Quick WITS is a free 15-minute online writing experience for grade K-5 students. Quick WITS allows teachers and parents to access mini-workshops for their elementary school students online. WITS writers record themselves sharing a lesson and offer both questions for reflection as well as an accessible writing prompt/writing activity to accompany their lesson. Students are invited to share their writing with WITS via email or on social media, using the hashtag #quickwits. These mini-workshop videos are free and available through YouTube and our social media channels. Check back often for more lessons!


What I Know Best with Miranda Ramirez

Miranda Ramirez is the founder and Co-Editor of Defunkt Magazine, is a writer of fiction and creative nonfiction and a print-maker who seeks to marry her passions for social activism, art, and literature. She hopes to provide a pulpit to the voiceless and offer an alternative perspective of the arts community here in Houston. As a biracial American she struggles to find her place in this community and her works seek to provide a reflection of this experience. You may find her publications in The Bayou Review: The Women’s Issue, Ripples In Space: Science Fiction Short Stories for Fall 2018, Glass Mountain, Vol. 20, 21, and 22 , Shards, Issue 3. Her essay, “Exploring Paralleled Multiracial Experiences in Ceremony and Borderlands” is due out this October by Coffin Bell. Miranda is a visual artist whose primary focus is Printmaking. She has exhibited with The Williams Tower Gallery, Tea + Art Gallery, and Insomnia Gallery. She is also a member of MAX, the house Improv troupe for BETA Theater.

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Create Your Own Soundtrack with Shiarnice Taylor

Shiarnice Taylor, better known as Lyric the poet, was born and raised by a single mother in Houston, TX. She began writing at 7 years old, her love for poetry at a youth center in the 5th Ward. There she found her passion for writing about personal experiences from her childhood. At the age of 17, she began attending college at Sam Houston State University where she became a part of Sam Houston’s Slam Poetry Team traveling to national competitions in Philadelphia and Corpus Christi. Her poetic stage name is Lyric as she’s known for combining singing and song lyrics into her poetry. She is active in Houston’s poetry scene and is also a Professor of Psychology at Houston Community College. Lyric released her first solo musical/poetic album in May 2014 and her first poetry book in 2016 called The Released. In 2018, she completed her 2nd book, a series of letters as poems called The Forgiveness Letters. She is currently working on her 3rd book, From Bitter to Better scheduled for release in 2019.

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Inventando Ángeles with Nancy Bonsembiante

Nancy Bonsembiante received a Spanish and Latin Literature degree from the Ministry of Education in Argentina and a Master’s Degree in Spanish from the University of Houston. She has worked teaching Spanish Literature at various middle and high schools in Argentina and Houston and is a private tutor for adults. She obtained an award for excellence at Houston Community College after completing her last semester of ESL. She has joined the WITS program and is currently teaching 2nd and 3rd graders at Port Houston ES in Spanish and English. She has written different poems to use in her classes and has been a collaborator for the book Illuminations: Expressions of the Personal Spiritual Experience. Her non-writing interests include dancing, reading, and spending time with her fifteen-year-old daughter, thirteen-year-old son, and husband.

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Recipe for Friendship with Sharon Ferranti

Sharon Ferranti has been with WITS since 2002. She holds an MFA in filmmaking from CalArts. She made one feature film that is distributed by Wolfe Video and she just shot her second feature in May. It’s called The Queen of Cups and will be in post-production until May of 2020. Sharon is a self-employed commercial filmmaker and she teaches because it is an essential pathway to a better world.

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Odas a las Cosas Comunes with Nancy Bonsenbiante

Nancy Bonsenbiante received a Spanish and Latin Literature degree from the Ministry of Education in Argentina and a Master Degree in Spanish from the University of Houston. She has worked teaching Spanish Literature at various middle and high schools in Argentina and Houston and is a private tutor for adults. She obtained an award for excellence at Houston Community College after completing her last semester of ESL. She has joined the WITS program and is currently teaching 2nd and 3rd graders at Port Houston ES in Spanish and English. She has written different poems to use in her classes and has been a collaborator for the book Illuminations: Expressions of the Personal Spiritual Experience. Her non-writing interests include dancing, reading, and spending time with her fifteen-year-old daughter, thirteen-year-old son, and husband.

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What Color is Your Day? with Jasminne Mendez

Jasminne Mendez is an award-winning author, performance poet, and educator. She received her B.A. in English Literature and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. Mendez has performed her poetry in venues all around Houston, including Rice University, the Alley Theatre, the Museum of Fine Arts, the University of Houston, and Barnes & Noble. She has shared the stage with respected writers and poets such as Sandra Cisneros and Taylor Mali. Mendez has been published both nationally and internationally. Her multi-genre memoir Island of Dreams was published by Floricanto Press and was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015.

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The Book of Qualities with Kathryn Peterson

Kathryn Peterson a.k.a. “Doctor Kat” holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature and an MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston, where she received a Barthelme and Glenn C. Cambor Fellowship. She also has an M.A. in playwriting from the University of Cincinnati, where she won the Elsie B. Westheimer Award for Playwriting and the Graduate Prize in Fiction. Originally from Virginia and trained as a journalist, Kathryn is a columnist for the Houston Chronicle’s online blog, Gray Matters. When she is not teaching for WITS, you can find her offering manuscript consultations, managing social media and blogs for business, or working on her novel.

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Cambia la canción with Jasminne Mendez

!Durante el mes de Abril vamos a seguir compartiendo lecciones y actividades que celebran la poesía! Para el video completo puedes ir a nuestro canal de YouTube el enlace esta en la biografía.”

Jasminne Mendez es poeta, educadora, madre, organizadora comunitaria y autora premiada de dos colecciones de poesía/ prosa: Island of Dreams que ganó un Premio Internacional del Libro Latino, y Night Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Ensayos y poesía personales. Graduada de Maestría de Bellas Artes (MFA) en el programa de escritura creativa en el Rainier Writer’s Workshop en la Pacific Lutheran University.

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Orchids Are Sprouting from the Floorboards with Kathryn Peterson

Kathryn Peterson a.k.a. “Doctor Kat” holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature and an MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston, where she received a Barthelme and Glenn C. Cambor Fellowship. She also has an M.A. in playwriting from the University of Cincinnati, where she won the Elsie B. Westheimer Award for Playwriting and the Graduate Prize in Fiction. Originally from Virginia and trained as a journalist, Kathryn is a columnist for the Houston Chronicle’s online blog, Gray Matters. When she is not teaching for WITS, you can find her offering manuscript consultations, managing social media and blogs for business, or working on her novel.

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Peace Out with Sharon Ferranti

Sharon Ferranti has been with WITS since 2002. She holds an MFA in filmmaking from CalArts. She made one feature film that is distributed by Wolfe Video and she just shot her second feature in May. It’s called The Queen of Cups and will be in post production until May of 2020. Sharon is a self-employed commercial filmmaker and she teaches because it is an essential pathway to a better world.

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Crown with Josie Mitchell

Josie Mitchell is a graduate of the University of Houston’s MFA program in fiction. Before moving to Houston, she worked as a preschool teacher in Dalian, China, where her Chinese name translated to “Dumpling”. Josie was a Non-Fiction Editor for Gulf Coast and student advisor to the UH undergraduate literary magazine, Glass Mountain and the Boldface Conference for Emerging Writers. She teaches creative writing at the University of Houston and Fifth Ward’s Finnigan Park, with Project Row Houses, Inprint and WITS. She is from San Diego, California, and is at work on a story collection set there.

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Fish Cheeks with Elizabeth A. M. Keel

Elizabeth A. M. Keel is a Houstonian playwright, director, actress, dramaturg, producer, and novelist. Her plays have been read or produced in Chicago by Shattered Globe Theatre and Otherworld Theatre Company, in NYC by Squeaky Bicycle and Fresh Produce’d, and around Texas by Landing Theatre Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, Mildred’s Umbrella, METDance, T.E.T.A., Cone Man Running, This Is Water Theatre, Nova Arts Project, and 14 Pews. She currently works as a teaching artist for Grackle & Grackle, Stages Repertory Theatre, and Writers in the Schools. She is proud to serve as an Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild. She recently graduated with her M.A. in Theatre Studies from the University of Houston, where her thesis work explored the increasing role of science fiction onstage. Upcoming projects may be found at elizabethamkeel.com.

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Poetree with Jasminne Mendez

WITS Writer Jasminne Mendez is an award-winning author, performance poet, and educator. She received her B.A. in English Literature and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. Mendez has performed her poetry in venues all around Houston, including Rice University, the Alley Theatre, the Museum of Fine Arts, the University of Houston, and Barnes & Noble. She has shared the stage with respected writers and poets such as Sandra Cisneros and Taylor Mali. Mendez has been published both nationally and internationally. Her multi-genre memoir Island of Dreams was published by Floricanto Press and was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015.

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