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Lesson Plans “She’s a crazy creative kid,” Colleen said. “She hears that she’s weird all the time—in the not nice way. To be chosen to collaborate with your crazy team was a huge compliment to her. We love that you give kids’ voices such an amazing outlet.” Beyond performances the Story Pirates also run writing workshops designed to help reinforce not only the basics of writing but also topics and information directly related to a particular school’s curriculum. These workshops include schools where Spanish is widely spoken. “We do a good deal of programming in predominantly Spanish-speaking schools,” Amanda Borson, a producer for the story Pirates, said in an email. “For instance, over the February recess, two of our Spanish-speaking teaching artists spent a week at an elementary school in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a community with a large Hispanic immigrant population, doing a comedy writing workshop.” In addition to comedy writing, the workshops also cover character creating, writing a hero’s story and other forms of literary expression (see sidebar for specific workshop offerings). The persuasive writing workshop, for example, is aimed at grades 3 – 5 and involves an “expert” visiting the class to talk about a topic that the students are learning about in school or a topic chosen by their teacher such as protecting the environment. The expert, however, will give the wrong information about the topic (in this case he might suggest not recycling, polluting rivers, etc.), leaving the class to write essays to persuade him that his ideas are incorrect. In the process the students not only learn about persuasive writing but also more about the topic that they are studying. “Struggling students began to use writing as a means to express their thoughts and feelings for perhaps the first time in their lives,” Dennis Hagen-Smith, 5th grade Teacher at Toluca Lake Elementary, said. “They began to write because they wanted to, not just because they had to do so.” Hagen-Smith also said that the Story Pirates helped him learn how to be a more effective writing teacher. “I have been teaching writing for 13 years, but writing is my big instructional weakness,” he Hagen-Smith said. “I learned how to stir up my students’ creativity, structure their writing and make writing fun. I will take what I learned about writing from the Story Pirates for the rest of my teaching career.” • 14 · May 04, 2015

Photos Courtesy of The Story Pirates

Profile for Hispanic Host

OutlooK-12 Magazine 05/04/2015  

OutlooK-12 Magazine! For 25 years The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine has been a top news source, delivering nationwide cover...

OutlooK-12 Magazine 05/04/2015  

OutlooK-12 Magazine! For 25 years The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine has been a top news source, delivering nationwide cover...

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