Panelists will discuss how their organizations are investing in leadership development models that nurture a new generation of diverse leaders.

Saturday, February 11
The Resuscitation of Childhood: A WITS Reading
12:00-1:15
Room 203AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Moderator: Renee Watson
Panelists: Peter Mountford, Glenn Shaheen, Nina Swamidoss McConigley

For many writers, childhood is an invention, an imaginative construction of the past. For writers who teach in Writers in the Schools programs, the students remind us on a daily basis what childhood truly entails. Students and writers inspire one another in a symbiotic style. This panel celebrates childhood and the ways in which teaching young children can enhance your writing. Four writers who have taught in WITS programs share work by a student and then read some of their own.

 

From MFA to JOB: Making a Living, Making a Difference
1:30-2:45
Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Moderator: Alicia Craven
Panelists: Stephanie Brown, Edward Nawotka, Mohamed Sheriff, Amy Storrow

While tenure-track teaching, publishing, and authorship are often the dream of MFA candidates, the competition for jobs and literary achievements have become increasingly competitive. The creative and nonprofit sectors hold alternative employment possibilities that utilize the craft of writing while making a real difference for communities. This panel ignites the imagination around the journey to meaningful careers that allow MFA graduates to work within a community of writers and artists, cultivate and curate artistic experiences and opportunities, and make a decent living.

Tina Cane Appointed Poet Laureate of Rhode Island

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Tina Cane, the Founder and Director of Writers in the Schools RI, has been appointed the new Rhode Island Poet Laureate. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo said in her announcement: Tina “is a people’s poet. Throughout her career, she has worked tirelessly to make the arts more accessible, bringing poetry and a spirit of creative self-expression to Rhode Island schools.” You can read more about Tina and her WITS work here and here.

 

 

Let Your Voice Be Heard

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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.

Free Resources for Writing Teachers

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The web makes searching for teaching ideas easy, but there’s SO MUCH out there. If you’re keen on teaching the WITS way, check out the Digital Resource Center. It was created by Teachers and Writers Collaborative and contains tried and true lesson plans, as well as archives from their magazine, and excerpts from the books they publish. This site contains great, free resources for writers who teach and teachers who write.

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Where To Be at #AWP14

photo by Porter Anderson
photo by Porter Anderson

If you want to learn all about Writers in the Schools (WITS) opportunities across the US and abroad, please join us at the annual #AWP14, the Conference. This year it will take place in Seattle starting Feb. 26, 2014. Here is a listing of our panels, meetings, and receptions.

Writers in the Schools (WITS) Alliance
2014 AWP Conference Schedule
Seattle, Washington

Visit us at Booth #200 in the Bookfair

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
W103. WITS Membership Meeting
Room 2A, Washington State Convention Center, Level 2
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, February 27, 2014

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Being Juvenile is a Good Thing: A Reading of Old Writers Inspired by Young Writers
Room 304, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3
Featuring Rebecca Hoogs, Terry Blackhawk, Garth Stein, Nick Flynn, Dorothea Lasky

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
From Page to Stage, Performance Poetry and the WITS Process of Teaching and Learning
Willow Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
Featuring Mary Rechner, Desmond Spann, Aricka Foreman, Monica Prince, Janet Hurley

7 pm to 8:15 pm
Writers in the Schools Reception
Greenwood Room, Sheaton Seattle

Friday, February 28, 2014

9:00 am to 10:15 am
Preparing for Exuberant Life Beyond the MFA
Room 602/603, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
Featuring Michele Kotler, Lauren Berry, Peter Hyland, Jason Whitmarsh, Elizabeth Wales

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
F235. Storytelling for a Cause
Cedar Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
Featuring Kate Brennan, Karen Lewis, Lisa Murphy-Lamb, Philip Shaw, Robin

Saturday, March 1, 2014

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Creativity and the Future of K-12 Education
Room 609, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
Starring Jack McBride, Cecily Sailer, Harold Terezón, Tina Cane, Sheila Black

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Rivers and Tides: Balancing Leadership with the Writing Life
Room 615/616/617, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
Jeanine Walker, Jennifer Benka, David Hassler, Stephen Young

For more detailed information about each of these panel discussions, click here.