This weekend WITS and Meta-four Houston held a free youth slam workshop with Danez Smith at The Pilot on Navigation. Post-rain, students poured into The Pilot’s theater space to hear what Danez would say about the craft of performance poetry. Even WITS writers and educators came out to the event to see what they could……
WITS Alliance member, Literary Arts, in Portland, Oregon, has expanded residencies to the schools in East County, serving students who have historically been underserved.
Gresham High School participated with a full slate of WITS youth programming during the 15-16 school year, including slams, author visits, creative writing residencies, and lectures. Read more about this incredible project >>
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.”
AWP 2017 Schedule
Wednesday, February 8
AWP 50th Anniversary Gala
Independence Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis
Thursday, February 9
Dr. STE(A)M-Love, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Technology
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
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
Poetry as Public Art in Public Spaces
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
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
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
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, 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.
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.
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.