Do the WRITE Thing
Imagine If . . .
Picture yourself in the press box when Derek Jeter has a game-winning hit in his last at-bat in Yankee Stadium! Ask a guest twenty questions and discover that he once protected presidents! Imagine you are in a grocery store but there’s only one thing on the shelves and it doesn’t belong there at all—what is it?
These are just some of the prompts that got fourth and fifth graders writing on May 30. They were participating in Do the WRITE Thing, a writers’ workshop that has been created by the KES PTO every other year for the past decade.
Professional Writers from the Community Lead Workshops for KES 4th and 5th Graders
Each session folded fun and surprises into the work of writing
Watching real footage of Derek Jeter’s last home game at Yankee Stadium was exciting for students who signed up for “More Than Just the Score” led by Richard Finn. Then he surprised them by pretending to be Jeter and giving them real quotes from the Hall of Famer.
Students in Elizabeth Harris’ session, “Journalism and the Practice of Finding Great Stories” used their detective skills by asking a guest twenty questions. Not only did they quickly discover that he was Joe Russo, a retired Secret Service agent, they surprised themselves by seeing how many different ways they could write the story.
“What do you notice?” asked Brian Marschhauser after passing out copies of The Katonah-Lewisboro Times in his session about local news. “I see my sister!” “That’s my school!” students said, surprised to see people and places they knew. A discussion of reader interests led to the “Five Ws” of newswriting: who, what, where, when, and why.
Writing, thinking, learning
Writers Workshop at Katonah Elementary School Is Full of Surprises
One more surprise: Pauline Chiou Guariento, one of the parent-chairs of Do the WRITE Thing, knew that this writers workshop was something special. She covered the story for Channel 12, where she is assistant news director!
“The range of writers—journalists, novelists, sportswriters, and more—showed the students the variety of careers that depend on good writing,” said Suzanne Yeager, one of the parent chairs of the workshop. “The leaders also emphasized that everyone is a writer—it just takes time and practice."
as seen on Channel 12!
The day ended with student readings
DO the WRITE Thing 2019 Workshops
- “Inventing Stories” led by Lauren Acampora, a novelist and KES parent
- “Writing a Digital News Story” led by Elizabeth Yuan, publishing editor at The Wall Street Journal
- “Creating Colorful Characters” led by Kim Kovach, novelist and columnist for the Katonah-Lewisboro Times
- “Getting Your Readers to Visualize Your Vision” led by Gia Miller, a journalist and KES parent
- “More Than Just the Score” led by Richard Finn, a sportswriter for USA Today, The New York Times, Associated Press and KLSD parent
- “Where to Begin? Not in the Beginning!” Led by Wendy Corsi Staub, a novelist who lives in Katonah
- “Journalism and the Practice of Finding Great Stories” led by Elizabeth Harris, a regular contributor to The New York Times and Forbes, and a KES parent
- “Short Short Story (with a twist!)” led by Léna Roy, regional manager for Writopia Lab
- “‘Man Bites Dog’ – Learn About Newspapers” led by Brian Marschhauser, the editor of The Katonah-Lewisboro Times
- “The Guaranteed Story Engine” led by Chris Spain, a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program and parent of KLSD alumni
- “How to Find Your Voice” led by Jennifer Lyne, novelist and KES parent