I’m the founder of the WNY Young Writer’s Studio, a community of writers and teachers of writing just outside of Buffalo, New York. Over the last seven years, I’ve watched children and adults make writing in a variety of contexts and for a variety of purposes.
Studio was born from my desire to create a kind of lab classroom for those that I support as a literacy specialist. For the last eleven years, I’ve spent my weekdays inside of schools, working beside teachers who are dedicated to discovering all that they can about the writers they serve and the tools and approaches that might help them best. Before the WNY Young Writer’s Studio was a reality, I devoted a decade of my life to teaching English Language Arts in the public school system. Now that I’m no longer in the classroom, Studio is a place where I can continue to test what I’m learning, make it my own, and pay the best of it all forward.
I have a unique opportunity to help people within and beyond schools make writing together.
More than experts, it’s the fellows of the WNY Young Writer’s Studio and the teachers and students I work with daily who inform my thinking and my work now. I’ve learned a great deal by standing on the shoulders of giants.
I’ve learned even more by peering over the shoulders of children and teachers and paying close attention.
This is how teachers are made.
Mark Hatch is the CEO of Techshop. A first read through his book, The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers confirmed everything my students consistently revealed about their needs and interests as writers over the last twenty years. Hatch invites readers to repurpose his manifesto and make it their own, and that’s precisely what we’ve done at the WNY Young Writer’s Studio.
This is how we make writing. It’s how you can, too.
Please plan to drop in often over the next few weeks. I plan to bring each of these elements to life by sharing stories from Studio and practical approaches that you can try in your own classrooms and maker spaces. I’ll link them up below as I go, making this page an anchor for the series.