Latest Lesson Plans
I had all these ideas when I was younger about what it meant to be tough or strong, and it’s just the opposite of what I thought then. Vulnerability is the hardest, bravest place to go.
By M.P. Vivian One moment I’m standing in the mall, just waiting to pay for my cinnamon crumble cookies and Gatorade at a snack stand, and the next I’m on a potentially dangerous island. – Alexa, a high school sophomore When I first started teaching 10 years ago, I had time to read student essays on…
The Japanese believe there are gods to be found everywhere, in scrolls and screens and tatami mats, a pair of winter boots, a tufted quilt. Human speech, in other words, is only part of a much larger, more expansive conversation. It behooves us to commune properly with our possessions, says the organizing guru, Marie Kondo. She herself greets her house each time she comes home, grateful for its continuing shelter and protection.
Wild-eyed (the way I love him most), he’s off to his desk to begin his poem, not by using the metaphor-making template I’ve designed, but by inviting his reader to come fly with him… and his parrots. He writes half-standing, hopping on one foot. And within minutes he’s bounced back to my side.
When I’m teaching, it feels like I’m in an authentic place. It feels like I’m inspired; it feels like I’m a monk. The teaching reinforces the simplicity of writing. The more complex you get as a writer, you still go back to the same elemental things. A great story is always going to have characters, plot. The same things you teach kids in high school for the first time, you have to focus on as a writer. That’s one of the advantages of teaching younger kids because you’re closer to the foundation of what makes good writing.
Donnie Welch speaks with Carolina Cabrera about the link between poetry and place and community writing at O, Miami.
“Most of my students had kept moments that changed them forever buried deep inside where no one would ever find them if not asked by someone they trusted.”
Nicole Shawan Junior’s essay from PEN America’s The Sentences That Create Us: Crafting a Writer’s Life in Prison describes a writing workshop in which success hinged on a crucial pivot to center storytelling. “Teaching craft was still a goal, but one not nearly as important as hearing their stories. “