how-to writing workshops for students, teachers, and adults
Don’t just write it down… Write it Up!
What if anyone could just sit down and write a story? Many people—young and old alike—struggle with creativity, especially when they’re stressed or pressed for time. If you would like your students to learn a revolutionary method to unlock creativity without sacrificing structure, this workshop is for you. (And it works for essays, too!)
Fiction Option: Don’t struggle — create!
All participants will create characters, set a scene, unfold a plot—and write. Over the course of the session(s), every single participant will begin to craft a complete story.
Personal Narrative Option:
Learn to shape your narrative, mine details, create a compelling structure, and find a satisfying ending.
Editorial Revision Option
Come back to your work and give it a fresh look. Learn how to reread and revise powerfully by finding and solving problems. Add depth and complexity or simplify.
This is not a workshop for tips and tricks.
It is hands on, pens on paper, and energetic!
In just one class period, Mark teaches…
- Story structure
- Elements of narrative
- How to integrate and reincorporate ideas
- The importance of rewriting and revision
- How to overcome the blank page/writer’s block
- Improvisational creativity in written form
- Application to non-fiction/personal narrative
- In that same period, students will begin—and many will finish*—writing a story!*
*Finishing a story depends largely on the length of the class time. In a 60 to 90 minute session most students will have completed a first draft. In a 45 minute session, fewer will.
Mark will also:
- Tell stories
- Discuss and distinguish the differences between the written and oral traditions
- Answer questions
- Provide coaching and support
- Explain how structure applies to non-fiction essays
- This workshop can be presented in a number of formats based on your organization’s needs and daily schedule.
- Single day, multiple days—45/60/90 minute options.
- Grades 3 to 12 and adults
Sample Full Day Writing Workshop Residency Schedule for elementary or middle schools
8:45-9:45 – Assembly with all classes to outline and teach methodology
10am – in classroom question/answer, coaching, modeling, and student writing.
11am – in classroom q/a, coaching, modeling, and student writing.
1pm – in classroom q/a, coaching, modeling, and student writing.
2pm -in classroom q/a, coaching, modeling, and student writing.
Day Two (optional – repeat until all classes handled)
Continued in classroom work
Editing and revision work
Note: This schedule will be adjusted based on school bell timings.
Sample Half Day Schedule
9am to 10:15 am – in classroom lesson, storytelling, in classroom q/a, coaching, modeling, and student writing.
10:30am-noon- in classroom lesson, storytelling, in classroom q/a, coaching, modeling, and student writing.
Requirements: Desk space, paper and pencils for all students. White or chalk board.
Click here for the teacher’s guide
Click here for Tips for Young Writers
To read an article in the Cranston Herald about the workshop, please click here
Where does the workshop fit in the Common Core Standards? Click here for more info
Workshop variations include…
Speak it up!
From inspiration through craft to performance
60-90 minutes. Grades 3 and up.
Spoken-word storytelling and creation for Elementary and Middle Schools. This workshop focuses on the process of developing, shaping, editing and refining a story. The program includes both storytelling, audience participation, and writing exercises.
ADULT Program: Like Improv… but written down!
What if you could sit and dash off a short piece of fiction? You don’t need to suffer about every word or idea. This workshop will give you access to your instant imagination in a way that you never thought was possible. By the end of the session, you will have completed, or be well into, a first draft of a short story. (90, 120 minutes)
“What a terrific challenge. More than I expected!”
“This was the ‘seed’ I needed to help push me to start my own stories. Thanks so much!”
– Feedback from adult workshop presented at “Sharing The Fire”
Eureka! Math Workshops for Educators of Adult Learners and Youngsters
How can story and storytelling break through the barriers that adults and young people have about math? Storytelling can help reduce math anxiety, and reach the people who think “I just can’t do math.”
This 90 to 120 minute workshop includes stories, theory, and practical methods to develop and tell stories in classroom settings. Can be presented in conjunction with Eureka! Math story program.
Developed with funding from the Rhode Island Department of Education Innovative Project Grant