Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bringing the Outside In

I have been incredibly fortunate this school year to host a number of speakers and writers in my classroom. The opportunity for students to meet with published authors, with poets, and with a Holocaust survivor have enlarged the conversations we have about history, about writing, about identity, and how about we connect through the stories we tell.  "Stories," as novelist Madeleine L'Engle stated, "make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving."

Check out all the speakers and authors who have visited with my classes during the 2014-2015 school year (so far):

Click on the images below to watch each presentation.

Elise Juska, author of the recent fiction novel The Blessings, visited on January 15, 2015
  • The Philadelipia Inquirer described Ms. Juska's book, The Blessings as a "bighearted novel... Juska's moving, multifaceted portrait of the Blessing family." Join our creative writing class as we listen to the author and question her about her process.

Cameron Conaway, mixed martial arts fighter and poet, spoke with students on January 13, 2015
  • Cameron Conaway, author of The Malaria Poems, shares his experiences and process, including mindfulness, with students from our creative writing and 10th grade English classes.

Dave Patten, singer/song writer, novelist, actor, and Haverford High alum, met with students on December 22, 2014.
  • Dave Patten, author of the recently published Run of the Mill, spoke with creative writing and 10th grade English students about what it takes to succeed in creative fields and shared some advice for aspiring creative types.

Three young adult novelists speak with students on November 6, 2014.
  • Young adult (YA) genre authors, E.C. Myers, Ellen Jensen Abbott and Marie Lamba introduce their new work, discuss their writing process and answer questions from high school creative writing classes.

Holocaust survivor Mr. Michael Herskovitz speaks with students about his experiences in three death camps on September 29, 2014.
  • Michael Herskovitz was born in Czechoslovakia in 1929 to hard working parents and a happy family. In March 1944 he noticed German soldiers in the village and learned that Germany had invaded his country. Mr. Herskovitz shares experiences inside Auschwitz and other "work camps", through to liberation and finally realizing a successful family life and business in the USA. An earlier recording of his presentation can be found here.


Unknown said...

I am so glad that you have enumerated all of the wonderful speakers you have brought into your classroom to connect your students to life outside of your school. This is a beautiful statement for how their learning and growth doesn't stop.

One part of this that doesn't get talked about a lot, however, is the finding and curating of great speakers, teachers, and leaders for the classroom. I would love to know more about how you found these folks and how you have worked to build a network of people who support your children. Is there something special you were looking for in these storytellers? Were there specific questions you asked them that really got them on board with coming in to your classroom?

Again, I think your work here on exposing students to professionals to activate their passions is wonderful. I hope that many others follow you in making this a greater part of their curriculum.

P.S. This comment is a part of the #C4C15 project. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/C4C15

bj neary said...

Students benefit so much from meeting and talking to authors about their books and their writing process, you are doing a great job getting these speakers for your students!

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