Thanks to NYU Writers in the Public Schools Fellows Javier Zamora, Stephanie Arditte, and J. Scott Brownlee for such a successful year at PS 110! Thanks also to all of the students who read their poetry this weekend at Barnes & Noble Union Square.
Couldn't make it to the B&N bookfair this weekend? No problem! Just visit bn.com/bookfairs to support us online until 05/23/13 by entering Bookfair ID 110022308 at checkout. Thank you!
"If writers have anything to offer, they should work directly with kids in the classroom and they should work with teachers who are doing something. And listen to the teachers,” said Herb Kohl in an interview in 1976. This is one fundamental belief Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W) still works toward today: how writers can learn from teachers and teachers can learn from writers. Kohl, a teacher, educator, writer, parent, social activist, and the founding director of T&W believes that children of every age learn in different ways, and it’s up to educators to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Kohl began teaching in Harlem in 1962 and since then has taught in many places across the country, including the University of California, Berkeley, Point Arena, California, The University of San Francisco (USF) and Carleton College. He helped to jump start T&W in 1967 along with Anne Sexton, Grace Paley, and others with the belief that teachers and writers working together can not only help kids with their reading and writing, but also develop close relationships to form a positive learning community.
“My development as an educator emerged from my practice in the classroom, informed by a vision of a decent world where resources were shared, creativity encouraged, and individual growth was accompanied by social responsibility and a commitment to social justice,” Kohl tells us in The Herb Kohl Reader (2009). He says that the teachers who inspired him as a student were the ones who took the time to learn about their students and to be curious about them as people. He wanted to be involved—not only with the kids, but also with the parents, other educators, and other members of the community.
Kohl’s development as a writer stemmed from his experience as an educator, and vice versa. He’s the author of more than 20 books including 36 Children (1967), On Teaching (1976), “I Won’t Learn From You” (1994), Making Theater: Developing Plays With Young People (2007) [a TWC publication], and The Herb Kohl Reader: Awakening The Heart of Teaching (2009).
Sally is a senior English and creative writing major at Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA) and holds an internship at Teachers & Writers Collaborative (Jan – April 2012).
In February, T&W writer and teaching artist Melanie Maria Goodreaux led a professional development workshop (or "artist meeting") for T&W writers focused on how to keep special needs, general ed, and CTT classroom students engaged using good ole fashioned foil, tape, and endless play. We learned something more about what we already knew: that true learning happens when our pleasure pathways are opened and engaged.
In March, T&W writer Sarah Porter led an artist meeting on cross-curricular imaginative writing in the social studies and science classrooms. We did close reads of informational texts, grouped out to develop creative approaches to writing activities based on the texts, and talked about how teaching artists can collaborate with classroom teachers to hit that sweet spot where imaginative writing and the core subject curricula intersect.
Then in April, Phillip Lopate came to talk to our writers about the craft of essay writing and the challenges our teaching artists face in New York City classrooms when leading essay residencies, and to task our writers with writing themselves. Lopate, a prolific writer and editor who, in addition to having recently launched not one but two books (To Show and to Tell: the Craft of Literary Nonfiction and A Portrait Inside My Head), is also the director of the graduate nonfiction writing program at Columbia University. But perhaps even more important (to us), Lopate is one of T&W's early writers in the schools and an ardent supporter of T&W.
Also in April was our second "official" T&W Writers' Reading held in our Center for Imaginative Writing. An evening of CROSSING BOUNDARIES, T&W writers Joanna Fuhrman, Linda Morel, and J. Kathleen White read and presented multimedia to a bustin'-through-the-doors crowd.
Now it's May and we're ready for a cold one. We've got our eyes on the end-of-the-year party and reading set for May 23, where writers will share their own work at an open mic, and smile and laugh and pat each other on the backs and say, "Gee, you're great. Really just — wow, great."
But before that happens! Don't miss an informal reading that will take place at T&W's Center for Imaginative Writing at 6:30 on May 9 where poets and translators and T&W experts and generally astounding humans, Mark Statman and Dave Johnson, will wow us all and we'll ooh and we'll aah and we'll clap and feel fuller and humbled and hopeful and so glad, so glad we love our T&W family so.
AND on May 18, please join PS 110/Florence Nightingale students, NYU Writers in the Public Schools Fellows, and Teachers & Writers Collaborative at our annual Barnes & Noble Bookfair & Poetry Reading from 11-12 on May 18 at the bustling Union Square location at 33 E 17th Street. (Can’t make our bookfair and reading on May 18? Just visit bn.com/bookfairs to support us online from 05/19/13 to 05/23/13 by entering Bookfair ID 110022308 at checkout. A percentage of your Barnes & Noble purchases will benefit T&W.)
A billion thanks to our dedicated writers for the extraordinary leaps they make each day, and to the schools and classroom teachers and networks and foundations and corporations and PTAs and university partnerships that make their work possible.
Our writers' success is measured by the impact they make on children's lives. Kids' joy and surprise they experience when crafting a sentence or paragraph or line or phrase that a T&W writer facilitated is where the sugar's at. Period.
Spring has sprung. It's true it rains sometimes and the weather changes dramatically from hour to hour, but the sun is out, and it is shining bright.
-Sarah Dohrmann, Education Director
...I do not write "about" things but "with" things or "out of" things. And I certainly do not map out a poem before I write it...I often learn after the fact of writing a poem what it may ultimately mean, and often even that notion of meaning shifts as the poem and I move through time (p.197-198).
-Peter Gizzi comments on his poem, "Human Memory Is Organic" in T&W book Structure & Surprise : Engaging Poetic Turns