Writers in the Schools
The Poetry Foundation is making new resources available to teachers everywhere. Here is a good place to start looking for them:
WATCH OUR WITS VIDEO!
Writers in the Schools (WITS) brings professional, trained writers into Colorado classrooms to conduct a series of writing workshops that culminate in a published anthology and public reading of student work. Placing trained, active poets, playwrights fiction and non-fiction writers in the classroom inspires the students to make leaps of literary imagination, and this excitement and sense of autonomy impacts all other areas of language learning. Our goal for the program is to give students a sense of excitement and authority over their own creative endeavors in language.
Writers visit classrooms once a week (up to 16 workshops) for up to 75 minutes. Writers in residence meet with teachers to plan how they will inspire student writing, help with revision of student work, collaborate to produce an anthology and final reading to peers and public. The anthology (online or print) contains one piece of writing by every student involved in a residency. The residencies end with a classroom, schoolwide, and/ or public reading and celebration of the students’ work.
Connecting a student’s experiences with his or her own writing makes writing relevant. Preparing their writing for publication and performance inspires revision. Seeing their work published in print or online anthologies that look like other books and media helps students realize that great writing is created by people very much like themselves.
See the news story about Grand Junction students in the Writers in the Schools program reading their published poetry at Art in the Park!
Writers in the Schools is designed to support teachers’ class curriculum goals. Before a writer enters your classroom a mandatory meeting between teacher and writer takes place, during which class curriculum goals are discussed and outlined, so that our writers can build their lesson plans accordingly. Participation fulfills all three Colorado model content standards for Writing and Communicating: Expression and listening, Reading for all purposes, and Writing and Composition for all grades.
Our writers are trained in the WITS model, from learning how to engage young students to developing lesson plans, and working with classroom teachers. In some cases, our writers will shadow master professional writer, and Colorado Book Award winning author, Jack Collom, observing him as he conducts a residency in a public school.
Our professional teaching writers who are mentoring the project include:
Eleni Sikelianos, director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Denver, is the author of six books of poetry and one book of creative nonfiction. Her writings and translations have won many awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Award, a Fulbright Writing Fellowship, and The National Poetry Series.
Tim Z. Hernandez, author of three books of poetry and two novels. Hernandez is the recipient of an American Book Award, and the Premio Aztlan Prize, and was recently named one of sixteen New American Poets by the Poetry Society of America. He has been teaching in public schools, at-risk youth, inner-city and rural communities for over ten years.
Jack Collom is the author of nearly twenty books of poetry, and of several classics on teaching poetry to children. He is resident faculty at Naropa University, and has twice been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He has been teaching poetry in public schools for over 30 years.
Past Participating Schools
Bea Underwood Elementary, Clara Metz Elementary, Steele Elementary, Beulah School of Natural Sciences, Casey Middle School, Dual Immersion Academy, Chappellow K-8 Magnet, Greeley High School, Pamona Elementary, Heritage Elementary School, Lois Lenski Elementary, Mesa View Elementary, Mount Garfield Middle School, Scenic Elementary, Boulder High School, Taylor Elementary, Grand Junction High School, Tope Elementary, Boulder Community Montessori, and Pueblo School of the Arts & Science.
EDUCATORS: To host a series of Writers in Schools sessions in your school, contact Jessica Wigent, Program Coordinator, 303.894.7951 x18 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WRITERS: This program is open to any writer who has been trained to conduct Writers in the Schools residency, either through our training program or another state’s. For more information about training to become a Writers in the Schools writer, Contact Jessica Wigent, Program Coordinator, 303.894.7951 x18 or email@example.com.
University of Denver is
a proud program partner