For Schools & Teachers
Artist in Residence Programs
Ruth is available to develop customized Artist in Residence Programs for your school. She has conducted numerous Artist in Residency Programs, working half or full days in classrooms, from kindergarten to 12th grade. She is known for her intriguing and accessible writing workshops for children, which she develops in collaboration with the teachers. The themes we generate in the writing residency can easily be linked to the curricula students are following in History, Social Studies, and Art. Some of the Residencies that Ruth is most often asked to teach are:
Tribal Stories. Students are put into ”tribes”, and must name themselves, find their “job”, create a design for their power shield, discover their power animal, be helped out of a dilemma by another tribe member, and help another tribesperson.
I Come From Those Before Me. Students learn interviewing techniques that enable them to gather information from local and distant family members, collect research, and create a family tree of stories and photos.
Balancing Words on a Branch: Haiku Poetry. Students hear examples of several different types of Haiku poems, and learn to write and illustrate several themselves. The emphasis is on sound, syllable count, and lightness of tone.
Legends, Fairy Tales and Myths. Each of these very different writing genres have something special to teach us about ways to look at a story. One hides a moral lesson, one uses fantasy to get to the truth, one uses truth to get to fantasy. We will study their differences, and chose a style with which to write our own.
The Invitation. Students pick anyone in history that they think would make an interesting dinner companion, and write a series of letters. The first is the invitation to that famous person, listing the details of the invitation. Next, a letter to a friend after the event, describing the dinner… what you and the famous person ate, discussed, and shared. The third letter thanks the famous person for their time. The fourth is a letter the famous person sends you with their thoughts about the evening, and their impressions of you.
For College Students & Adults
Ruth served as director of the New England Storytelling Center at Lesley University. She led graduate courses in the Art of Storytelling, and was the advisor for students completing an Independent study in Storytelling. Ruth was raised in a family-owned Rest Home; she spent the first 18 years of her life listening to the life stories of hundreds of ”grandparents”, and someone was always available to listen to her. Ruth has a deep understanding of the power and importance of the spoken word. She is committed to keeping the spirit of Sacredness into every moment of her work.
Weekly Writing Circles: A Year of Writing
Ruth brings the connection between the oral tradition and the written word to her writing circles. In 1993, Ruth opened The Concord Writing Center in Concord, MA. In 2008, the name was changed to The Circle of Writers to reflect the larger geographic area that the Circle serves. Every week, five circles meet, each with 3-5 participants. After sharing a writing warm-up, we read from “homework” we wrote during the week. Some groups focus on longer, ongoing pieces, (novels) some enjoy several in class prompts and shorter works. Although the tone of the classes is relaxed and non-judgmental, we keep to deadlines and are responsible for bringing in work each week. Several students have recently been published. Regardless of our objectives, these meetings keep us in the practice of writing, help us define our short and long term goals, and allow us to see our writing voice as unique and valuable.
Writing for Teachers
For over 15 years, teachers have been contacting Ruth for individual support in the classroom, to edit their own work, and come into their classroom as an Artist in Residence to work with their students. Thanks to grant-funding, Ruth met with several groups of teachers twice a month to write together and share writings from home. It’s a rare opportunity for gifted people who respect each other but have limited amounts of time, to enjoy an afternoon of creativity and wisdom. There is a final dinner at Ruth’s house where teachers read from the collection of their pieces, now a bound keepsake of their experience.