Try and Try to Try Again: What Good Writing Teachers Do | Emma Bolden

When I studied at a fine arts high school, our creative writing teacher, Mrs. Trimm, burst into the classroom one Monday, triumphant: she had knocked down the barrier which kept her from finishing her novel.  That Saturday, she woke to the usual stream of what ifs and false starts, of doubts and disagreements, of urges […]

Five Ws and an H: An Exercise to Help Students Explore Their Identities as Writers | Emma Bolden

WHAT: The journalist’s six cornerstone questions.  An idea I had one day: what if those questions were flipped inward and then outward?  What if I had my students ask themselves how those six questions relate to their lives as writers?  An exercise.  An inquiry.  A way for students to explore who they are as artists.  […]

Burning the Box: A Teacher Does Her Homework I Emma Bolden

Where are you going, where have you been: though they’re widely known as the title of a harrowing short story by Joyce Carol Oates, those eight words describe exactly what I want my students to think about in their last assignment for my class, the self-reflection: where they have been as writers and where they […]

The Teacher’s Nightmare, Or How Modeling Can Make a Class a Dream

I stood in front of the classroom, my hand and the marker inside of it half-raised towards the whiteboard, and suddenly realized I’d been staring at a circle with the word “Spring” inside of it for a long time.  It was like that actor’s nightmare you always hear about, the dream of being on-stage naked […]

Giving Voice to Silence: The Poetry Block Exhibit

I stood in the center of the gallery and turned to face each of its four walls.  I’d spent the morning with a handful of students and the gallery director, covering the walls with a roll of brown paper and carefully measuring, marking off, and numbering squares for our project: The Poetry Block.   The […]