Congratulations to Bread Loaf Teacher Network Advisory Board member Janet Atkins for reaching the finals of the Lanier Poetry Competition. Janet's comments, below speak to the role of developing one's personal craft as a writer and teacher. Learn more about the competition at http://www.lanierlib.org/ .
Atkins a Finalist in Sydney Lanier Poetry Contest
Thanks to Lou Bernieri, Andover Bread Loaf, and all of the Lawrence partners, for sharing this video of the 2013 How to Eat a Poem Conference in Lawrence, MA.
program archive here.
LFDCS 6th grade Family Night
-Submitted by Lou Bernieri
The bitter cold – below zero with wind chill – didn’t deter families from
coming to the Lawrence Family Development Charter School last night, Jan
23, from having their 6th grade Family Writing Night. Over 150 were in
attendance (only 5 families couldn’t make it) to hear the 6th graders read
their work aloud. It was an inspiring event. These Family Writing Nights
began last year with the 4th grade and now have begun to spread to every
Before they began their reading, one student from each class was chosen to
read a collective letter created by each class to explain what Bread Loaf
meant to them. Before writing, they discussed what they wanted to say.
These are the kids sentences; they voted on what sentences they wanted in
the letters. Below is one of them:
News from Rich Gorham of Lawrence, MA:
In the last two weeks, thanks to the work of Bread Loafers, the city of
Lawrence hosted two extraordinary writers.
Last Saturday, January 12, Martin Espada performed a reading at El Taller,
the new cafe and community center opened by Bread Loafer Mary Guerrero.
Espada, originally from Brooklyn, is of Puerto Rican descent and has
written powerfully about Latino, class and other human issues. He has
published many books of poems, including Albanza (my recommedation for
your first Espada collection).
On Friday, January 18, Lawrence High School hosted Junot Diaz, the
Pulitzer-prize and MacArthur genius-grant winning Dominican-American
writer, whose three books (Drown, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,
and This is How You Lose Her) have established him as perhaps the finest
American writer of his generation. It was Diaz's fourth visit to Lawrence
High School, thanks to the work of Bread Loaf alum Sean McCarthy. Diaz
requested that the event not be pulicized, and he spoke with a group of 75
invited students and teachers. To the students, all of whom had read Diaz,
he is an absolute star, a bigger celebrity than any actor, musician or
athlete. For Diaz's part, he came to Lawrence free of charge, and
expressed joy at the chance to meet with Lawrence students. He has, of
course, a standing invitation to return to Lawrence at any time.
Add to this readings in the city over the last ten years by Robert Pinsky,
Julia Alvarez and Seamus Heany, all facilitated by Bread Loafers, as well
as the parade of writers and artists who perform for Lawrence students and
teachers at the Andover Bread Loaf Writer's Workshop each summer.
We believe strongly in Bread Loaf's role in cultivating the literary and
artistic life of a community, and bringing the finest authors and artists
directly to our students.
Ariella, a student in my Honors IV English class, mounted the only picture she owned of her birth mother in the bottom corner of a white piece of paper and typed the words, “so close yet so far” at the top. She told us that she loved her mother, even though she didn’t know her, and that looking at the picture made her feel closer to the woman who gave her up shortly after she was born. Ariella shared this story with us in November, two months after the school year began and four months after I drafted I Live Here: A Reflective Artifact Project.
In part, the idea was a product of the short time I spent in a PhD program studying ritual and secret revealing in popular American culture. The assignment asks my seniors to select a different artifact every month, from some point in their lives, and to reflect on that physical object visually and through language. Revealing secrets is never mentioned. Although I thought the project was creative, Ariella made me realize that the grace, compassion, and generosity with which my students would interpret my directions and articulate their experiences would far exceed any expectations I imagined. Often meticulously and lovingly completed, the students’ visual and written presentations mask painful stories that lay beneath the artifacts.
JoBeth Allen taught at the Bread Loaf School of English in the Program in Writing in 1997 and 2001, working with many of her Bread Loaf students year-round on social justice and equity in relation to literacy research and teaching.
From the NCTE website at http://www.ncte.org/awards/elemeducator/winner:
contributed by Lou Bernieri
For 25 years the backbone of BLTN Lawrence has been ABL's Writing Leader program. Writing Leaders are middle, high school, and college youth who are trained to assist teachers and youth workers in literacy programs, organize workshops themselves, and serve as mentors for their peers and younger students. ABL has developed hundreds of Writing Leaders over the years, many of whom are now teachers.
On Friday, October 26, I had the privilege of attending the Oregon Academic Technology Society conference organized by Scott Christian, BLTN '94. From his position as Director of Academic Computing at the University of Portland, Christian has orchestrated the formation of OATS, Orgeon's chapter of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The conference was a remarkable gathering of K-20 teachers, with a keynote and concurrent sessions focusing around teaching challenges and opportunities in the "digital commons." Almost every session dealt in some ways with mobile devices and the prospects of the "flipped classroom." As Scott moves on from his post to a new leadership position at Oregon Health Sciences University, he will continue to lead OATS and to build the kind of community BLTNers have come to know as spaces for innovation, collaboration and professional trust. Watch the OATS website for updates on OATS, and visit the presenter resource page for conference highlights and resources.
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