February, 2012

Ozark Writing Project Youth Conference

It’s back and better than ever!

I’ve just finished hiring over two dozen presenters for the fourth annual OWP Youth Conference at Missouri State University. The conference will be held May 11th-and we are expecting close to 700 students and their teachers.  Here’s just a few of the topics students have to choose from:

Comic books and Story-Telling Comic books are a fun and inventive way to share stories. While most readers assume
that comic books are written and read the same as a normal book, but this isn’t really the case. The combination of words and images provides a unique reading and writing experience that takes some effort to execute effectively. In this session, students will learn how words and images interact with one another to create a comic book story and they will write their own.

   Sneaker Story! Get your “kicks” from combining art and writing. Create a visual story ON a shoe using various art materials like magazines, paint pens, sharpies, fabric paints and found objects. Artists will then be asked to take their visual story and “run” with it to create a written piece to share.

Six-Word Memoir Sometimes simplicity and minimal words can have the most impact. Create your own Six-Word Memoir
using text and images to create a story to share with your friends.

 Whose Line is it Anyway? If you like one-liners, working in groups, or being creative with a scenario, then
this one is for you! You and your group members will be given a scenario to write and perform a short readers’ theater. The goal will be for each member to write and speak with only one type of sentence. Will you be the questioner, the joker, Mr. Matter-of-Fact or the demanding one? You’ll decide!

 Poem Poster Project You may have already tried poem sketching at the OWP Youth Conference–taking a word group and finding a poem. Now we’ll take the poems you will write with this method a step further by creating posters that convey the words and mood of the poem. This method was co-developed with artist Kate Baird, a former instructor at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Secret Knowledge of Grown-ups! “Do this!” or “Do that!” or most often, “Don’t do that!” is all a kid ever
hears. A kid begins to think it’s almost a conspiracy among grown-ups. In truth, it’s not so much them being bossy as it is grown-ups take part in a big cover-up. Come and learn about the “Secret Knowledge of Grown-ups!”  You will listen to and read many files of
rules uncovered by author David Wisniewski. You will write your own rule in which you uncover the truth behind grown-ups’ motives to keep secret files of knowledge. Added art and illustrations will make your message to everyone a clear warning..

Tall Tales and Urban Legends: Have you ever wondered where that tall tale or urban legend came from?  Is it true? It’s
fun to hear the tall tales from the old American West or even the urban legends from your own home town. Join us for some tall tales of the past and create your own tall tale with larger than life characters and unbelievable experiences.

 Haiku In this session students will review the ancient Japanese poetry form in its traditional style and then explore its modern inceptions. By analyzing the evolution of this classic poetic form, students will be empowered to create their own verbal images, to capture “snapshots” of their current existence that will travel forward through time to greet their future selves!

The Harmony of Music and Writing This session explores how literature, writing, and music all work to influence each other. Students will use   music  to inspire creative writing, literature to inspire music, and will explore how the influence of poetry creates the best song and
rap lyrics.

 From the Page to the Stage: Writing a Stage Show for Children Perfect for the student actor, director or writer looking for a fun and creative challenge, writers will learn how to adapt short plays from established, published material, workshop their
pieces and present them in a final reader’s theatre performance put together by the students This class will stretch the student’s creativity in ways that will give him or her a sense of confidence and accomplishment while they have a blast.

The Mystery Files Ever wonder why that women in front of you at the grocery store is buying milk, duct tape, and anti-freeze? Why does a seemingly normal guy commit robbery? Come find out in Mystery Files.  Explore and solve crimes through investigation and inquiry in the writing process.  Complete with case files, photos, and suspects–crimes for you to solve.  This class will teach students to think outside the box and create character sketches in an entirely new fun way while solving mysteries.


For a complete list of classes available-visit the OWP website.  Hope to see you there!



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