WINS Program Descriptions

Endless keys to unlock stories...

WINS Programs are available directly from The Writer’s Garret, through local independent school districts and BigThought via Thriving Minds.

Please send inquiries to Fatima Hirsi by email, program@writersgarret.org

As the World Turns

 

Students take a “virtual” vacation around the world, stopping in South America, Europe, Africa, and elsewhere, learning about the world through the internet, magazines, pictures, shared stories, visitors, and more.  Students will keep a travel journal, drawing and writing about what they see, ending in a “What I Did for My Vacation” essay unlike any they’ve ever written!

BookMarks!

 

Capture students’ attention and open their minds — and hearts — to the delights of reading.  “BookMarks!” guides students to explore what they read, apply it to their own lives, and then reinterpret what they’ve read in their own writing. Via activities in both creative writing and creative reading, students will gain first-hand experience working with symbols, allusions, point of view, description, action, voice, diction, and other elements of style that make reading more than just words across a page. As a result, students will identify with reading material in a larger, contextual sense and be encouraged to discover for themselves the power and capabilities of language and literature.

History—The Write Way!

 

Sometimes, the best way to teach history is to root it in reading and writing! Just think how much we learn about history from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar or Richard III. If you want to know more about the pre-Civil Rights Movement and conditions in America, who can better tell you than African-American writers from the Harlem Renaissance? Want to know what it was like to serve in Vietnam? Read Tim O’Brien’s contemporary classics or the Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry of former Louisiana photojournalist and teacher Yusef Komunyakaa! “History—The Write Way!” can be either a reading or writing intensive, or a combination of both. Professional writers and/or expert readers help students interpret historical periods in their own words, through stories, poems, and plays, while drawing on historical, geographical, and sociological contexts. Some sessions may include role-playing with historical costumes or other activities to bring the past to life and to fix the relevance of yesterday into young minds today. Field trips or other holistic activities can augment the program depending upon the period to be covered or the needs of schools.

Making a Class Video

 

With video websites and smartphone apps growing, spreading, and influencing our society daily, the age of the amateur short film is upon us. “Making a Class Video” encourages student collaboration in writing a script or a song for performance in a short film. Together, they plan shots and storyboards, cast roles, rehearse, film, and edit the video. Students experience the value of imagination and dramatization while learning various aspects of performance and improvisation. An overall theme may be chosen when scheduling the course; past programs have involved themes of leadership, teamwork, self-esteem, and anti-bullying.
Note: this is an extended residency program that is best conducted over 10 or more sessions.

Making a Write Turn

 

“Making a Write Turn” offers students the chance to express themselves creatively, explore their imaginations, reflect on their experiences, and learn how “being smart” does not necessarily come down to having all the “right answers.” Instead, it is being attuned to who you are, what you are doing, where you are going, how you plan on getting there, and why. This program offers a student-focused creative writing “workshop” approach, where each student’s own writing becomes the subject matter. Activities include: writing poems and short stories, designing and editing their own books or class anthologies, meeting with famous writers whose work they’ve read, and producing a class performance or reading of students’ work for an audience. Other activities include creating a play from scratch, critiquing one another’s work and much more. Lesson plans are designed by individual writers and can be tailored to the specific needs of the class or school.

Playmaking

 

Students work collaboratively through the playwriting and production process to learn about the various aspects of creating a play, including writing the script, casting, directing, staging, acting, sound and light design, and the planning and construction of props, scenery and costumes. They create characters, develop a plot, hold auditions for casting, direct, and act in a play performed for fellow students, family, and the community.
Note: this is an extended residency program that is best conducted over 10 or more sessions.

Rail Wrtiters: College Essay on the TRE

 

The Writer’s Garret has permission from the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) to hold creative writing courses on trains. These courses will provide students with a larger educational opportunity to travel outside the confines of their immediate urban communities to experience the cultural and physical geography of the city of Dallas. The three day college admissions essay workshop will get students started on the first draft of their college admissions essay. Students will review previous essays, look at dos and don’ts of admissions essays as well as focus on simple techniques to get essays started on the ‘write’ path. This unique experience aboard the TRE will provide students with an inspirational, focused experienced that is meant to make the classroom environment come alive.
Note: this is an extended residency program that is best conducted over 3 or more sessions.

Rail Writers: Poetry on the DART

 

The Writer’s Garret has permission from The Dallas Area Rapid Transit System (DART) to hold creative writing courses on trains. These courses will provide students with a larger educational opportunity to travel outside the confines of their immediate urban communities to experience the cultural and physical geography of the city of Dallas. After the writing workshops on the DART, students will visit venues along the rail lines and give five-minute, flash-style readings of their creative work. Venue partnerships include The Nasher Sculpture Center, The Latino Cultural Center, Klyde Warren Park, and Thanks-Giving Square, among many others.

Reading Between the Lines

 

Imagine one of your students meeting Langston Hughes, Louisa May Alcott, or Mark Twain!  Or how about Harry Potter, Othello, or Cinderella?  “Reading Between the Lines” is an interactive performance program that brings famous writers or fictional characters into your school to “tell their story” or read from their literary works, and, of course, to meet your students.  Local actors work with a WINS instructor to coordinate either a single writer/character visit, a series of visits, or a group visit.  Depending upon the age group or students’ needs, the event can be staged as an informal visit, as guests at a party, or as a formal event where the famous “writer” is introduced, reads his work, is interviewed by the host-instructor, and participates in a Q & A with the audience.

Science—The Write Way!

 

Literature with science at the heart is one of the most stimulating approaches to understanding philosophies and principles of physics, chemistry, and biology. While “Science—The Write Way!” may not teach students the Periodic Table, it will introduce concepts and explanations grounded in science that will catapult students into deeper thought. The combination of teaching literature and science can manifest in numerable ways. For example, the program can be geared toward any scientific discipline, focusing on biology, environmental issues, astronomy, etc.… For a different and more flexible approach, the program can also delve into the world of science fiction and fantasy, allowing the students’ imaginations to invade the world of science. This enriching program will inspire an appreciation of the artistry of literature and the more practical, yet imaginative, uses of science.

Show & Tell

 

“Show and Tell: Creating Text and Texture” provides hands-on experience in ekphrastics, or the art of interpreting art through poetry or prose. Young people will be exposed to a variety of creative exercises stemming primarily from visual and literary arts. In addition to reading and writing about visual art, participants will engage in art-making strategies to encourage personal expression while sharpening critical thinking skills. Ideally, students would have the opportunity to take a field trip to an art gallery or museum, but in lieu of that option, art books and online art surfing can suffice. Students will have the opportunity to display their own work through three culminating projects: a reading to the public, a show of visual art, and a printed anthology of their visual and written work.
Note: this is an extended residency program that is best conducted over 5 or more sessions.

The Me Nobody Sees

 

“The Me Nobody Sees” is a creative exploration of the self, using texts from literature (both classic and contemporary), selections of visual artworks, and visual arts/writing exercises for students to write about (and discover) who they are. Students will begin simply with a straightforward expression of their ideas and interests.  As the lessons progress, students will dive more deeply and abstractly into themselves, their experiences, and their imaginations, and they will create art pieces that reflect that exploration.  The art pieces always involve writing, either as the inspiration for the visual work, as the outcome of the visual work, or as a unified piece incorporating both text and visual art.  Beyond self-discovery, the students will become more comfortable with the writing process; they will become more adept at discussing literature, themselves, and the intersection of art and writing; they will learn to present, explain, and defend their ideas; and they will learn to evaluate and re-express their own experiences.

Word of Math

 

Studies show a distinct correlation between the thought processes behind literature, writing, and mathematics.  The obvious connection is that improvement in reading comprehension increases comprehension of math concepts and problems, especially story problems.  But it’s also true that language arts and math are both skills that are applied constantly, daily, throughout our lives, frequently without our realizing it.  Through a variety of activities, students will explore and strengthen the connection between words and numbers, improving their creative and critical thinking skills with both.
NOTE: This is not a remedial math program, and our instructors are writers trained in improving critical and creative thinking skills.  This program is designed to function best over multiple visits (minimum 3 1-hour sessions per student group).

Work of Art

 

Literature is the most inspiring art form because it is the root of what defines an art from; from dancing to music to acting, they all tell a story. “Work of Art” links creative writing with other arts and disciplines to give students a “double-exposure” that is more than just the sum of its parts. Students explore writing in tandem with another art form or discipline (e.g., writing and dance; writing and painting; writing and acting; writing and music; etc.) and learn how to use one to explore the other. “Work of Art” broadens students’ exposure with a kind of private language for deciphering their inner life and the world around them. Depending upon the school’s needs and students’ interests, “Work of Art” will bring in a single writer who is gifted in a second art form or a team of artists who will inspire the students. “Work of Art” offers creative writing in relationship to one or more of the following art forms: dance, music/songwriting, visual arts, film-making/video-making, acting, speech-writing, and magazine/book Design. Other disciplines are available upon request.
Note: this is an extended residency program that is best conducted over 5 or more sessions.

Zine Camp

 

Our Zine Camp was voted “Best of 2012” by The Dallas Observer. In our in-depth exploration of creative writing and art through zine making, students will create their own zines, learning the tools for written self-expression while cultivating a dynamic artistic and ecological awareness through “found art.” We introduce students to individualized tools for self-expression through writing, graphics, drawing, collage, and printmaking. We also offer “Afterwords” an opportunity to participate in a reading and/or put work on-line.
Note: this is an extended residency program that is best conducted over 3 or more sessions.


WINS Programs are available directly from The Writer’s Garret, through local independent school districts and BigThought via Thriving Minds.

Please send inquiries to Fatima Hirsi by email, program@writersgarret.org