Participants will experience a variety of writing activities designed to encourage students to reflect on their experiences through personal narrative writing. Personal narratives strengthen writing by allowing students to write about what they know—themselves and their lives, while at the same time, challenging them to reflect on and make meaning from their experiences. Personal narrative can be as short and quick as a free writing journal or can be extended to longer narrative work. Through the process of writing about themselves, students learn valuable writing strategies from brainstorming to adding details and revision. They also have an opportunity to bring more of themselves into the classroom through their stories, which shared within the space in small groups or publications, help to build community.
Presenter: Cynthia Larsen is Lake Erie Ink’s co-founder and Education Director. She holds a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing from Stanford University and an ELA teaching credential from San Francisco State University. Cynthia taught in Jersey City, NJ; Oakland, CA; and Cleveland before attending graduate school at the University of Arizona, where she received her MFA in creative writing. She has collaborated with teachers on project-based creative writing for over 15 years, combining her training in education with her passion for writing. Ms. Larsen participates in continuing education as a teacher and writer, including attending “Writing the Unthinkable,” a weeklong workshop with writer and artist Lynda Barry, and “Shelter in Plays,” a collaborative response to Covid-19 through playwriting, facilitated by the K12 Lab at the Stanford school. She regularly attends AWP and NCTE conferences and participates with Literary Cleveland both as a teacher and a student. At Lake Erie Ink, Ms. Larsen develops and implements creative writing curriculum that supports and meets the educational state standards for English and Language Arts.