Writing Boston’s Future: NEW OPPORTUNITY!

Learn more and apply to our next cohort of Writing Boston’s Future HERE

**Participants will receive stipends after completing each part (1-3) of the process (highlighted below).**

Part One: Community Building and Inquiry Development

Fellows will meet with BWP/MAAH leadership team to build community together, participate in response groups, and create an inquiry project to work on during the summer learning experience. We will meet once a month from January – through May 2024.

Program Launch/Orientation/First Meeting – January 21, 2024
Time: 1p.m.- 4p.m.
Location: Museum of African American History

Part Two: Summer Institute

Fellows will meet with BWP/MAAH leadership team to learn about, write about, and teach the history and legacy of Black Boston’s cultural wealth. Fellows will pursue their own inquiry project as designed during the Winter/Spring 2024 season.

Part Three: Colloquium 

Fellows will exhibit their Writing Boston’s Future artifacts to the Greater Boston community. 

BE CURIOUS! BE CREATIVE! JOIN US TO FIND JOY IN LEARNING TOGETHER! INNOVATE TOGETHER! Please address any questions to Adela Gonzalez at gonadela1@gmail.com.

Mini-Retreats are Back! Register Now!

We are excited to offer a space for virtual writing times this year. Please join us if you can for the FIRST MINI-RETREAT OF THE SCHOOL YEAR! PLEASE feel free to share this note with any colleagues or friends who may enjoy a space to write and connect. No prior experience with BWP is necessary.
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Nurturing the Writing Teacher: Fostering a network of writing teachers
The Boston Writing Project is pleased to offer a monthly gathering for teachers of writing, teachers who write, and other educators who want to make time for their own writing and connect with others. You do not need to bring any prepared writing pieces to these times.
It is our hope that these gatherings can:

  • Create community and nurture teachers across a distance through the shared pursuit of writing
  • Engage educators in their own writing and response groups and creative self-care through writing prompts and conversations

Save the Dates Our monthly writing mini-retreats will occur on the third or fourth Mondays, unless otherwise noted. Make sure you mark calendars for our other mini retreats this school year: December 18, January 22, February 12, March 18, April 8, April 29, May 20, and June 10.

Urdu Poetry at Snowden International School

March 2, 2023: Snowden Writing Center tutor Qudseen visited Mr.Tetenbaum’s 12th grade World Literature class to present on the Urdu-langauge poetry of Faiz Ahmed and Nasser Turabi, as part of a unit on Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad. Qudseen led students in a discussion about the similariries of these poets’ use of the traditional ghazal form and Farrokhzad’s poems, as well as the question of what can be lost, and gained, in translated works of literature.

Josh Tetenbaum is a BWP Board Member and teacher at Snowden International High School in Boston Public Schools.

Professional Development Opportunity: Reading and Teaching Literacy Nonfiction and Informational Texts

Reading and Teaching Literary Nonfiction and Informational Texts

The course has a teacher-friendly schedule, including 8-9 synchronous sessions on Saturday mornings and asynchronous discussions during intervening weeks. Participants will read examples of nonfiction together, including a book-length work, do some analytical writing, learn strategies for teaching nonfiction, and create a text set and unit for their own classrooms. Teachers have rated the course highly in the past.

Fill out the FORM to learn more

contact Bruce Penniman at penniman@english.umass.edu

Writing In Math: John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science

Isabela G. student at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science

Prompt: A classmate of yours only has a vague sense of how to graph systems of linear equations and is suddenly facing the prospect of graphing a system of linear inequalities! Lucky for them, they have you as an ally. Graph the following system to the best of your ability and then write a brief, but informative narrative which makes use of the vocabulary on the board. The goal is to explain to your classmate HOW you graphed the system as well as HOW to interpret the outcome.

“We first start by graphing our lines and determining which lines are going to be a solid line or a dashed line. Inequalities that are less or greater than are dashed and when they are less than, greater than or equal to is a solid line. It is easier to graph a line by plugging order pairs of the inequality first to plug a line. when we graph our lines we can determine the boundaries of each inequality and this is going to help up isolate the solutions that make each inequality happy. We are going to see the colors overlapping and this is overlapping region that represent the solution of the three inequalities.”

On Writing in Math

Writing in mathematics is as essential to making sense of content as anything else we do in the course. Too often, students have a tenuous grasp of material, almost a passing familiarity, if you will, that is rarely satisfying to them and certainly not sufficient to see them through their future math-related endeavors. Slowing things down and being asked to process the conceptual and marry it to the computational is vital if we hope to cultivate ownership and immediacy. Writing forces a quieting of the mind and offers an honest inventory of fluency that students may not appreciate at first (as it is often painfully sobering!), but will certainly value in retrospect when they recognize the metacognitive benefits. 

-Nikan Hodjat, teacher at John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science

After is a Powerful Word

Mary Dibinga, July 9, 2020

After is a powerful word. After is an unimaginable word. How do we get to after? And even beyond the logistics of it and the fears of what has to come before there can be an after is the fact that it is hard to really emerge, ever, from our traumas.
First there is no clear line, not the way I want there to be. No D-Day that says the treaty was signed and the world is now at peace. Of course, most of that is just a story, too. Soldiers continue to die after treaties–it takes a while for a way to truly end, and then you hear the stories echoes in newer stories of the old folks who are still stuck back there in those times–squirreling away rations because they think they may need them again, telling and retelling and retelling the stories of the hardships of their youth and the wisdom that is foolishness in a new world no longer needing it.
How do we fit ourselves for a new world when we are so wounded and so stuck by the problems of this one? What washes us? What wipes away the fear and doubt and pain of a present to let us molt into a slick, clean new version of ourselves?
But then, maybe that is not what we do. Maybe we need a new world forged in pain of the past, forged in an understanding of the specialness of what could be based on the flaws of what was.
It’s just that, it’s just, that I’m weary. That I think we’re weary/ How do we dream when we’re weary?
But then I am writing, and that in itself is a sort of miracle, an impossibility. There are words, not all of them awkward and ugly falling and falling from my fingertips, inexhaustible despite my exhaustion, and there is this space that we made for others and the energy they brought here, and I am fed by this, and turning downright Pollyanna-esque in this writing now. I didn’t know I had it in me, and I wish it was a little more grounded, a little more of the realist writing of what can be fought for, what can be.
I think I have to look at transformations on the individual level. I am tired of trying to change institutions tired of the damage that comes from those efforts. I can’t remake the world, but I can imagine people deciding, me deciding that there are things I’m not keeping anymore—because I am tired—because while we lose so much right now, there is some gain.
There is some space to insist on how we want our lives to be. There are new things to fight to keep that we found her among the debris of our lives. Things we didn’t know we’d lost. I would not have been here today like this. I’m sure my calendar holds some shadow of what Thursday would have been, of how so many physical places and things that I used to go to and to hold and to create and to document and to get and to bring and to arrive at would have taken all this time and filled it in for me.

Mary Dibinga is an educator at Boston Latin Academy.

Reimagining the World After

Yana Minchenko, July 9, 2020

Each breath stretches as far the next door neighbor
The door is slightly ajar,
It is quiet
Not the quietness that disturbs but rather the one that
Welcomes
Pacifies
Says, “Finally each of your tasks have a sense of being”
Each movement is intentional
Because it is measured no in quantity but in quality
Because the movement is possible
And the lungs are not in fear of collapsing
And the tongue is not afraid of loose words
If a slip of a tongue cuts the soil –
Its seed plants a black currant bush that takes over the neighbor’s yard.
Little Hands cultivate the soil together with the wrinkled ones,
Smooth hands are not afraid to dig in either
Feels hope digging in
Feels more space digging in
Feels more hands can do the digging
with each breath that stretches as far the next door neighbor

Yana Minchenko is an educator at Charlestown High School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Life is Short

Deirdre McCarthy July 9, 2020

“Life is short, though I keep this from my children/”

Please don’t.
Share that this life is precious and fleeting.
Enjoy each moment.
Worry less.
Risk more.
Try.

“Life is short, though I keep this from my children.”

Please don’t.
Share with me that tomorrow is unknown.
Today, right now, is all that you and I have.

“Life is short, though I keep this from my children.”

Please do.
I want to feel and think this will last forever.
Or at least a very, very long time.
Ice cream, hugs, riding my bike
for infinite days

“Life is short, though I keep this from my children.”

Please do.
I wish to play forever
Maybe you will join?

“Life is short, though I keep this from my children.”

Deirdre McCarthy is a third grade teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts.