Latest Lesson Plans
Teaching Writing in Middle School: Using Meredith Sue Willis’s Blazing Pencils and Personal Fiction Writing
In this article by Dean Schneider, middle school students experiment with personal fiction writing, guided by the art of teaching creative writing philosophies of Meredith Sue Willis. Her book “Personal Fiction Writing” was published by Teachers & Writers Collaborative in 2000.
Sarah M. Sala’s debut collection, Devil’s Lake, explores American violence and its impact on marginalized groups, including her own queer community. In a range of poetic forms, including erasures, histories, and experimental lyrics, Sala meditates on the relationship between linguistic and physical violence, and asserts that language itself holds the potential for evolution.
In this forward to Kenneth Koch’s Wishes, Lies, and Dreams, Ron Padgett discusses the origins of Teachers & Writers as a nonprofit that brought a new way of teaching poetry to children in the U.S. and the legacy of Kenneth Koch as a writer and educator.
The Presence of Joy: Evolution in the WITS Classroom and Making It Possible For Students To Become Themselves
In this Art of Teaching Writing article, former WITS Executive Director for over 20 years Robin Reagler reflects on the influence that two books “Wishes, Lies, and Dreams” by T&W founding member Kennech Koch and “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by Paulo Freire, had on the development of the program’s teaching model.
Are We Teaching In A New World?: Yahdon Israel on Language Barriers, Educational Politics, and Online Teaching
Read this interview by T&W teaching artist Matthew Thompson with Yahdon Israel, a Brooklyn-based teacher and writer who has used social media and virtual learning to make critical engagement with the written word available and accessible to students across the globe and class spectrum.
In this article, teacher Brittny Ray Crowell brings the poem, “I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store,” by Eve Ewing to “help students see that poetry can offer a means of reckoning with history and trauma, and to show them that there is power, and perhaps even beauty, in the process of artistic re-envisioning.”
“I urge my students, whether elementary school age or adults, to work for “abundance” as they walk: Look hard, pick up the messages in the cracks you’ve stepped over every single morning. Later you can choose among your riches for your poem” Naomi Shahib Nye writes. In this T&W archive article from 1997, Nye writes about her experience teaching in San Antonio where she and her students read poetry by Latinx poets closely, to inspire their writing processes, attentiveness to detail and their perceptions of their neighborhoods.
Teacher Andrew DeBella shares how he uses Pulitzer Prize winning artist Kendrick Lamar’s music to create a visceral experience of poetry in his classes. We are reminded here that to connect to poetry’s deeper meanings, we have to first feel it awaken within ourselves. Here is how Andrew creates this experience in his classroom:
T&W writer Libby Mislan reflects on the healing nature of processing emotion through poetry. To meet the perceived needs of students, she created the “Poetry as Processing” workshop where students learned SEL skills and wrote from their experience of this telling 2020 year.