NYC Summer Institute for Teaching Artists

July 17-19, 2019

WITS Alliance Member Organization Community Word Project will offer a
Summer Institute for Advanced Teaching Artists in New York, NY
Application Deadline: June 15, 2019
Scholarship Assistance Available
Summer Institute is a three-day intensive for Creative Writers, Visual and Multi-Media
Artists, Musicians, Dancers, and Theater Artists with 2+ years experience teaching. 
  • Deepen your teaching with experiential, inquiry and reflection processes
  • Connect with Teaching Artists from around the country
  • Expand your impact teaching for social justice
  • Explore creative processes and critical thinking
  • Investigate techniques for project-based arts integration
  • Build new strategies for creating a positive classroom culture
Apply Now
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CREATIVITY FOR CHANGE ~ CalPoets’ 2019 Symposium with Juan Felipe Herrera

For 55 years, WITS Alliance Member Program California Poets in the Schools has brought the powerful magic of poetry creation and performance to over one million students. Our work is more important than ever! Studies show that student involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, greater involvement in community service and lower dropout rates. Creativity is the #1 desired skill in today’s job market. Poetry instruction builds empathy and a sense of belonging in the classroom setting. Poetry and the arts can be a powerful, healing tool for schools and communities recovering from natural disasters and other traumas such as gun violence.

California Poets in the Schools will offer a weekend conference is open to the public and geared towards literary teaching artists, literary arts organizational staff, classroom educators, poets, MFA candidates and more. Content will be engaging for those brand new to teaching the literary arts and to “old hats.” Juan Felipe Herrera will be the special guest!

At this Symposium, workshops will be geared towards the theme of Creativity for Change. How can poetry in the classroom be a transformational tool for positive change? How can our lesson plans respond swiftly with resilience and flexibility to the most pressing issues of our time? How do we need to change and grow ourselves in order to best serve our communities? We will learn from experts in our midst and pool our best practices for a weekend of learning, networking, community-building, poetry readings and some good old-fashioned fun.

Click to learn more and to register:  https://www.californiapoets.org/events/creativity-for-change-calpoets-2019-statewide-symposium-with-juan-felipe-herrera

49 Mission Vineyard Rd, 49 Mission Vineyard Rd, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045, USA

Aug 02, 2:00 PM – Aug 04, 12:00 PM

Spellbound and the Art of Teaching Writing

Congratulations to Matthew Burgess and a cohort of amazing writers on the publication of Spellbound: The Art of Teaching Poetry (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2019). This book represents the collective wisdom and best practices for teaching creative writing from the practitioner’s perspective. The writers included, many from WITS Alliance organizations, are Chris Cander, Tina Cane, Sarah Dohrmann, Jennifer Firestone, Joanna Fuhrman, Aracelis Girmay, Susan Karwoska, Jason Koo, Dorothea Lasky, Sheila Maldonado, Peter Markus, Jasminne Mendez, Cait Weiss Orcutt, Bianca Stone, and Tiphanie Yanique. The book contains both a practical how-to approach, as well as a more philosophical conversation explaining how a poem “works” and reflects our most meaningful ideas and experiences.

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