Here’s what we’ve been up to this past month via Zoom! If you are interested in bringing a program to your school or organization, email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shore House (Long Branch)
As we’ve continued our weekly sessions with Shore House members, we’ve begun creating themes for our lessons. This month, our themes have included: Planting, How I Spend My Time, Memories, and our favorite, Where I’m From. It’s been so wonderful seeing both new faces and returning members each week on our Zoom calls and hearing the incredible stories they write in response to our prompts. We’ve even had a surprise member join us recently whom we haven’t seen in years, Sam Duval! You might remember him from our “Come Together” event in 2017. It’s been amazing to be able to reconnect with these members, and we are so grateful to be able to continue our partnership virtually.
With the Womyn’s Worth group at Lunch Break this month, we read the story The Three Questions, by Jon J. Muth, based on a story by Leo Tolstoy. In response, we wrote about people in our lives who have shown us the way through dark times. Our instructor shared an article with the group from the blog Tiny Buddha called “Six Powerful Questions That Will Change Your Life Forever,” by James McWinney. In closing, we paid tribute to the medical workers and frontline staff everywhere, acknowledging their resilience as well as our own. The group was left with the task to think of their own song for inspiration and to play it loud whenever they need a boost! It’s always a joy to meet up and write with these amazing WOMYN!
Red Bank Regional Creative Writing Academy
PWN’s screenwriting instructor Lizbeth Finn popped into Red Bank Regional’s Google Classroom this week to discuss story vs. plot with juniors and seniors in the Creative Writing Academy. Through a series of prompts and exercises, students used Lisa Cron’s Story Genius technique to check if all the elements of story were present. Lizbeth says: “Because of the way screenwriting has evolved in the past 20 years, I find most of my younger students have an innate ability to recognize that story is really about the internal transformation of the protagonist and not the external plot points of the script.” We are grateful to work with these talented teen writers and look forward to more visits next year.
Teacher Write-In & Share
Our Thursday Teacher Write-In & Share has been a wonderful way for teachers from different districts to connect and share their experiences with online learning. Each week, we rotate which teacher leads the writing activity, which has provided us with new mentor texts and prompts. Then we have time to share resources and what has been helping us provide meaningful instruction for our students. And we love that in this group we have one teacher who is the former student of another teacher who is now retired! If you’d like to join us, please register here. There is no cost to attend.
Friday Lunchtime Write-In
Every Friday, from 12:15 to 1 p.m., we offer the time and space to generate new writing. Using a guiding theme, we give three prompts to freewrite in response to, encouraging you to allow your mind to go in whatever direction it chooses. At the end, there is time to share–only if you wish. This month, we’ve explored themes on: perspective, joy, masks, music, and time. We’re happy to report that students are enjoying this class so much that they keep signing up for more! Join us next week, Friday, June 5, to discover what our upcoming theme will be!
Bridge Ink Instagram & “WordShare” Zoom Open Mic
Thanks to our Teen Ambassadors, we’ve begun posting daily prompts based on a different theme each week on our Bridge Ink Instagram account. We’re asking teens to share their writing in response to our prompts on their own social media channels using the hashtag #pwnpromptoftheday, and then to join us on Fridays for our teen “WordShare” Zoom Open Mic to share their writing and hear the stories of others. It’s been so exciting to see the number of teens on Zoom each week grow and to hear their inspiring works!
Because we do not want cost to be a deterrent to taking classes, PWN has always provided partial and full scholarship seats. These past sessions, we’ve seen an increase in the need for financial assistance and therefore have offered more scholarship seats. We know the students who did not have to drop classes are incredibly grateful for this support. For information about our scholarship program, email Jennifer Chauhan at email@example.com.
Tween Writing Group & Write for Bridge Ink
As Spring Session II has come to an end, so has our Tween Writing Group. But that isn’t the end of writing classes for tweens! In its place, we have created a new class called Write for Bridge Ink! Write for Bridge Ink is very similar to Tween Writing Group in that we provide mentor texts and prompts to inspire our young writers to generate new works each week. But the difference is that in this new class, we also provide outlets for our tween writers to submit their work for publication! Our first Write for Bridge Ink class began Wednesday, May 27, and we can already tell that these writers have powerful things to say. And because this class is virtual, we now have students joining us from all over the country! For instance, one of our new students, Lila, is an 11-year-old writer from Wisconsin. “I’m really happy to be in this class!” she wrote to us, adding about the platform, “And I LOVE WET INK!” We’re so happy to be able to provide this time and space for our tween writers to connect and express themselves!
Teen Writing Group
We were filled with bittersweet emotions as one of our teen leaders, Megan F., had to step down from her role this month as she begins preparing for college. We are so very proud of her and we know her legacy will live on forever here at PWN as she goes off to do great things! Our other teen leader, Sophia W. G., will remain leading the group alongside a new teen leader who has stepped up in Megan’s place, Nyla W. We are so excited to see our teens rising at this opportunity! Teen Writing Group has always been teen-led, and every week, our teen leaders do an incredible job of creating engaging lesson plans that our teen writers are so excited to jump to. This community has been so beneficial for our teen writers, and we can’t wait to see how our new session will unfold. We can’t say it enough–these teens are so very talented!