Saturday, September 09, 2006

Writers in the Schools

I've spent the last two days in orientation for Writers in the Schools, a non-profit organization that places talented writers in "grades K-12 in schools, hospitals, community centers, juvenile probation facilities, and after-school programs." I'm honored to join these fellow writers and to be placed in a residence where I can help children learn to love reading and writing. I'll be extremely busy while working full-time, attending graduate classes at night and working for W.I.T.S (Writers in the Schools). This is a great opportunity for me and I hope that I can find a balance between my technical writing and my poetic aspirations (which is my primary focus). In either case, I am happy to join this new team of writers and eager to help mentor the next generation of young writers, poets, etc.

Today's orientation was extremely helpful. We got to meet the veteran writers of the program and we listened from various perspectives who benefited from the program as well, including a sixteen year old who participated in the summer program of W.I.T.S since she was four years old. Now, she's attending a high school geared to the visual and performing arts. She stood and read her poem, "I am Jazz," which was amazing! Then her mother spoke and told us that her daughter was creative due to the W.I.T.S program and that it inspired her daughter to love art, especially music but most importantly, it helped her to learn how to express herself. We also heard from a principal and a senior writer for the program. All these different voices helped me understand and appreciate the true benefit of this program, which is to help students learn to be creative and to not be afraid of writing.

We ended the session by doing a writing lesson lead by a senior W.I.T.S writer, which focused on traveling. She lead us through this lesson and showed us how we can use writing prompts and visual aid to inspire children. The lesson was called "My Journey." It was a wonderful lesson, which I will definitely use in one of my courses. I can't wait to start and I look forward to a fun school year!

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