Hear Me 101 Presents

As part of WPWP’s partnership with CMU Create Lab and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Fellows Sheila Carter-Jones, Adam Loretto, Walt Peterson, and Michelle King have been working with school teams in Clairton, FUSE, McKeesport, and Steel Valley to create films that inspire change. Films will be screened and discussed at Pittsburgh Filmmakers on May 22nd. WPWP Fellow Michelle King will moderate the panel. See full details on the flyer.

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WPWP Fellows Continuity Event on June 3rd

There is  an Upcoming Continuity Event on  June 3: Just Desserts.

Click here for the flyer.

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2014 Fall Writing Retreat

WPWP Teacher Fellows, Save the Date for the October 17-19 Fall Writing Retreat at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia. Contact Erin Manifold for more information.

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Announcing New Western PA Writing Project Director

Dr. Laura J. Roop has accepted the position of Director of the Western PA Writing Project. Laura will begin as Director on June 1st , 2014. For 18 years, in two separate stints, Laura directed the Oakland Writing Project, sponsored by Oakland Schools and the University of Michigan. Her experiences as a teacher, author, poet, researcher, and advocate for students are rich.

More information will follow about Laura in a few days in an official announcement from the School of Education. Thank you to the Fellows who were able to attend the candidates’ presentations and offered their feedback. We had a strong field of candidates and are grateful to those who applied.

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Click here for the full article.

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Symposium on January 4, 2014

The Western PA Writing Project is pleased to host a symposium:
Pedagogy in the Poetry Classroom


Mirror Poems: A Mirror for Teaching Poetry

Comic Simile and Metaphor Portraits:
Harnessing Middle School Energy for the Greater Poetic Good

Discussion on Teaching Poetry

Click here to access the full flyer.

The Poetic Classroom

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Fall Retreat Tradition Continues

Last month, a group of WPWP fellows left their troubles behind and traveled to Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia for the 2013 Fall Writing Retreat. Twenty-six fellows attended the retreat, and enjoyed the weekend of writing, sharing, socializing and relaxing.

Saturday’s workshops were led by two inspiring writers; Tony Norman and Sharon McDermott. Tony’s workshop stimulated fellows to write truths about their lives and experiences. Sharon’s workshop moved participants to compose captivating poetry. Other weekend highlights included the notorious potluck dinner on Saturday night, as well as fellow-led writing activities on Friday night and Sunday morning.

We were saddened to learn of Bobbi Bates’ recent passing. It was an honor that we were able to spend time with her at the retreat. As always, Bobbi’s writing inspired and challenged us.

If you have never attended a WPWP fall retreat, (or it has been a really long time), look forward to next year’s retreat, which will be the third weekend of October 2014.20131019_211644 20131019_205809 20131019_194803 20131019_194701 20131019_194627 20131019_194414 20131019_191951 20131019_191854 20131019_191602 20131019_191518 20131019_191453

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Launching New WPWP Book: The Poetic Classroom

On a beautiful fall November morning, about 60 WPWP friends, family members, and teacher and student authors gathered in Posvar Hall to celebrate the publication of The Poetic Classroom. WPWP Fellows Cj Coleman, Christine Wolfe, and Ella Macklin shared the story of the poetry workshops, research process, and teachers’ and students’ creativity that produced this valuable book of poetry lessons, reflective narratives, and student samples. Christine Stroud, Autumn House Press, described the design decisions in creating the just right cover and book formats.

Christine Wolfe, co-editor, and coordinator of this successful book launch, shared how teachers of art, science, and English language arts from Kindergarten to higher education developed teachable and engaging lessons that inspired students to write in revealing and original ways. Matt Luskey, co-editor and WPWP Director during the Poetic Classroom project, sent greetings and remarks from his new home in California. In a moving tribute, Matt wrote,

If one had to distill the experience of hundreds of writing teachers to a few lines, they might read the last stanza of our dear friend Bobbie Bates’ poem, “To Forget,” which she produced at one of these workshops:

Remember summers when bougainvillea laces your trellis
and larkspur thrusts among the rowdy phlox,
Times when you crop the hollyhocks for seed, spreading pips
across the soil.

Along with our dear friend’s poetry, I am inspired by the teaching innovation evident in these pages. The lynchpin connecting the wheel of firsthand writing experience with the axle of teaching is adaptation.  You can’t simply reproduce a Jan Beatty poetry workshop. Who could? The Poetic Classroom is a book of student and teacher poetry housed in narratives of adaptation.

More than 20 WPWP teachers wrote lessons and poems for the book and 50 students contributed poems. Email wpwp.pitt.edu if you’re interested in contributing to WPWP in order to receive the new WPWP book, The Poetic Classroom.

Cj ColemanElla MacklinChristine Stroud Autumn House Pressmale readingFairmont Catholic School  Teacher Cynthia GarciaReading Femalefemale readingInvited GuestsAG and AudienceSigningAudPittsburgh Creative & Performing Arts Teacher Roxane Pearsall & Christine WolfePPS Students and Teachers

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Matt Luskey Accepts New Challenge

Matt Luskey, WPWP Director from 2009-13, recently accepted a position at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as a Writing Instruction Specialist in Cal Poly’s Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology. Matt’s appointment offers him yet another exciting intellectual challenge and he and his immediate family will be closer to extended family in California. It’s hard to imagine WPWP without Matt’s voice at the table of partnerships and collaborative endeavors he fostered and co-led with distinguished WPWP fellows. With over five community partnerships, a cohort of exceptional WPWP Teaching Fellow leaders, Young Writers’ Institutes serving over 200 K-12 students, ongoing school-based professional development, and in-touch continuity events for new WPWP Fellows, Matt has been an outstanding director of the WPWP.

Stephanie McConachie, Visiting Assistant Professor, Language Literacy and Culture in the School of Education and a former National Fellow at the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, is serving as Acting Director of WPWP over this academic year. The School of Education will conduct a national search for a new WPWP Director.

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Scholastic Writing Awards – National Recognition Recipients

Congratulations to the following Pittsburgh Region recipients who also received national recognition from The Scholastic Writing Awards:

  • Brenna Gallagher (Grade 10), taught by Mara Cregan and Sara Shotland at Pittsburgh CAPA
  • Lana Meyer (Grade 12), taught by Tonilyn Longo at Carlynton Junior/Senior High School
  • Alexis Payne (Grade 10), taught by Mara Cregan and Sara Shotland at Pittsburgh CAPA
  • Eliza Savage (Grade 8), taught by Greg Wittig at Falk School
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