Blog

Marv Hoffman Launches a Blog

Marv Hoffman, the founder of WITS Houston and former director of Teachers & Writers Collaborative, has started a blog about his lifelong passion/career in education. You can follow him at http://marvhoffman.com/.

Hoffman is the author of numerous books, including Chasing Hellhounds: A Teacher Learns from his Students (Milkweed 1996) and “You Won’t Remember Me”: The Schoolboys of Barbiana Speak to Today (Teachers College Press, 2007). Having spent many years in the education field, Hoffman’s blog, so far at least, tends to glance backwards, but not in a typical or self-congratulatory way. One essay, The Decline of Daring, also appearing in Teachers and Writers Magazine, begins,

Wisdom is an automatic by-product of age. At least that’s what most people believe, but my experience suggests otherwise.

It is with humor, humility, and love that Hoffman shares his experiences and observations. His blog is a welcome addition to the Internet of ideas.

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
Learn More

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

59024705b2d24.image
“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

unnamed

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.

Bechtel Prize 2018

The Bechtel Prize honors the best essay about teaching creative writing with publication and a prize of $1000. Finalists also receive cash prizes. Direct from the Teachers & Writers Collaborative site, here’s more information:

Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W) seeks submissions for essays that explore creative writing and arts education, the theme of the imagination, and/or creative writing.

Submissions for the Bechtel Prize may include:

  • Explorations of critical issues in creative writing and arts education.
  • Literacy narratives, first-hand accounts about the process of writing or teaching writing.
  • Memoirs about how and why the author became a writer or early experiences with literature and the imagination.
  • Reflections on the writer’s life and how poets and writers stay connected to their imaginations.
  • Portraits of key teachers and mentors in the author’s life.

Tayari Jones will choose the winner of the 2018 Bechtel Prize. Jones is the author of the novels Leaving AtlantaThe UntellingSilver Sparrow, and An American Marriage (Algonquin Books, February 2018). Her writing has appeared in Tin HouseThe BelieverThe New York Times, and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Silver Sparrow was named a #1 Indie Next Pick by booksellers in 2011, and the National Endowment for the Arts added it to its Big Read Library of classics in 2016. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is currently an associate professor in the MFA program at Rutgers-Newark University.

The essay selected to receive the Bechtel Prize will appear in Teachers & Writers Magazine and the author will receive a $1,000 honorarium. Honoraria totaling $500 are shared by the authors of entries selected as finalists for the prize, which may also be published in Teachers & Writers Magazine.

Selection criteria for the Bechtel Prize include the essay’s relevance and appropriateness for readers of Teachers & Writers Magazine, most of whom teach writing at the elementary, secondary, or postsecondary level. T&W welcomes submissions written in a poetic, lyric style; as well as personal narrative, reportage, and essays.

Prospective entrants for the Bechtel Prize are encouraged to visit the magazine to become familiar with the publication, and to read past winners of the award. The submission deadline for the 2018 Bechtel Prize is Friday, December 1, 2017.

Click here for the submission guidelines.

Summer Institute for Teaching Artists

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” – Cornell West

Community-Word Project in partnership with the
Child Development Institute at Sarah Lawrence College
presents

Summer Institute 7.0

Teaching Social Justice:
Current Events through Art, Inquiry and Reflection
July 19-21, 2017

For Advanced Teaching Artists
at Sarah Lawrence College & the LeRoy Neiman Art Center in Harlem

Application Deadline: June 1st, 2017 June 9th, 2017
Scholarship Assistance Available

APPLICATIONAPPLICATION GUIDELINES

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 classroom management
See highlights from last year’s workshop in our online
2016 Summer Institute Anthology.Questions? Please contact Katie Rainey attatip@communitywordproject.org
or see more about us at communitywordproject.org

Job Opening with WITS in Portland, Oregon

360_240LiteraryArts

The WITS Program in Portland, Oregon, is hiring a new Director of Youth Programs. It’s a full-time position, and you can click here to learn more about it.  Here is the official job description.

Director of Youth Programs: Literary Arts seeks a creative and experienced individual with a strong background in education and the literary arts to lead our county-wide Youth Programs. The Director supervises all program components, both on and off campuses. The Director is also responsible for supervising administrative staff and interns, hiring a diverse roster of teaching artists, staffing the Youth Programs Advisory Council, strategic planning, budgeting, supporting grant writing, program evaluation, and the continued development of the WITS Apprentice program for writers of color. Click here for more information about this position and how to apply. An initial review of applications will begin on March 31, 2017. Applications will be reviewed on an on-going basis.