Summer Camp 2014 Registration Opens January 31st

Posted January 27, 2014 & filed under Notebook.

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Sign up for Creative Writing Camp, sponsored by WITS and Rice University, in locations across Houston. Campers ages K-12 will immerse themselves in fun activities and exercises all focused around building and strengthening their love of reading and writing. Registration begins January 31st. Classes will fill up that day so mark your calendars!

Letters to the Sun

Posted July 12, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

 

Summer Sun

The Heat is very hot and scorching,
causing drought and sweat.
Weeds and caterpillar grass are
drooping and then dying.
It is so hot!
You are playing around
and not caring about us!

By Olivia

Heat
Heat, heat
it is moist.
Sweating, sweating,
It makes you hot.

By Ryan

Dear Sun
O sun, your heat disappoints many.
Instead of singing, the birds
Are probably just yelling at you.
O sun, my skin is blazing in flames.
I get sunburns, so even inside,
I blaze in flames.

O sun, you make me tired and thirsty.
And don’t even get started on my eyes –
They burn and get tired of squinting
and blinking quickly.

O sun, black must be your favorite color.
No wonder you burn us!

By Grace

(Photo by Dan E. Johnson via Flickr)

Summer Camp ReCap

Posted July 1, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Words were flying this June  at the Creative Writing Camp program iin Houston. Here’s a recap of one classroom of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.

Video by WITS teacher Ericca Douglass

Where Words Fly

Posted June 28, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

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Today nearly 1,200 Houston students are celebrating the amazing stories, poems, essays, autobiographies, and screenplays they have created this summer at Creative Writing Camp. The Summer Creative Writing Workshops are offered by Writers in the Schools in collaboration with Rice University’s School Literacy and Culture Project (SLC). We offer a supportive environment where children engage in writing stories, poetry, essays, and plays, as well as simply reading for pleasure. We place WITS writers in other summer programs this summer. Next year register early to get your children a spot in our camp!

Creative Writing Camp

Posted February 7, 2013 & filed under Notebook.

Registration is filling up quickly!

Within the first 20 minutes of open registration, over 100 students enrolled in Creative Writing Camp, a WITS record! Though it comes as no surprise – with our 8 campuses, 70 classrooms, and now 23 years of camp – that parents and kids look to Creative Writing Camp as a staple of their summer plans. Enroll now and find out why Houston Press described the workshops as the “best effort to inject culture into Houston” and AOL City’s Best listed it among Houston’s 6 Best Summer Camps for Kids.

About Creative Writing Camp

Creative Writing Camp offers a supportive environment where children engage in writing stories, poetry, essays, and plays, as well as simply reading for pleasure. Through these activities even the most hesitant child discovers the joy in writing, the intrigue of language, and the confidence of authorship. Students will work with teachers and writers, and the low teacher-student ratios ensure individual attention. Workshops end with a culminating performance and/or reading, and each child will receive an anthology with their published work.

A Collaboration

The Summer Creative Writing Workshops are offered by Writers in the Schools in collaboration with Rice University’s School Literacy and Culture Project (SLC).

Check out the 2012 Camp Highlights:

2012 Creative Writing Camp Highlights from Writers in the Schools on Vimeo.

Re-imagining the Alphabet

Posted August 14, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

The inspiration for Russell’s poem came from a prompt I borrowed from Janine Joseph, a fellow WITS writer. The lesson is called “Re-imagining the Alphabet.” The lesson asks students to re-imagine letters as objects in their everyday world. We practiced doing this as a class, looking at the letter “M” and noticing how it could be imagined as a mountain or a crown and so on, and we also read and discussed e. e. cummings’ poem, “i.” Students were then asked to write poems of their own with letters we gave them (it was a coincidence that Russell received the letter “r,” which he used very cleverly in his poem).

Who Are You r

r is a diving board, hanging over a pool.

r is also a ladder,

helping people to

climb out of the pool.

r is both sides of a spear

or a battle-ax

and a soldier’s hat.

r is the targeting scope of a gun,

and the gun itself.

r is also the first letter of my name,

Russell.

by Russell, 3rd grade

Listening to the students read the wonderful poems inspired from this lesson was one of the high points of camp for me.

by Michelle Oakes, Creative Writing Camp faculty

Michelle Oakes is a poet pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston whose work has appeared in The Laurel Review and RHINO. She is a poetry editor for Gulf Coast: a Journal of Literature and Fine Arts and an instructor for the 2012 Boldface Conference. Michelle earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Missouri, where she was also Associate Editor of Pleiades: a Journal of New Writing. She taught at the River Oaks Elementary campus during Creative Writing Camp.

Scenes from Creative Writing Camp

Creative Writing Camp Highlights

Posted July 3, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

This year’s summer Creative Writing Camp served more than 1,000 students, the largest turnout Writers in the Schools has ever seen. Check out this slide show of the awesome 3 weeks we spent together:

2012 Creative Writing Camp Highlights from Writers in the Schools on Vimeo

Although the three-week program has ended, parents can still enroll their children at:

  • University of Houston-Downtown. One-week writing camps from June 4 through July 9 in suburban locations throughout Houston. Cost is $259 for grades 2-10 and $315 for grades 11-12.
  • Discovery Green. Free Saturday creative writing programs through August.
  • Jewish Community Center. Writing camp offered for children in grades 1-2 beginning July 23 and ending August 3. Cost is $375.

Visit https://witshouston.org/additional-summer-programs for more information.

2012 Summer Creative Writing Camp is hosted by Writers in the Schools (www.witshouston.org) and the School Literacy and Culture Project at Rice University (http://centerforeducation.rice.edu/slc/). This collaboration has been successfully reaching Houston youth for 22 years.

A huge thank you to Young Audiences of Houston (http://www.yahouston.org) for providing the wonderful visiting artists.

Notes from a Writer at Creative Writing Camp

Posted June 27, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Here are notes from Marcela Descalzi, who is teaching at one of the camp sites in the Montrose area.  Marcela shares about the “reign of kindness” that she and her teaching partner are experiencing in their classroom:

My writing partner Patty and I create community with “our” children. In 3 lightning weeks, we gather in the morning to celebrate writing. On our first day, we had asked the young writers to share values that helped build a community of kindness. Among words like respect, generosity and active listening, we were surprised to hear awareness. Our fourth graders were on a roll.

In our gathering circle of the morning, we share many of our own passions as we play Connections– a game that invites active listening and voicing moments and feelings from our day. It began to rain hard. When it was my turn, I said with a certain amount of enthusiasm, how much I loved the rain. Shortly after, as we introduced the Haiku, rain and thunder washed over our room. Submerged in the energy of rain anecdotes, I shared with them my attempt to capture feelings in a tiny bucket:

Love raindrops whipping

at the window sill

trying to get in

That same afternoon, over the bustle of goodbyes that mark the end our daily time together, one of our young poets dropped a folded paper into my hand. Ella left softly before I could ask her what she needed. I found this:

 

Rain, rain, rain

sprinkles down so softly

sounds like fingers

softly touching the stained glass windows

 

watch, watch, watch

the rain trickle down the window

 

run, run, run

out of the house to feel the rain slip down

my dark brown hair

 

but rain, rain, rain

what I love about rain

are the fingers it sets on my stained glass window sill.

 From that moment on, as Houston’s summer clouds offered water, many a young voice would herald the rain, just in case the adults in the room forgot to notice gifts of awareness sprinkling through.

A-washed with kindness

 within our community

of young WITS writers.

A Poem from Camp – Wonder

Posted June 26, 2012 & filed under Notebook.

Wonder

(inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem “Hope”)

Wonder is the thing with sun and light

That lands straight in the soul,

And twists and turns—all night

And only stops at the answer

And the brightest marvel is in the fire

And faith must be in the water

That could abandon the small weak light

That made so many wonder

I’ve seen it in the arid places,

And in the oddest land

But, never, in extreme,

It makes me question all that gleams.

By Amy, 5th grade

Child Authors

Posted May 11, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

When our daughter turned 4 years old, we signed her up for the Summer Creative Writing Workshops sponsored by Writers in the Schools and Rice University’s School Literacy & Culture Project. Carrie wasn’t really “writing” at all when she started camp, but she was bursting with energy and ideas. By the end of camp, she had amassed, through dictation and scribbling and drawing, a stunning portfolio of stories and poems and illustrations. She announced to anyone who would listen, “I’m a writer.” And she was.

If you have a young child and you’re looking for a wonderful summer literacy experience, please visit our website to sign up for summer writing camp. You may be nurturing the next Hilda Conkling!

Hilda Conkling started writing poetry daily when she was just four years old. Her mother, a teacher at Smith College, began sending Hilda’s poems to magazines and when she was 10, she had one hundred poems collected and published entitled Poems by a Little Girl.

by Marcia Chamberlain, Writers in the Schools

Scholarship Op: Aurora Picture Show Film Boot Camp

Posted May 10, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

Attention aspiring young filmmakers, directors, and screenwriters. Classes are sold out for the Aurora Picture Show Summer Filmmaking Boot camp for kids and teens, but there is still time to apply for a scholarship. Our partners at Aurora have reserved two spaces for students demonstrating financial need. For general information about this summer camp including dates and locations, click here.

What: Aurora Summer Filmmaking Bootcamp Scholarship Application.

Deadline: May 15, 2011. Parents will be notified by June 1st.

Summer Camp Registration Begins Today

Posted February 1, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

Registration for the 2011 Summer Creative Writing Workshops is open today. Our program, named the Best Summer Program for Kids by the Houston Press, is produced through a 20-year collaboration between WITS and Rice University. This year we’ve expanded to six locations conveniently located throughout Greater Houston. Click here to register online or view our website for more information.

Letters to the Sun

Posted July 22, 2010 & filed under Notebook.

 

During the WITS Summer Creative Writing Workshops held June 7 – June 25th, students from Charlotte Schneider and Mischa Enos’ third and fourth graders wrote poems about the sun and heat, expressing their strong feelings about Houston’s unique summer climate. You can feel the mercury rise with each word!

Summer Sun
The Heat is very hot and scorching,
causing drought and sweat.
Weeds and caterpillar grass are
drooping and then dying.
It is so hot!
You are playing around
and not caring about us!

By Olivia

Heat
Heat, heat
it is moist.
Sweating, sweating,
It makes you hot.

By Ryan

Dear Sun
O sun, your heat disappoints many.
Instead of singing, the birds
Are probably just yelling at you.
O sun, my skin is blazing in flames.
I get sunburns, so even inside,
I blaze in flames.

O sun, you make me tired and thirsty.
And don’t even get started on my eyes –
They burn and get tired of squinting
and blinking quickly.

O sun, black must be your favorite color.
No wonder you burn us!

By Grace

(Photo by Dan E. Johnson via Flickr)

More from Macedonia

Posted & filed under Notebook.

We just finished doing four plays this morning with the younger kids and two plays this afternoon, including a Vampire Summer Vacation, featuring a trip to the Castle of  Dracula.  Rather than start on my rant about Twilight, the novel, I will tell you that the plays were wonderful, even the Vampire play as we are close enough to Romania and the sources of the Vampire that the students have many original as well as historical ideas about Vlad.  Indeed the student who played Vlad was named Vlad.  (What are the odds,  even  this close to Bulgaria?)   The plays were wonderful.  The children and their parents were justifiably proud of the great work  that they have done, the anthologies are almost ready, and there was general agreement that Creative Writing Camp was a fabulous experience for all.  Now there may be a couple of librarians who have to work this weekend who may need to put their feet up on Sunday morning and even call for breakfast in bed.  I intend to sleep in  tomorrow morning and then walk up the hill is Stip to the 6th century Byzantine Church that I have been looking at every morning from my hotel room and wondering when and if I would be able to rise early enough to beat the heat and take a trek up the hill to see it, water bottle and picnic lunch in hand. But tomorrow  is my day as Sunday morning  early I take off to Skopje and then to Tetova and my friends at the American Corners there.

So I move away from Eastern Macedonia and its Roman and Byzantine ruins to the hills of Tetova where I can see the mountains of Bosnia.  Remember, Balkans is  just a word for “Mountains.”

Merrilee Cunningham,

Writers in the Schools (WITS)

Anthology Time at Summer Camp

Posted June 26, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

Lori Duron passes out anthologies to the proud, young authors.

Lori Duron Espinoza passes out anthologies to the proud, young authors at the Summer Creative Writing Workshops.

At the end of summer camp, the kids revise their best stories and poems and publish them in an anthology.

Summer Camp is Filling Up Fast!

Posted April 15, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

Register for the summer creative writing camp now because many grade levels are already full. Writers in the Schools (WITS) has offered this program in partnership with Rice University for the past 19 years.  It has even been named “Best Summer Program for Kids” by the Houston Press.  This year we have campuses in three different parts of Houston. Click here to find out more. Or if you’re ready to sign up, click here.

Summer Camp Registration Opens Today!

Posted March 6, 2009 & filed under Notebook.

ad_sumcampFor pre-K-12th grade students in the Houston area, you can now register for the summer creative writing camp. Writers in the Schools (WITS) has offered this program in partnership with Rice University for the past 19 years.  It has even been named “Best Summer Program for Kids” by the Houston Press.  Click here to find out more. Or if you’re ready to sign up, click here.