“There will be no other words in the world / But those our children speak.” –George Oppen
Writing Your Community is a school-based creative writing residency program for K-8 students with the goals of developing creative and critical thinking skills, promoting a love of reading and writing, and helping students find their voice.
In the fall and spring of each year, the Poetry Center places professional writers in local classrooms to lead creative writing workshops for six to eight weeks. Programs are available both during regular class time and out-of-school time. Schools can select programs in the genres of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. At the end of the programs, students read a selection of their work at a celebratory reading and have one of their poems or stories published in our annual city-wide anthology.
Our talented team of professional writers represent Tucson's vibrant literary scene. These poets and writers bring innovative, contemporary literature and foundational writing techniques to your school. Professional writers are supported by teaching assistants, UA undergraduate or graduate students studying creative writing and/or the humanities at the University of Arizona. Participating K-8 students benefit from writing alongside UA college students and professionals.
Classroom teachers who participate in this program receive up to 12 hours of professional development credit for working alongside the resident writer, attending the introductory professional development workshop, publishing lesson plans and extension activities on the Poetry Center's blog 1508, and hosting extra visits from poets. Classroom teachers also play an important collaborative role--they write alongside their students, provide classroom management, extend the lessons into other areas of the curriculum, and serve as a liaison between school administration, parents, and the Poetry Center.
A typical Writing Your Community residency begins before the writing team even enters the classroom with a planning meeting that includes classroom teachers, all members of the writing team, and Poetry Center staff. During this meeting, the classroom teacher’s goals and the community needs are discussed. Once the planning meeting is complete, the team visits once a week for six to eight weeks.
In addition to getting students excited about literature, partner schools receive additional benefits such as recognition on the Poetry Center’s website and the chance to have their students’ work published in such forums as Bear Essential News, the City of Tucson street car reader boards and buses, special exhibits at the Poetry Center, and city-wide anthologies.
Learn more about the Fall 2016 community partners here.