Last Highlights of the 2017 Teen Writers Institute
Each week of our institute ended with a fitting conclusion to the week's activities. On July 28, four local authors shared stories and offered advice to a room of students, parents, and teachers that was entertaining and informative. You can see video highlights of the afternoon just below. And on August 1, the final day of the institute, students from all eight sessions read poems, stories, essays, and humor pieces to peers and parents. Check out some of the highlights just below the "Local Authors at 2017 Teen Writers Institute" video.
Selected works read by students at the closing ceremony.
July 31, 2017
Week two kicked off with a keynote address by Heinemann Fellow Aeriale Johnson, who is teaching in the Writing Workshop for grades 4-7. "Miss J" helped us all learn about the art of oral story telling. She shared stories of teaching in remote villages in Alaska, and especially of her student Josiah, a young boy with an old man's voice and a heart as big as his head.
To read Writing Workshop Director Laura Brown's reflection, including more photos, audio of some of Miss J's stories, and her own handwritten notes, click here.
July 27, 2017
As our first week begins to draw to a close, students explore new ideas and hone writing drafts. Class sessions include discussions, sharing of writing, creative exercises, and a few experiments. See a sample in this short video:
July 26, 2017
At first sight, the statue didn’t catch my eye. Just another effigy of sports stars winning some great test of athletic prowess and mental endurance being memorialized on a college campus. Creamy grey cement slabs formed a podium and two giant humans carved out of black stone in blue tiled tracksuits stood upon it with their fists in the air as an expletive of victory. I stalked around, my feet trudging through the swampy, overgrown grass trying to capture the meaning of it. Why were we here? How was this even art? What did this have to do with an argument? On the other side of the statue, I noticed one of the athletes, the bigger one, had a mosaic of an olive branch held tightly within the crook of his arm. Peace, I thought. Why peace? Behind him, the other man had a button on his bomber jacket with a message of human rights. I took a step back. In a split-second, the statue took on a different meaning to me. No longer was it just about sports, it was about more than that. Something that touched the world in more ways than a gold-plated medal ever could. -Dahlia Soussan
July 25, 2017
Day two featured students in and out of the classroom, hanging around and commenting on the John Carlos and Tommy Smith statue or hanging in the garden outside the Clark Library. Some wrote and performed dialogues while others huddled and shared in groups.
July 24, 2017
After a rocky registration, our first day kicked off with Hannah Jayne's keynote talk, “My Road to Becoming a Published Author Started Where You Are Now." In addition to the students, many parents were impressed, one declaring Hannah's speech "a great kick-off" for the week. Classes then settled in, and students spent the day huddling in small groups or class circles, sharing writing or listening to their presenters. The activities captured below evidence the pleasure many took in their first day.