The students I'm teaching have barely left the county. They've not had experiences that range much farther than the borders of our county. This project brings authors to them for interaction.
This year, my students operate in a writing workshop environment the same as one would see at the local university.
The difference is that in our poor, rural community, they usually don't get opportunities with authors, poets, and musicians in this way. In order to teach them what writing is, I will forget they are not graduate-level students, and I will watch their writing abilities develop. I will ask more of their creative abilities and their abilities to write and rewrite. These students will react with awe and will be inspired by writers, poets, and musicians with whom they have one thing in common--words. This will be unique in the public school setting.
Students will be crafting a creative thesis, much like that required in college graduate programs, over the course of the school year. They will be reading in public and learning to give close readings of others' works, along with commentary. Students will learn what it's like to get close to their own writing.
Ashley will read and critique a few student manuscripts that we send her one week before her visit. During that time we will read Ashley's poetry and that of her major influences. When she visits our class, Ashley will take over and be the workshop teacher for that day, leading workshop of student-submitted writing. In the evening Ashley will headline a public reading, which will also include a few student writers.
In the three years I've hosted the Writers' Workshop in my classroom, student engagement, ownership, and connection to the surrounding community all increased dramatically.
Continually, visiting authors, poets, and lyricists commented that students in discussion sounded like graduate-level writers. I teach in a school and community with fewer resources and hope to emulate and expand on the success of the last three years.
If you donated to this project, you can sign in to leave a comment for Mr. McFarland.
DonorsChoose is the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.
As a teacher-founded nonprofit, we're trusted by thousands of teachers and supporters across the country. This classroom request for funding was created by Mr. McFarland and reviewed by the DonorsChoose team.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.